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The Meridian Island

Portray of the Destination
This is the smallest south-western island of the Canary Archipelago, cradle of the most diverse landscapes and the finest Spanish language. El Hierro amazes the tourists not only for its natural beauty but also for the archaeological areas, the marvelous folklore, the variety of singular crafts and an exquisite gastronomy.

Soon after travelling 107 sq. miles the astonished visitor will discover a continuous contrast of the most diverse landscapes full of solidified lava flows, volcanic cones, green pine woods, soft grasslands or authentic Laurisilva forests mixed with rocky coasts of colossal cliffs drowning into crystal clear blue waters full of life. In this island you can enjoy a true experience with nature, going through the paths, walking or cycling, paragliding over the valleys, or exploring the volcanic caves to enjoy a new way of speleology.

In El Hierro you will meet the most wonderful seabed with crystal clear waters disclosing an incredible volcanic sight with hundreds of subtropical species. In addition, the island’s attractions include Guinea and the Recovery Centre of the Giant Lizard, an endemic stocky reptile classified as a critically endangered species.

We would like to thank the "Excelentísimo Cabildo Insular de El Hierro" for the images provided.

Geography
The coasts of El Hierro are rocky and steep with inaccessible cliffs of 3.280 feet of altitude and with some coves and natural pools apt for a refreshing bath. In the Nisdafe Plateau there are fields and meadows whereas in the Pine Grove the fig and almond trees dominate the scene. There is also a great variety of endemic vegetables, typical of the archipelago or exclusive of this island.

The Laurisilva forests are abundant in the upper areas of the island. These forests, full of different types of laurel, bracken and moss, enclose traces of the predominating forests of the beginning of civilization. El Fayal is an area full of Holm oaks and beeches whereas the eucalyptus is a typical example of the manmade flora. The large conifer forests are said to be the most wonderful and spectacular of the whole archipelago. The Canary Pine is a straight, undemanding and fireproof tree. The western area of the island is full of “sabinas” (Juniperus turbinata). They are twisted trees that have been moulded for centuries by the violent winds and the climatic conditions of the area.

Among birds, we have the amiable Canary (Serinus canarius canarius), which is a yellow-green, small though marvellous songbird. In the coast we can still appreciate a few mates of Ospreys and also, a great variety of seagulls. The diverse arthropods catch the attention of many biologists captivated by the butterflies, coleopterans and endless species of spiders. The black widow spider is the only poisonous animal of the Island. It is a rare small spider living under rocks that do not produce cobweb and has a sting that could cause serious injuries to the vegetative nervous system. Undoubtedly, the most famous species of the area is the Giant Lizard of El Hierro that reached a size of 5 feet.

Climate
The interaction of the ocean currents from the Saharan and the Trade Winds determines the climate of the island making it steadily gentle. The average temperature of the coast ranges from 19ºC to 23ºC (66.2ºF - 73.4ºF) and there are moderate and strong winds. The solar variation is rather unstable regarding its intensity and frequency during the year. It is advisable to be extremely cautious with sunstrokes since the fresh breezes cover up the sun heat making it difficult to be aware of the radiation received. Nights tend to be cloudless offering one of the most brilliant and clear skies of the world that will amaze romantics and astronomers alike.

When to go
Considering the diverse tourist offer, the different cultural and natural activities, the endless festivities and its everlasting spring, the island of El Hierro is a full year destination.

History
The origin of the name “El Hierro” (The Iron) is a mystery though it could have been a derivation of the ancient language that named the island “hero” or “esero”. What we know for certain is that the name of the city has nothing to do with the metal, absent on this island.

In the 2nd Century A.D., Ptolemy considered as “Prime Meridian” the western end of the island, that is “the end of the ancient world”. This theory remained untouchable until the 19th Century when it was replaced by the Greenwich Meridian.

The original inhabitants of the Islands were the Bimbaches or Bimbapes, native of the African continent. It was a peaceful community with a complex social structure regardless their lack of metals and contact with other surrounding cultures. They lived in caves or in humble places built with dry stones. They were in balance with the insular environment from which they obtained enough resources as to survive (agriculture, grazing, hunting, fishing and harvest). The Bimbaches have left us numerous non-deciphered petroglyphs that can be appreciated all along the island. The larger ones are the Letreros of El Julán where you can also admire the rests of the ancient meeting spot called “Tagoror”. Several burials on caves, corpses and offerings such as utensils, primitive tools and some food have also been discovered.

