paul steele on summit of mount teide

Mount Teide, Tenerife. The summit of which stands at 3,718 m (12,198 ft), which makes it the highest point in Spain. Today was my day for getting the old boots on and wandering up there.

As you ascend to the highest peak in Spain, a sense of wonder fills the air, immersing you in an awe-inspiring landscape like no other.

With its diverse ecosystem and geological wonders, Mount Teide offers a unique and captivating experience for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. From volcanic lunar landscapes to vibrant flora and fauna, every step of the way unveils new surprises and rewards.

Feel the adrenaline rush as you explore the surrounding trails and witness the majestic sunrise from above the clouds. As night falls, a mesmerizing stargazing experience awaits, offering a chance to marvel at the sparkling constellations against the backdrop of a clear Tenerife sky.

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sat on a volcanic rock

The significance of Mount Teide in Tenerife

Mount Teide holds great significance in Tenerife, both culturally and geologically. Standing at 3,718 meters above sea level, it is the highest peak not only in Spain but also in the entire Atlantic archipelago. The mountain is a stratovolcano, formed through numerous eruptions over millions of years. Its geological importance has led to it being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

But Mount Teide isn’t just a geological wonder; it is deeply rooted in the history and culture of Tenerife. The indigenous Guanches, the original inhabitants of the island, considered the volcano to be a sacred site. They believed it to be the gateway to the afterlife and held rituals and ceremonies on its slopes. Today, Mount Teide continues to be a symbol of Tenerife’s rich heritage and natural beauty.

el teide view

Planning your trip to Mount Teide

Before embarking on your climb of Mount Teide, it’s essential to plan your trip meticulously. The mountain attracts a large number of visitors, so it’s crucial to secure your permits and accommodations well in advance. The Teide National Park authorities allow a limited number of visitors per day on the summit to preserve the delicate ecosystem and ensure a pleasant experience for all.

view from the summit of mount teide

To access the summit, you can either hike or take the cable car. Hiking to the top is a challenging but rewarding experience, while the cable car offers a more convenient option for those with limited time or physical abilities. Whichever option you choose, be sure to check the weather conditions and dress appropriately for the changing temperatures and high altitudes.

Of course I chose to hike.

Booking a pass to the top of El Teide

As I said before, the National Park only allows a few people on the very summit per hour. Even the cable car only goes 40 minutes below the steep summit section and anybody going past this point still needs a pass to get to the very top. Places are limited so you need to book well in advance.

Passes can be purchased on via Reservas Parques Nacionales.

As you near the summit whether hiking from below or via the cable car you will need to show your pass and passport to be allowed that final trek to the top.

view from the el teide trail

Hiking routes and trails on Mount Teide

Mount Teide boasts a variety of hiking routes and trails that cater to different skill levels and interests. The most popular trail is the Telesforo Bravo, which takes you the short but steep section to the summit from the top of the cable car. This little yet challenging hike rewards you of course with panoramic views of the island and its neighbouring islands.

I was going up the route from Montana Blanca. It takes you through a surreal landscape of volcanic rock formations, offering a glimpse into the geological wonders of the area.

Route from Montana Blanca to the summit of El Teide:

The climb of El Teide from Montana Blanca is a distance of 8.3 km with an altitude gain of 1188 m. The time it will take depends on your fitness but normally between 5 and 6 hours. This is important to know when booking your summit passes.

Parking at Montana Blanca isn’t so big a car park so you are best parking where you can and safely. This is at F-21 Teide road, at kilometre 40.7. From the road follow trail number 7. Begin the hike by following the well-marked trail that leads towards the base of Mount Teide.

As you ascend, you will pass through various volcanic landscapes, including lava fields and rocky terrain. The trail offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and the island of Tenerife.

lunar landscape on mount teide

After a 4 km you will see a sign that turns left and ‘up’ towards El Teide. This is where the fun starts. A section where you climb 550 m in just 2,5 km. take it easy. It is steep. Half way up you come across huge volcanic boulders and small ones too which make it fun underfoot.

