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El Hierro: A Remote Island to Add to Your Bucket List

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Are you wondering which of the Canary Islands is best? Have you ever heard of El Hierro? Chances are that if you are traveling to the Canary Islands, this isn't the first one on your list. However, we're here to tell you why it should be!


Why Visit El Hierro?

Despite its small size and lack of nightlife, El Hierro is a great island to get away from the hustle and bustle of big cities. It has stunning landscapes, down to Earth locals, and a ton of hidden gems!


In this article we are going to help you decide which of the Canary Islands is best for you. So let's jump right in so you can learn about all of the best things to do in El Hierro, how to get around, and everything else to know for traveling here.

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Where is El Hierro?

El Hierro is the smallest of the Canary Islands, and is tucked away towards to the south west of the archipelago.


The Canary Islands themselves are part of Spain, but actually lie off the coast of Northern Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. You can see below exactly where El Hierro is located.

where is El Hierro? which of the Canary Islands is best

El Hierro is the south western most of the Canary Islands.


How Do I Get to El Hierro?

If you're looking for which of the Canary Islands is best for convenience, then this may not exactly be the one. El Hierro is one of the more difficult islands to get to in the Canary Islands. This is because of its size and location in relation to the others. However, it's definitely doable! Here are the different options for getting to El Hierro island.


Getting to El Hierro by Air

El Hierro has one of the smallest airports that you'll ever encounter. This makes flying in and out of the island extremely pleasant and quick. There are on average 7 direct flights from Tenerife and Gran Canaria, operating with Binter and Iberia.


We suggest flying with Binter if you can, as they include both hand and checked luggage, and don't give you a hard time about the weight of your bag. In addition, if you wish to check an extra bag it is only 1 euro/kg!

flight Tenerife to El Hierro

You can fly from Tenerife to El Hierro and have these stunning views of El Teide.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates to visit El Hierro!

Getting to El Hierro by Sea

Another option for getting to El Hierro is by ferry. This is a popular way to island hop through the Canary Islands, using one of the two main ferry companies- Fred Olsen and Armas Navarria.


In the past, Fred Olsen was servicing El Hierro. However, due to a political disagreement now there is only Armas Navarria serving the island of El Hierro. It is a bit more of an expensive and long option if you ask us, so we suggest flying instead.


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Entry Requirements for El Hierro

There are actually no International flights that go into El Hierro, so you won't need to worry about customs and border control. By the time you travel here, you will already be in Spain


Want to know the updates on requirements for entry to Spain? Simply download the Reopen EU app for the most up to date info.


Local Adjustments for El Hierro

El Hierro isn't any different than the rest of the Canary Islands when it comes to local language, currency, and outlets. However, here are the details.


Language Spoken in El Hierro

The official language in the Canary Islands is Spanish. Keep in ind though, that their accent is far different than that of mainland Spain, so they may be a little more difficult to understand. Being that El Hierro is a tiny island, chances are you won't find as many English speakers as you would in the more popular islands such as Tenerife or Gran Canaria.


Currency Used in El Hierro

The official currency of the Canary Islands is the euro. We used credit card for everything on the island, with the exception of when one restaurant has their machine go down, so you won't need to have too much cash on you.


Electrical Outlets in El Hierro

The electrical outlets in the Canary Islands are the same as in Spain, and all over the EU. They use plug types C, E, & F.  El Hierro operates on 230V with a standard frequency of 50Hz.


Is the Water Safe to Drink in El Hierro?

The water in all of the Canary Islands is suitable for drinking, so you can drink from the tap without any issues. If you go to a restaurant though, chances are they will refuse to serve you the water because they don't think it is good.


If you have a sensitive stomach you may want to play it safe and stick to bottled water. However, we drank tap water the whole time and had no issues.


Tipping in El Hierro

Just like other parts of Spain, there is no real tipping culture in the Canary Islands. Some people will leave a Euro or two if there has been great service, and this is typically in nicer restaurants.

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Things to Do in El Hierro

We were so surprised with all of the cool things to do in El Hierro! This volcanic island has a variety of landscapes, and almost every attraction is free of charge! Here are some of our top recommendations for the best things to do in El Hierro.


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Which of the Canary Islands is Best ( EL Hierro ) Pin

Things to Do in El Hierro #1: Swim in the Natural Pools

The island of El Hierro is full of natural pools that are created by the wild rock formations along the coast. A lot of manmade structures have also been made to create pools out of the natural flow of water coming from the sea. 


