The most distinctive feature of Tenerife is the centerpiece volcano. In fact, Mount Teide is overlooking most of the life on the island. With its 3.718 meters, its summit is the highest point in Spain. Measured from the ocean floor it is even more impressive with around 7.500 meters. This makes it one of the highest mountains on the planet Tellus.
As mentioned, Mount Teide is the highest point in Spain with its 3.718 meters. The Teide National Park has since 2007 been a UNESCO World Heritage site. The national park is in the Las Cañadas caldera. The caldera is actually a 16 x 11 km large lava landscape that will make you believe that you have arrived at a different planet. The caldera also contains Teide’s younger sister, the 3.135 meter-high Pico Viejo. Most of the caldera is filled with the material from the volcanos’ past eruptions. The last eruption of Teide took place in 1909. However, the volcano is still active.
Driving to Teide
Teide is accessible from four major roads. You get there from either Los Christianos, Los Gigantes, Puerto de la Cruz or from Santa Cruz de Tenerife. We drove from El Médano to Los Cristianos before starting our climb along TF-51 through both Arona and Vilaflor. In Vilaflor the road connects with TF-21, taking us the last part to Teide.
This road was easy to drive with wide lanes that allowed oncoming traffic to pass. As with most places on Tenerife, there are a lot of turns. That notwithstanding, you will enjoy some great views along the drive. You will notice when you enter the caldera, it is really like entering another world.
Once inside the caldera, there are fewer turns. The road navigates the maze between the hardened lava floods and Teide is rising in the distance. The base camp is located at 2.356 meters and here you will find the cable car, as well as a café and a gift shop.
In order to drive across the whole caldera, we later continued down towards Puerto de la Cruz for a stop at the Loro Parque Zoo. This road was in most part as easy to drive as the one from Los Cristianos. It was first when arriving closer to the coast that the road got harder turns and more traffic.
Ascending the Volcano
Susann and Little A stayed at the lower station as I took the cable car up to the upper station at 3.555 meters. The ascent of 800 meters only takes about 8 minutes, but the view is amazing. I had prepurchased the cable car ticket in El Médano and was booked at the first ride up at 9 am. There were only a few climbers at the top once our car reached the upper station and I could explore practically undisturbed for some time.
The ticket only entitled me one hour before I had to return down, so I really made sure to get the most out of it. Sadly I had not been able to obtain a permit to ascend the summit. In my case, there were two routes left to choose then and I tried to get to the end of both. Unfortunately, I had to turn back when heading out on the second route as the clock was quickly approaching the time when I had to descend. I did, however, get to enjoy some spectacular views.
If you plan to visit here is some practical information that we would recommend you to consider.
- Bring sun protection, both headwear and sun lotion. The sun can get really strong at this height.
- Bring warm clothes. I considered it to be enough with a t-shirt, but several others seemed to be freezing when arriving at the upper station.
- Remember that the air is lighter at this height and physical activity will be harder than you might be used to.
- Bring good footwear, the walking paths are far from even and you don’t want to slip and hurt an ankle up here.
I can also recommend you to prepurchase your ticket and go with the first cable car to the upper station. There are three advantages to this. Firstly, you will easily find a parking spot close to the lower station. Secondly, you will be almost alone when walking along the paths at the upper station. And thirdly, there is a smaller risk of getting delayed for your ascent when waiting for the cable car.
We really hope that you will enjoy it as much as we did. For further information about Mount Teide, visit their homepage >>
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