Teide National Park, things that nobody will tell you
Climbing to the top of Teide Volcano is an adventure that everyone must experience at least once in their life. Its incredible lunar landscapes will really make you feel like you’re on another planet. But before you go…
What do you know about one of the most popular excursions in Tenerife? When I first went to the Teide National Park, I was not aware of many rules and regulations, which didn’t allow me to experience this adventure at its fullest. And that’s precisely why I want to share some of the information which I’m sure will make your trip to the Teide Volcano more enjoyable.
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General Information about the Teide Volcano
- First of all, know that climbing to the top of the volcano must not be your number one priority. What I mean here is that the Teide Volcano covers a huge area and since each corner of the national park has a big value, even if you don’t take the cable car or hike up to the peak you’ll still be able to experience some of the most beautiful landscapes in Tenerife. Reaching the peak is not mandatory so don’t only focus on it; decide what is most convenient for you without being fixated on reaching the peak.
- Due to its volcanic and biological uniqueness, it was declared a national park in 1954, and it was given World Heritage Site status in 2007. In 2014, it became the first World Heritage Site to be designated as a ‘Starlight Destination’ owing to the quality of its sky for astronomical observation.
- Teide National Park receives an average of 3.5 million visitors per year. With this number of travellers each year, Teide National Park is one of the most visited national parks in all of Europe.
- There are a number of ways to get to Teide National Park in Tenerife. Among them driving your own car, taking a private bus tour excursion, or doing a quad biking experience are the best choices. You can book Teide half day Tour and Teide Quad Biking tour from any of the tourist areas in Tenerife.
- There are two options for ascending Mount Teide: First, by cable car, travelling from the base station at an altitude of 2,356 m to the top station, known as La Rambleta, at 3,555 m. The second option is to hike via Montaña Blanca (trail number 7). Given the limited time on the island, the cable car is the option that most visitors normally choose.
- With an altitude of 3,718-meter (12,198 ft.), Mount Teide is the highest point in Spain.
- If measured from the ocean floor, its height of 7,500 m (24,600 ft) makes Teide the third-highest volcano in the world.
- The trail that connects the Rambleta station (Top Station) to the peak of the volcano is number 10. It’s named “Telesforo Bravo,” and the hike takes about an hour. Around the Teide National Park, there are so many other hiking options than just number 10 to the summit. In fact, there are 37 officially designated trails in the park covering nearly 400 kilometres of ground.
- The volcano is still active, and the last eruption took place in November 1909. If you take the Teide Cable car to the Rambleta station, then you will even be able to see, in a few areas, a little bit of smoke coming out from the rocks. Now, I had already been to the Krafla Volcano in Iceland where the smoke emitting from the ground was spectacular. When I walked along the lava field there, I felt like I was in Dante’s “Inferno.” Because of that, I was not that impressed by seeing just a little bit of smoke here and there at the Teide Mount. But if it is your first time seeing a volcano, then undoubtedly you will enjoy it.
- At an altitude of 3,260 metres on the Teide Volcano there is a place to stay: The Altavista Refuge. It has three dormitory-style bedrooms with a total capacity of fifty-four people, along with toilets without a shower, it has a small kitchen, storage rooms, and a first aid room. Stays are limited to one night with a prior online reservation. There isn’t a restaurant here, just some vending machines, so you’ll want to bring water and food. Staying at the Altavista Refuge at the Teide Volcano is definitely a great option for watching the sunrise and sunset from the summit. If you stay at Altavista, you’ll be able to get to the peak of Mount Teide before 9:00 am, and you can access the area without applying for a permit. Just be sure to leave the summit before 9:00 am. The Altavista Refuge is currently closed due to Covid.
- Mount Teide has the world’s largest cone-shaped shadow. One fascinating event that happens twice a day, at sunrise and sunset, around Mount Teide is the magnificent triangle-shaped shadow in the area around the mountain. To observe this spectacular occurrence, you will have to be on the highest point of the Island. The shadow cast is so huge extending hundreds of miles into the Atlantic Ocean. This is said to be the world’s largest shadow over the sea.
- Mount Teide can be explored also during the night. Check out the excursions here. I highly recommend this evening with a difference in a unique setting!
- Although El Teide is the best known on the island, there are more than 200 volcanoes in Tenerife.
