Hiking on a volcano: El Teide

El Teide, this volcano is the first and utmost reason of the existence of the Canary Islands and mainly Tenerife: without this mountain, the island would never have been like it is now. It’s still active and can awake itself at any moment. On that day, it will destroy all what we know today, all the wonderful landscapes and nature we have on Tenerife.

It’s a 434 years old volcano and it erupted for the last time in 1909. It is composed of a few small volcanoes (which are today not active anymore, still El Teide the main one and the highest one is just sleeping). Teide is the highest point in Spain at over 3700m altitude, it’s also the 3rd highest volcano in the world.

During your visit, you’ll discover all its aspects and turning around by walking on the different foot paths: from the smallest crater to the moon landscape passing by some immense lava fields.  From there, you’ll get an idea of how powerful the mount Teide is. Did you know that the “Parque Nacional del Teide” is often solicited by film-makers for movies or advertisements? Like in 2010 for many scenes in “Clash of the Titans” for example.

Nacional Parque

Parque Nacional del Teide

There are several foot paths on the volcano, giving lots of opportunities for hiking. One of them guides you through the mountain and brings you to the top passing by “Pico Viejo”, the old active volcano which let its place to the new and fresh: “Pico Teide”.

The park can be also visited by car (there are 3 roads which are crossing it) but of course you’ll not discover the wonderful things and places that you can see by foot.

By the way, if you’re interested to discover the “Parque Nacional del Teide”, here is a map with some highlights in the park :

The “Sendero Nueve” (footpath n°9) will guide you trough the volcano and until the “Pico Teide”. To walk all the way to the top, the sign says 8 hours, including breaks of course because the higher you’ll be, the less easy it will be. We had as goal the “Pico Viejo”, almost halfway to the top, but the weather conditions and the lack of equipment made us stop before and go down back to the car. Anyway, our walk showed us wonderful landscapes, gave great souvenirs and offered us an original area to walk in.

El Teleferico

We booked “El Teleferico” which brings you almost to the top in fact. This cable car brings you along over 1000m higher in only 10 minutes, and there will still be 600m to walk before reaching the top: 200m higher. To reach that point, you need to be in good health and a bit sportive: the lack of oxygen there doesn’t help.  It’s 27€ per person for the return tickets and it gives you access during approximately one hour.

We exceeded this time by 40 minutes due to way to the top and they didn’t ask us to pay a supplement of anything, just don’t stay there for 4 hours before going back down.


I advice you to book it for the beginning of your trip and in advance online.  Why?
Because first you cut the queue there by not going to the cash desk but you go straight to the boarding area. And early in your stay because for us it was planned on Monday and we went to the top only on Wednesday. In case of bad weather conditions, the cable cars remain closed and you’re not able to go, so you re-book the next day until it works and it seems that it is quite often closed. For example: “We met a french couple there and they planned to do it almost on the day of departure, but it remained closed for two days and they were unable to make it and they missed this wonderful experience”.

Pico del Teide

The access to the top is regulated to keep it clean, safe and intact. Only 50 people per 2 hours can go there, so I can assure you that you need to book it in advance here! Do it in time, for example at the same time as you book your holidays/flights, otherwise it might be fully-booked.

When you get this authorisation (it’s free of charge), print it and take your ID or passport with you the day of the visit to get access. You’ll be given access to the “Telesforo Bravo n°10”, the one and only footpath which guides you to the top of “El Teide” and its crater at 3718m high above the see.

It’s 200m higher, the footpath is approximately 600m long and takes 40 minutes to reach the end of it : the “Pico Teide”. The altitude and the strong smell of sulfur coming out the numerous fumaroles in the area make progress difficult. You need to go slowly, step by step, taking many breaks and not running.

If the sky is clear, you’ll get a view over all Tenerife and also on the archipelago: Lanzarote, Hiero, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura or even La Gomera. If you decide to walk from the bottom and you want to stopover at the “Alteviste Regue”, don’t forget to book it in advance. And this will also give you the access before 9 AM to reach the top of El Teide, allowing you to see the sunrise from there and the shadow of this mountain in the sea.

For the ones who don’t get/want access to the top, there are several footpaths around the Teleferico Station High which are less difficult, easier and well adjusted for a walk. One of them guides you through the mountain until the “Pico Viejo”.

A unique experience !

According to me, it’s a unique and unavoidable experience when traveling to Tenerife. You just need to be well prepared and to bring your warm jacket and reserve some time for it. By the way, the authorisation for the access to the top can be renewed up to 3 days if the cable cars remain closed these days and it will automatically be valid the following day that it opens (in this 3 days period).

See you again soon for new travel adventures !

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