Top Attractions & Things to do in El Hierro, Canary Islands
El Hierro is the smallest of the seven Canary Islands (Spain) and one of the most authentic. It is located on the south-west side of the Canaries and is the very last southern tip in all of Europe.
El Hierro is a true natural paradise full of contrasts, with incredible landscapes that include fertile lands covered with vineyards, pine forests in the central area, subtropical fauna in the northeast, volcanic formations and arid areas in the south.
The island also has many black and white sandy beaches, even a rot sand beach, hard-to-reach hidden coves and natural saltwater pools of unique beauty. In 2000, El Hierro was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The highest point of the island is Malpaso (1501 meters above sea level). El Hierro is only 50 kilometers long and with 100 kilometers of steep coastlines, caves and natural lagoons, it is an ideal destination not only for dive and surf lovers, but also for mountain bikers. It is also an excellent place for extreme sports such as paragliding or skydiving.
You can visit the island of El Hierro at any time of the year, because, like the rest of the Canary Islands, it also has a subtropical climate, with long and hot summers and non-existent winters, with temperatures that can vary between 15°C and 20°C during in winter, and in summer between 22°C and 30°C.
In other words, the island of El Hierro is a destination for all preferences and tastes that offers you, in addition to crystal clear waters, breathtaking landscapes and a series of really interesting activities, not forgetting the famous traditional festivals that take place throughout the year.
Attractions and things to do in the Valverde municipality
Valverde is the one of three municipalities of El Hierro island that is positioned in the northern part of the island. The capital of the island has the same name.
A walk through the quiet streets of Villa de Valverde
The city of Valverde is the only capital of the Canary Islands, which is both the smallest capital of all the islands and the only one not located by the sea. But to compensate for the fact that it is not located on the seashore, it is placed on a steep slope at a height of about 600 meters above sea level, from which visitors can enjoy a wonderful view of the Atlantic Ocean.
The city of Valverde is certainly not a metropolis with many attractions and things to do, but it is a gateway to the lush countryside and exciting coastlines located in the municipality of Valverde.
The town, with its typical colorful Canarian architecture and beautiful gardens, is crossed by small steep streets divided into 3 districts: Tesine at the top, El Cabo and La Calle at the bottom.
It is definitely worth a visit the church of Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Concepción, built in the 18th century as it is an important part of the island of El Hierro, where you will be able to see some important artifacts of the church, and on the other side of the church square is the town hall, a distinct example of Canarian architecture.
To get to know the history of this island, visit the ethnographic center Casa de las Quinteras. A cozy small museum housed in an impressive typical house, where you can learn about the traditions and occupations of the island's ancient inhabitants. There is also a shop with products of the island's artisans, where you can buy souvenirs.
Pozo de Las Calcosas natural pools
If you're looking for one of the best places to visit in El Hierro, look no further than Pozo de Las Calcosas. This picturesque old settlement of stone with straw roofs is surrounded by towering cliffs and can only be accessed by foot, making it a truly unique destination.
Pozo de Las Calcosas is best known for its natural volcanic pools and impressive lava formations. The area also has a great restaurant on site.
Water shoes are recommended for exploring the volcanic rocky beaches. Don't miss the Mirador Pozo de Las Colosas, a little bit on the left side of the village. This lookout point offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Charco Manso is one of the most charming places on the El Hierro island, nestled on the north coast. It is located about 10 km from the city of Valverde, and about 9 km from the aforementioned Pozo de Las Calcosas.
It is sure to amaze with spectacular natural volcanic pools with sparkling crystal clear ocean water, volcanic tubes and rock arches, caves and other stunning volcanic rock formations.
There is a convenient parking lot and a kiosk nearby. A nice corner of the island where you can go swimming (if the sea and temperature allow it) or just the opposite, walk and see the spectacular coastline that surrounds it.
La Caleta Village
La Caleta is a small, nice village located near El Hierro airport. It is located on the oceanfront and equipped with stairs and bridges providing excellent access for swimming and exploring aquatic life.
In addition to the stairs to the ocean water, there are also 3 great man-made swimming pools - Piscinas de La Caleta. Nice saltwater pools, two large for adults with a depth of 1.60 meters and one for children with a depth of 40 centimeters. During the summer period it has a lifeguard and the best part, they are free.
Shops, bars, and restaurants are also nearby. A great opportunity to relax and enjoy water fun for the whole family, with stunning views of the ocean and El Hierro mountains.
Mirador de La Peña viewpoint
You will find this lovely place with stunning views near the village of Guarazoca in the north of El Hierro Island. The Mirador de La Peña viewpoint offers breathtaking views of the El Golfo Valley and the impressive Salmor Rocks, a huge rock jutting out of the water near the island's shores.