El Hierro, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura were conquered by Jean de Bethencourt in the beginning of the 15th Century during the Norman Conquest of the Canary Archipelago. The Bimbaches could not resist the invasion and the island was soon colonized by countrymen from Europe that rapidly mixed with the local citizens. As a consequence of this a manor system was established on the area up to the 19th Century.

Traditions
All festivities bare an ancient tradition, thus preparations take a considerable time: The Bajada de la Virgen de los Reyes is the most important celebration of all. It is held every four years on the first Saturday of July. The next one will take place on 2009. In this procession the image of the Virgin is taken from its chapel up to the Village of Valverde (some 26 miles). A group of dancers with multicolour hats, “chácaras” (a sort of castanets), drums and whistles, the whole island and the most varied visitors join the Virgin and her red and white outfit. This celebration lasts almost one month in which the image of the Virgin visits the most important municipalities of the Island.

The rest of the festivities are scattered along the different towns throughout the year. Every local patron saint has its celebration including procession, dances, canary wrestling and diverse activities. The most important ones are: Fiesta de Los Pastores, La Dehesa (April 25th); La Cruz, El Pinar (May 3rd); San Isidro, Valverde (May 15th); La Apañada, San Andrés (June 1st); St. John, La Restinga and Las Puntas, La Frontera (June 14th); Virgin of El Carmen, La Restinga (July 16th); Candelaria, La Frontera (August 15th); La Paz, El Pinar (September 12th); Fiesta de los Faroles (The Fiesta of the Lamps), La Dehesa (September 23th); Los Reyes, La Dehesa (September 24th) and St. Simon, Sabinosa (October 28th).

Gastronomy
The cooking of the area is tasty and nutritious. Fish obviously takes the lead among the different dishes as well as stews such as “potaje” (a legume-based stew), “puchero” (meat stew) and “rancho con papas” (meat with potatoes). Fish can be fried, stewed or grilled. The typical garnish are the “papas arrugadas” (literally, wrinkled potatoes) boiled in salty water. The typical sauces are Mojo Rojo and Mojo Verde prepared with vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and spices. Rabbit and kids are also other important members of the gastronomy of the island.

The “gofio” toasted cornmeal is a food that has played a predominant role in the Canary gastronomy since ancient times. It can be mixed with milk, water, soup or wine until you get a mixture and it can also be roasted with fat and almonds. This gofio can be used to make breakfast, flavouring or deserts. It is also the basis of many sweets mixed with almonds and figs.

The famous quesadillas are a cheese-based dessert. The local cheese is produced in the central cheese dairy and it has become an important article for export as well as the wine produced by the wine company located in El Golfo. In the different cafés you can taste the high alcohol-content wine that still comes from the ancient wine presses.

Basic Dictionary
YES: si. NO: no. HELLO: hola. GOOD BYE: adios. GOOD MORNING: buenos días. GOOD AFTERNOON: buenas tardes. GOOD NIGHT: buenas noches. PLEASE: por favor. SORRY: lo siento. THANK YOU: gracias. DOCTOR: médico. PHARMACY: farmacia. NUMBERS: 1: un. 2: dos. 3: tres. 4: cuatro. 5: cinco. 6: seis. 7: siete. 8: ocho. 9: nueve. 10: diez. 11: once. 12: doce. 13: trece. 14: catorce. 15: quince. 16: dieciséis. 17: diecisiete. 18: dieciocho. 19: diecinueve. 20: veinte. 21: veintiuno. 22: veintidós. 30: treinta. 40: cuarenta. 50: cincuenta. 60: sesenta. 70: setenta. 80: ochenta. 90: noventa. 100: cien. 1000: mil. DAYS OF THE WEEK: MONDAY: lunes. TUESDAY: martes. WEDNESDAY: miércoles. THURSDAY: jueves. FRIDAY: viernes. SATURDAY: sábado. SUNDAY: domingo. COMMON WORDS: BIG/SMALL: grande/pequeño. HOT/COLD: caliente/frío. OPEN/CLOSED: abierto/cerrado. GOOD/BAD: bueno/malo. NEW/OLD: nuevo/viejo. PUSH/PULL: empujar/tirar. ENTRANCE/EXIT: entrada/salida. LADIES/GENTLEMEN: señoras/señores. FAR/NEAR: lejos/cerca. LEFT/RIGHT: izquierda/derecha. TAXI: taxi. BUS: autobús. MEALS: BREAKFAST: desayuno. LUNCH: comida. DINNER: cena. MENU: menú. WINES: vinos. DESSERT: postre. THE BILL: la cuenta. COMMON SENTENCES: DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?: ¿Habla inglés?. I DON'T UNDERSTAND: no entiendo. WHERE IS IT?: ¿donde está? HOW MUCH IS IT: ¿Cuánto es? WHAT TIME IS IT: ¿Qué hora es? COULD YOU HELP ME: ¿Puede ayudarme?