Unfortunately when we went in March, the seas were extremely rough, so we opted not to swim, as the waves were crashing over the pools! However, we did visit, and they were really beautiful to experience. We can only imagine how amazing they are the summertime.


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Here are a few pools worth checking out:


Charco Manso

Being at Charco Manso felt like being inside a giant washing machine. It was absolutely mesmerizing to watch the waves crash down from one pool, into the next. There are ladders and stairs leading into the main bay area, as well as a few different pools naturally formed by the rocks surrounding it.


There aren't any restaurants or anything on site. However, there are public restrooms free of charge.

Charco Manso, El Hierro

The pools of Charco Manso have powerful waves crashing down on the rocks around it.

Charco Azul

Charco Azul is one of the most popular natural pools in El Hierro. Here you can find different concrete platforms to sunbathe on, a few sets of caves, and of course- the natural pools created inside them.


There aren't any amenities here, but it is really a unique place to explore and enjoy the natural landscapes of the island.

Charco Azul in El Hierro
Charco Azul in El Hierro

Charco Azul has pools, caves, and sunbathing areas.

La Maceta

La Meceta is all around one of the best set of natural pools in our opinion. This is because not only does it feel like a giant infinity pool, but there are striking rock formations surrounding it. In addition, there is a huge covered area with tables for people to picnic at.

La Maceta, pools in El Hierro
La Maceta pools in El Hierro
La Maceta pools in EL Hierro

La Maceta has several pools, and has unique rock formations around it.

Pozo de Las Calcosas

This area is particularly interesting because it is actually a pool that sits under an entire straw village. When we went in the winter it seemed abandoned, but it's probably a place for summer stays or fisherman, You can only access the site by walking down a long set of stairs, where you can park at the top.

Pozo de las Calcosas, El Hierro
pozo de las Calcosas, El Hierro
Pozo de las Calcosas, El Hierro

Bonus: Swim in the Not So Natural Pools: Piscinas de La Caleta

Just down the road from where we were staying (a few minutes from the airport) lies a set of manmade pools perched right above the sea. Unfortunately, right before we went they had to close them from a previous storm. However, locals raved about them.


Things to Do in El Hierro #2: Go For A Hike

El Hierro is a true hiking paradise!


The great thing about El Hierro is that basically anything can be driven to, or taken along the scenic hiking path. This way, you can choose which you're looking for depending on your mood.

Hiking in El Hierro

One of the best things to do in El Hierro is to go hiking and enjoy the views.

Did You Know? If you were to walk across the island of El Hierro it would only take 10 hours total!

Because we were working quite a bit, we tended to drive a bit more than we normally would. However, with more time it is truly stunning to take the hiking paths. You can head to any tourist office and get a map of all of the different trails that make up El Hierro.


One popular hike that we did was from Mirador de Jinama, one of the highest points on the island. It's a two hour trail that overlooks the coastline, and takes about 2 hours each way.

hiking in El Hierro, which of the Canary Islands is best
which of the Canary Islands is best, hiking in El Hierro

Things to Do in El Hierro #3: Visit the Miradores (Viewpoints)

Because the island is small and mountainous, there are tons of spectacular views on the island!


Here are a few of our favorite viewpoints on El Hierro:


Mirador de La Peña

We love this viewpoint because it has a cafe/ restaurant on site. Grab a cup of coffee and get some of the islands best views of the  south western coast. Watch the clouds as they roll in and out of the area, changing from dreamy views to eerie ones.


Mirador De la Peña, El Hierro
Mirador De la Peña, El Hierro
Mirador De la Peña, El Hierro

Mirador De la Peña is a great place to stop for a drink or bite to eat with beautiful views.

Mirador de Jinama

As we mentioned earlier, this is one of the highest points of the island, and has incredible views down below. A popular sunset point, you can see almost the whole island from here!

Mirador de Jinama, El Hierro

Mirador Jinama has a trail that connects to several other viewpoints on the island.

Mirador la Llania

This was hands down our favorite view in all of El Hierro. Connected to a ton of trails, you can either hike here (highly recommended) or drive straight there.


In the area you will find trees that will look like they are straight out of a fairytale. Walk through the eerie setting and you will then be greeted by a view that is above the clouds! We went for sunset, and it was truly magical.

