One of the places that we cannot miss during a trip to the island of Tenerife is Teide, the highest peak in Spain and the third highest volcano in the world measured from the sea. It is not surprising, therefore, that with its 3.718 meters it attracts travelers from all over the planet who, from the plane, are fascinated by its imposing scenery.
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El Teide national park
It is undoubtedly the most characteristic place in Tenerife. In 1954 the area around Mount Teide was declared a National Park and since 2007 it has been part of the World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in the category of Natural Asset. In total, almost 200 km2 which includes other places of interest such as Roques de García, Pico Viejo, Montaña Blanca, Alto de Guajara or the Teide Observatory.
This National Park is located in the center of the island and has record numbers. Located at an average altitude of 2.000 meters, its summit represents the highest peak in the country and is the oldest and largest of all the national parks of the Canary Islands. In addition, we are facing the most visited National Park in Europe and Spain as it receives about three million visitors each year.
What to see?
Touring the Teide National Park is quite a spectacle. Everywhere you look, the landscape is wonderful because it seems from another planet. Due to the extreme high mountain weather conditions and the volcanic terrain, the fauna and flora have had to adapt to the environment, so many species can only be found here.
For example, if you visit it in spring, you will see specimens of red tajinaste, which has tiny deep red flowers and can grow to 3 meters high. Another very unique treasure is the Teide violet, the pride of the park, which can only be seen above 2.500 meters of altitude. Other plants that can be seen here are daisies, gorse, Teide wallflower, cedars and Canarian pines.
The fauna is another of the most interesting aspects of this space. Unique species such as the black lizard, the smooth or the perennial live here. As for birds, it is possible to see kestrels, royal shrikes and some endemic species such as the blue finch. Another very peculiar species in the park is the Corsican mouflon. It is so elusive from human presence that spotting it is a challenge and luck for those who find it.
However, the main attraction of the National Park is Mount Teide, which is the highest peak in all of Spain at 3.718 meters high. At present it is not allowed to access the summit of the volcano, although if a permit is requested in advance it is possible to reach the Pico Viejo and the highest point of Teide.
Other places of interest
For those who wish to reach the summit of Teide, the Altavista Refuge was set up, the highest altitude accommodation in the country located at 3.260 meters above sea level.
Hermitage of Our Lady of the Snows
In addition to the natural attractions, inside the park is the Parador Nacional del Teide and next to it is the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de las Nieves, the temple in Spain at the highest altitude.
El Teide Visitor Centers
These are spaces where you can learn more about the history, fauna, flora and geology of the park. One is in the northern access (El Portillo) and another in the southern area (Cañada Blanca).
The cable car of El Teide
It is the most popular option to get to know El Teide, although not the only one. The cable car takes visitors from the base of the volcano to La Rambleta station, 3.555 meters above sea level, in a journey of approximately 10 minutes in cabins with capacity for 44 passengers.
From the La Rambleta viewpoint there are spectacular panoramic views of the volcanic ravines that run through this area of the island. On clear days you can even see the profile of other islands in the Canary archipelago. Once you arrive at this station located at the top of the mountain, you can also take the path that leads to the top of Teide. This option is not mandatory but those who choose to do this hiking route must apply for a permit.
Cable car hours
The Teide cable car operating hours are from 9am. at 17pm, with a last ascent at 16pm. Tickets can be purchased either directly at the box office or by booking on the website.
Tips for visiting El Teide
- Children under 3 years old are not allowed.
- Sometimes at the top of Teide you can experience the well-known altitude sickness due to the lower amount of oxygen. If this happens, you have to try to move slowly and in a few minutes you get used to the altitude.
- Despite the fact that in Tenerife there are always very mild temperatures, it is possible that at the top of Teide you will feel the cold. For this reason it is also advisable to wear warm clothing.
- It is also advisable to bring a canteen with water, because at the top of Teide you cannot buy food or drink.