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We present a 8-day trip, including travelling days, to discover by foot the most beautiful natural attractions of the island of El Hierro. We will also learn about the island’s history and we savour delicious local delicacies, so completing our energetic, rewarding and very special journey.
Small is beautiful. And El Hierro, at 268,71 Km2 is the smallest of the Canary Islands (If we don´t include the islets of the Chinijo Archipelago). But don´t be deceived by its modest size, as this is definitely not impediment to enjoying the dramatic landscapes we encounter on an island where nature remains untouched. And this is before we consider its underwater treasures… Do you know that El Hierro is considered one of the best places to go scuba diving? But we hope you still have some energy left, as we came here to do some walking! El Hierro is a wonder for walkers. It is the most southern and western island of the archipelago, the most rural and the wildest, which gives the island its special character.
El Hierro is also a Unesco Biosphere Reserve, with a steep terrain forged by its volcanic history, and remarkable vegetation created by its unique location, micro-climate, and the abiding presence of the region´s trade winds, with the spectacular Laurisilva forest a definite highlight. We might will be lucky enough to have the company of the island’s most famous resident, the Hierro giant lizard. And if you do don’t worry, they will just be enjoying a pleasant stroll in this most stunning of islands.
El Hierro is the most southern and western island of the archipelago and it is a Unesco Biosphere Reserve.
Its geological morphology is very complex due to its volcanic origins. It has a main mountain range with Pico de Malpaso (1.501 m) being its highest peak, and dividing the island in two halves, one to the south and the other to the north. The coastline is quite steep, with numerous imponent cliffs.
The climate is determined by the trade winds and the Canary’s stream, which is a cold fork in the Gulf Stream. The water temperature in winter is around 18º C, and around 20º C in the summer. The trade winds, loaded with humidity, impact against the mountains causing rain, mainly in the north face, whereas in the south predominates the dry winds, creating an arid landscape. The temperature is mild all year round, with warm winters and cool summers.
The complex geological morphology and the climate of El Hierro creates a very unique and special vegetation. The visitor will enjoy a varied flora, from lush laurel forests to coniferous woodlands, green meadows and banana plantations. As we already mentioned before, the south has a much drier climate and so the plant spices are very different in this area.
Its inhabitants, the “herreños(as)”, have suffered a fall in numbers along history due to economic hardship and long droughts. In recent years this trend has change, as many emigrants has returned from Venezuela. Right now, El Hierro is the least populated island with 11.000 habitants.
The local government wants to keep alive the folklore of the island. There are some folkloric associations that performs traditional dances. The most important festivity of El Hierro is La Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes (saint of the island) and it is celebrated every 4 years, the first Saturday of July. The Saint is transferred 44km from Dehesa (Frontera) to Valverde, the capital of the island, going through all villages of the island. The procession is accompanied by dancers performing the traditional baile de la Virgen.
Another famous inhabitant is the Lizard. The giant lizard (grows up to 70cm) is the king! And although its population has decreased, it is still possible to spot it. Don´t worry they are inoffensive!
We can´t finish without mentioning the delicious local gastronomy. Fish has an important place and it is cooked in many different ways, offering the visitor a varied selection of dishes. Other traditional recipes are potaje, el puchero and el rancho con papas.
In order to enjoy the tasty food, it is important to burn some energy first by walking or maybe practising “lucha canaria” which is one of the most popular local sports.