Canary Islands walking holiday, El Hierro
Description of Canary Islands walking holiday, El Hierro
With no giant hotels and untouched by mass tourism, El Hierro is the least known of the Canary Islands and the destination for this eight-day self guided walking holiday. Although small, the island has a rich variety of landscapes and this walking holiday explores them all on foot, seeking out the best views and points of hisotircal and cultural interest along the way.
Like its neighbouring islands, El Hierro was formed by vulcanicity and old lava flows and cones of ash are features of this island, although there hasn’t been an eruption here since the 18th century. El Hierro’s central plateau has volcanic scenery, but also lush farmland and Canarian pine forests, while in the north, the lowland of El Gofo is where grapes, pineapples and bananas are grown. It is backed by an escarpment that reaches up to 1500m high and is a wonderful place to walk. With diverse scenery and sites, no two days of walking are the same.
This is a self guided walking holiday, but we provide detailed walking notes and an in depth walking map. You’ll need a good level of fitness to enjoy the walking here. Paths are marked, but can be rocky or loose underfoot and some are very steep, as they head up or descend escarpments. The paths are well constructed, though, so you won’t find any exposed vertiginous sections.
This holiday starts in the small town and capital of Valverde on the central plateau, then winds down to El Golfo and up again, then over to the west of the island before crossing the plateau again. It then descends and the walking ends by the east coast. Luggage is transported from hotel to hotel so you a free to walk with only a day pack. For some of the walks, you’ll also be transported to or from the start or end.
El Hierro has a small population of just 10,000 people and is relatively isolated, so it’s very different in feel to the other Canary Islands. Herrenõs are extremely proud of their island and generally against mass tourism, but they do welcome walkers, naturalists and divers who love and respect the environment. Most people here are Spanish, but most hotel and restaurant staff can speak a little English.
PlanetWe arrange for our clients to take the ferry from their arrival point in the Canaries of Tenerife over to El Hierro. This drastically lowers the carbon footprint compared to taking another flight in order to make the journey. It also enables the clients to have a peaceful and scenic journey with a unique view of the Canary Islands.
With no natural beaches on the island the paths and beautiful scenery which people walk past are its greatest commodity for tourism. It is therefore extremely important that the paths are preserved in their best condition for all walkers to enjoy. We advise all of our clients to stay to the marked paths. This is to maintain the environment as they pass so that it remains pristine for walkers using the pathways in the future. We also advise that they take all of their rubbish with them until the end of the day and dispose or recycle it as is appropriate.
PeopleOn El Hierro there is no mass tourism and this has left it to be the most peaceful of the Canary Islands. Tourism is though what adds economic vibrancy to the island. These come primarily in the form of walkers coming to enjoy the fantastic paths that the island has to offer. Most of the hotels we use on El Hierro are small and family run enabling these establishments to continue into the future. They are the establishments which are most in need of the tourism income and their ability to continue their success is important to how the island works.
Eco-tourism is also important for the island in terms of its transport links. The island is heavily dependent on ferries which come from Tenerife in order to bring not just goods for the El Hierro but also tourists. In Spring 2013 these ferries had been put in doubt but happily these are now running regularly helping the community to have competitive prices and to bring in the many tourists which use the service to enjoy the fantastic walking island of El Hierro.