At the viewpoint there is a building with a nice restaurant where you can enjoy local cuisine. The building was designed by the famous Canarian architect Cesar Manrique, and like the surroundings, the building is quite fascinating.
You can enjoy the stunning views while sitting on the terrace of the restaurant enjoying your coffee (or whatever). The island is small, so make sure this point is on your list.
Árbol Garoé - Sacred Tree
This place related to the water legend is not big, but the story is very interesting. Árbol Garoé is known as the sacred tree of the island and it is said that the tree could store enough water with its leaves to be enough for all the inhabitants of the island of El Hierro.
Visit the Interpretation Center Tree Garoé nearby to learn more about this sacred tree. Although the real Garoé tree was felled by a hurricane and another, similar tree was planted in its place, its location is so interesting and photogenic that it is definitely worth a visit.
You can even hike the Camino del Agua, a hiking trail built in honor of the Árbol Garoé. This trail is about 17 km long and reveals the importance of water and the history behind it.
Mirador de Isora
One of the best places to visit on the island is Mirador de Isora. This viewpoint overlooks the East side of the island and offers spectacular views. There is also a path that leads down to the beache, which are accessible only by foot by very steep roads.
The Mirador de Las Playas is another amazing viewpoint in the area, overlooking the valley of Las Playas. These are just two of the many reasons why El Hierro is one of the best places to visit in the Canary Islands.
Roque de La Bonanza - El Hierro
One of the most interesting sights of El Hierro. It is an amazing, capricious geological formation created by erosion, which looks to some like a monster rising from the sea, and to others like a brave bear sitting in a crystal clear bay in the southern part of El Hierro. Turn on your imagination and go appreciate it.
Read also: Top Attractions & things to do in La Gomera, Canary Islands
Attractions and things to do in the Frontera municipality
Frontera – the second most populated municipality in El Hierro is La Frontera located in the central-western part of the island, in the El Golfo valley.
El Hierro Sabinar
La Dehesa or La Dehesa de Sabinosa is an uninhabited part of the island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands, Spain. There, in the deep solitude of the place, is one of the most beautiful areas, constantly traversed by the intense howling of the wind, wrapped in a cloak of mystery and magic. It is El Sabinar, the mysterious forest.
The old junipers (dwarf pines) are the true witnesses of the unleashing of nature's elements. With their heavy and twisted branches caressing the ground, they seem punished by the eternal trade winds that sweep this place.
The juniper or El Hierro Sabinar, as it is called in the area is an evergreen shrub, from the conifer family, as well as the emblem and part of the island's shield.
Once upon a time, the aborigines of the island of El Hierro worked this highly valued wood, making tools, ornaments, timber, weapons; the settlers who came later also used this wood, sabine, in various constructions.
The bushes in the juniper forest of El Hierro are about 8 meters high (but there are some even taller), with thick trunks that almost touch the ground, giving this place a great value and tourist attraction.
El Sabinar Forest is located near the Santuario de la Virgen de los Reyes. From there, descend a winding road, shrouded in silence, that frames the areas of El Verodal, Arenas Blancas, reaches Pozo de La Salud and climbs up to Sabinosa; opposite is the stunning El Golfo valley; an interesting route that should not be missed when visiting the island. They are the most beautiful parts of the island of El Hierro.
Charco Azul natural swimming pool
El Hierro is one of the best places to visit if you're looking for somewhere truly mystical and breathtaking.
The island is full of small, natural volcanic pools, and Charco Azul is one of the most impressive. Sheltered under a basalt arch, this pool is unlike anything you've ever seen before. The turquoise water, soft sea bed, and breaking waves create an atmosphere that feels straight out of a fairy tale.
This is definitely a must-visit place, but make sure to come during low tide! You won't be disappointed.
Cascadas del Mar
Cascadas del Mar is one of the best places to visit in El Hierro. With its large and small pool, it's perfect for a day of adventure, especially if you're traveling with kids. The best part about Cascadas del Mar is that it's free to enter, so you can explore without breaking the bank.
Plus, there are plenty of loungers and umbrellas to help you relax in the sun. So whether you're looking to take a dip or just soak up some rays, Cascadas del Mar is the perfect spot.
Visit Ecomuseum of Guinea
For those interested in history, Frontera is home to the Ecomuseum of Guinea. Interesting place combining tours of big lava tubes, a breeding ground for giant lizards.
By the way, these lizards are one of the most endangered species of reptiles in the world, therefore they are kept here in captivity to protect and promote their reproduction.
