ROBIN McKelvie spends a weekend in El Hierro on the Canary Islands
Check into the great value Parador Nacional (doubles from £70, www.parador.es), easily the best place to stay on this remote Canary Island. This graceful waterfront retreat is all hardwoods and subtropical vegetation, with a swimming pool too.
Tiny Valverde is the only inland capital in the Canaries. It’s an unassuming place for a wee stroll and relaxed lunch in one of the local cafes or bars.
El Hierro is superb for hiking. A network of paths snake off within striking distance of the Parador, which take you up the cliffs that tower high above.
Take it easy at the hotel after your hike. Enjoy a sundowner on their terrace, before trying local cheese (queso herreno) and seafood.
The best way to appreciate El Hierro is to drive right around, stopping off at scenic miradors – towers with wonderful views – en route. Start the day driving out into the national park that houses the weird and wonderful Trade Winds blown juniper trees of El Sabinar.
Descend for lunch into El Golfo, a wide surf ravaged bay. A weaving walking trail and ocean pools tempt by an informal beach shack where you can savour local seafood.
The most impressive mirador of all lies a short drive away above El Golfo. The Mirador de la Pena was designed by seminal Canarian architect Cesar Manrique. As well as the views you can enjoy a coffee or glass of local wine.
Casa Guayana (tel: 922-5504) is handily only a short drive from the Parador. Their garlic prawns are superb, though their signature chicken dish ‘rooster chunks’ are an acquired taste. Local wines available.
Enjoy a relaxing time by the pool on your last morning. If you are lucky, as well as the roar of the Atlantic, you will be treated to views of distant Tenerife’s Teide, Spain’s highest mountain.
• Easyjet (www.easyjet.com) flies from Edinburgh to Tenerife, where you can catch an Armas (www.navieraarmas.com) ferry across to El Hierro and pick up a car. Lonely Planet’s Canary Islands has a decent section on the island.