Exploring El Teide National Park

El Teide National Park

Tenerife is dominated by one of the largest volcanoes in the world. It is absolutely impossible to miss it. And it’s a must-see when visiting the island. I promise you will not regret going up this mountain. Learn all about exploring El Teide National Park right here.

One of the most unforgettable places on Tenerife is the El Teide National Park . El Teide is a jaw-droppingly impressive volcano. With 3,718 meters high, it is not just the highest mountain in Spain but also the highest point above sea level in all of the Atlantic Ocean. Measured from base-to-peak (7,500 m (24,600 ft) it is the highest volcano in the entire world outside Hawaii, and the third-biggest volcanic structure. The top of mount Teide is often snow-covered and sometimes above the clouds, which ensures a heavenly view up there. It is impossible to miss this volcano. You will spot it from your plane before landing on Tenefire and before seeing anything else. You can even see it from the other Canary Islands if you happen to go there. El Teide dominates Tenerife.

El Teide national park and volcano
El Teide

El Teide National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The volcano and the area around it are so unique that the entire El Teide National Park is now a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site. I lack words to describe how beautifully weird this place is, but let me try anyway. Let me begin by saying: you have never seen anything like this. How can I be sure? Because there is no other place like this on our planet. The mountains and craters are so unworldly and so much like another planet – specifically Mars – that NASA and other space agencies come here to test their rovers and robots before they send them into space (I’m not kidding).

El Teide national park. Volcanic craters.
Like Mars, but with nice blue skies

The clear air is also of great benefit to astronomical research. So several agencies and universities built observatories on the mountain. The higher up you go, the less vegetation there is and the more unworldly the place becomes. Before you get there, you get to drive through the park on zigzag roads and admire endless island and ocean views, pine forests as far as you can see and breathtaking green valleys.

El Teide volcano. Pine trees and valleys.
Endless views while driving to the top
El Teide national park is like another planet.
Closer to the top
The closer to the top, the weirder the landscape looks.
NASA tests its Mars Rovers here

El Teide Volcano is Active

Closer to the top, you can visit the tourist center, learn all about volcanoes and suddenly find out that el Teide is actually still active. It erupted only 110 years ago, destroying a village and beach, and, yes, will erupt again at some point. No worries though: chances are extremely slim that this will happen during your trip to El Teide National Park since the signs of an upcoming eruption will be manifold way before it happens. Having said that, why not make sure to keep your phone and camera close and ready to take some amazing volcanic eruption shots while you’re there? You never know.

The volcano is safe to visit. And very beautiful.
No worries, it’s all safe!

To the Top in Just 8 Minutes

From the visitor centre, you can take the cable car to go up the volcano. It takes just 8 minutes. And from there, you can literally see all of Tenerife, the Atlantic Ocean surrounding it and even the other Canary Islands. The cable car does not go all the way to the peak, by the way. Not because there’s a lava lake or volcanic activity up there that makes it unsafe, but because the hillside doesn’t allow it. There are three walking routes to the top, though, that all start at the upper cable car station. No matter which one you take, make sure to take it slow. After all, this place really is far up in the sky so you need to be in good condition for the climb.

A Few Tips About Exploring El Teide National Park

Note: Make sure to Google some information before you go up. You may need to book the cable car online and in advance. They only allow a certain number of people to go up every day. Here is the official website where you van book the cable car.

Also, you need advanced special permission to take the walking routes up to the peak. And last but not least: that plenty of warm clothes. No matter how warm and sunny Tenerife is – the wind up on the volcano is really cold. The higher up you get the more you’ll freeze.

Tenerife offers a lot more then this amazing national park alone. It has some spectacular and very beautiful beaches. And besides El Teide there are other fascinating places to discover. Click here to find out what else to see and do on Tenerife.