Mirador la Llania, El Hierro, Canary Islands
Mirador La Llania in El Hierro
mirador la Llania, El Hierro

Mirador La Lania is a magical place to experience sunset above the clouds.

Mirador de La Playas

This viewpoint takes you high above Las Playas, which to no surprise is a stretch of beaches (if you didn't know- playa means beach).

Mirador Las Playas, El Hierro

Mirador Las Playas is a viewpoint of the largest beach area in El Hierro.

Note: You can't actually reach the beaches from the viewpoint. They can only be reached by driving all the way around onto the road below, which takes about 45 minutes.

Things to Do in El Hierro #4: Try Local Seafood

You can't visit an island and not take advantage of the fresh seafood! One of the most popular spots is Restaurante Casa Juan, which you can find in La Restinga.


Things to Do in El Hierro #5: Explore the Volcanic Beaches

El Hierro doesn't have a lot of beaches, but it certainly does have some interesting ones! Because the island is volcanic, there is really only one area where you will find white sand, which is Las Playas.


Playa del Verodal is super unique because it actually has a mix of red and black sand. It's not super fine so it actually doesn't stick to you at all! We suggest heading there for sunset like we did.

Playa de Verodal, beach in El Hierro

Playa de Verodal is unique because it has red and black volcanic sand.

Looking for a spot which has some food? Head to Tacoran. There may not be any sand, but there are plenty of areas to relax and swim. They have ladders that go from the rocks into the water, and a food truck on site. Tacoran is also a great sunset point!

This area is off the beaten path, and it is rare to have any signal reach here.


Things to Do in El Hierro #6: Check Out the Epic Trees

The nature is very peculiar on this island, and one that we also noticed is that the trees are also very weird. Here are the two in particular that you should check out.

trees in El Hierro

El Hierro is full of unique trees around the island.

El Sabinar

This area is set up high on the mountain on the south western area of the island. Drive all the way up to an area where there are trees that have bent from the strong winds of the area. They continue to grow almost completely horizontally! There is one famous one in particular that you can visit from the parking lot, or you can walk the trail to find a variety of others.

El Sabinar tree in El Hierro

El Sabinar is an area where trees have bent over the years from the wind.

Arbol Garoe

This is considered to be the "most famous tree in the world", and the reason is because it saved the early settlers of El Hierro from dying of thirst. The original tree actually isn't there anymore, but it has been replaced, and used as a tourist attraction to learn about the history of the island.


Most activities in El Hierro are completely free of charge to visit. This is one of the only spots that isn't open 24 hours and has a small charge. The tree can be visited from 10 am to 6 pm, and has a 5 euro charge. The walk to the tree itself just takes a few minutes.

Arbol Goroa, El Hierro, which of the Canary Islands Is best
Arbol Garoe, things to do in El Hierro

Arbol Garoe is famous on the island of El Hierro.

Things to Do in El Hierro #7: Visit the Orchilla Lighthouse

Orchilla Lighthouse is tucked away in the south western corner of the island. This is a popular spot to go for sunset, as well as to watch the night sky light up, like you can see below.

Orchilla Lighthouse in El Hierro

Things to Do in El Hierro #8: Experience the Power of the Waves

The waves in El Hierro can get pretty insane! The winter is when you can really experience the highest waves, that will put on quite a show. There are endless amounts of spots to experience this, but our personal favorites were in La Frontera, and at Mirador Puntas de Gutierrez.


Mirador Puntas de Gutierrez is actually more than just a viewpoint. Wander along the whole area of hardened lava and cliffs to experience a show like no other. We walked along the rock bridge (it is pretty dangerous so please be careful if you go!) and there is a cave where the waves crash down inside, and it's truly breathtaking.

which of the Canary Islands is best, sunset in El Hierro
Mirador Puntas de Gutierrez, which of the Canary Islands is best

The whole area is full of stunning rock formations and large waves crashing,

Things to Do in El Hierro #9: Chase the Sun

Being such a small island, it's super easy to take advantage of both sunrises and sunsets alike. Here are a few of our favorite spots for both.


Best Sunset Spots in El Hierro

You'll want to make sure that you're on the west side of the island, or an extremely high point. Our personal favorites are Orchilla Lighthouse, La Restinga, Playa el Verodal, Mirador Puntas de Gutierrez, Mirador Jinama, and Mirador La Lania.


