El Hierro is an island to lose yourself in: in the immensity of its coasts and cliffs sculpted in volcanic rock, the paths that cross meadows and forests of pine and juniper, and the deep sea caves and grottoes where you can live an adventure.
If you're taking a multi-day trip to the Canary Islands, a day trip to El Hierro from Tenerife is an experience I'd always recommend. Do you want to know how to visit the island that was considered the end of the world before the discovery of America? Then read on, because here's the guide you've been looking for.
1. Full day excursion to El Hierro from Tenerife
Since taking an excursion to another of the Canary Islands from Tenerife means having to organise the route, take the ferry, get some method of transport or hire a car and visit everything on your own, taking an organised excursion to El Hierro from your hotel is the most comfortable and even cheaper option. Read on and I'll tell you why!
But first, let me show you everything you'll see on this incredible excursion to El Hierro:
Viewpoint of La Peña
In the company of a local guide who knows all the secrets of the island and its most amazing places, you'll tour El Hierro on a route that starts at the La Peña viewpoint in the north of the island, where the views of the El Golfo valley, full of vineyards and fruit orchards, will give you an indelible memory.
Viewpoint of Jinama
You will then continue to the Jinama viewpoint, to the east, from where you will have one of the best views of the bay of El Golfo if you manage to overcome your vertigo. You will see cliffs, volcanic beaches, and small hermitages lost high up against a glorious panorama of the Atlantic Sea.
Frontera Rural Park
You'll continue on a route through the Frontera Rural Park where you'll discover the laurel forest, a natural environment unique to the Canary Islands and declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and stop for a typical Canarian lunch in a local restaurant.
Church of La Candelaria and the natural swimming pool of La Maceta
In the afternoon you will visit the Church of Candelaria, with a beautiful white-walled bell tower separated from the church on the top of a mountain, and you will go down to the coast of the island to visit a virgin beach and the natural swimming pool of La Maceta, one of the most famous in the Canary Islands.
Hotel Punta Grande
To finish the excursion, you'll visit what is known as 'the smallest hotel in the world': the Punta Grande Hotel, a small black stone house by the sea that could perfectly serve as the setting for a Wes Anderson film.
2. Why I recommend this excursion
It is a very complete experience that takes you to see the most interesting places on the island, without you having to organise your own excursion or worry about transport and following a map.
However, there is a downside: neither the food nor the ferry is included in the price, so you'll have to pay an extra €14 for the former and €24 for the latter, per person on the tour. Even so, it can still be worth doing this excursion if you want to visit El Hierro from Tenerife, as preparing a day like this on your own is not easy if you don't know the island or are accompanied by a local.
Also, if you travel to El Hierro on your own from Tenerife the ferry ticket is more expensive (around €50 per adult).
Alex's Traveller Tip
El Hierro has hardly any beaches as it is surrounded almost exclusively by cliffs. Even so, bathing in one of its natural pools is a unique experience that you can enjoy on your own excursion to the island.
3. Useful information
- Duration: 12 hours
- Price: from 60 euros
- Group size: 50 people
- What's included: Local guide, driver and air-conditioned minivan, transfer to and from your hotel.
- What's NOT included: Lunch (14 € per person) and ferry ticket (24 € per person)
4. Frequently asked questions about the excursion to El Hierro
What documentation do I need to board the ferry?
You will need your ID card or passport to board the ferry from Tenerife to El Hierro. If you forget to bring it, it's quite possible that you won't be allowed to board the ferry and you won't be able to get your money back for the excursion.
What happens if it rains or the weather is bad?
The excursion only runs in good weather, so if it rains it will be postponed or cancelled and you will get your money back. You can also cancel for any reason, and if you do so at least 24 hours in advance you will get a full refund.
Will there be time for a swim?
There are no swimming stops on the excursion I have recommended, as El Hierro doesn't have many beaches, although it does have natural pools. At the natural pool of La Maceta you will stop for about 15 minutes, which is not long enough to make it worthwhile to take a dip.
How does the hotel pick-up option work?
Check the list of hotels included for pick-up and drop-off, as if yours is not included you will have to make your own way to the departure point (Los Cristianos beach in Tenerife).
5. Make the most of El Hierro from Tenerife
As I have already mentioned, preparing an excursion on your own to the neighbouring island from Tenerife is not really worth it for just one day, but in case you are not so keen on organised experiences, here are a few tips that will surely help you.
There is only one route from Tenerife to El Hierro: the ferry takes around 2 hours 30 minutes to get there and there are daily departures. It is best to book in advance on the website of Naviera Armas, the only company operating this service on the island.
The price per adult to get from Los Cristianos to Valverde (El Hierro) is just over €50, as long as you travel on foot without a vehicle. One of the advantages of the organised excursion to El Hierro is that the price of the ticket is cheaper and, although it does not include other things in the price, it ends up being the cheapest option.
Getting around the island
The best way to get around the beautiful island of El Hierro is by car. Either with your own car or by renting it in Valverde, for which you have three companies: Avis, TransHierro or Autos Bamir. In any case, I recommend renting well in advance as even in low season it can be difficult.
As a last resort, you can use the island's buses, or rather guaguas, and if you feel like touring the mountains you can rent a bicycle, although you'll know that this will require detailed preparation to know the route beforehand.
Another option, the most expensive and least recommended, is to use taxis to get around El Hierro.
My favourite route
El Hierro is an island that invites you to stay and discover all its treasures, but as you can see in the itinerary of the organised tour, it is perfectly possible to visit most of its essential places in a day trip.
As soon as you arrive in El Hierro, head for the La Peña viewpoint. Created by the Lanzarote architect César Manrique, it offers one of the most spectacular views you'll have on the island and is a perfect way to start your excursion.
From here, you can go to the natural pool of La Maceta if you fancy a swim in a unique spot and take the opportunity to eat and rest (there are picnic areas, restaurants and places to lie in the sun), or if you prefer to visit a natural cave, go to Charco Azul, where you can take a beautiful photo for Instagram and even go for a swim if the sea is calm.
Then head towards the Parador Turístico de El Hierro. The building itself is the least important thing, what's amazing is the surrounding environment! You can relax for a while at the foot of a huge mountain and stroll along a beach with no buildings or beach bars. By the way, on the way to the Parador, there are several points where it is worth stopping to enjoy the spectacular view.
From here, head back up the east coast of the island back to Valverde, where you can take a short stroll at sunset and discover its charming little streets before catching the ferry back to Tenerife.
6. Other recommended excursions and activities
If you have already visited El Hierro or you are still deciding which is the best excursion to do on your trip, I recommend you to read this guide about the day trip to La Gomera from Tenerife: Best Day Trips to La Gomera from Tenerife.
There are also other activities that will make your trip to Tenerife an unforgettable experience. One of my favourites is a kayak tour of the island, which also includes snorkelling and with a bit of luck you'll see turtles, whales and even dolphins: Kayaking and Snorkeling With Turtles in Tenerife.
If whale and dolphin watching has caught your attention, you should know that the Canary Islands are one of the most special places in the world to see marine animals. Here is a complete guide to this amazing experience: Whale and Dolphin Watching in Tenerife.