Teide National Park occupies the highest part of the island of Tenerife and Spain (Canary Islands). Declared January 22, 1954 Teide National Park, one is the largest and oldest national park in the Canary Islands and the third oldest in Spain. In 2007 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and since then the Teide National Park has been considered one of the 12 Treasures of Spain.
Teide National Park was in 2008 the most visited national park of four at their disposal the Canary Islands with a total of 2.8 million visitors, according to the Instituto Canario de Estadística (ISTAC) and is also the most visited national park in Spain, the most visited in Europe and second in the world with 3,142,148 visitors in 2007. The main sight is Spain's highest mountain, the Teide volcano, rising 3,718 m (12,198 ft) over the sea level.
Flora and fauna
Buses #342 from Costa Adeje (via Playa de las Americas and Los Cristianos, €9.9) or #348 from Puerto de la Cruz (€7.4). They run once a day, departing from their respective resorts at 09:15, and then leaving Teide at 16:00.
Tickets can be bought online 48 hours in advance.
A taxi from the airport to the bottom of the cable lift may set you back up to €150. Hitchhiking may be possible but is certainly easier for the way down than up.
Fees and permits
To climb to the summit of El Teide at 3,718 m (12,198 ft) (the uppermost 168 m (551 ft)), special permission is essential and checked thoroughly and strictly. It can be obtained online free of cost.
However, only a very limited number of permits is available for the general public. In addition, time slots are assigned, which may not align with your plans. Hence it is strongly recommended to get it as soon as possible, but at least two months before the planned hike. The reason given for this artificially created scarcity is conservation.
A car is easiest, however, some buses may be running. Sometimes streets can be closed due to snowfall. Check in advance. Race biking is also not unheard of. However, the thin air makes the trip up an exhausting exercise. There is no bike rental place in the park.
By cable car
From the car park area the view isn't particularly special: you'll have to ascend further to the top for the real goods. There are no roads available, so unless you're up for a hike the cable car is your only option. It's a 10-minute lift to 3,550 m. Return ticket is €27 (as of Dec 2017), half price for the residents and children; one-way ticket is €13.50. The return ticket is valid for 1 hour; if you miss it, you will have to pay additional €12.50 to go back down (however, this limitation does not seem to be enforced).
Tickets are sold for a specific departure time and sell out quickly. Buying one on the day itself means you'll have to wait for hours at best, but in the high season more likely it's not possible at all. Get your ticket online a couple of days in advance for a guaranteed spot.
- 2 Lower cable car station (at an altitude of 2350 m). 09:00 - 17:00, the last ascent to the top is at 16:00.
- 3 Upper cable car station (at an altitude of 3550 m).
- 1 Pico de Teide. If there is no cloud cover, you have an amazing view all over the island, the neighboring Canary Islands, and if you are lucky you may even get to see the African mainland. Usually clouds develop in the morning; hence, you are best advised to get to the top as early as possible.
- 2 Teide Observatory. One of the best spots in the world to observe sky provides guided visits. €21.
- 3 Los Roques de Garcia.
- 4 Mirador de Chío. A good viewpoint for the sunset watching.
There are tens of available routes, their description (in Spanish) alongside with some practical information, like trails' length and difficulty available at this link.
From the upper cable car station to the peak
From the mountain station of the cable lift at 3,550 m (11,650 ft) the hike up to the Teide peak at 3,718 m (12,198 ft) can take up to 1 hour depending on your physical abilities. It requires a permission and also hold your passport with you.
In case you could not get a permission it may not come as a surprise that local tour agencies can almost always organize a tour at any given day, even on short notice. The created shortage of tickets seems to work well as a mechanism to foster organized tours instead of individual tourism. Needless to say the price for an organized tour is significantly higher.
Access to the peak is only controlled from 09:00 - 17:00 every day (first and last ride of the cable lift). If you manage to get up (and down!) to the peak before 09:00 or after 17:00 you will be able to hike to the top without a permission.
From Montaña Blanca to the upper cable car station (ascent to Altavista Refuge)
You will either have to walk up Mt. Teide by foot up or down (or both). The 10 km (6.2 mi) hike up starts at 2,300 m (7,500 ft) and usually takes about 5½ hours one way. It should be well prepared as there are no facilities along the way and the surrounding can be anything from sharp magma stone, snow, ice or merciless sun.
The ascent by foot starts at 1 the base of the “Montaña Blanca” at a parking lot on the TF-21 highway, at an altitude of 2,300 m (7,500 ft) (very limited parking even very early in the morning). Don't underestimate the short walk as the gradient and low oxygen levels make it challenging even for experienced walkers.
