NATURE OF EL HIERRO
One of the most amazing things about El Hierro is certainly it’s nature. On the quite small area (478km2) local inhabitants managed to preserve unique biosystem with volcanic formations, cliffs, clear water and rich forest with peculiar wind-twisted junipers. That’s why sometimes on the island it seems like you are literally making a trip into the times when ancient tribe Bimbache used to worship for the sacred El Garoe tree and draw their messages on mountainsides. No wonder that UNESCO designated to the island a status of Biosphere Reserve, about what you can find out more in the Interpretation Center of the Biosphere Reserve.
Frontera Rural Park
Frontera Rural Park is a broad land area on the southern half of the island with forests, arid areas and volcanic cones, where nature still co-exists with a human. A walk through the park is magical journey whenever you do hiking or just decided to explore the island. On your way you’ll enjoy variety of landscapes, picturesque views and pure air.
Note! that if you came around 24 of September then you may have a chance to take part in El Hierro traditional pilgrimage for the island's patron Virgen de los Reyes that partly goes through Frontera Park.
Hoya del Morcillo
As the area stretches up to 12,400 hectares, there are several entry points. We would probably recommend to start your route from the camping area in the pine forest just in the middle of El Hierro -
Hoya del Morcillo.
The Bimbaches made numerous petroglyphs in various parts of the island and they are still not deciphered.
El Julán is a rural place that will take you back to the ancient times. Basically, it’s a number of lava slopes where you can find the most extensive petroglyphs made by Bimbache tribes that used to live on El Hierro the Spanish conquest in 15 century.
Nuestra Señora de los Reyes
Despite this place is definitely not a natural object, you may find it interesting. It is a temple of El Hierro’s patron Virgen de los Reyes, figure of whom you’ll find inside. This figure was given to herreños in 1546
by American ship that was saved by local shepherds.
Very close to El Julan you can see the remains of Tagoror that is considered to be a meeting place for Bimbache. If you want to know learn more about the way ancient inhabitant of the island lived - do not hesitate to visit the touristic centre Cultural Park El Julan.
This is a magical place where you’ll meet famous wind-twisted juniper trees. As you may know, these trees grow only in 3 places around the world and one of them is El Hierro. Peculiar form of these trees is nothing but their effort to fight with the wind.
Vast forest area that some people call 'enchanted'. Perfect place for walks as there is almost no-one there. Your path will go through juniper trees, hidden caves and maybe you will find Mencafete Spring. Along the path you will probably find cheirolophus duranii or 'cabezón herreño' which is a small purple flower in danger of extinction.
One tree will definitely grab your attention. 'Sabina de El Hierro’ is a true symbol of the island.
What else to do in Frontera Rural Park?
As the walking path comes to an end and the day goes closer to an evening, you’d probably feel a bit tired. Then, we would suggest either to take a break and bathe in natural swimming pool or enjoy, for example, the so-called ‘vieja’ dish (a parrot fish) with famous mojo sauce in one of the restaurants around.
El Garoe Tree
This is another place that has close connection to the history of Bimbache tribes that used to live on El Hierro in the ancient times.
El Garoe or Ocotea Foetens or El Hierro Rain Tree is a giant magic tree that is believed to supply with water all the ancient inhabitants of the island.
Leaves of this tree could collect the 'horizontal rain' or mist/low clouds. All that water absorbed fell into the ponds around the tree. As the island is surrounded by Ocean, waters of which are salty, there was always a big demand in a drinking water. And, as the legend says, this tree El Garoe was able to supply with water the whole island and even livestock of the tribe that was living there. That is why it became a sacred one.
Unfortunately, the original tree fell in a storm in 1610 and in 1957, the new one was planted in the same location and it is the one you can see there now.
Learn more about the sacred tree in the Garoe Interpretation Centre and if you have time, take a walk along the water route that helps tourists to learn the history of water on El Hierro.
Another natural wonder of El Hierro is certainly its seawater swimming pools, thanks to volcanoes. There you can bathe in the crystal clear water right from the Atlantic Ocean in peace and quite, because of being protected from the current and waves. Entrance is free. What's more, almost all swimming pools have specially made wooden area nearby for you to sunbathe afterwards, as well as showers and etc.
Place of swimming as well as diving spot. There are deep blue waters and a ladder that will help you to plunge into them accurately. This site is situated near the Mar de las Calmas, so there are no waves at all.
Another group of natural swimming pools in municipality of La Frontera. It has special area for sunbathing after swimming.
Charco Azul can be translated as blue pool. This blue pool is situated in La Frontera. It has very easy access and wooden area for sunbathing.
Not very big but spectacular and calm swimming pool with basaltic coast. Place of sunbathing and picnic nearby.
Pozo de las Calcosas
Several swimming pools that are situated in the village of El Mocanal. This village is basically a place for summer vacations since 17th century. Houses of the village are built just on the bottom of a cliff and originally they were made from volcanic rocks and rye.
There are several closed from open water swimming pools and also a possibility of swimming in open area, if the weather is calm and waves are not that big.
Also, do not miss the statue of Neptune near the pools. It was made in 2007 from recycled materials.
While originally in this area there are quite big waves coming from the ocean, 3 pools protect you from the open waters and allow you to watch waves from a far.
Probably, the most comfortable place to swim with children, as the bottom of swimming pools is not natural and therefore, smooth, not rocky. Also the depth is not that great.