Friday, May 24, 2013

Icons of Tenerife (+ part 3): El Teide

This post comes a bit by popular request, as I really thought that the series of Tenerife's icons was complete with the posts about the auditorium of Santa Cruz and the Loro Parque. But my brother was taking a look at my blog recently and messaged me asking why I would ever write a series called Icons of Tenerife and not include Tenerife's most iconic site in it. The answer was clear to me. 'Because I have already written about it, twice!', I replied. 'But that's not reason enough', he said, 'you simply cannot skip Tenerife's best known site, the one and only place that everyone who holidays in Tenerife ought to visit'. He really made a point! So, after such a meaningful (and at the same time meaningless) exhange of messages, here it is, the third post about Tenerife's icons dedicated to the impressive and huge Teide volcano. Because I had already written about it here and here, this time I will focus on giving you some practical information to plan a wonderful trip to the top of the world. Or at least, to the top of Spain.


Spring is probably the best time to visit El Teide and the surrounding National Park of Las Cañadas del Teide. It isn't freezingly cold anymore but it is not boiling hot yet. Snow - if there was some at all during the previous winter - is very likely to have melted away and the cables of the cable car will not be frozen anymore, which means that you can actually take a ride on the cable car to the summit and once you're up you can walk the last 200m till the very top. But beware, this is no easy hike, as you're already at an altitude of 3500m above sea level. However, it'll be more than worth it as you'll feel at the top of the world and enjoy a breathtaking view of the whole island laying on the Atlantic Ocean. If there are no clouds on the sky and the day is not misty you will probably be able to catch a glimpse of the other six main islands of the Canaries. 

How do you do that?

  • First of all, you'll have to plan your trip. Do you want to hike all the way up or take the cable car and just walk the last steps? Do you want to enjoy a glorious sunrise or are indifferent about the time? It is important to decide those things first because you'll have to pack the right gear (sunscreen and windbreaker are essentials), to ask for a permit for the desired day and time and decide whether to spend a night there or simply do a daytrip.
  • The next thing to do is to ask for a permit. National Parks usually put a great effort to contribute to the conservation of some of the unique natural features of planet Earth and therefore, the number of visitors per day allowed to the Teide's peak is limited. Entry to the park is unrestricted but you will need to ask for a permit if you're planning to go till the very end, the top of the volcano. Permits are free and you can ask for a permit online (or do it personally in the National Park's office). If you book well ahead, you should have no problem to get the desired date and time slot. If not, you know you should be earlier next time!
  • Assuming that you've already decided the way you want this little adventure to happen, now it's time to nail the details. Most time slots are early in the morning, so you can hire a car and get up early enough not to miss the first rides on the cable car. You can also go by public transport. There are two bus lines that drive to the National Park from Puerto de la Cruz or Costa Adeje. However, this is a more limited option, as there is usually just one bus up and down per day. You can check the schedules here.
  • Or you can spend a night at the Altavista Refuge. Bonus points of this latter option is that the permit to visit the Teide peak are already included and you will probably be able to enjoy some wonderful star-gazing during the night. 
  • Another accommodation option is the Parador del Teide, which is at the base of the cable car. Paradores Nacionales are a state-run chain of hotels which usually take over historic buildings and turn them into charming and cosy hotels. This is of course a pricier option but you can enjoy a swimming-pool and good restaurant services.
  • Now you're ready to part, so all that's left to do is to catch a deep breath and fill your lungs with fresh air and oxygen to endure the climb to the top. Enjoy!




Another good reason to visit the National Park of Las Cañadas del Teide in spring is to discover the unique flora in its full glory. Endemic species such as the tajinastes or the Teide violet bloom during late spring and their colourful flowers make the landscape even more special. Tajinastes, also known as Canary Islands wallflowers, are a very rare plant which blooms in May and spend the rest of the year leafless. You can see some blooming tajinastes in these photos - taken by my parents, who were there a week ago!

I hope that you enjoy this post. Writing it has made me slightly homesick and has also fuelled my wanderlust, as I haven't been to the Teide peak and it's high on my list.
Have a wonderful weekend!

16 comments:

  1. Nice tips and gorgeous snapshots!!! Thanks for sharing such a nice post!
    Have a happy time!

    Best wishes, Alexandra
    www.svetusvet.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you like it, Alexandra!
      Always happy to share nice posts :)

      Delete
  2. Irene, I'm so glad you covered this. It's really beautiful. I can't get over the many options they've provided to see it. They've truly thought of everyone. Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend doll.
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    Replies
    1. I also find it truly beautiful,Kim and I'm always happy to share the wonders of my home island. I miss it from time to time and seeing old pictures and writing about it makes me somehow feel closer to it :)

      Delete
  3. Everything looks so incredible, you are so lucky! Thanks for sharing this wonderful experience!

    Have an amazing week,
    Mary x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mary! I feel kind of privileged for having been born in such a beautiful place :)

      Delete
  4. Qué bonita tu tierra, Irene! un paisaje alucinante y más en primavera( aunque todavía no conozco Tenerife-no tengo perdón)He estado leyendo tus consejistos para hacer la rutilla y no sabía que hubiera que pedir permiso...aunque por otra parte es normal porque es un Parque Nacional y está protegido.Preciosas esas flores, son los tajinastes? Bsins,wapa:)

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    Replies
    1. Muchas gracias, Pilar!

      Quizás me hice un poco un lío explicándolo, pero el permiso es sólo para subir al pico. El parque (de momento) se puede visitar libremente, aunque siempre están en el aire la discusión de si se debería limitar el número de visitantes al día y cobrar por entrar.

      Besito!

      Delete
  5. Omg, this is gorgeous! I didn't know you need a permit thought, the thought never crossed my mind actually.:) Well, planning is everything right?:)

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    1. You're right, planning is everything :)

      You need a permit if you intend to climb till the very top, but visiting the park is always allowed at any time!

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  6. Great post with lots of tips and helpful information, Irene. The hike up there on that altitude above 3500 meters sounds "breathtaking" :) The cone-like trees look very interesting. Have a great weekend :)

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    1. I think it must be really breathtaking. I've never done it myself but it is on my bucket list. My brother once did it and he said it was really impressive. And his photos confirmed it :)

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  7. Nunca he estado en tu tierra, sin duda será mi proximo destino!:)
    Te invito al sorteo de mi blog, participa.
    Muchos besitos.

    SORTEO OASAP en mi blog - http://serenitybygemma.blogspot.com.es/2013/05/oasap-giveaway.html

    ReplyDelete
  8. So finally I was right... Best wishes from your beloved brother!!
    And hope we'll meet soon

    Luv yah! <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Much love <3<3<3
      And see you soon ... some time :)

      Delete

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