And an old Guinean village where the ancient inhabitants of the island lived, the Bimbanche, there are lovely old stone houses with some antique furniture and other items that show how people lived in the area long ago. The Ecomuseum of Guinea is a great place to learn more about this beautiful island of El Hierro.
La Maceta natural swimming pools
La Maceta is one of the best places to visit in El Hierro for its natural swimming pools, perfect for a day out with family or friends. The surroundings are comfortable and well-equipped with parking, drinking water and picnic areas. There is also a beautiful area for sunbathing next to the pools.
La Maceta is definitely one of the best places to visit in El Hierro. Not only are the natural swimming pools some of the best on the island, but you're also spoiled for choice when it comes to things to do.
If you're into exploring hidden gems, then Mirador Punta del Pozo is a must-visit. And if you love volcanic arches, you'll be in for a treat as there are two of them to explore here. So what are you waiting for? Make sure to add La Maceta to your list of places to visit in El Hierro!
Playa del Verodal
El Verodal Beach, on the northwestern coast of El Hierro, is one of the best places to visit on the island. With its unique reddish volcanic sand and spectacular scenery, it's a must-see for any traveler.
Although swimming here is not recommended due to the strong currents, it's still a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. There are covered barbecue areas and sanitary facilities available, making it the perfect place to relax and take in the stunning views.
And if you're looking for a quiet spot to watch the sunset, El Verodal is definitely the beach for you. So if you're ever in El Hierro, be sure to check out this hidden gem.
Punta Grande Hotel
Punta Grande hotel is a must-see when visiting El Hierro. This unique hotel holds the Guinness World Record for being the smallest hotel in the world, with only 4 rooms!
Punta Grande hotel is situated right on the water in the village of Las Puntas, in the northeastern corner of Valle del Golfo, close proximity to Roques de Salmor Integral Reserve, making it the perfect place to relax and take in the stunning scenery.
Pico de Malpaso
If you are looking for breathtaking views and an amazing hiking experience, Pico de Malpaso is one of the best places in El Hierro. Located in the middle of the island on the volcanic ridge between the municipalities of El Pinar and Frontera.
Pico de Malpaso is the highest point of El Hierro and offers a stunning panorama of the island and its coastline, and (if you're lucky) other Canary Islands such as La Palma and Tenerife.
The best thing about this mountain is that apart from hiking, you can also hike up to the very top! Great, right? Perfect for enjoying the sunsets of El Hierro.
But of course it's more fun to hike to the top. Make your way up the landscape of lava flows and volcanic ash, through lush forests until you reach the summit where you will be treated to stunning views.
If you're lucky, you might even spot some of the island's endemic wildlife, including lizards and birds. Whether you choose to go on a fun hike or simply drive up, Pico de Malpaso is a must-see in El Hierro.
Playa de las Arenas Blancas
Playa de las Arenas Blancas is best known for being the only yellow sand beach on the island of El Hierro. It's a beautiful spot that's perfect for a day of relaxation, swimming, and picnicking.
The views from the shore are stunning, the contrast of the black rock with the white sand and blue ocean is beautiful. However, swimming can be tricky here because of the strong waves and the rocks in the water.
Nevertheless, it's definitely one of the best places to visit on El Hierro!
Discover Mencáfete Integral Nature Reserve
El Hierro is known for its breathtaking landscapes and its mysterious forest. The Mencáfete Integral Nature Reserve is one of the best places to visit in El Hierro.
This enchanted forest is full of greenery and endemic species. The two steep trails that run through the reserve are perfect for exploring this fascinating place.
You can hear the sound of the sea on one side and the birds on the other as you hike through the beautiful flora. Make sure to stop by Mencáfete Spring to see the water emanating from the rock. This is a truly magical place that you won't want to miss!
Visit Campanario de Joapira
One of the best places to visit on the island is Campanario de Joapira, a beautiful church located above the red volcano Montaña Joapira just behind Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria near La Frontera in the El Golfo Valley.
The best part of Campanario de Joapira is its bell tower, perfectly placed so that the bells can be heard across the bay, as well as its stunning backdrop, a small church at the top of red mountain backed by huge cliffs on one side and a wonderful view of the entire El Golfo valley and the Atlantic ocean on the other side.
Campanario de Joapira and its bell tower is a popular tourist attraction on the island of El Hierro and is therefore worth climbing, although the steps are quite steep.
Fly above El Hierro
Looking for something truly unique to do during your stay in El Hierro?
Then look no further than a tandem flight with Fly El Hierro! Led by certified tandem instructor and competition pilot Ondrej Prochazka, you'll be in safe hands as you soar through the clouds and take in the stunning landscapes below.
