“The land on which Paolo and I are standing was for centuries the bit that teetered on the very edge of the map, just back from the line that Christopher Columbus sailed across in 1492, proving that to do so would not mean falling into the abyss.”

The fertile landscape of volcanic El Hierro, Canary Islands

When I told a friend on neighbouring Tenerife that I was going to spend several days on El Hierro, he rolled his eyes. What on earth, he said, would I find to do over there for that long.

Hiking, that’s what. Because this verdant volcanic island is a paradise for walkers. The weather is (generally) kind, the landscape is lush and the island’s compact geography makes for short travel distances – and some very dramatic hills and cliffs.

On El Hierro I hiked through wildflower meadows, across calderas and past trees bent double by the strong winds at the very edge of Europe.

Read my article for the Times here