Introducing El Hierro
El Hierro is an island where the stark volcanic landscape, impenetrable cliff-lined shores and location in the middle of the Atlantic make it both literally and figuratively remote. It’s the westernmost island of the peninsula, and was considered the end of the world until Columbus famously sailed the ocean blue in 1492. It remained the Meridiano Cero (Meridian Zone) until replaced by the Greenwich version in 1884.
Although this small, boomerang-shaped island is now connected to the rest of the planet via air, ferry and TV, it will always feel remote. Of course, that’s exactly what is so addictive about this place. It’s impossible not to be captured by the island’s slow pace and simple style; by its craggy coast, where waves hurl themselves against lava-sculpted rock faces; by the eerily beautiful juniper groves, where trees twisted and tortured by ceaseless winds stand posed like dancers; by the desolate, yet alluring volcanic badlands that stretch out like moonscapes. The smallest and least-known of the Canary Islands, El Hierro is unique –so much so that it was declared a Unesco biosphere reserve.
Those who come to El Hierro want to escape the crowds (the biggest town has less than 2000 residents), get away from traffic (the island’s first traffic light, which controls entry into a one-lane tunnel, was put up in 2005) and rest in the silence of the island’s natural spaces.
Around 12% of El Hierro is cultivated land (representing about 3000 sq metres per person). Top crops are figs, almonds, vines, pineapples, mangoes, bananas and potatoes.