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Climbing Mount Teide – Spain’s Tallest Mountain

Climbing Mount Teide – Spain’s Tallest Mountain

DESTINATIONS, EUROPE, SITES TO SEE, SPAIN, TOURS

Tenerife is a fascinating island with much more to see than just its beautiful black sand beaches along the southern coast, and its historical towns along the northern part of the island.  In the middle of the Island of Tenerife sits Mount Teide,  which is 3718 meters high and is the tallest mountain in Spain.  You can imagine the anticipation of knowing that I was about to climb to the top of the world’s third largest volcano and it is still active!

 

Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

 

Teide National Park it certainly worth the trip alone. The entire park is a unique geological treasure filled with craters, vents, lava flows and different materials that form an impressive array of shapes and colors.

We thought it would be best to experience it both during the day and in the evening.   So early one day, we set off to Teide National Park from our Hotel Botanico in Puerto de La Cruz.

It’s over an hour drive going up winding roads that lead through small towns until you reach the park.   Once you are finally in Teide National Park, you start the climb up in your vehicle, and its surreal.   You are captivated by the very tall and straight Canary pine forrest trees all around you, the smell of fresh pine, and of course, seeing Mount Teide.

 

Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

 

At one point during the car ride up, you realize that you are now above the clouds and all you can see are blue skies and Mount Teide volcano ahead of you.  The National park where Teide is located is approx 2000 metres above sea level, and in winter, the roads are often closed due to snow or gale force winds. In the summer, temperatures often soar to over 40C.   You have to dress accordingly depending on the time of year you go.  For us, even though it was a warm day in May, we knew it was going to be much colder at the top of the summit so we were prepared with layers of clothes.  We were equipped with gloves, hat, scarf and a thick jacket.

 

Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands
Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

 

Climbing Mount Teide and going on the cable car up the side of Teide volcano was always something that I wanted to do.   Frankly, it looked pretty scary to me seeing these cable cars getting smaller and smaller as they assented into the sky closer to the top of the Teide volcano.

We drove all the way to the cable car station at the lower base of Mount Teide, called Teleferico del Teide, located at an altitude of 2,356 m in Teide National Park.  It was before 10:00 a.m., so the parking lot wasn’t crowded.  We made sure to use the restrooms first, took out all our winter gear from the car, and proceeded to go to the ticket booth.  The lower cable car station has a rest area, coffee shop, a self-service restaurant, a souvenirs shop and public toilets.  If you forget a jacket, you can conveniently rent one for $5 euros.

 

DSC06367

 

People were lined up buying their cable car tickets for the ascent.  We skipped the line of people and went up to the counter for internet ticket holders and show them our e-ticket.  They gave us each a little ticket to open the gate to get to the cable car.  We made sure to put them away somewhere safe since we needed it to get back down.

 

Teleferico de Teide, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Teleferico de Teide, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Ticket Booth at Teleferico de Teide, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Ticket Booth at Teleferico de Teide, Teide National Park, Tenerife

 

The cable car cabin holds a capacity of 44 people, and can reach the summit or upper station in 8 minutes.  We piled inside the cable car and shortly started the journey up to the top.  The views during the trip up the Teide Mountain were breathtaking.

 

Teide Cable Car heading up Teide Mountain, Teide National Park
Teide Cable Car heading up Teide Mountain, Teide National Park
Teide Cable Car (Teleferico de Teide) heading up to the upper station, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Teide Cable Car (Teleferico de Teide) heading up to the upper station, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Teide Cable Car view of Teide Mountain, Teide National Park
Teide Cable Car view of Teide Mountain, Teide National Park

 

After exiting the cable car at the upper station, just 200 meters from the summit of Teide National Park, you can feel the cold brisk air.   I was surprised by the number of people in shorts and not dressed accordingly.  We were freezing so I could only imagine they must have been as well.