With years of experience under his belt, Ondrej is passionate about sharing his love of flying with others, and what better way to do that than with a tandem flight?
There are a few different flight options to choose from, but we recommend going for the long flight so that you can really take your time and enjoy the experience. Trust us, it's an unforgettable activity that should definitely be on your list of best things to do in El Hierro!
Read also: Top Attractions & Things to do in Fuerteventura, Canary Islands
Attractions and things to Do in the El Pinar municipality of El Hierro Island
El Pinar del Hierro is the smallest municipality in El Hierro, which was only established a few years ago - in 2007. It is located in the south of the island and is immersed in an environment of rare beauty, surrounded by lush pine trees.
Its slopes have rugged volcanic ravines that give you an impression of the power of the volcano. El Pinar del Hierro villages such as Taibique or Las Casas are located in a spectacular landscape of meadows and small gardens with figs, pineapples and almonds.
While the small fishing village of La Restinga fascinates with the underwater world.
Diving in La Restinga, El Hierro
El Hierro is a diver's paradise, and diving in La Restinga is one of the best things to do in El Hierro. The La Restinga Marine Reserve has placed El Hierro on all the maps of diving lovers. Its volcanic bottoms, its flora, fauna and favorable currents have turned it into a paradise where to dive.
The crystal clear waters allow you to dive into a beautiful underwater landscape full of caves, tunnels, large waterfalls, and even mountains. The water clarity and temperature ( between 18ºC to 25ºC ) are perfect for diving, and the visibility is amazing, at least 40 meters. Wow! You can reach depths of up to 300 meters just a few meters off the coast, thanks to the short insular shelf.
Among the species that can be seen in these waters of the Atlantic Ocean are Parrotfish, Black and Yellow Corals, Sponges, Seahorses, Shrimp, Tuna, Octopus, Sting rays, Flatfish, Lobsters, and with good luck, the majestic Sand Tiger Sharks, Whale Sharks, Turtles and Dolphins, and much more.
La Restinga Marine Reserve is perfect for both experts and beginners. Here you will find diving schools and instructors, diving tours, as well as renting everything you need for diving. If you're looking for a great place to go diving, La Restinga is the perfect place for you.
So, prepare your neoprene suit, fins, oxygen bottle and mask to dive into one of the best seabeds on the planet.
A peculiar viewpoint made of El Hierro forest pines on a layer of asphalt, which in turn serves as a large parking lot. From the viewpoint you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of El Pinar, the last of the municipalities born in the Canary Islands, villages, green forests and the famous marine reserve of calm waters - Mar de las Calmas.
Visit El Julan Cultural Park
When visiting El Hierro, you should spend time visiting the El Julan Cultural Park, which will be a delightful walk through both nature and history.
You will find there a background of knowing how the island was created. You will discover the life and character of the first people on this island. You will see The Bimbaches petroglyphs.
A visit to the park is divided into two parts: a visit to the Visitor Center and a guided tour to the archaeological sites. But in order not to be left behind, be sure to book your visit at least a day in advance. A great place that both children and adults will like.
Stargazing at the Orchilla Lighthouse
Orchilla Lighthouse, located in the west of El Hierro Island, is accessible by car, although the road can be narrow and intimidating for some. The lighthouse itself is closed and cannot be visited, but it is a unique place for watching sunsets and best of all, stargazing (thanks to its low light pollution).
In Orchilla, in the early hours of November evenings, looking east, with the sea behind you and the lighthouse on your left, you can see a constellation that announces the end of autumn. This is the Taurus, with its characteristic head shape and long parallel horns. In this head, composed of a letter V made of stars, one shines more than the others.
It is Aldebaran, an Arabic name that means "the one that follows", in reference to the fact that it seems to follow the cluster of stars of the Pleiades in their path in the sky. And this cluster looks like a small comet to the naked eye, but it shows itself bright with prismatic lenses or a wide-field telescope.
Cueva Volcánica de Orchilla
A few meters from Orchilla Lighthouse is the entrance to the volcanic tube, a hole in the ground with stone steps. This volcanic tube is about 400 meters long, which you can walk all the way until you reach a window overlooking the ocean.
These types of tubes form when the surface of the lava cools but the lava continues to flow beneath the crust until it drains and leaves these oddly shaped holes. Part of the tube roof with large amounts of solidified lava droplets forming the well-known lava stalactites.
Cueva Volcánica de Orchilla is definitely worth a visit, but be careful, the volcanic tubes are dark and rough and sometimes narrow, so it's important to have a flashlight, a helmet, and proper footwear.
