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10 Things to Do in El Hierro

These are some of the best plans to make in El Hierro, for lovers of the sea, mountains, culture or gastronomy

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In order to discover the local gastronomy and the raw material of km 0 you have to sit at the table in a “bimbachinche” (something like the traditional food house of the island, whose name comes from “bimbache”, the first inhabitants of El Hierro). The menu would be a faithful reflection of the natural environment and of a rural society nourished by the resources of the land and the sea. This is because El Hierro is characterized by a simple traditional cuisine, with fresh and local products, influenced by other cultures: fried, stewed or grilled fresh fish; Spanish wrinkled potatoes with mojo; its famous handmade cheeses, a legacy of the local pastoral culture; blanched gofio (ground and roasted cereal); old clothes; sancocho (stew); rabbit in salmorejo; watercress stew; roast goat; puchero... are just some of the emblematic dishes of the area that must be tasted with the company of wines with character, which since 1994 have had their own El Hierro Denomination of Origin. 

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Since we are discussing food, no one can leave El Hierro without tasting its most precious sweets. We’re talking about the quesadilla. This is a little pastry whose main ingredient is El Hierro cheese, to which lemon, cinnamon, sugar and aniseed are added. It is made according to recipes with a few variations in the different artisan workshops on the island. 

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A fantastic way to travel through time. Built on an aboriginal settlement where there have been found some vestiges of the dwellings of the first inhabitants of El Hierro, as well as of the colonisers, a visit to this Ecomuseum allows one to enter into the daily life of these communities throughout the centuries, discovering their social structure and the archaeological remains that have been found in the area. This is an ideal leisure activity for the family, which can also culminate in a visit to the adjacent El Hierro Giant Lizard Recovery Center, a symbol of the island that has been saved from extinction thanks to the work of this center. Here you can better get to know these fabulous reptiles and see them up close. 

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In order to admire the charms and contrasts of the island from above and appreciate its more rugged nature, its diverse landscapes and dizzying, rocky coastline, there are several viewpoints to choose from. They are natural windows to the most spectacular landscapes and each one is worth a visit: while the one in El Golfo offers a spectacular view of the valley and the cloud cover caused by the trade winds, the one in Isora offers an impressive perspective of the Las Playas depression with its imposing cliffs. On the other hand, the Bascos Valley allows us to appreciate, in addition to the magnitude of the El Golfo valley, the imposing mass of the Tanganasoga volcano and, if climatic conditions allow, the profile of the neighboring island of La Palma in the horizon. 

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El Hierro, like all the islands of the Canary archipelago, is subject to the constant influence of the trade winds, one of the factors responsible for the exceptional climate of the Canary Islands. These winds blow with greater intensity in specific areas, creating phenomena as peculiar as the one that occurs in El Sabinar de La Dehesa, where the beautiful junipers twist at the insistence of the wind, as if trunks and branches are trying to anchor themselves to the ground to survive. The best witnesses of the local climate and the adaptation of nature to the environment. This results in a spectacular landscape in which you will be able to take splendid photos. 

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Tamaduste, Charco Azul or La Maceta are just some of the natural pools hidden in El Hierro, an island characterized by rocky coasts and few sandy beaches. These are wonderful places to take a refreshing dip in a naturally magical environment and with the tranquility of being protected from the waves

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The coast of La Restinga has an impressive Marine Reserve. Diving fans, who have several diving centers at their disposal here, will be able to enjoy the depths forged by successive volcanic eruptions over centuries, which have left vertigo verges, caves, tunnels and drops. A varied fauna live in these clean and pollution-free waters, so it will be easy to find a multitude of species, many of them endemic. 

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El Hierro surprises one with its diversity of landscapes at a short distance: lava fields and volcanoes where only silence can be heard, nearly desert spaces, forests of Canary Island pines, green meadows, vineyards and plantations of other crops such as pineapples, cliffs where the sea beats strongly and erodes the volcanic rock, creating capricious forms... These areas have perfectly marked paths so that you can walk around the island safely, as well as delight in unbeatable views of the island’s charms. During a trek, botany and geology lovers will also be able to appreciate the natural richness of this territory, which has been declared a Biosphere Reserve and Geopark. 

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The small fishing port of La Restinga, located in the south of the island, is particularly lively and full of charm. The arrival of fishermen is a unique experience in order to discover the routines of an ancient and completely artisan trade.  When the fishing is important, such as for tuna, after removing the pieces one by one, the Guardia Civil intervenes to scrupulously count the catches and thus respect the annual quotas. Likewise, at the Fishermen’s Guild located in the same port, you can buy fresh fish such as the “peto”, “vieja” or shrimp. Yum! 

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One curious experience is to enter, as if you were a speleology apprentice, one of the lava tubes concealed by El Hierro. Formed within lava flows, one of the best known is the Guinea Tunnel, approximately 90 metres long, which is open to tourist visits. The tour is always accompanied by a guide who explains the curiosities and history of these natural spaces, which constitute an impressive setting.