El Hierro is the smallest of the seven main Canary Islands… but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in warmth and personality. The people here are extremely friendly, and fiercely proud of their home.
In the year 2000, El Hierro was declared a Biosfera Reserve and a whopping 60% of its surface area is now protected. In 2011, the world watched as a volcano began erupting just 7km off the southern coast… and we waited to see if new land would be formed, and therefore a new Island. Thus far, it hasn’t happened… but scientists are constantly monitoring the seismic activity below the waves. Towards the end of 2012, testing of a hybrid wind/hydro system will begin… setting El Hierro one step closer to becoming the first island in the world to be completely self sufficient for electrical energy.
You can reach El Hierro by ferry, or by air… opening up this charming island to visitors seeking some tranquility. Head down to the seafront in La Restinga, and enjoy a drink or bite to eat in what are the most southerly bars and restaurants in Europe.
This island is extremely Canarian, and you will not find rows of British bars and all day breakfasts on offer. Refreshingly, there is plenty of fabulous seafood on offer… and a number of places offer a “Menú del Día” at reasonable prices. Do also look for the roast chicken paces (usually they will have “Pollo Asado” in their names) and tuck into a juicy freshly roasted chicken.
Valverde, towards the NorthEastern part of the Island is the capital… but do not expect a bustling city! Indeed on our Alan’s recent visit to the Island, he struggled to find a restaurant open on a Saturday night! We still think that was unusual.
There is plenty of lush greenery here, unlike the more eastern Canary Islands, and the island also has its own personal lizard – the El Hierro Gecko… which is unfortunately endangered. Don’t worry about crushing one underfoot by accident though – these little beauties can reach 2 feet long!