Meridiano Zero Monument
Did you know that, from the 17th century until 1885, the Zero Meridian passed through El Hierro? Yes... Before it was moved to its current location, at the Greenwich Observatory, this determining imaginary line, widely used in air and sea navigation, map making, meteorology, time zones and territorial limitation, was established very close to the Orchilla Lighthouse .
Being precise, the Zero Meridian passed, exactly, through Punta Orchilla , the westernmost geographical point of Spain and where, to this day, the monument that was erected in his honor is located .
A simple tribute of extremely high symbolic value, that can not be missed!
Hoya del Morcillo
Near the village of Taibique is La Hoya del Morcillo, the only recreational forest area on the island with a camping and recreation area. Set in the heart of a pine forest, this park has barbecue areas, picnic areas, bathrooms and a children's play area - the perfect place for a family day out.
Volcanological Interpretation Center
If you're looking for an unforgettable experience, look no further than the Volcanological Interpretation Centre on the island of El Hierro. This center provides an overview of Canarian volcanism and the volcanoes of El Hierro, using optical and sonic effects to recreate the 2011 volcanic eruption that occurred underwater near La Restinga.
Visitors can learn about how a volcanic island is formed and explore the fascinating landscape through interactive exhibits. Whether you're a fan of geology or simply looking for an exciting day out, the Volcanological Interpretation Center is one of the best places to visit in El Hierro.
Visit La Restinga
This small fishing town has become a world benchmark for diving. For this reason it is one of the most visited places in El Hierro, offering everything you need for an excellent vacation.
Its beach , the fishing port , a promenade to walk along the coast or a wide variety of restaurants with the smell of fresh fish are some of its attractions. As a curiosity, the town of La Restinga is the southernmost populated place in all of Europe.
La Restinga Beach
About 50 meters of black volcanic sand from the beach of La Restinga. This cove is ideal for families with young children, as it is protected by the nearby port. Likewise, the entire southern coast of El Hierro is sheltered from sea currents and trade winds, which is why the south side of the ocean is called Mar de Las Calmas.
During your visit, do not forget your tube and goggles to snorkel in its crystal clear waters and find the different types of fish that come to its coast.
Tagoro volcano in El Hierro
In 2011 La Restinga was the protagonist of the volcanic eruption in the Canary Islands . This phenomenon that lasted for 6 months took place on its seabed about 5 kilometers from the coast. The Tagoro volcano is born from this process, a submerged volcanic cone 312 meters high that is less than 100 meters from the surface. You can learn more about Tagoro Volcano by visiting the Geopark's Volcanological Interpretation Center.
Playa de Tacorón
Another impressive place on this wonderful island located in El Pinar del Hierro municipality. Playa de Tacorón - a great beach area with calm water that is very wide. There are many entry points into the water via ladders, as well as sections of sand and rocks that allow swimming access. These natural pools are ideal for snorkeling and enjoying the variety of fish, because it is located in Mar de las Calmas area - a well-known marine reserve.
The surroundings are spectacular with large volcanic rocks in the background.
The place is well prepared, with picnic areas and lifeguards. At Tacorón Restaurant, located by the parking lot, you can enjoy freshly prepared fish, limpets or crispy potatoes while enjoying the view.
It would be a sin not to mention the stunning sunsets you can watch while at Playa de Tacorón. Playa de Tacorón is just a few minutes from the small fishing village of La Restinga and worth a visit while in El Hierro.
Read also: Top Attractions & things to do in Lanzarote, Canary Islands
How to get to El Hierro, Canary Islandphoto source: Freepik
To get to the island of El Hierro is not complicated.
The small island has an airport that was opened in 1972 – Aeropuerto de El Hierro (VDE) that is located about 9 km northeast of Valverde.
It connects the island with the other Canary Islands and hosts only domestic flights mainly with Tenerife, and Gran Canaria. The flight takes about 40-50 minutes, depending from which Canary island you fly.
From the airport you can easily reach the capital of the island by bus or taxi.
You can also opt for a ferry from the port of Los Cristianos, from Tenerife and from La Gomera. They have regular departures to El Hierro. The boat ride could take around 2-3 hours, during which you can watch dolphins.
Read also: Top Attractions & Things to do in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands
And finally... If you’re looking for a breathtaking getaway that still offers plenty of activities and attractions, look no further than El Hierro. This stunning Canary Island is perfect for travelers who want to experience everything from lush green landscapes to active volcanoes.
With so much to see and do, we hope this list has helped you to plan your perfect holidays. And don’t forget, if you need any help booking flights or accommodations, our team is here to assist you.