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El Hierro

Impassable cliff-lined shores and a far-flung Atlantic location make the Unesco Geopark island of El Hierro remote in every sense – which is exactly what is so alluring about the Canaries' second-smallest isle. El Hierro was even considered the end of the world until Columbus sailed off to the Americas from here in 1492.

It’s impossible not to be entranced by the island’s slow pace and simple soulfulness; by its craggy coast, where waves hurl themselves against lava-sculpted rock and shimmering natural pools; by the eerily beautiful juniper groves and serene pine forests; by the peaceful walking trails and flower meadows; and by the volcanic southern moonscapes. Then there's the protected Mar de las Calmas, off the south coast, with its ethereal underwater wonders.

Several worlds away from the rest of the Canarian archipelago, El Hierro is entirely unique – so much so that it's planning to become the globe's first energy-self-sufficient island.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout El Hierro.

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Best in Travel 2021: El Hierro