Hierro Island (El Hierro)

Hierro Island is the westernmost island not only of the Canary archipelago, but also of Spain generally. Even the ancient Greek philosopher Ptolemy considered the island of Hierro “the outskirts of the world”, and from the 17th century until 1884 it was officially a kind of reference point for coordinates in Europe, the zero meridian passed through it. The island has an area of 277 sq. km, which makes it also the smallest island of the Canary archipelago. In the central part of the island of Hierro, mountains stretch (the highest mark is Mount Malpaso 1501 m), whose slopes descend to the sea. Unlike other islands of the archipelago, the coast of the island of Hierro is mostly rocky, only in the north, near El Golfo Bay, the coast is gentle. Since 2000, the island of Hierro has been declared by UNESCO as a specially protected natural area. Here you can see dense pine forests, steep cliffs more than 1 km high and endemic Canarian lizards, reaching a length of 1 m, which existed in the Tertiary period.

According to ARISTMARKETING, the capital of the island – the city of Valverde – is the only one of the island capitals of the Canary archipelago that is not located on the coast. The city is located in the mountains at an altitude of 600 m, surrounded by forests, right from its center you can see the islands of Tenerife and Gomera. Today, only 1,800 people live in Valverde. In the vicinity of the capital, it is worth visiting Mount Bentehis, where the sacred Garoe tree grew until the 17th century. The tree was revered by local tribes for its unique ability to accumulate moisture on its leaves, brought by trade winds from the sea and lingering on the top of the mountain in the form of clouds. The accumulated water was collected in special tanks and used for drinking.

South of Valverde, on the east coast, the beach of Baia de Timihiraque is good (Bahia de Timijiraque) and the coastal natural arch Roque de la Bonanza, rising from the surface of the water by 200 m. Near the beach of Playa de la Caleta, ancient petroglyphs have been preserved on the rocks.

The northern coast of the island of Hierro is occupied by El Golfo Bay. It is believed that the bay was formed as a result of the collapse and flooding of part of the island during the movement of lithospheric plates. This explains the fact that this part of the coast is not rocky, but flatter. In the western part of El Golfo is the village of Sabinosa. Sabinos has the only healing springs of the Canary Islands, on the basis of which the spa center Pozo de la Salud has been operating since 1996(Pozo de la Salud). The healing properties of local sulfur springs were discovered in the 19th century. The spring waters also contain useful elements such as bicarbonates, iron, lithium, phosphorus and silicon and are used in the treatment of dermatitis, rheumatism and stress conditions. In the eastern part of El Golfo, off the coast, two majestic rocks rise out of the water – Roques de Salmor. This is a great place for water excursions, during which you can see a wide variety of birds. Off the coast of El Golfo is located the second largest city of the island of Frontera (Frontera). Here is the Guinea Museum, where you can learn about the history of the island before the arrival of the Spaniards.

Off the west coast of the island of Hierro, it is worth visiting the place of El Sabinar (El Sabinar). Here you can see bizarre trees, whose trunks folded in half under the influence of constant north-west winds, however, even in this position, the tree continues to live and grow. Nearby at an altitude of 700 m is the Hermita de los Rayas chapel, which contains a statue of the patron saint of the island. Since 1741, every 4 years, with a procession, the statue is carried to the capital of the island, Valverde. The westernmost point of the island of Hierro and all of Spain is crowned by the Faro de Orchilla lighthouse, after visiting which you will be given a certificate stating that you have been to the “outskirts of the world” and the “Zero Meridian” monument. Also off the west coast is the Giant Lizard Center, where you can see rare Canarian lizards, of which there are only about 300 individuals left in nature, and the longest beach on the island , Playa de Verodal.

In the center of the island of Hierro, on the slopes of the mountains, there is a reserved pine forest of El Pinar. You can walk through the forest or drive a car. On the south coast is the resort of La Restinga (La Restinga), where lovers of scuba diving come together, because the underwater world of these places is extremely diverse. The village has many dive centers and two volcanic black sand beaches. In the vicinity of La Resting, the caves of Cueva de Don Justo are interesting, the total length of which is 6315 m, the petroglyphs of Los Letreros and the remains of the sacred buildings of the Bimbach tribes – Tagoror. In addition, along the entire coast of the island of Hierro, observation decks are equipped on the rocks, from where breathtaking views open.

Hierro Island (El Hierro)