Best Sunrise Spots in El Hierro

For the sunrise you'll want to stay on the East Coast. Some great sunrise points are Tamaduste, La Caleta, and Las Playas. You can also enjoy the sunrise from some of the higher viewpoints such as Mirador Las Playas and Mirador Jinama.

Las Playas sunrise, El Hierro

Las Playas is one of the best sunrise spots in El Hierro.

Things to Do in El Hierro #10: Watch the Sky Light Up

One of the things we loved most about El Hierro is the fact that you can really appreciate the stars at night. With such little population there are a lot of areas on the island with super low light pollution, allowing you to really get an insane view of the sky at night.


There are truly so many awesome places to do so, including any of the Miradores, the beaches, or Orchilla Lighthouse.

Orchilla Lighthouse at night

Orchilla lighthouse is one of the best places to stargaze.

BONUS:

Here are a couplemof other fun activities that you can sign up for in advance:


Food & Drink in El Hierro

The food in the Canary Islands is super tasty! In addition, each island has dishes that are local to the island itself. Here are a few things you should try in El Hierro.


Local Foods of El Hierro

  • Seafood: As we mentioned earlier, the seafood here is super fresh, and you can take advantage of the fresh catches.
  • Mojo: This sauce is served normally with bread on the table before your meal. There are two types of this garlic based sauce- one is green (made with cilantro or avocado) or red (made with red Chile peppers).
  • Papas Arrugadas: These small round potatoes are served as an appetizer or side dish, and come with mojo sauce.
  • Gofio: This is a popular pulverized cereal that you can find across the Canary Islands. It can be used as a topping, or as the base for some soups and stews.
  • Queso Herreño: This cheese is a local cheese found as an appetizer. It personally isn't our favorite, but if you like smoked cheese than this one's for you.
  • Queso Asado: We can't get enough of this tasty white cheese that is grilled, and usually topped with some sort of honey, jam, or mojo.
  • Quesadilla: This is another product that is particular just of El Hierro. It is a sweet cake, and the round design is also a symbol across the island. Head to a shop in Valverde to pick up a fresh one to have with your coffee.

Now let's check out where exactly to eat. The island is pretty small, so we tried quite a number of restaurants! Here are some of our favorites:


Best Restaurants in el Hierro

  • Casa Juan: For their fresh seafood dishes
  • La Tafeña: For their incredible steak and quest asado.
  • El Encuentro: All around a great restaurant open late. They also have great tortilla, which we would take to go for next morning's breakfast.
  • La Mirada Profunda: Right down the street from El Cuentro, this spot is super cute, has great service, and delicious food.
  • Pizzeria El Horno de Merese: For authentic Italian pizza.
  • Sol de España: For their amazing (and cheap) paella.
  • Mirador De la Peña: For a meal or coffee with an incredible view.
La Mirada Profunda, El Hierro

La Mirada Profunda is one of the best restaurants in El Hierro.



Moving Around El Hierro

El Hierro is really an island that you will want to rent a car for. The good news is though, that it is very easy to rent a car, and significantly cheaper than many of the other Canary Islands.

renting a car in El Hierro, Which of the Canary Islands is best

When you drive around you can find hidden gems like this one.

Here's a site we use to rent cars online:

Getting Around El Hierro in Public Transportation

If you can't drive, or really don't feel comfortable, there are other options. The local buses (known as Guaguas) run through a few different main towns on the island such as the capital of Valverde, Frontera, La Restinga, and a few other spots.


The buses don't run super regularly. However, you can check the table below for more info.

guagua El Hierro

The buses that run through El Hierro are called "guaguas".


The airport offers two different rental companies. We used Cicar for 150 euros for the week, and the other company also had cars for even cheaper. We got our car on the spot, and found it very easy to drive around the island.


Getting around El Hierro by Taxi

In an entire week on the island, we hit every corner of El Hierro. In that full 7 days we passed one taxi the entire time. We'll be honest- we aren't sure of prices or how to get one exactly, but we imagine it wouldn't be the easiest or cheapest option. We suggest asking locals if you really insist on traveling this way.


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Where to Stay in El Hierro

If you have a car in El Hierro, you really don't have to stress about where to stay. That being said, accommodation is a little on the limited side.

which of the Canary Islands is best

El Hierro is home to the smallest hotel in the world.

