Pico del Teide – A volcanic playground

Pico del Teide – A volcanic playground

Last update: 13 February 2023
First published: 22 February 2017

The Canary Islands bubbled up from an isolated hotspot and formed a chain of islands as the continental plate moved across it over several millions of years. The older islands to the east have been steadily eroding away in the meantime, but the western part of the archipelago still boasts some impressive mountains (and an active volcano!)

Pico del Teide volcano

Pico del Teide on Tenerife is the biggest of them all. It’s even higher than any of the other mountains on the Spanish mainland. Surrounded by a huge caldera, its peak rises up an astonishing 3718 metres into thin air. Its flanks are a volcanic playground, with a multitude of colourful cones and bizarre cathedral-like rock formations.

Volcán de Sámara, Pico del Teide, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
View from Volcán de Sámara across to Pico Viejo and Pico del Teide in the distance.

Canary Islands volcanic landscapes

You can find winding roads along titled layers of rock and miscellaneous volcanic deposits. With breathtaking mountains and rugged volcanic landscapes there is a lot of truly beautiful nature to be discovered on the Canary Islands.

Bizarre rock formations, Pico del Teide. Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Bizarre structures & rock formations.

How to get to Pico del Teide

Teide National Park is right in the centre of the island. Road TF-21 winds its way in multiple hairpin bends and steep inclinations around the southern flanks of Pico del Teide. You’ll pass through the charming mountain village of Vilaflor, where it’s also possible to stay overnight.

Villaflor is a great location to explore the park from.

Tilted layers of rock and Teide observatory, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Titled layers of rock, with Teide astronomical observatory in the distance.

Teleférico cable car

You can go almost all the way to the top of Pico del Teide by cable car. The Teleférico del Teide goes from its base station within the national park at 2356 meters to La Rambleta at an altitude of 3555 meters. From there you can explore walking tracks circling around the upper slopes and leading to several stunning viewpoints.

It’s essential to book the cable car online in advance, within a specific timeslot. There is no longer a ticket office at the base station.

Pico del Teide, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Pico del Teide, a colourful volcanic playground.

Access to Teide Peak crater track

If you want to go up to the top itself and smell the sulphur, you will need to book a permit in advance at the Teide National Park authorities. The permit is free, but there is a limit to the number of people that can go up each day.

Staying overnight on Pico del Teide!

Another interesting option is to stay overnight at the Altaviste Refuge mountain hut, located on the eastern slope below the cable car station. I didn’t know about this at the time I visited, but I definitely want to stay there next time I go to Tenerife!

Besides the chance to see the amazing sunset and legendary starry skies, you can also access the Teide Peak crater track between 06.00 and 09.00 hrs the next morning. You don’t need to apply for a permit beforehand – it’s included in your stay.

Pico del Teide map

This handy interactive map shows the locations in the pictures above. You can also click on the icons, and zoom in for more details of the island of Tenerife itself.

Video – Pico del Teide, Tenerife and La Palma

This video shows a beautiful compilation of various places around Tenerife and La Palma, from a trip I made with two friends in December 2021. In the first 3 minutes you can see the colourful caldera around Pico del Teide and images from Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

It also features the final days of the erupting volcano Cumbre Vieja on La Palma (from 10:37), Roque de los Muchachos and the south coast around Fuencaliente.

Video by Freek Slangen.

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(c) Nancy Claus – Wilderness Coffee & Natural High

Mountains & Volcanoes – Pico del Teide, Tenerife, Canary Islands

This post was originally published as NaturePic Challenge: a series of pictures of epic nature and places that will induce a natural high. 😉

© All photo’s and content on this blog are my own, and subject to copyright (unless credited otherwise). Please contact me if you would like to use a picture or quote a piece of text from one of my articles. You’re welcome to share a link to my blog articles and pictures on social media, with a tag or mention to Wilderness Coffee & Natural High.

More to explore & discover

El Hierro – A volcanic hotspot underneath the sea

La Palma – Cumbre Vieja volcano route

Etna – Vigorously steaming from all its craters

Hawaii – Volcanic fields of fire

Fimmvörðuháls – The fiery pass across Eyjafjallajökull

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