Teide National Park

You simply must not miss this wonderful National Park. The other-worldly landscapes here will leave you speechless. The pure, clean air of Spain’s highest peak will refresh your lungs as you wander amidst solid volcanic magma feeling almost insignificant in this impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This is, without doubt, the icon of Tenerife. Teide National Park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 under the Natural Asset category. It also boasts a European Diploma awarded by the European Council, and it is part of the Natura 2000 Network Sites. The Park is well deserving of such acknowledgements. Firstly, it boasts the broadest sample of supra-Mediterranean vegetation on Earth. Secondly, it covers one of the world’s most stunning volcanic landscapes – and certainly the most outstanding in the Canary Islands.

Teide National Park lies right in the middle of the Island, at an altitude of 2,000 m (6,500 ft) above sea level, topped by Spain’s highest peak at 3,718 m (12,198 ft). These record-breaking figures add to the fact that it is the most visited national park in Europe, welcoming some three million visitors a year.

Teide National Park was created in 1954 in recognition of its volcanic and biological singularity. Covering roughly 19,000 hectares (47,000 acres), it is the largest and oldest out of all the national parks in the Canary Islands. It has a peripheral protection area and is surrounded by Corona Forestal Natural Park, which covers an expanse of 46,612.9 hectares (115,183 acres), making this the largest protected nature area in the entire archipelago.

  • By guagua (bus):
    • From Puerto de la Cruz, line 348.
    • From Costa Adeje, line 342.
  • By car:
    • From the north along the TF-21 La Orotava-Granadilla road or along the TF-24 La Laguna-El Portillo road.
    • From the south, along the TF-21 road.
    • From the west, along the TF-38 Boca Tauce-Chío road.

Even from the car, the park is a spectacular sight to see. The landscape is breathtaking from every angle. To explore it thoroughly, the best thing is to drive up on one road and down on another. The greatest contrast occurs if you enter from the north and exit towards the south or vice-versa. Cañadas del Teide is a gigantic caldera spanning 17 km (10.5 miles) across, from which the summits of Pico Viejo and Mount Teide rise up to 3,718 m (12,198 ft), making this Spain’s highest point and the third tallest volcano in the world. Its snowy white peak contrasting with tongues of black lava petrified on the slopes is a unique combination that never fails to surprise.

One of the most exciting experiences the National Park has in store for you is a ride on the cable car. The base station stands at an altitude of 2,356 m (7,729 ft) and climbs up to the top station at 3,555 m (11,663). The journey between the two takes roughly 8 minutes and the thrill is electrifying. Once at the top, you will be treated to some stunning views from the lookout point.

But even if you take the cable car to the top station, you still can’t quite say you’ve made it to Spain’s highest point. There is a trail from here that leads you up to the crater on foot. It takes roughly 40 minutes and is a difficult walk, but just think of the pride of telling your friends you have reached the top of the country on your own two feet. If you are lucky enough to go on a clear day, the view will bless you with the sight of up to four islands from atop the peak of this almighty mountain: Gran CanariaLa PalmaEl Hierro and La Gomera, not to mention the entire island of Tenerife opening out at your feet to proudly reveal its full beauty. If you want to live this unforgettable experience, you will need to apply for a special licence which you can get from the website www.reservasparquesnacionales.es. We recommend you apply one or two months in advance, depending on the time of year. The licence is free but it will only be valid for the chosen date. If you can’t make it up there because of the weather or any other circumstances, the licence will expire.

However, if you spend the night at the Altavista Refuge, you won’t need to apply for a licence at all to access the Mount Teide’s peak and see the sunrise. But if you choose this option, you will need to have completed the walk by 9 o’clock in the morning. So basically, you need to get up bright and early, climb to the top and back down again as quickly as possible. We assure you it’s worth it!

You will be able to feel at one with the National Park’s wilderness thanks to a Network of Trails that lead you on self-guided walks of the area, unless you prefer to have an official guide (available all year round except on 1 and 6 January and 25 December). The walks are varied in terms of distance, duration and difficulty. If you decide to go for a guided walk, you will need to book at the National Park office from Monday to Friday, from 9 am to 2 pm, or alternatively call (+34) 922 92 23 71, write an email to teide.maot@gobiernodecanarias.org or go to one of the National Park’s Visitor Centres.

Up in the mountains, any form of exercise becomes exhausting after a while, so make sure you pace yourself to avoid wearing yourself out too soon. Take water or an isotonic drink with you, as well as energy foods such as fruit or nuts. Wear suitable footwear for the loose and stony mountain ground you will be walking on. Take extra care in winter, especially in the event of snowfall. In Summer, don’t forget that solar radiation is particularly strong here and can cause serious sunburn, so we suggest you wear sun screen and a hat. In any case, it is a good idea to take some warm clothing and a raincoat whatever the time of year because the weather can turn suddenly. Last but not least, be sure to put your phone in your backpack.

Stones. You may find it extremely tempting to pocket a few volcanic stones with interesting shapes, but this is seriously harmful for the landscape and is completely forbidden. Remember, the best souvenir is the one you take back in your memory and your heart.

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