The small-big reserve
El Hierro belongs to the Canary Islands
. It is located in the south-western part of Europe
, being thus the most distant island from Africa
. Up to the discovery of America in 1492, El Hierro
was considered to be the "finis terre".
El Hierro's 278 Km2 of area offer
a wide diversity of landscape: from the arid and
volcanic formations of the south and west, to the
fertile lands of the Meseta de Nisdafe, and the plantations
and vineyards of Valle del Golfo, without forgetting
the dense pinewoods and the laurisilva of Camino
de Jinama or Camino de Sabinosa.
El Hierro rises from the sea level
to its highest point, the Malpaso peak, with 1500
meters of altitude.
How to get to El Hierro?
The only way to arrive to El Hierro
is from other islands of the archipelago. You can
get to this island by plane or by ship from Tenerife
, Gran Canaria or La Gomera, and only by plane from
La Palma .
Apart from the main road, which connects
all the villages of the island, there is an insular
road network, composed of secondary and forest roads,
which lead to the coast or to the forests, where
you can walk among varied plant species. Some tourists
prefer to forget about driving and they choose the
kind service of the taxi drivers, public transport
(the so-called "guaguas"), or to design their own
routes to accomplish them on foot or riding a bicycle.
Whatever is the way you choose, we
suggest you to come to La Dehesa, the last redoubt
where you can feel the most absolute freedom and
a complete peacefulness in contact with nature.
El Hierro can be regarded as a small
continent; a geographic miniature where numerous
ecosystems, developed from the most fecund manifestations
of flora and fauna on a peculiar geologic structure,
This natural richness has been one
of the main reasons for the historical settlements
on El Hierro. In the middle of the island, far from
the sea, were founded La Albarrada and Las Montañetas
during the 15th and 17th centuries, being nowadays
part of the island's historical-paleontological and
ethnographic heritages, respectively.
The Valle del Golfo was lately inhabited,
when people from the inner island founded small temporary
villages there. The only way to get to these villages
was, up to the 1960's, walking through the historical
bridle paths of Jinama or La Peña, and along
the heights, following the Camino del Monte, on beasts,
an activity known as "las mudadas" (the removals).
Culture, traditional fiestas
El Hierro can pride itself of possessing
a great richness of inherited historical and cultural
traditions, which have survived despite the passing
The ancient folkloric rhythms, characterised
by their monotonous melodies and the accompaniment
of big drums, whistles and "chácaras" (big
castanets), survive from the pre-Hispanic times.
These peculiar rhythms take part in the religious
events of the island, being the most important the
Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes. This image, the
patroness of the shepherds and of the inhabitants
of the island, is taken from its hermit, located
at La Dehesa, to Valverde, the capital of El Hierro,
every 4 years. This devote tradition was founded
in 1741, and it has been preserved to present-day,
faithful to its original vow.
The validity of certain activities,
such as handicraft, or the fiestas with ethnographic
importance, such as San Simón or La Cruz,
the fair of La Apañada, etc, are the consequence
of the deep-rooted influence of the natural environment
on the inhabitants of El Hierro, which almost forced
them into self-supplying, producing their own tools
in order to survive.
The last tourist alternative
During the most recent years, El Hierro
has become an unsurpassable destination for the practise
of nature sports. Its sea beds, especially those
surrounding the Marine Reserve located in the Mar
de las Calmas, are rich in fauna. La Restinga offers
an infrastructure that will satisfy the most exigent
diver. Every year, the most reputable open of submarine
photography of Spain takes place here.
Paragliding is practised in the natural
wall of Valle del Golfo. This sport attracts an important
stream of visitors who love nature and who are committed
in its preservation and the spreading of its charm
Trekking is practised along lots of
traditional paths which connect the villages. The
inhabitants of El Hierro have walked along these
paved trails up to recent years, in order to achieve
their farm works or to alternate their homes, depending
on the seasons of the year. The TOURMAC Project seeks
to recover, signpost and offer these traditional
trails and paths for the use and enjoyment of both
the inhabitants of El Hierro and its visitors.
It is also possible to practise comfortably
mountain biking along forest trails and allowed places.
The transit along the tidy and welcoming
forests or the enjoyment of the volcanic beaches
and creeks, almost always lonely, will bring the
visitor an unsurpassable sensation of calmness.
El Hierro possesses its own identity.
It is a small island which seeks to become a referent
of harmonic and balanced development, both respectful
with its history and hopeful about its future.
Catalogued as a Biosphere Reserve, this fragment
of the Canary Islands is a heritage of its inhabitants
and of all those who believe in the confluence
of a generous nature with the respect of traditions
and peace, searching welfare and happiness. El
Hierro is, in short, the small-big reserve.