How to get to El Hierro? – Flights and Ferries
Due to the fact that El Hierro does not have an international airport, it is necessary to come either by ferry from Tenerife or with a propeller aircraft from Gran Canaria or also from Tenerife. The connections are in such a way that it takes at least one day travelling to El Hierro. The journey can be quite complicated.
In my opinion, the whole effort is not worthwhile for a week’s holiday. It should be at least 10 days, more like two weeks or more, because in my opinion the effort is hardly worthwhile otherwise.
Travel time to El Hierro
In principle, the calculation is simple. The flight from the main land of Europe to the Canary Islands takes 4 – 6 hours. In addition, you have to be at the airport about 2 hours in advance, plus arrival and waiting for the luggage to go on. Transfer on Gran Canaria or Tenerife takes another 2 hours. The ferry to El Hierro takes 2.5 hours, the plane only 40 minutes and then all the way to La Restinga. It’ll take another hour. This means that you can arrive in over 12 hours if everything fits exactly. But it rarely does. Nevertheless, it is possible to depart and arrive on the same day. And if not, you can spend a day in Tenerife or Gran Canaria.
The 3 possible routes
- Origin Airport -> Airport Gran Canaria -> Airport El Hierro
- Origin Airport -> Airport Tenerife South -> Airport Tenerife North -> Airport El Hierro
- Origin Airport -> Airport Tenerife Sud -> Port of Los Cristianos -> Port of El Hierro
The easiest way to get to El Hierro
From my point of view, the easiest way to fly is by plane via Gran Canaria to El Hierro. From El Hierro airport you can be picked up by your dive centre, take a taxi or bus to your accommodation.
Travelling by plane
There are several ways to get to El Hierro by plane. With only one stopover you can fly via Tenerife or Gran Canaria. If you fly via La Palma, Lanzarote or Fuerteventura, you will have to change plane again in Tenerife North.
Getting to El Hierro via Gran Canaria
The simplest solution is to fly from Gran Canaria airport to El Hierro, as you can change flights directly at the same airport. It’s the least stressful thing to do. You should, however, allow some time for this, as the luggage may have to be checked in again.
Travelling to El Hierro via Tenerife
There is a small problem with the flight via Tenerife. You have to drive from the airport south, to the airport north, which can take some time. In addition, the direct buses run very irregularly. There is also the possibility to take the bus via Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which costs extra time. The official bus timetable for Tenerife can be found on the website of TITSA*.
With Binter* and CanaryFly* there are only two airlines offering flights to El Hierro. However, it is usually cheaper to book the flight directly together with your main flight. For example, you can find cheap connections at SkyScanner*.
VDE for the airport of El Hierro
TFS for Tenerife South
TFN for Tenerife North
LPA for Gran Canaria.
Travelling by ferry from Tenerife to El Hierro
Apart from flying, there is the possibility to travel by ferry to El Hierro. It leaves from the port of Los Cristianos. Currently (January 2018) only Armas* offers a connection between the two islands. Except for Saturdays, the trip takes place once a day and lasts about 2.5 hours. On Wednesdays the ferry even runs twice. Arrival at the port of El Hierro is usually around 20:00 or 22:00. Then it will take at least another hour to get to La Restinga.
With Directferries* you can book your trip easily.
Please note that you have to take the bus from Tenerife South Airport to the port of Los Cristianos. Bus 111 runs regularly and takes only 20 minutes.
How do I get to my accommodation?
First of all, as a diver you should contact the selected diving centre on El Hierro. Some of them offer a pick-up service for their guests.
Travelling by bus
Otherwise there is the possibility to continue by bus. However, bus travel times* do not match ferry times. Furthermore, on the way to La Restinga you would have to change buses twice, both from the port and from the airport.
A ticket costs 1,14€, a 15er card is available for 13€, whereby each change is valid as a new trip.
Travelling by taxi
The better choice is to take a taxi. You can reach the taxi companies by calling +34 922 551 175, +34 922 550 729 or +34 922 559 129. The kilometre costs about 50 euro cents. From the harbour and airport it is about 40 kilometres to La Restinga, which costs about 20 € and is the longest distance you can travel to your accommodation. If you share a taxi you can save some money here.
There is also the possibility to book a private transfer* between the airport and the hotel. That way you are on the safe side from the very beginning.
Travelling by rental car
Whether you travelled by ferry or plane, you can rent a car at the port and airport of El Hierro. At least for people who want to explore the island this makes sense. But if you are planning a pure scuba diving holiday, you are better advised to choose one of the other possibilities.
Arrival by rental car from Tenerife
Last but not least, there is the possibility to rent a car directly from the airport in Tenerife and take the ferry to El Hierro. The same applies as in the point above. It should be remembered that the ferry trip is more expensive with a car.