After a relatively gentle start up a 4x4 track for around 4 km, you begin the steep and spectacular climb, ascending 530 m (1,740 ft) in just over 1.5 km (0.93 mi), when you will reach the recently rebuilt Altavista Refugio (3,260 m (10,700 ft)). This offers climbers a bed for a maximum of one (!) night and kitchen facilities. A reservation is needed and it closes early in the morning so you will need to continue the climb to the peak as early as 07:30. Alternatively you can of course take the cable lift climb down to the refuge for a sleepover.
After a 1 km (0.62 mi) and 250 m (820 ft) ascent, the path joins with another leading to La Fortaleza viewpoint, which follows the contour around El Teide to the cable lift. If required for descent, always check if the cable lift is operational before you set off, as it does not run in poor weather conditions and closes without warning. You should allow 6-8 hours (one way) for an ascent and descent on foot. Trailrunners can manage to run up the path in two hours, but this depends on fitness and experience.
Hiking Pico Viejo
A moderately demanding hike (hiking boots recommended) is possible from El Teide. One reasonable itinerary is leaving car at "Boca Tauce" (interesection of TF-21 and TF-38), taking bus line 342 from there to the cablecar, going up and then just descending via 2 Pico Viejo, Narices del Teide and back to Boca Tauce. It takes around 5-6 hours from the top to bottom.
Alto de Guajara
Climbing 3 Guajara is not restricted. The 2,718 m (8,917 ft) high peak can be accessed either from north (e.g. hotel Parador), which will take approximately 2 hours - or from the south. The latter is considerably more difficult, as you start at 1,400 m (4,600 ft) and thus expect 4-5h hike. A good base is the Vilaflor village.
There is not much to buy here.
Eat & drink
There is a cafe at the lower cable car station which serves sandwiches, cakes and coffee; buffet lunch costs €13.95. There are neither shops nor cafés at the upper station, only coffee vending machine.
Parador de los Cañadas del Teide Hotel has an upper-budget restaurant with mediocre food.
The other eating options can be found only in the settlements down the mountain.
- 1 Parador de los Cañadas del Teide, ☎ . The only proper hotel at the mountain. From €105-145 depending on the day of the week.
- 2 Refugio Altavista (Located at 3,260 m (10,700 ft) and accessible by foot only), ☎ . Check-in: 19:00, check-out: 07:30. A reservation is needed. No food is served and there are no showers. Although one is allowed to use kitchen facilities. Also one does not need to apply for the National Park permit to visit the Teide Peak crater before 09:00, because it is automatically granted when staying at the refuge. €25 per person.
The closest village with available housing options, located 25 km (30 minutes drive) from the mountain's cable car.
- 3 Hotel Rural Vilaflor, Calle Dolores, 20, Vilaflor, ☎ . Descent hotel located in a 150-year-old house. Breakfast is available on request €7 per person. Complimentary coffee, tea and access to the kitchen. Double room with shared bathroom €40.
- 4 El sombrieto, Calle Sta. Catalina, 15, Vilaflor, ☎ . It has a restaurant. €50.
- 5 Hotel Alta Montana, Camino Morro del Cano, 1, Vilaflor, ☎ . Single €50, double €70.
Not allowed as it's a national park.
You are advised to stay on the marked paths.
At 3,718 m (12,198 ft), El Teide is the highest mountain in Spain. The rapid ascent by cable car can lead to altitude sickness. Most people come here directly from sea level, which can be stressful.
If symptoms start to manifest you should descend immediately, note that at peak times the wait for the cable car descent can be over an hour. Details on what to expect can be found at Altitude sickness#How high is high.
At the summit, strong winds are not uncommon which significantly reduces temperatures. Irrespective of temperatures on the beaches, a trip to El Teide (or even just the National Park) can be very cold, with snow at the peak common until typically March/April on average. In Winter expect a few feet of snow and ice, and strong winds so prepare accordingly.
- Icod de los Vinos - under Teide, though far by road, 5 Cueva del Viento is the largest lava tube cave in Europe and the fifth-largest in the world.
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife - the capital
- Puerto de la Cruz – a laid-back, more family-friendly resort with the Loro Parque Zoo
- La Orotava – a stately, beautiful city
- Playa de las Américas – with Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje, a city built for tourists
- Los Cristianos
- Anaga National Park - national park at the other part of the island