Currency
The official currency is the Euro. There are banknotes of 500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 y 5 Euros. Also coins of 1 and 2 Euros and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.

Currency Exchange
1 € (Euro) = $ 1.20 (United States Dollar) – 1 € (Euro) = 0.66 GBP (British Pound Sterling).

Prices
In comparison with other countries within the European Union and perhaps due to its high tourist vocation, Spain is one of the cheapest countries of the region. Obviously, prices vary depending on the time of year being summer the peak season.

Useful Info

Official name
El Hierro
Country
Spain
Time Zone
0 GMT
Official Language
Spanish
Surface area
278 square kilometres (107 sq. mi)
Population
10,477 citizens
Political Regime
Constitutional Monarchy
Public holidays
January 1st: New Year; January 6th: Epiphany, Three Wise Men Celebration; February: Carnival; March-April: Easter; May 1st: Labour Day; May 3rd: Santa Cruz Day; May 30th: Regional Day of the Canary Islands; August 15th: Virgin’s Assumption Day; October 12th: National Day of Spain; November 1st: All Saints Day; December 6th: Day of the Spanish Constitution; December 8th: Day of the Immaculate Conception and December 25th: Christmas Day.
Religion
Just like the rest of Spain, El Hierro is mostly Catholic and the holiday calendar of the city is a true proof of this. However, there is plurality and freedom of cult.
Religion
90% Catholic, 8% Muslim, 2% Jewish
Arrival / Departure
Due to the island features of this particular destination you can reach it by air or sea. In 1972, the creation of the Airport took a new kind of tourism to the Island and in addition to this; the ports also offer an efficient connection with Tenerife and Gran Canaria islands.

Safety
The geographic situation of the Canary Islands and its attracttion as a tourist destination makes it a singular and unique area regarding public security matters. Thus, there is no full safety model to cover all the necessities of the citizens of the Island and its millions of tourists. In order to solve this situation the Administration of the Islands has adopted a unique public system of safety specially thought to face the present and future demands of the city in terms of public security. The security system of the Islands is unique in the whole European Union and it offers a full integrating system covering all the public services needed to keep the Islands safe and peaceful.

Valverde Police Department is located in Pérez Galdós, 5. Tel.: 922 550 025.
Visa
Visas are not required to those tourists coming from the European Union, United States, Mexico, Argentina or any other Latin American country, though a return ticket must be purchased in every case. Travellers from Australia, Anguilla, Bermuda, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, South Korea, Hong Kong, Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Israel, Japan, Macao, Malaysia, Montserrat, New Zealand, Saint Helena, Singapore and Turks & Caicos Island do not either need visa provided they do not stay more than 90 days in Spain.
Clothing
Considering the climatic conditions of the city, it is advisable to take casual comfortable clothes for summertime and little warm clothing in winter. Finally and in view of the difference in temperature between night and day we recommend you to always have a jacket at hand.
Electricity
Electricity in El Hierro is 220V, 50Hz. Sockets take two round plugs.
Radio and Television
Santa Cruz de Tenerife has the following radio stations: Cadena 40 principales, Cadena 100, Canal 11, Cadena Dial, Energy On Air, Interdance Radio, Intersur Radio, M80, Marcha FM, Mega Latina, Máxima FM, Metrópolis, Oasis FM, Onda Cero, Power FM, Radio Club Tenerife, Radio CLM, Radio El Día, Radio Garoe, Radio Gigante, Radio Marca Tenerife, Radios 1, 3 and 5 (Radio Nacional de España), Radio Clásica , Radio San Borondón and Somosradio.

National TV Channels are: Tele 5, TVE 2, TVE 1, Cuatro and Antena 3.
Telephone
The Spanish phone code is 34 and El Hierro code is 922. In order to make international phone calls you must first dial 00 then the international code of the country you are calling to and finally the local phone number. If you wish to make phone calls within Spain you do not need to use a special code. In terms of mobile phones, the technology used in the country is GSM and the most important mobile service providers are Amena (www.amena.com); Movistar-Telefónica Mobiles (www.movistar.tsm.es) and Vodafone (www.vodafone.es).
Police
922 550 025
Ambulance
112 - 902 222 292
Fire Brigade
080
Tourist health care services
922 805 000 - 922 555 916
Newspapers and Magazines
In addition to the National newspapers (Abc, Diario 16, El Mundo, El País, La Razón and La Vanguardia) and to the newspapers of Santa Cruz de Tenerife (EL DÍA www.eldia.es, DIARIO DE AVISOS www.diariodeavisos.com, LA OPINIÓN www.la-opinion.com and EL MUNDO - LA GACETA DE CANARIAS), El Hierro has the following local editions: La Isla and Periódico Digital del Hierro.

