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We present an 8-day trip, including travelling days, to discover on foot the most beautiful natural attractions of the island. Also, we will learn about its history and we will savour its delicious food, completing a trip that will make us live a very intense and a very special experience.
Small is beautiful. And El Hierro, with 268,71 Km2 is the smallest of the Canary Islands (If we don´t include the islets of the Chinijo Archipelago). Yes, it is a beautiful island. But don´t be deceived by its size, that will not be an impediment to enjoy the dramatic landscapes by walking in one of those places increasingly scarce around the word, where nature remains untouched. And this is not counting its underwater treasures… Do you know that El Hierro is considered one of the best places to do scuba diving? But we hope you still have some energy left, because 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, what give and special character to the island.
El Hierro was declared a Unesco Biosphere Reserve. It has a precipitous orography due to its volcanic history and it is covered by a unique vegetation capable to adapt to the insularity and the climate. The presence of the trade winds gives place to the development of spectacular Laurisilva forests. Surely, we will be lucky enough to have the company of a lizard on one of our walks, the most famous animal of the island! And don´t worry they are inoffensive!
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.