Tenerife is an absolutely amazing destination to visit, with an incredibly varied landscape for such a relatively small place. If you go exploring away from the main tourist hotspots you will realise that it is an island of huge contrasts with architecturally outstanding towns, stunning forests further inland, a massive lunar like volcanic crater and of course snow tipped Mount Teide, with its 3,718 metre summit, making it the highest peak in Spain. I was very lucky to have the chance to visit Tenerife recently and experience three very different excursions involving Teide, all of which were unique and amazing!
Teide by night stargazing experience
If you are left feeling spell-bound by the beauty of the stars at night, then the Teide by Night Stargazing Experience with Travel Tenerife is absolutely unmissable. Tenerife is one of the best places in the world to observe stunning celestial bodies, and after the sun sets Mount Teide is truly magical, as above your head a mesmerising sea of stars stretch across the night sky.
In Tenerife the diversity of excursions and activities on offer is incredible. Within the same day you can literally be in a submarine beneath the waves of the Atlantic ocean, and then by evening travelling up Mount Teide to enjoy a unique stargazing experience. As we were being transported higher and higher up Teide, the thought of how surreal my adventurous week had been was running through my mind!
We were collected from the resort by our friendly guides Charles and Andrew. Despite the winding road up the mountain the journey is absolutely worth it, as you will experience some incredible views even before you reach the area where the telescopes are set up. The sky literally turned red and illuminated the Atlantic Ocean and the island of La Gomera, as we witnessed a stunning sunset.
The night was upon us as we reached our stargazing destination, and apart from the stars, everything was dark. The temperature had dropped significantly due to the high altitude and time; Travel Tenerife has you covered though, with thermal sweaters. Charles really showed his passion for the subject of astronomy with a fun and informative lesson which was illustrated with a laser pointer used to point to stars in the night sky.
Due to the extremely low light pollution, the Canary Islands are some of the best places in the world to view celestial bodies and this is even more so up Mount Teide. As I listened to this amazing astronomy lesson, viewed the stars and planets through the telescopes, and stared up at the infinite stars, I felt completely in awe. If you have even the slightest inkling of interest in space, you absolutely must experience this excursion as it will give you a real sense of wonder!
In addition to the amazing information, professional telescopes, transportation to and from your hotel, and warm clothing, there were hot drinks provided, and even a glass of champagne. This really was VIP treatment, from a very exclusive travel company. After being dropped off back at our resort later that night, I was very satisfied after this must try experience.
An Amazing Visit to Teide Observatory
During my week in Tenerife I had also been kindly invited to go on a guided tour of Teide Observatory by Volcano Life, S.L. As we ascended the winding roads leading up Mount Teide, with clear blue skies and incredible views across the island and Atlantic ocean I was amazed.
The contrast is incredible between the coastal beaches, to the Alpine-like forest, and the views across to La Gomera were sublime, with countless photo opportunities. Once you reach the giant volcanic crater you feel like you could be on the moon!
We made it just in time for the opening words of the tour from our friendly guide Carmelo. He started off with an interesting introduction about the observatory and Teide.
Due to its geographical position, and the excellent clarity and quality of the sky, the Observatorio del Teide has an ideal location for studying the sun. It is therefore home to the best solar telescopes in Europe. Following our informative introduction we walked over to where some portable solar telescopes had been set up, to look up at the sun through specially filtered glass.
It might not look so impressive at first glance as Carmelo explained, but it becomes far more interesting once you understand what you are looking at. Spots on the sun, which itself is a humongous ball of burning gas 150 million kilometres away from the earth, were made observable. The distances are mind blowing. Travelling at the speed of light which is 299,792,458 metres per second, it would still take 8 minutes to reach the Sun from Earth!
Just as some clouds had begun to roll in which was unusual at that altitude, we headed inside one of the buildings for a video presentation. This gave a fascinating overview of astrology and what is happening within the universe. It really makes you realise how vast space is and how humans are definitely not the centre of importance.
Next we were shown inside a building that houses the third biggest telescope worldwide after those in Chile and Hawaii. The telescope was also constructed on the island and sends information to scientists in La Laguna and other astrophysicists worldwide. After seeing this telescope our tour had come to a close. Visiting one of the three most important observatories in the world had been a real privilege!
As we drove away, in front of us was the magical peak of Mount Teide, snow-tipped and resplendent in the dazzling sunlight. It is without a doubt one of the defining features of Tenerife and the Canary Islands.
Incredible Trekking Teide Experience
I had high expectations for this excursion, and it definitely met and exceeded them! While I enjoy almost all travel destinations, there is something extra special about getting back to nature. In much of our lives we are surrounded by crowds, noise, buildings and technology, so I really cherish the times when I can escape modern life and enjoy the simple beauty of the natural world.
At our destination we were provided with Nordic walking sticks, a thermal sweater, comfortable heavy duty hiking shoes, and a backpack with refreshments. Travel Tenerife really had thought of everything. It was an absolutely beautiful day with a perfect blue sky and barely any wind. We were all excited to get going on our hike which was set to take 3-4 hours along a 11km route.
Before setting off we were shown how to correctly use the Nordic walking sticks to get maximum benefit from them and did some stretching exercises. Then we headed off along a circular pathway that eventually would lead back in a large loop to our starting point. The landscape was so amazing I felt like stopping every five minutes to snap shots, so I had to keep catching up the group.
Andrew and Paulina, our guides from Travel Tenerife, both proved extremely knowledgeable about Mount Teide, the national park and Tenerife in general. Along the way we learned about the unique geology, history, fauna and flora of Teide. It really is a fascinating place!
Later, after we had taken a break for some lunch, we climbed up a hill which had some awesome views up to the peak of Mount Teide, and then descended back down on the home stretch. There was a much greater abundance of fauna and flora along the final part of our journey including bushes, flowers, bees and lizards and a real variety of life and colour. It seemed like a totally different place!
Almost four hours later we reached the mini-bus, handed back our hiking shoes, and walking sticks, and sat back down ready for the return drive. After the tranquil Trekking Teide excursion I felt totally calm and relaxed.
All three of these different excursions proved excellent ways to enjoy Teide, and further proved what a huge variety of different experiences can be had on the incredible island of Tenerife. You absolutely must try at least one of these excursions when visiting Tenerife and if possible give all three a go as they all offer a unique experience which you will be sure to enjoy!