Continue on the trail until you reach the Altavista Refuge, a mountain hut located at an elevation of 3,260 meters. Take a break at the refuge to rest, take a breath and acclimatize to the high altitude.

From the refuge, follow the marked trail that leads to the summit of El Teide. The trail becomes steeper and more challenging as you approach the summit. As you near the summit, you will encounter loose volcanic gravel, so be cautious with your footing.

view of mount teide from below

Eventually your efforts are met with the sight of the top of the cable car where you meet the Telesforo Bravo trail to the summit. Permits and passports in hand you make that final 40 minutes or so push to the top of Spain. Finally, reach the summit of El Teide, standing at an impressive altitude of 3,718 meters.

Take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape, including the neighboring islands and the vast Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy your accomplishment and take memorable photos before starting your descent.

You can either come down all the way you came or take the cable car down and walk the 3 km along the road back to your car.

bee and wildlife on mount teide

Wildlife and flora on Mount Teide

Despite the harsh conditions, Mount Teide is home to a surprising array of wildlife and flora. As you explore the trails, you may encounter unique species such as the blue chaffinch, the Teide lizard, and the Canary Island pine. These endemic species have adapted to the high altitudes and volcanic soil, making them a significant part of the mountain’s ecosystem.

lizard on mount teide

The flora on Mount Teide is equally fascinating. The volcanic soil supports a diverse range of plant life, including succulents, wildflowers, and the iconic Teide violet. During the spring months, the mountain bursts into a riot of colors as the flowers bloom, creating a stunning contrast against the barren landscape.

flowers on mount teide

Unique experiences on Mount Teide

Beyond hiking, Mount Teide offers a plethora of unique experiences that will leave you in awe. One of the most popular activities is stargazing. The mountain’s high altitude and clear skies make it an ideal location for observing the night sky. Join a guided stargazing tour and marvel at the countless stars, planets, and constellations that illuminate the heavens above.

Another unforgettable experience is witnessing the sunrise from Mount Teide. As the first rays of light pierce through the horizon, the surrounding landscape transforms into a golden spectacle, casting a warm glow on the volcanic terrain. Be sure to arrive early and find a good vantage point to capture this magical moment.

el teide trail scene

Sunrise and sunset views from Mount Teide

The sunrise and sunset views from Mount Teide are nothing short of extraordinary. Whether you’re an early riser or prefer to soak in the beauty of a colorful sunset, Mount Teide offers picture-perfect moments that will take your breath away.

As the sun rises above the horizon, the landscape is bathed in a soft, golden light, casting long shadows and revealing the intricate details of the volcanic formations. The vibrant hues of orange, pink, and purple paint the sky during sunset, creating a surreal atmosphere that is nothing short of mesmerizing.

mount teide above the clouds

Safety precautions and tips for hiking Mount Teide

Hiking Mount Teide requires careful planning and preparation to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some essential safety precautions and tips to keep in mind:

1. Acclimatize yourself to the high altitude by spending a day or two in Tenerife before attempting the ascent.

2. Dress in layers to adapt to the changing temperatures and protect yourself from the strong sun.

3. Stay hydrated by carrying plenty of water and snacks.

4. Follow the marked trails and avoid venturing off the designated routes.

5. Check the weather conditions and be prepared for sudden changes.

6. Use sunscreen and wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun’s rays.

7. Respect the natural environment and leave no trace of your visit.

Accommodation options near Mount Teide

To fully immerse yourself in the beauty of Mount Teide, consider staying in one of the accommodations near the national park. There are several options available, ranging from luxury hotels to cozy mountain lodges. Wake up to breathtaking views of the volcano and enjoy the tranquility of the surroundings before embarking on your adventure.

above the clouds on mount teide

Conclusion: A memorable journey to the summit of Mount Teide

Embarking on a journey to the summit of Mount Teide is an experience like no other. From the moment you set foot on the trails to the awe-inspiring views from the summit, every step of the way offers a chance to connect with nature and create lasting memories. So, lace up your boots, pack your sense of adventure, and get ready for an unforgettable journey to the summit of Mount Teide in Tenerife.

epic view from el teide

As the saying goes, it’s not just about reaching the top; it’s about the journey itself. And the journey to the summit of Mount Teide promises to be an unforgettable one filled with breathtaking vistas, unique wildlife encounters, and a deep sense of wonder. So, start planning your trip to Tenerife and get ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.

