Using new surface structural data as well as subsurface structural data obtained from seventeen water galleries, we provide a comprehensive model of the volcano-tectonic evolution of El Hierro (Canary Islands). We have identified, measured and analysed more than 1700 volcano-structural elements including vents, eruptive fissures, dykes and faults. The new data provide important information on the main structural patterns of the island and on its stress and strain fields, all of which are crucial for reliable hazard assessments. We conducted temporal and spatial analyses of the main structural elements, focusing on their relative age and association with the three main cycles in the construction of the island: the Tiñor Edifice, the El Golfo–Las Playas Edifice, and the Rift Volcanism. A radial strike distribution, which can be related to constructive episodes, is observed in the on-land structures. A similar strike distribution is seen in the submarine eruptive fissures, which are radial with respect to the centre of the island. However, the volcano-structural elements identified onshore and reflecting the entire volcano-tectonic evolution of the island also show a predominant NE–SW strike, which coincides with the main regional trend of the Canary archipelago as a whole. Two other dominant directions of structural elements, N–S and WNW–ESE, are evident from the establishment of the El Golfo–Las Playas edifice, during the second constructive cycle. We suggest that the radial-striking structures reflect comparatively uniform stress fields during the constructive episodes, mainly conditioned by the combination of overburden pressure, gravitational spreading, and magma-induced stresses in each of the volcanic edifices. By contrast, in the shallower parts of the edifice the NE–SW, N–S and WNW–ESE-striking structures reflect local stress fields related to the formation of mega-landslides and masking the general and regional radial patterns.