The shadow of Teide is a very impressive view for visitors to Tenerife, but what are the best ways to enjoy it?
Mount Teide, the highest peak in Spain, enjoys a very unusual feature. When the sun rises the mountain casts a curious pyramidal shadow over the Atlantic Ocean which disappears into the distance like a train track. The shadow changes shape as the day grows. At dawn a silhouette is projected towards the island of La Gomera, while at dusk a shadow is pushed out towards Gran Canaria.
Views of the shadow are particularly good from the peak of Mount Teide itself. From here visitors will see that the sight of the Mount Teide shadow is like nothing else. The silhouette on the ocean is in the shape of a perfect geometric triangle. This is astonishing especially when it is considered that the actual peak of Mount Teide does not have a pyramidal shape at all. The shadow therefore seems to defy reason. So astounding is the phenomenon of the Mount Teide shadow that it has drawn the attention of NASA who have undertaken some scientific studies of the silhouette.
“Even if the huge volcano were a perfect cube and the resulting shadow were a long rectangular box, that box would appear to taper off at its top as its shadow extended far in to the distance, just as parallel train tracks do,” says Astronomy Picture of the Day in reference to the staggering shape of Mount Teide’s shadow.
The opportunity to observe Mount Teide’s shadow is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and it is worthwhile taking the effort to get the best possible view. One the best things to do is to spend the night before the big viewing in the local “refugio”, or “shelter” (booking is required). This will mean that by getting up at around 5 or 5.30 am visitors will be able to climb to the top of the Mount Teide crater and contemplate the view of the shadow in all its glory.
Views of the shadow are also worth seeing during sunset. (Remember to bring good torches for the descent of the mountain.) If the day is clear, visitors will be able to observe how the shadow of Teide extends little by little to Gran Canaria. Views of the shadow of Mount Teide can be especially beautiful during a full moon. On such occasions, during a particular point in the day the peak of the shadow of Teide becomes aligned with the satelitte.
Guided tours in the local area offer packages for every type of traveller. For tourists who prefer not to spend a night in a mountain shelter or climb up the peak on foot, there are other ways to observe the shadow. Many programmes encourage tourists to take the cable car up Mount Teide. This option allows visitors to enjoy Mount Teide’s silhouette without breaking sweat.
Guided tours are also available for the more adventurous visitor. There are long guided walks in which visitors can discover all the nooks and crannies of Mount Teide. These walks can include complex ascents of the mountain that can take nine hours. Some tours combine the cable car with short walks, while other programmes allow visitors to enjoy a meal at the Teide Cable Car Restaurant which has a spectacular view of the mountainous landscape and serves food made with local products.
Activities around Mount Teide also include astronomical observation workshops which take place around the cable car base station. Tenerife and La Palma are considered some of the best places in the world for stargazing, and visitors will be amazed by the clarity of the night sky in these parts of the world. Visitors who are thinking of observing Mount Teide’s shadow in Tenerife should note that there are various options available. Some tourists choose to walk by themselves to the summit of Mount Teide. Other visitors take the option of a guided tour with a cable car and a delicious meal at the Teide Cable Car Restaurant.
Whatever options viewers decide to select to enjoy the shadow of Mount Teide, they will not be disappointed by the spectacle. The sight of Mount Teide and its mystical shadow is stunning, and photos of the experience will be treasured for many years.