Mount Teide
Las Canadas del Teide National Park

A "compulsory" visit to Mount Teide, aka “El Teide”, which is the Tenerife volcano, and the Parque Nacional de Las Cañadas del Teide (Las Cañadas National Park), helps you get away from the idea that Tenerife is just beach and sun. You definitely won’t regret visiting. The views are simply spectacular, and from the peak you can see the other six Canary Islands (but only if the day is clear and without the haze called “calina”). If the sky is cloudy then enjoy the splendid sea of clouds formed around the volcano.

Mount Teide and the trail towards La Fortaleza

The weather conditions in the volcano are very extreme. During winter it is normal to snow and during summer you have to be careful with the sun, so take extra caution when visiting. Climbing up Mount Teide can be done by hiking, also known locally as “senderismo”, although make sure you are fit for this - or simply by using the cable car.

Teide and Las Cañadas - Quick Links

A Brief History of the Volcano and Las Cañadas

The Guanches (the original inhabitants of the Canary Islands) were the first to use the lands of Las Cañadas del Teide to feed their sheep and goats. Several centuries later, in 1799, Las Cañadas received the visit of its first illustrious "tourist", the renowned German scientist Alexander von Humboldt. 

Tenerife Travel Secret

Mount Teide and the National Park receive about 3.000,000 visitors a year.

The National Park of Las Canadas del Teide has been classed as a Spanish National park since 1954. It is therefore the oldest of the four national parks located in the Canary Islands (the others are Garajonay in La Gomera, Roque de los Muchachos in La Palma and Timanfaya in Lanzarote). It is a National Park that offers indescribable views and that do not pass unnoticed in view of the tourists. Also on June 29, 2007 Mount Teide National Park was declared a World Heritage Site. This title enabled the authorities to ensure the protection of the area and so those who have the chance to visit the island of Tenerife can enjoy the park.

Las Cañadas

Las Cañadas del Teide, located at 2000 meters above sea level, offers incredible scenery and catches the imagination of the visitors, due to centuries of eruptions that have generated a wealth of landscapes unrivalled in the world. Because of this such unique beauty, it is not surprising that great directors have decided to film some movies here, such as "One Million Years B.C." (1966), from which the actress Raquel Welch became an icon, walking through the strange and barren terrain of Las Canadas del Teide; the recent film "Clash of the Titans" (2010) and its sequel; or various TV commercials.

Also from the facilities of the Parador de Las Canadas del Teide it is possible to enjoy the fantastic views that the Park has to offer to its visitors. The Parador is a hotel in the middle of the Park, and the only building around the volcano, which makes it a unique place to stay overnight or simply enjoy the views.

El Teide - The Volcano

Mount Teide is 3,718 metres high, and it is the highest mountain in Spain; on top of being the third highest volcano in the world (the other two are in Hawaii). The diameter of the crater is about 80 metres. You can reach the peak of the volcano to enjoy the unparalleled views of the crater with a free permit that must be applied for in advance (ask for permission long before if you want to visit the volcano during the summer months, when there is an increased inflow in the park). This last part of the ascent will then be guided. It is important to know that it is strictly forbidden to collect rock samples from the territories comprising the park, the mountain and the peak especially. This measure is to avoid permanent changes in the topography of the area. On the other hand, you can reach a good height without permission (about 3,600 meters), by using the cable car or by making the ascent on foot; the latter requires at least four hours, provided you are in good shape.

It is essential to visit Mount Teide, but we remind you that you have to be fit; as it is a climb via “senderos” (trails) located 2000 meters from sea level. It is better to ascend during the last days of summer or on a clear day with no “calina” (haze), as it is quite likely that you can see some of the other islands. Another great experience at the peak of El Teide is at dawn, since the sunrise forms the shadow of the Teide on the sea of clouds. One recommendation by Tenerife Travel Secrets writers: do not forget to use lots of sunscreen for protection, since the sun will expose your skin and sunburn is quite common among visitors.

Tenerife Travel Secret

Did you know that the shadow cast of the Teide on the sea at dawn is the largest in the world ?

What to Do in Las Cañadas and Surroundings

There are several places that are worth a visit throughout the National Park of Las Canadas del Teide, so do not miss them on your visit:

  • Las Minas de San José (Mines of San Jose), where you will find a wide variety of colours of land - from green to red. Every year (with special permission) the municipality of La Orotava collects a bit of the land to make their famous and beautiful “alfombras” (rugs) in the main plaza of the City, during the celebrations of Corpus Christi (around June);
  • The views of the Alto Guajara;
The beautiful views of Alto Guajara and the building of Parador de Las Cañadas
  • Los Roques de Garcia, volcanic rocks with different shapes in the middle of the park;
Volcanic rocks of Los Roques de Garcia
  • If you want to spend the night in the park with some comfort and close to the mountain, the Hotel Parador de Las Canadas del Teide is a recommended place, not only to sleep, but also to appreciate the night sky of Tenerife with the help of the telescopes available in the facilities;
  • The views of one of the largest plains found on the island – Llano de Ucanca – and the spectacular rocky cathedral;
Llano Ucanca
  • The Azulejos (Tiles), coloured formations arising from volcanic sulfur acids and easily visible on the road that goes from the Llano Ucanca to Parador;
The colorful rocks of Los Azulejos
  • The Cañada del Capricho, varied rock formations that show spectacular colours at sunset;
  • The Zapatito de la Reina - on the esplanade of Llano Ucanca you can find this rock formation shaped as a high heel shoe;
  • La Tarta - this lies outside the realm of the park, passing the Izaña area, where you can find the Astrophysical Teide Observatory, descending towards Esperanza;
  • Cueva del Hielo or Cueva de los Cazadores, which is about 600 meters away from the Refugio de Altavista (Refuge), in the domains of Mount Teide, at about 3,300 metres high. This cave has about 55 square mts filled with ice;
  • In the “Gran Circo de Las Cañadas” (which is a beautiful caldera of a collapsed crater) you can see a few other smaller volcanoes, that have great importance also. Those include the Pico Viejo (Montaña Chahorra) which is 3,100 metres high with a crater of 800 meters in diameter, considered the origin of Mount Teide; or Montaña Rajada, that also has a large amount of obsidian (a hard volcanic glass formed by lava when it is cooling down rapidly).
Gran Circo de Las Cañadas and the area of La Fortaleza just in front of the clouds
  • And if you have a whole day we strongly recommend the excursion to the Valle Ucanca (Ucanca valley) and Siete Cañadas, a walk to be done on foot that brings you to a world of tranquillity and calmness, as well as enjoyment of nature in its pure state.

In the vicinity of Mount Teide and the National Park there is a great variety of fauna and flora, which contrasts with the initial idea of being a place seemingly inhospitable and bleak. There are many endemic plants such as tajinaste (blooming between the months of May and June), the Rosal del Guanche, Violeta del Teide and retama del Teide, with yellow flowers.

Regarding the fauna there are many species of lizards, but there are also small birds such as the famous and always difficult to spot Pinzón Azul del Teide.

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