Teide Cable Car Information
- Children under 3 are not permitted to take the cable car.
- Cable car base station is at an altitude of 2,356 metres.
- Cable car upper station is at 3,555 metres, and it’s also known as La Rambleta station.
- Teide Peak is at 3,718 metres.
- The cable car ride from the base station to the Rambleta Station takes 7 minutes. Meanwhile the Montaña Blanca trail is around 9 km long and it takes between 6 and 7 hours of hiking.
- Teide cable car doesn’t take you to the top of the crater; it takes you nearly to the summit, to the altitude of 3550m (11650 ft).
- People with heart problems, asthmatics, and pregnant women are not allowed to ascend by cable car up to 3550m because the high altitude is said to aggravate their health conditions. When I visited the Teide National Park with my father, we decided to stay at the Roques De Garcia area, and it was one of my most beautiful trekking experiences in Tenerife.
- Persons of reduced mobility or special needs may not ascend by cable car: if the service is interrupted unexpectedly, people at the top station will be required to descend by foot along very steep terrain.
- The Teide cable car can be closed without any notice in the case of strong wind or heavy snow on the summit.
If you want to go up the volcano by cable car, I recommend booking your ticket in advance here.
Rules and Regulations at the Teide Volcano
- Only one hour stay is allowed at the Rambleta Station. Now, never ever forget this point because if you exceed this defined time, you may be asked to pay to descend again. Considering that the cable car ticket doesn’t have a small priced, this could be very annoying.
- Drone flying is not allowed in the whole area of the Teide National Park. Professionals like film makers, television, and people linked to video and photographic activities must obtain authorisation at least 15 working days prior to the start of filming. In addition to the application properly filled in and signed, they also need to add a photocopy of the ID, passport, or resident card of the person applying for the permit.
- Once you are at the Rambleta station, if you want to reach the top of Teide volcano, you’ll have to complete the remaining 530 feet or so on foot. Remember that if you want to hike up to the crater you need special permission which should be obtained online ahead of time from the Reservas de Parques Nacionales website. The permit to climb to the peak of Teide is FREE, meaning there is no cost to be paid, but the registration with date and time is mandatory. The permit cannot be issued on site for any reason. Also know that the number of daily permits to access Teide crater is limited and it is necessary to apply for it at least two months in advance if you want to make sure to obtain one.
- For conservation and security reasons, access to the crater (trail number 10, known as the Telesforo Bravo path) is restricted to a maximum of 200 people per day. Out of the 200 online permits that the National Park provides each day, some are reserved for the National Park’s official guides.
- In order to better control the groups using the cable car and the trail NUMBER 10, the day has been split into two-hour periods in which the trail can be used. Visitors must choose the period in which they will use the trail. These periods are:
– From 9:00 to 11:00 AM.
– From 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.
– From 1:00 to 3:00 PM.
– From 3:00 to 5:00 PM (if you choose this period, keep in mind that the last cabins of the Teide Cableway come down around 4:30 PM and sometimes earlier, especially in winter).
- If you have the permit to reach the crater, the maximum amount of time for being at the top (between the upper station, the trail and the peak) is 2 hours.
- During your visit to the Teide National Park, you are asked to remain in the demarcated areas. In case of emergency, Teide National Park rescues with a helicopter. If you are found in the indicated trail zone, then the assistance will be given free of charge. But if you are out of the demarcated areas then you will be asked to pay for the service. Which, I assure, doesn’t come cheap.
- Taking home a piece of Teide volcanic rock could actually be constituted as an environmental crime since it is considered damaging to the island’s beautiful landscape, so don’t be tempted!
What you don’t want to forget for exploring the Teide Volcano
- Wear sunglasses to protect yourself from strong sunlight in both winter and summer. Luminosity at such an altitude is elevated.
- Wear suitable footwear for walking over rocky terrain. The surface of the upper station trails is irregular.
- Wear warm clothing. Although it may be very sunny at the beach, weather at an altitude of 3 555 m may surprise you. We recommend carrying a jacket.
- Wear a hat.
- Use sunblock to prevent sunburn.
- Don’t forget to bring enough water.
- Take some food with you.
Have any other questions about the Tenerife Volcano, Mount Teide hiking, or want to share your own experiences? Please do so in the comments below!