El Hierro island, diving paradise, how to get here.

Declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 2000, is the the smallest and westernmost of the Canary Islands. Renowned for its rich ecology and biodiversity, formed by its diverse micro climates wrapped in a mirriad of volcanic features, a truly magical and mystical island.

El Hierro alignRight

Island Information

Area: 278km2
Coastline: 107.5km
Highest Point: 1,501m
Population: 10,753 (2008)

El Hierro, the smallest and westernmost of the Canary Islands, is a true paradise for nature lovers. The diversity of the land from Juniper Forests to volcanic hills makes El Hierro a special place. 60% of El Hierro is protected land and in 2000 UNESCO declared El Hierro a Biosphere Reserve. In keeping with its aim to be the sustainable island, El Hierro is the first island in the World to be energy self-sufficient.

History

El Hierro lighthouse - Faro de la Orchilla

It's not entirely certain where the name of El Hierro came from but it is most likely from a derivation of "hero" in an old language. The fact that Hierro also means Iron in Spanish is not thought to be related.

From the 2nd century A.D., until 1883, the prime meridian was set at the western edge of El Hierro. This marked the edge of the "Old World" before it was replaced by Greenwich where it lies today (GMT). Hence the island is sometimes referred to as the the Meridian Island.

Geology

Roque Bonanza

The birth of El Hierro started about 100 million years ago as a rupture in the oceanic plates. After many eruptions the island eventually emerged from the sea, the largest volcano more than 2000m high. Lava continued to flow and as it cooled it solidified into huge basalt cliffs.

About 50,000 years ago there was a cataclysmic event on the island when in just a few seconds, probably due to an earthquake, during which much of the island literally fell into the sea. This phenomenon originated the immense amphitheater and viewpoint of El Golfo, which we can visit today.

El Hierro has more than 500 cones visible on the surface and another 300 covered by more recent lava flows. It is now more than 200 years since the last land based eruption. About 70 of the islands caves and tunnels have been investigated. The cave of Don Justo is one of the longest caves in the world at 6km.

In 2011-2012 a submarine eruption occured just 2km south of La Restinga with passive degassing continuing. Recent measurements show a peak at 83 meters from the sea surface and slowly rising

El Hierro land area formed 1.2 million years ago, today it has 500+ volcanic cones, the largest of which Tanganasoga which last erupted in 1793.

Climate

El Hierro

The weather on El Hierro is mild all year round but can be very different around the island. Along the coast the temperature is between 19oC and 30oC with a mild breeze most of the year. Inland on the higher ground it can be cooler than the coast, so don't forget a jumper! The nights are usually clear and with very little light pollution on El Hierro the stars are spectacular. The water temperature is between 19oC early in the year and 25oC in late Summer.

La Restinga is the driest part of El Hierro and the surrounding landscape is in stark contrast to other parts of El Hierro. You can expect sunny days with day time temperatures in the mid 20s.

How to get to El Hierro

There are a number of ways to Get to El Hierro. First step is to get to Tenerife or Gran Canaria and then take onward connections either by Air or Sea. To help you in organising your trip we have outlined the main options for getting here.

Tenerife to El Hierro - Flights

The Airline Binter Canarias operates 4/5 daily flights from Tenerife North Airport to Valverde, El Hierro. The flight is only 35 mins and both airlines and their staff are excellent. Prices with Binter Canarias are usually €50 - €70 each way including baggage.

Please note flights to El Hierro only depart from Los Rodeos Airport in the North of Tenerife.

If your flight to Tenerife lands in the Tenerife Airport South (TFS) and you need to transfer to Tenerife Airport North (TFN), there is a direct public bus several times a day as well as a number of private transfer companies. Journey time is approx. 90 minutes

Tenerife to El Hierro - Fast Ferry

If your flight arrives in Tenerife South before 3pm, then Naviera Armas ferry is a good option. These Ferries depart at late afternoon (times change depending on day) from Los Cristianos in the South of Tenerife and the journey takes approximatly 2 & ½ hours.

Important notice: There is no ferry running on Saturday to/from El Hierro, and Sunday ferry is a late departure from El Hierro which can make it difficult to get a flight back on Sunday night.

Your can find the ferry company schedule on their website but only for 3 months in advanced. But this shouldn´t be a handicap if you are trying to book your trip well in advenace as there is always room available if you book it just a couple of weeks before. Costs are 90 to 100Eur return trip

Gran Canaria to El Hierro - Flight

Binter Canarias has 1 daily flight from Las Palmas departing at different times each day. The airline Islas has also 1 flight a day but only on fridays and sundays. Flight time is 45 mins and cost is usually between €60 - €100 each way incl. baggage.

Getting around the island

There are a fleet of public buses serving the Island. One journey costs just €1. The buses usually run every few hours and serve all the main towns and villages on the island.

If you really want to see more of the island and explore a little, the best way is to hire a car for a few days. The roads in El Hierro are excellent and there are many beautiful drives around the island.

Many adventurous people come to El Hierro and tour the island almost entirely on foot. For those just wanting to get off the beaten track (if you could call it that!) for a few hours there are many well marked hiking trails and free maps of the routes are freely available.

The Energy Self Sufficient Island