Teide is a volcano located on the Spanish island of Tenerife located in the Atlantic Ocean. It is 3718m above sea level and is the highest peak in Spain.
We go to the top of Teide by road from the Montaña Blanca parking. This is the most popular trail to the top. It leads through the Refugio de Altavista shelter, which is currently closed. Parking is public and you can leave your car there for the night.
Is it possible to climb Mount Teide without permission or not?
Although officially you can only climb to the top of Mount Teide with a special permit. Only 200 people can reach the summit per day. The entrance permit is free, but usually it can only be booked a few months in advance. A link to the booking page can be found on the official website of the park here.
However, what to do when we have purchased flights and there are no more permits to enter? We have several options to choose from. The first is the frequent refreshment of the booking page,because sometimes someone will give up and the places are freed up. After arrival, we managed to book one date (perhaps in pandemic times it is easier due to the smaller number of tourists). However, it was one day before departure and we preferred to try the much more interesting option number two.
This is an option to get to the summit before the time of validity of the permits, that is, until 9 am. Before this time, access to the summit is free, only after 9 am a guard appears asking to show the tickets. Therefore, a great option is to enter the sunrise.
Route: Parking Montaña Blanca – Refugio de Altavista – Cable car – Teide volcano summit
Parking Montaña Blanca – Refugio de Altavista
We start the trip by reaching the Montaña Blanca car park. As due to the pandemic in the Canary Islands there is a curfew from 23 to 6 am, we depart from Puerto de la Cruz at 22 o’clock. After overcoming the winding road, we reach the place after an hour of driving. There are 2 more cars in the parking lot. The entire car park can accommodate about 10-12 cars.Parking Montaña Blanca is located at an altitude of 2340m above sea level.
We decide to try to take a nap. In the meantime, there are a few more cars, so we already know that we will not be on the trail alone. At 1:30 we set off on the trail. After a while, however, I find that we could easily start trekking an hour or an hour and a half later.
The first section of the trail leads through a gravel, wide road with a length of 4.5 kilometers. The slope is gentle and we have the opportunity to warm up well. After about an hour we reach the fork to mount Montaña Blanca or to the hostel.
This section leads quite steeply upwards. We have 550 meters of elevation to overcome. The beginning of the section is quite an uncomfortable road with falling stones and gravel. In a few places, the trail is not well marked and we use the maps.me app to make sure we are on the right track. After 2.5 hours of walking, at 4 o’clock in the morning we reach the Refugio de Altavista shelter,which is located at an altitude of 3260m above sea level.
We find a place in front of the shelter where it does not blow too hard and take a break for food and coffee. We also see the rise of a wonderfully red, waning moon. In the meantime, there are also other tourists who talk about their previous ascents to Mount Teide, including the fact that they recently had to descend from the summit before sunrise, because it was so terribly cold. That is why we decide to stay at the shelter for up to an hour, so as not to get cold at the top.
Although the shelter is officially closed, we find an open shelter there, where there are 3 beds and sleeping people with their sleeping bags.
Refugio de Altavista – Teleferico del Teide Cable Car
We leave the shelter at 5 o’clock. As we have 2.3 kilometers left to the summit and 420 meters of elevation, we decide to go very slowly, so as to get to the top around 7 am. This section leads along a comfortable stony path. We reach the queue at 6:15.
Teleferico del Teide – the summit of Mount Teide
When we reach the queue slowly begins to dawn, we see a beautiful red glow above the horizon. The cable car is located at an altitude of 3555m above sea level, so we have 163 meters of approachleft. From this point on, I start to feel the height slightly, breathe harder, and the heart beats faster. The pace of entry also slows down, we reach the top at 6:45.
At the top, the wind blows quite strongly, so we are looking for a place between the rocks where we could hide. We are waiting for the sunrise admiring the brighter and more beautiful views. According to the forecast, it is expected to take place at 7:30, but the sun rises above the sea of clouds at 7:16. So it is worth entering a little earlier than the forecasts show (but not too early not to get too cold!).
From the top we can also admire the characteristic shadow cast by the cone of the volcano. It is located exactly in front of the rising sun. We also admire the view of three islands: La Gomera, La Palma and Gran Canaria, which emerge between the clouds.
At the top at the crucial moment there are about 20 people. At 7:45 we start to descend from the summit. The road is quite short, the descent takes 20-30 minutes.
After descending to the queue, we go to the nearby viewpoint of the old crater of the Pico Viejo volcano. It is 200 metres lower than Mount Teide.
Downhill by train or descent from the summit?
From Mount Teide we can go down the same road to the parking lot, which will take us about 2.5-3 hours, depending on the pace. Then we have the opportunity to see the entire route and admire the views. However, with the sunrise it gets warmer and just after setting off we can throw off all the additional warm layers.
I chose the option of going down the cable car so as not to strain my knees too much. The exit or entry itself costs 21 euros, and the entrance together with the exit costs 37 euros. The queue operates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exit to the lower station takes 8 minutes. We can pay for the ticket after the exit. Both in the upper and lower stations there are toilets.
The lower station of the cable car – Montaña Blanca parking through the desert
To the parking lot from the bottom station of the Teleferico del Teide cable car, we can go along the asphalt road, or go on another trekking along the path marked with the number 39. It starts right next to the Montaña Majúa hill and is 4.3 kilometers long.
Passing by the Majúa mountain, I climb the mountain to get even closer to the Teide massif. When going there, however, you should watch out for swarms of bees.
The road to the parking lot leads through the picturesque desert. Beautiful landscape filled with desert rocks and plants. When I cross the path, I can only hear lizards moving in the bushes. The views are amazing and certainly unusual. I have never seen such a desert landscape before, with mountains in the background. It’s getting hotter. After about 1.5 hours, around 12 I come to the parking lot.
It takes us about an hour to get back to Puerta de la Cruz. Sleepless night and fatigue are becoming more and more severe. We give the car to the rental company and catch a bus to Los Silos on the western part of the island.
Some of the most important information about trekking to the top of Teide:
- In May 2021, buses from Puerto de la Cruz and Costa Adeje do not run. This means that we can only get to the park by car or with a trip.
- Although the shelter is closed, a shelter is open where you can warm up.
- Climbing to the summit without permission is possible until 9 am (by this time you should also go down from the top to the upper station of the cable car).
- There are about 10-12 parking spaces in the Montaña Blanca car park and you can leave your car there.
- It is good to take warm clothes with you. At a crucial moment, I was wearing a T-shirt, fleece, down jacket and rain jacket. For this hat, gloves and a spare sweater used as a blanket for the legs.
Summary of the ascent of Mount Teide
The whole trekking was not as demanding as it seemed before the exit. The entrance itself took us 4 hours and 15 minutes walking at a slow pace. In addition, my stomach hurt quite a lot and we stopped for photos. The views from the top are wonderful, especially the sunrise and the sea of clouds. Walking through the desert to the parking lot also made an amazing impression on me.
I recommend a trip to Mount Teide if you are going to Tenerife. Outside the summit in the national park, we can admire amazing “Martian” views, interestingly formed rocks and various soil colors.
If you plan to stay on Tenerife check my other posts about other trekkings and activities!
- Very beautiful trekking through the Barranco de Masca. Description and useful information in this post.
- Anaga Park offers a lot of trekking paths. Description and useful information in this post.
- Other interesting places on the island in the post about the attractions of Tenerife here.
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