As for magazines we have: “Época”, “Semana”, “Interviú”, “Primera Línea” and “Tiempo de Hoy”.
Postal Service
The postal service in Spain is efficient: letters within Europe should take no more than 3 to 5 days to be delivered. A registered post should cost a minimum of 2.5 €. The postal office of the city is placed in Valverde del Hierro, Correo 3 and its phone number is 922550291. Opening hours are: 8:30AM to 2:30PM on weekdays and 9:30AM to 1PM on Saturdays.

Customer Care: 902 197 197. For further information please visit: www.correos.es
Health Care Services
The Canary Islands Health Care Service is one of the best in Spain with a level of efficiency rather similar to those of the European countries. It has a large network of public and private hospitals and health centres as well as emergency services (ambulances, firemen and police) guaranteeing a safe stay to million of tourists throughout the year.

Health Centres:
Hospital Nuestra Señora de Los Reyes: Los Barriales, 1. Valverde. Tel.: 922 552 990
Centro de Salud de Valverde: Los Barriales, 1. Valverde. Tel.: 922 553 590
Centro de Salud del Valle del Golfo: Marco Luis Barrera, 1. La Frontera. Tel.: 922 555 916.
Airport
There are three daily flights linking the island with Los Rodeos Airport (Tenerife) and two weekly flights linking the island with Gran Canaria. In summer, there are direct flights to La Palma Airport.

El Hierro Airport: C/ El Cangrejo s/n, Valverde
Telephone: 922 553 700.
Public Transport
The extension of this island makes it impossible to fully enjoy only by taking a walk. There is a daily public bus service linking the most important places of the island during the mornings and afternoons. All the information regarding time schedules of buses can be obtained in the “Patronato de Turismo” (Tourism Office).

The two main stations are:
Bus Station 1, C/ Corredera Street, s/n, La Frontera, Telephone 922 559 129
Bus Station 2, C/ San Francisco, 4, Valverde, Telephone: 922 550 729.

Radio taxi: 922 550 729, Valverde.

Transportes de Viajeros del Hierro: San Francisco, 4, 922 550 729, Valverde.
Railway
There are no railway systems on the Island.
Bus
There is a daily public bus service linking the most important places of the island during the mornings and afternoons. All the information regarding time schedules of buses can be obtained in the “Patronato de Turismo” (Tourism Office). The two main stations are:

Bus Station 1, C/ Corredera Street, s/n, La Frontera, Telephone 922 559 129
Bus Station 2, C/ San Francisco, 4, Valverde, Telephone: 922 550 729.
Car
A good road network unites all the places of the island that visitors must see.
Car Rentals
-ALQUILER DE COCHES CRUZ ALTA: San Francisco, 1, VALVERDE. Tel. 922550349 - 922550004.
-AUTO ROSAMAR: San Francisco, 9, VALVERDE. Tel. 922550422.
-AUTOS BAMIR: Doctor Quintero, 27, VALVERDE. Tel. 922550183.
Ship
La Estaca Harbour is prepared to moor ferryboats with or without passengers and small cruises. Twice a day is established a communication with the Airport of Los Cristianos (Tenerife). Some of those trips link up with La Gomera Island and soon also with La Palma.

La Restinga port: Explanada del Muelle la Restinga, Frontera. Telephone: 922 557 081 La Frontera.
La Estaca port: Edificio de la Autoridad Portuaria. Puerto de La Estaca, s/n. Telephone: 922 550 903 Valverde.
Destination Tourism Office in Spain
 
Spanish embassy in the destination
 
Taking pictures
There are no restrictions regarding the taking of pictures.
See climate
www.worldweather.org
Currency converter
www.xe.com/ucc
A dinner
20 - 30 €
A coffee
1 €
The Bus
1 €
The taxi
Minimum Fare: 1.10 € (standard), 1.44 € (at night) and 1.65 € (public holidays).
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2006 One Planet Travel - 22 Dec 2014
One Planet Travel is a completely free Travel Guide that provides information about the best luxury tourist destinations, luxury 5 star hotels and activities to help you plan your holidays. We offer up to date information on over 120 luxury destinations in Spain and all around the world.
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