 

Upper Cable Car Station, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Upper Cable Car Station, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Upper Cable Car Station, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Upper Cable Car Station, Teide National Park, Tenerife

 

The upper station is located at 3,555 m altitude and is the starting point for three routes.  If take the cable car, you’ve still got an hours hike to reach the summit.

  • Route No. 10 (Telesforo Bravo) to the Crater of Mt Teide, which takes you to Spain’s highest peak, from where you can enjoy one of the world’s most magnificent landscapes. On clear days, you can glimpse the nearby islands of La Gomera, El Hierro, La Palma and Gran Canaria.  For environmental reasons, access to the peak is controlled, requiring a permit issued by the national park offices.
  • Route No. 11, La Fortaleza Vantage Point an incredible spot from where you can take in the spectacular view of the north side of Tenerife, including Valle de La Orotava in the centre and the long ridge of Monte La Esperanza that melds with the rugged Anaga Massif.
  • Route No. 12, Pico Viejo Vantage Point, an awe-inspiring viewpoint overlooking south Tenerife and a perfect place from where to admire the great caldera of Las Cañadas del Teide, its enclosure of sheer walls of rock and the aftermath of the last volcanic eruptions. You can also survey the multi-colored crater of Pico Viejo, the rocky outcrops of Roques de García and Mt Guajara.

 

Pico Viejo Vantage Point, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Pico Viejo Vantage Point, Teide National Park, Tenerife

 

Inside my pocket was the permit that was issued by the Government of Canaries that allows only a limited number of people per day access to climb to the crater and take pictures.  If you wish to ascend to Teide’s peak, you need to apply for the free permit from Teide National Park which can only be obtained via the park’s web site. The free permit is called “Pico de Teide Access Permit”   Only individuals who’s name appear on the permit must show proper identification such as a passport or drivers license once they reach the Telesforo Bravo Trail (Route 10) to continue to the top of the crater.

 

Teide Summit, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Teide Summit, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Teide Summit hiking paths, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Teide Summit hiking paths signs, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Teide Summit , Teide National Park, Tenerife
Teide Summit , Teide National Park, Tenerife

 

We started off hiking Mount Teide on one of the routes walking very slowly while paying attention to the elevated rock paths in some areas.  We were very glad that we wore hiking boots and sneakers with thick soles because some of the lava rocks were sharp.  The altitude definitely does take it’s toll, and we were very tired from walking after only a few minutes.  We had to stop because I started to get dizzy and lightheaded.  At the top, the air is pretty thin, so some people experience altitude sickness.

 

Teide Summit path, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Teide Summit path, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Teide Summit path, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Teide Summit path, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Teide Summit, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Teide Summit, Teide National Park, Tenerife
View from on top of Teide Summit, Teide National Park, Tenerife
View from on top of Teide Summit, Teide National Park, Tenerife
View from on top of Teide Summit, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Teide Summit, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Snow at Teide Summit, Teide National Park, Tenerife
Snow at Teide Summit, Teide National Park, Tenerife

 

We spend about an hour on top of the Teide Summit.  The views were spectacular and definitely worth it. Visiting Teide’s crater is a unique experience with the entire geography of Tenerife at your feet, as well as smelling the sulfurous odors emitted from volcanic fumaroles. These are some of the experiences that await hikers who ascend to the mountain’s peak. For many the thrill of walking the whole distance from the volcano’s base at 2,200m (7,218ft), roughly a nine-hour round trip, is more appealing than riding up.

Due to the very high altitude, lack of oxygen could affect your physical performance, causing you to get tire more quickly. Therefore, this climb is not recommended for pregnant women,  individuals with pulmonary, respiratory or cardiac problems or those with high blood pressure.

Overnight Accommodations in the Park:

Parador Hotel Las Cañadas del Teide, at Km 46.5 on the TF-21 road.
Altavista Refuge, run by the Teleférico del Teide, situated at 3270 metres. The only access to the refuge is on foot.

