El Hierro is the baby of the Canary Islands with a distinct hint of Ireland – grassy fields and low rock walls but always with the beach nearby. It fact, nothing is too far away in El Hierro – shaped almost like a boomerang with a handle to the east and a deep bay in the west, it’s an island that you can feel right at home in.
The highest point on El Hierro is at 1501m at Malpaso. The whole island was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2009.
What’s great about El Hierro? The SCUBA diving on Restinga, El Hierro is absolutely exceptional and many say, world class.
El Hierro is divided into just three municipalities – Valverde in the north, Frontera in the west and south and El Pinar in the south east.
The north of El Hierro The north is home to the capital of Valverde above the east coast at a height of around 700m and is the only capital in the Canary Islands to be located inland. Consisting of two main roads and numerous steep back streets it’s a glorious jumble of shops, bar/cafes along with car hire, pensiones, etc.
The north is characterised by fertile valleys and grape growing and on its west coast the huge and glorious bay of El Golfo as it sweeps south westward.
In the middle! The centre of the island is characterised by dense pine woods, juniper and laurisilva woods along with the highest point on the island, the Pico de Malpaso. It’s an interior waiting to be explored!
The south of El Hierro: Dry lava fields and volcanic formations are the norm in the south and south west while in the south east, the land is used for farming. La Restinga, a small fishing village, in the extreme south has become a real focus of attention over the years due to its clear water and SCUBA diving.
Places to Stay: Accommodation on El Hierro ranges from the simple room-only pensiones (what we might call ‘guest house’ but without breakfast) to the luxurious Parador Hotel. Other accommodation comprises rural houses (casas rurales), apartments and other hotels. Check out our page for long-let accommodation to rent.
Camping: There is just one campsite on El Hierro, La Hoya del Morcillo in the south.
Tourism: Tourism is growing slowly with the accent on quality tourism rather than quantity. Most tourists who come to El Hierro are looking for tranquility and a nature-based holiday – an ‘away from it all’ type of holiday. Not to say that there’s aren’t adventurous sports on the island too.
SCUBA diving on El Hierrro, both for qualified divers and those who have always fancied having a go, is second to none. Really, if you are staying on El Hierro then it would be a shame to miss the chance of diving from Restingo which is world renown. There are approximately eleven dive centres on El Hierro.
The other top sport on El Hierro is walking, trekking and hiking.To say it’s a small island, there’s an awful lot of walking, such as the GR131 Camino de la Virgin at 38km and a multitude of shorter walks. If you love the great outdoors then this island is tops!
For those who fancy taking to the skies, the paragliding on El Hierro is also excellent. Other than that, lots of relaxing, taking in the fresh air, swimming and snorkeling. Enjoy!
February and March is Carnival time in El Hierro with a multitude of celebrations although there are fiestas throughout the year.
The Bajada del Virgen de las Reyes is a huge festival on El Hierro held every four years on the first Saturday in July, the last one being in 2013. But don’t worry if you miss the big day as festivities last all month. Countdown to the next!
Airport: Some people might not believe that there are flights to El Hierro, but I can assure you there are! In fact, the Aeropuerto de los Cangrejos (Airport of the Crabs – a reference to the area rather than an infestation of creepy-crawly crustaceans) was inaugurated as far back as 1972. The airport is located 9km north east of Valverde and there are approximately four flights a day between El Hierro and Tenerife north airport with a 40 minute flight time. There are also flights between El Hierro and Gran Canaria with a 55 minute flight time. Check out www.bintercanarias.com for details
Ferry: The Fred Olsen ferry between the El Estaca port on El Hierro and Tenerife’s Los Cristianos runs approximately three times per week with a crossing time of around 2 hours 15 minutes.
Additionally, the Naviera Armas ferry also runs between Los Cristianos in Tenerife and El Hierro at a somewhat cheaper price and slower crossing of 3 hours 45 minutes/4 hours.
Buses: The bus service is operated by Servicio Insular de Guagua. It is of course limited because El Hierro is fairly sparsely populated, in fact this is its beauty but even so there are for example, four buses a day each way between Valverde and the airport. You can check out their website here – http://www.transhierro.com/horarios.cfm
Car Hire: Hire cars on El Hierro are readily available and you can hire one quickly and easily.
As in all the Canary Islands, every town has a health centre and pharmacy. For more serious medical matters, the hospital in El Hierro is the 32-bed Nuestra Señora de Los Reyes hospital and is located in Calle La Constitución, 29 at the northern edge of Valverde.
Schools There are six infant/junior schools in El HIerro, one secondary school, a language school and a centre for adult further education.
Town Hall/Ayuntamiento If you move to El Hierro, you will become a frequent visitor to the Town Hall not just to pay your taxes such as a type of council tax, car tax, water rates and rubbish collection but also to register to vote and get cheaper travel within Spain. Here is the address:
Calle Perez Galdos, 6
Tel: 0034 922550025
C/ Dr. Quintero Magdaleno, 4
Valverde 38990 / Isla de El Hierro
Tel: 0034 922 – 55 03 02
Fax: 0034 922 – 55 29 03