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  1. Kiran Venkatarao says:


    I was killing time on the net, you have posted great photos.
    you have posted photos of Maui to Mexico, I got to see pictures of places I had only heard about,thank you


  2. This was one of the best trekking ever for me!

    1. Paul Steele says:

      super isn’t it? 🙂

  3. Hi, great pics and nice walk. I’ve just been to Lanzarote – Timanfaya National Park seems to have restrictions on access? Do you know if you can walk up the mountains in Lanzarote or do you need a permit/guide/something? We wanted to walk them, but the impression we were given was that it was very restricted access through the National Park. Your pics have made me consider Tenerife and some decent walking for our next holiday.

  4. Wow, what a place…. I’ll probably be in Tenerife next October. Can’t wait to see with my eyes that beautiful landscape. Thanks for sharing with us 🙂

    1. Paul Steele says:

      thank you.. you will truly love it 🙂

  5. light, natural, colors and blue sky are create your story 😉 love it

  6. Stuart Fyvie says:

    Hi Paul, I’m heading to Tenerife early july and planning to climb el teide. I’ve been scouring the net for tips….I know it’s all down to personal requirements and the weather at the time, but can you tell me how much water you took with you/you think would be adequate. I read a blog suggesting 4 litres but sounds a bit light.

    Thanks v much


  7. Fantastic pics. have been to Teide twice, but never managed to climb up, mostly for the lack of company. now, seeing your pics, I wish I had. but in the mean time, your pics give the view…lovely work

  8. Super pix. It's always good to see blogs which show the less commercial side of Tenerife (choosing my words carefully there!). The island has so much to offer on several levels, and the scenery is just one. As you probably know, as well as these wild, barren landscapes there are lush forests in the north too. It really is an island with many contrasts. Next time you should climb overnight – that is stay in the "refugio" overnight and begin to climb the final part before dawn to see the sunrise. It's breathtaking.

  9. Ohhhh… I'm travelling down memory lane! Nice day hike, superb views, very windy. Love your photos

  10. Cathy Kennedy says:

    Great pics Paul and what a climb you had – really stunning views above the clouds – looks very peaceful ;-))

  11. Great photos. We lived in Tenerife for three years prior to moving to Paris, and climbing Teide was one of the things I 'needed' to do before we left. It truly was/is a remarkable thing to do. Part of me stayed behind in Tenerife, not wanting to leave. Such a beautiful island to discover.

  12. @cinnamon_carter says:

    What magic !! You are not only one of the most exciting people on twitter you are exciting in real life as you travel everywhere to lovely places !! The photos are really nice too but I imagine being there was something that is not easily captured / instead experienced. Big Hug from me !!

  13. Can you see inside the volcano from the summit?

  14. Joe Cawley says:

    Great pics Paul. It really is an outstanding place, quite different to anywhere else on the planet! Thanks for sharing.

  15. Turismo de Tenerife says:

    Hi Paul:
    Many thanks for share your experiences in our island. It's a wonderful article, such as the rest of them about Tenerife.
    Thanks again and regards from the Tourism Board responsible of managing tourism on the island.

  16. @yumivore says:

    Wild and challenging terrain, quite a feat! I could almost feel the air from your photos. Looks like it was a rewarding adventure!

  17. Gina SuuperG Stark says:

    Wow Paul! It looks wild and wonderful – and the weather suupreme! Great shot of the little beastie! Is that a bat during daylight? Love it. My mom works with rehabilitating bats and I've always found them fascinating and so under-appreciated. You are such a great get-out-there-and-do-it-er 🙂 and I feel lucky we have you to share these tales with us and to entice us to follow you! Cheers and happy awesome travels my friend! xo G

  18. Heather in Lapland says:

    Fantastic, looks like a really rewarding climb but tough going. I don't know why but I was surprised at how arid it is.

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