 

Know Before You Go
  • Take warm clothes, proper climbing shoes and protect yourself from the sun (hats, sun screen).
  • Take a bottle of water.
  • A permit for the summit can be obtained from the national park office in Santa Cruz de Tenerife located at Emilio Calzadilla 5; open from 9am-2pm. Take a copy of your passport. Or book your permit online in advance.
  • The cable car runs from 9am to 4pm. The last ascent is at 4pm and the last descent at 4:50pm. Don’t miss the last descent or you’ll have a very long hike down in the dark!
  • A round trip ticket costs €27 for adults and €13.50 for children.

 

Disclosure – I would like to thank Turisme de Tenerife for providing us with a press pass for our trip and a permit to access Pico de Teide. These are solely our personal opinions/experiences and I were not financially compensated for this post. 

 

 

About the author

Carmen Edelson is the Founder and Senior Editor of Carmen's Luxury Travel. Carmen has been traveling the world for over a decade. Our travels allows her the opportunity to pursuit her itch to travel to the best luxury destinations, and experience those first class tastes from around the world.

16 Comments

  1. Vicky Alonso [MissArretrancos]
    May 24, 2015 at 6:37 am
    Reply

    It is a wonderful place and great views!

    http://www.missarretrancos.com

    • Carmen
      May 24, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Hi Vicky,

      Yes, I agree Teide is a special place to visit. Especially, if you get a chance to travel to the top of the volcano.

  2. Alexandra Hernández
    May 25, 2015 at 6:08 pm
    Reply

    Teide is a wonder of nature. Very impressive photos!!!! Love it!!

    • Carmen
      May 27, 2015 at 10:30 am

      Hi Alexandra,

      While the island features a variety of amazing landscapes, the true natural wonder of Tenerife is best experienced in Teide National Park.

  3. The Adventure Ahead
    May 26, 2015 at 9:21 pm
    Reply

    What an amazing press trip! We love hiking, so this would have been right up our alley 🙂 Great images as well!

    • Carmen
      May 27, 2015 at 10:34 am

      The views from the top are breathtaking. You’ll have to read my next article on the stargazing and sunset at Teide. You feel like you’re in another planet.

  4. Jessica The Dining Traveler
    May 28, 2015 at 9:53 am
    Reply

    What a view! I’ve only been to Lanzarote but fell in love with las Islas Canarias! Hope to one day go to Tenerife. Thanks for the useful tips, I’m going to forward this to my friends who holiday in the Canarias often.

    • Carmen
      June 1, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks Jessica! Each island is so unique and different. Tenerife for me is by far the best. I never get tired of going to Teide National Park. You feel like you’re in another planet and there’s so much to see and do on the island.

  5. Sarah Ebner
    May 28, 2015 at 11:20 am
    Reply

    Wow, gorgeous! We tried to do this at Christmas time when we went to Tenerife, but it all ended up going horribly wrong (the coach broke down!). We really missed something I think

    • Carmen
      June 1, 2015 at 9:30 pm

      Hi Sarah! That’s terrible that you weren’t able to go, but December isn’t the best time to go to Teide. It’s way to cold and most of the time they have snow on the ground. You’ll have to take another trip :-).

  6. Ruth - Exploramum
    June 2, 2015 at 10:44 am
    Reply

    Really really great photos and article. Enlightened me on an area I knew nothing about. I so want to visit now! thank you for sharing

  7. Grace
    October 10, 2015 at 11:50 am
    Reply

    Hi carmen!

    I will be visiting Teide this coming january and i am so stoked about it! However, I am concern if whether restrooms/toilets are available on the way up? (through out the hike).

    • Carmen
      October 11, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      Hi Grace, January is a tough month to hike El Teide because their will be snow on the ground most likely. The only toilets are at the visitors center at the base, or at the top where you get the cable car. They have a refuge place towards the top where you can spend one night. They have beds and a kitchen but you have to bring with you food, and water. Here’s the link: https://www.telefericoteide.com/en/altaviste_refuge

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