Sights & Points of Interest on El Hierro – Museums & Natural Spectacles
To be honest, El Hierro has no superspectacular sights. At least not in the sense of Eiffel Tower, Cheop pyramid or Cologne Cathedral. However, there are a number of natural attractions, museums and exhibitions not to be missed. The best known sights are the juniper trees in the southwest of the island. The museums of El Hierro also have a wealth of information about the island’s origins, volcanism in general, traditional handicrafts and the indigenous peoples.
Juniper trees at El Sabinar
Basically everybody who has ever been to El Hierro knows them. Photos of juniper trees are omnipresent on flyers and billboards. They owe their shape to the constantly strong winds, which make it impossible for the trees to grow upright. The juniper trees are located in the very west of the island, directly on the HI-500, between the HI-503 exit and the Miradores Lomo Negro I and II. They are not locked, so you can gaze at them without admission!
Lava Cave at the Faro de Orchilla
This lava cave is located in the southwest of El Hierro, next to the Faro de Orchilla, an old lighthouse. It is about 300 meters long and has exits and entrances every now and then. There’s a surprise waiting at the end.
A trip to this remote place is highly recommended and will undoubtedly give you some adrenaline.
Roque de la Bonanza
The Roque de la Bonanza is a rock at the northern end of Las Playas. It juts out of the sea about 30 m from the coast. With its two windows it represents a popular photo motif.
The following sights are included in the El Hierro Passport.
Mirador de la Peña
The Mirador de la Peña is located a little bit west of Valverde. It is a restaurant designed by the Spanish artist Cesar Manrique. At an altitude of about 700m you have a perfect view over the El Golfo valley. Although this site is part of the El Hierro passport, there is no entrance fee. However, it is worth drinking a cup of coffee to let your gaze wander.
Centro Etnografico – Casa de las Quinteras
The Casa de las Quinteras is a small museum about traditional handicraft and lifestyle of recent history. Weaving mills, pottery and tools are exhibited. There is also a short video. It owes its name to a pair of sisters who lived in the house.
The house is located in Calle Armas Martell in Valverde.
Opening hours: Mon – Sat 9:00 to 15:00 o’ clock
Centro de Interpretacion de la Reserva de la Biosfera
El Hierro has been a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve since 22 January 2000. Nearly 60% of the island is protected nature reserves. That’s more than any other Canary Island. You can find out why this is important and how it is compared to the other Canary Islands during a visit.
The museum was housed in an old casino, directly on the main street of Isora.
Opening hours: Tue – Sun 9:00 to 14:00 and 17:00 to 20:00 o’ clock
Centro de Interpretacion Vulcanologica
The name suggests it is about volcanoes. In the museum you can find out everything that has to do with volcanoes. The latest technology was used. You can interactively play with beamers to get the necessary information. In addition, a separate room was dedicated to the last volcanic eruption in 2011. For me, the visit here was the highlight among the sights of El Hierro passport.
To see directly how varied the forms of a volcanic eruption can be, the museum was built in a lava field at HI-4, between El Pinar and La Restinga.
Opening hours: Tue – Sun 10:00 to 18:00 o’ clock
Centro de Interpretacion El Julan
Rather remote, between El Pinar and Faro de Orchilla, is the museum about the aborigines of El Hierro. Nearby is Grabados de El Julan, the island’s most important archaeological site. Entrance for the Graves is not included in the El Hierro passport.
The finds are interpreted in the museum itself. Various rock paintings, writings and connections with the other Canary Islands are explained.
Opening hours: 10:00 to 18:00 o’ clock
Centro de Interpretacion Geologica y del Geoparque
This is a museum dedicated to the geology and origins of the Canary Islands. The various volcanic activities and rock formations are explained.
It can be found in the centre of El Pinar.
Opening hours: Tue – Sun 10:00 to 18:00 o’ clock
Lagartario, Ecomuseo de Guinea y Tubo Vulcanico
There are three places of interest. On the one hand the Lagartorio, an exhibition about the rare giant lizard of El Hierro, including breeding station. On the other hand the Ecomuseo. A circular trail leads through a settlement that illuminates the life of the island’s inhabitants over the centuries. You also get a guided tour through a volcanic tunnel. However, I found the cave at the Faro de Orchilla more exciting! You should also make sure to book in advance, as all three attractions belong to one tour and only limited places are available.
The sacred tree and perhaps the last of its kind on El Hierro. This is a Stinkwood (Ocotea foetens). The species is also endemic to the Canary Islands. The stinkwood is so important because it catches a lot of water from the passing clouds. The Santo Garoe is located at the end of HI-103, near San Andres. It is a partially asphalted road. I can only recommend to park the car at the beginning of the road and walk the rest of the way. Not because the road is in a bad condition, but because you can enjoy the different landscapes better.
Opening hours: daily 10:00 to 19:00 o’ clock