Hotels in El Hierro

There are only two hotels on the entire island! There is one in Frontera, and one in Las Playas. 


The one in Frontera is called Hotel Punta Grande, is adults only, and is the smallest hotel in the world. The place is stunning, but is extremely exclusive and normally reserved well in advance. If splurging isn't an issue, then this is a truly unique hotel to stay at.

Hotel Puntagrande, which of the Canary Islands is best
Hotel Puntagrande, El Hierro
smallest hotel in the world, El Hierro

Hotel Puntagrande won a Guinness Book Record for being the smallest hotel in the world.


The other hotel is Parador de El Hierro. It is located on the beach, and has a pool. It looked absolutely beautiful, but is the only area of the whole island that is a little "out of the way".



Apartments in El Hierro

The rest of the properties you will find on the island on booking sites are apartments. We got ours in La Caleta, and found it to be perfect. We were next to the water, and a 3 minute drive from the airport. The furthest part of the island was La Restinga, which was a one hour drive.


Take a look at all the apartment options in El Hierro on Booking:

Booking.com

Airbnb in El Hierro

There are plenty of Airbnb options in El Hierro! This can be a great option, as we found accommodation to overall be on the pricier side compared to some other islands.


The Best Area to Stay in El Hierro

If you have a car, we wouldn't even stress about where to stay, as the island is really so small. However, if you want somewhere where you can walk to find a restaurant, bar, or shop, then your two best locations will be Valverde and Frontera.

Valverde, which of the Canary Islands is best

Valverde is the capital, and has some shops and restaurants.


Is El Hierro Safe?

El Hierro is as safe as it gets! There are only 10,000 people on the island, and everyone is very friendly. If there's an island where you should feel safe, it is definitely this one.

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Other Things to Know About Visiting El Hierro

Here are few other tips for visiting the smallest Canary Island.


The Best Time to Visit El Hierro

The best time to visit El Hierro truly depends on what kind of traveler you are. Two of the main things that this island offers if plenty of hikes, and tons of natural pools.


Fun Fact: If you hike across the island it only takes a total of around 10 hours! Believe it or not, this is a popular thing to do, as the island is truly a hikers dream. One thing we love about El Hierro is that pretty much anywhere you want to go you can reach by car or by foot.


If you like to hike, the winter really is a great time, as temperatures are warm during the day, and get a little chilly at night. If you want to enjoy the natural pools, then we suggest avoiding the winter, as the waves can get pretty rough. We went in March, and found the waves to be absolutely fascinating at this time (if this is something that interests you).


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Weather & Packing for El Hierro 

The Canary Islands are fortunate to have beautiful weather year round. It never really gets too cold in El Hierro, and we only ever needed a light jacket for the night time, or when going up into the mountains.


In the summer make sure to bring sunscreen, and a bathing suit to enjoy those beautiful natural pools that are scattered throughout the coast. In the winter (and even perhaps spring and fall) definitely bring a jacket for the mountains.


One thing you will need all year round is a good pair of sneakers! The island is made up of volcanic rock, and there are even plenty of beach areas where you will want to carry sneakers with you. Finally, as far as nightlife goes, don't expect anything really- so you can leave those fancy dresses and heels at. home!


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Packing List for El Hierro:


Which of the Canary Islands is Best for Me, & Why Visit El Hierro?

Each island has its own charm, and now is the time to choose which of the Canary Islands is best for you.


So why visit El Hierro? Well, If you like adventure, unique landscapes, and a more rural vibe, then El Hierro is for you. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of every day life, then going to El Hierro is the perfect choice, and if you love spots off the beaten path, then this is definitely the perfect match.

which of the Canary Islands is best
Mirador De la Peña, El Hierro
El Sabinar tree, El Hierro

El Hierro is the perfect choice for those that want to experience unique and lesser known locations.


El Hierro may be the smallest of the Canary Islands, but it is definitely one of our favorites! The people are super friendly, there are stunning landscapes, and it is really easy to get around and see a lot in a little time.


We went for a full week, but we were working half the day, and exploring the other half. For those traveling without working, we suggest 3-5 days to really experience the highlights that the island has to offer.


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Don't think this is your style and wondering which of the Canary Islands is best to visit for you? Or are you also planning on visiting other Canary Islands? Well, we have traveled to each one, and have full guides for each one!


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