El Hierro Island
The Canary Islands are called “the islands of eternal spring” because they have a mild and pleasant climate throughout the year (from 20°C in winter to 28°C in summer) thanks to alyzeas and Saharan winds. These winds allow the presence of sub-tropical vegetation. Prickly pears, almond trees, banana trees, mango trees and cultivated or wild vineyards grow in abundance.
El Hierro :
The smallest of the Canarys
El Hierro is the smallest island of the Canaries and is located in the southwest of the archipelago. Its 478km2 offer a variety of landscapes:
- to the south and west: arid and volcanic formations
- to the north and east: the fertile golf valley and its vineyards
- in the center: the mountain ridge with its Canary pine forest and its primary laurel forest
A little of history
It is not known for sure what the origin of the name El Hierro is, but it is believed that it could be a derivation of the ancient canary language of the island.
From the second century AD, Ptolemy considered the “Meridien Zero” as the one that crosses the western tip of the island, at the lighthouse of Orchilla. It remained that way until 1883, when the Greenwich Meridian was discovered. This is why the island of El Hierro is still nicknamed “the island of the meridian”, which translates into “Meridiano Cero”.
The GREEN Island
Since the end of 2014, El Hierro is the first green island in the world, completely autonomous in electricity. Five wind turbines installed in the north-west of the island ensure, in addition to a set of seawater retention basins, the energy independence of this small rock of less than 300 km2.
On El Hierro Island, the five 64 m wind turbines provide a total power of 11.5 MW. The surplus energy is used for a desalination plant but also to operate a pump which raises the water from the lower tank to the upper basin. During periods without wind, the water is allowed to flow downwards and turbines generate electricity. The complement is provided by a thermal power station. The proportion of these three sources is constantly adjusted.
El Hierro : UNESCO Island
Of all the Canary Islands, El Hierro is a paradise to be discovered. This seventh island has always remained outside the tourist stream, to the great joy of those who want and need to preserve it as it is. In addition, in 2000, the island was declared WORLD BIOSPHERE RESERVE by UNESCO.
Hikking and Trekking
Excursions and hikes are the main activities of this small wild island preserved from tourism. Numerous very well indicated routes are available (more than 290km), accessible on foot but also by bike.
As the island is volcanic and steep, some of the routes can be quite difficult to climb.
The famous El Hierro GR (long-distance footpath) crosses the entire island on both sides, starting from the lighthouse of La Orchilla and ending at the port of La Estaca in Valverde. This 42km long path is the one used by pilgrims during the parade of the Virgin of the Kings.
El Hierro :
Mountain bike and bycicle
The numerous paths and hiking trails on the island allow both cycling and mountain biking activities rich in emotions!
Discover the pine forests, the primary forest, the volcanic paths and the seaside coasts with strong sensations!
There is the possibility of renting an electric bike, ideal for exploring the spectacular nature of El Hierro without much effort, which will help you through the difficult slopes. For those who are used to doing sports, you may prefer a mountain bike without motor, if you want, you can do guided bike routes, with a specialised guide who will accompany you during the whole route. These are routes lasting a few hours.
A little history
Its steep volcanic landscape allows the practice of PARAPENTING, an extreme sport very much appreciated here. A concentration takes place every year during which the freestyle champions give extraordinary demonstrations.
The "Charcos" : natural pools
The coasts of El Hierro consist of rocky cliffs up to 1000 meters high, coves and natural pools. “Los Archos”, “Charco Azul” or even “Tacoròn” are just a few where the tranquility of swimming in clear water is a privileged moment of relaxation.