Cable car rides and hikes to Teide’s peak
Climbing this volcano, 3,718 metres high, is an unforgettable experience. From the highest point in Teide National Park and of the island of Tenerife itself, you will witness the most incredible views of Las Cañadas (canyons), the volcano that stands beside Teide – Pico Viejo – and, on days with good visibility, the other six Canary Islands. However, to appreciate this you will need proper footwear, suitable warm clothing and sun protection - be careful to watch out for signs of altitude sickness, too.
You can take the cable car up, which leaves from the base of the mountain, and eight minutes alter you will reach a point just below the summit. You can also walk up the mountain, taking a route of approximately six hours duration, beginning at Montaña Blanca. Either way, you need to have obtained a permit to access the summit if you want to complete the ascent right top the very top. It is also possible to spend a night at the Altavista refuge and to watch a magical sunrise from on high.
Teide’s picture postcard image
The random shapes of the formation known as the Roques García, with Teide in the background, is one of the most typical images of Teide National Park. The most famous of these monoliths is the Roque Cinchado, which looks like a huge gravity-defying mushroom due to its odd shape and leaning stance. The rocks are part of a huge line of volcanic material which has stubbornly resisted erosion over centuries.
This popular attraction is situated close to the Cañada Blanca visitors centre and the Teide Parador (part of a high-quality chain of state-run tourism hotels throughout Spain). The access point is known as La Ruleta and has parking, a viewing platform and an information point. From here you can go up steps carved into the rocks to a small pathway which will take you by these volcanic rocks and let you get a feel for the geological history that is deeply embedded in the rocks.
Trekking through the highest mountain in the Canary Islands
To really get the most out of a visit to Teide National Park, the only way is to put on walking boots, pack everything you need for a day in the mountains and start walking through the extensive and very well-maintained network of trails and pathways. Of the four main routes, two worth highlighting are the ascent via the Montaña Blanca to the highest point on Tenerife, the Teide Peak (Pico Teide); a very challenging trek of approximately six hours, and the Siete Cañadas (Seven Glens) walk, which, though long, is a much easier route.
The list is completed by two circular routes: the Roques de García path is of medium difficulty and accessible via the Parador hotel; and the Arenas Negras route, which starts next to the El Portillo visitors centre and is an easy option to take. These four routes are just some of those on offer – the rest can be read about in the online guide and official publications about the park.
Visit Tenerife's giant telescopes
Tenerife’s summit enjoys one of the best quality skies for observing the stars of the Northern Hemisphere. This is why, close to Teide National Park, you will find one of the most important collections of telescopes in the world; the Teide Astrophysics Observatory, with its solar and night sky telescopes. The observatory’s cluster of white domes is a hugely popular attraction in itself.
Located in Izaña, on the TF-21 road coming from La Laguna, and managed by the Canarian Astrophysics Institute, you can visit in groups of 15 or more during the daytime from April to December, provided you have requested and received prior permission. In recent times, stargazing has become a very popular pastime in Tenerife, and an increasing number of private companies are offering night-time excursions.
Multi-coloured plains next to Teide
In the San José Mines it’s very easy to think you are on another planet instead of Teide National Park. The Mines are plains of golden gravel, interspaced with blocks of twisted ochre rocks. In front of them are vast lava steams and in the distance you can observe the huge walls of Las Cañadas del Teide, dominated by the top of Guajara, a mountain of truly unique beauty.
This combination of colours, textures and unique elements has made this area a favourite spot for photographers and film directors. Many movies have been filmed here, including some big international productions such as Clash of the Titans, (2012), directed by Jonathan Liebesman and One Million Years BC, (1966), directed by Don Chaffey.
Silence and beauty in the peaks of Tenerife
The Ucanca plain is a vast expanse of golden sand and sediment, nestled between the whimsical Roques de García and the huge walls of Las Cañadas, right in the heart of Teide National Park. Its incredible location, the silence, and the unusual beauty of its landscape makes Ucanca a magical place for many people, and a favourite spot for those searching to recharge their batteries in nature.
To get there drive southwards on the TF-21 road that crosses the park and pass the Teide Parador hotel. Park your car and from there continue on foot. These plains are sometimes covered with shallow rainwater pools which at times join together to form a wide, fleeting lake with a crystalline surface in which Teide is reflected in incredibly sharp detail.
Colourful volcanic ashes en route to Teide
La Tarta (the cake) is a simple slice in the earth beside the access road to Teide National Park. However, what the cut displays is truly surprising: infinite layers of multi-coloured volcanic ashes, tens of metres thick and dramatically tilted. The combination is reminiscent of a chocolate and cream layer cake (hence its name) and amazes everyone seeing it for the first time.
This spot is located on a closed curve of the TF-24, just a short distance from the eastern limit of the park. On the bend itself you’ll find the La Tarta viewpoint; two platforms at different heights with information panels that explain the origin of this curious formation. From the railings you can see Teide and the red slopes covered with pine trees which sweep down towards the sea.
Discover how the island of Tenerife and Teide were formed
An ideal way to begin a visit to the Teide National Park would be at the El Portillo Visitors Centre. This modern complex is free to visit and offers an interpretative area, a projection room and botanic gardens. Here visitors are explained in detail about how Tenerife and the Teide volcano were formed. There is also useful, interesting information on the geological, biological and natural qualities that enrich this park and led to it receiving the Unesco title of World Heritage Centre in 2007.
The centre is located close to the access point to the park coming from La Orotava and La Laguna (TF-24 and TF-21 roads respectively), just 300 metres from the El Portillo area, which has restaurants, cafés and souvenir shops. The centre is powered by solar energy, adapted for those with reduced mobility and elegantly blends into its surrounding envorinment.
Visit and stay the night in the highest Parador hotel in Spain
The Cañada Blanca Visitors Centre and the Teide Parador Hotel form part of an attractive square complex finished off in dark volcanic rock and ochre tones, situated at 2,152 metres above sea level, beside the emblematic Roques de García and at the foot of the famous Cañadas del Teide. This is the nerve centre of the entire national park and a must for any visitor to the area.
Those curious to learn more will discover that Cañada Blanca is a bright, spacious and modern visitors centre that provides excellent information about the park’s heritage. Visitors who decide to spend a night under one of the clearest skies in the world have the Parador nearby; a state-run two star hotel with a pool, sauna, gym and restaurant that is also open to the public. There is also a cafeteria and a souvenir shop here, for anyone seeking a pit stop.
- Respect the animals. Do not bother them or feed them. If you see an injured specimen, you can call the emergency number: 112. Do not pick flowers or plants.
- Do not pick up or take away stones or any other item from the natural environment. And do not move them to pile them up into sadly famous 'towers'.
- Do not walk in areas where it is not allowed and respect the signposting along trails. Leaving the set paths causes damage to the environment and could also be dangerous for you and anyone with you.
- Do not light fires outside the permitted areas and be especially careful during the summer months.
- Try not to alter the peace of the environment with excessive noise (loud music, yelling, etc.).