Pico del Teide – A volcanic playground

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The Canary Islands bubbled up from an isolated hotspot, forming 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.

Pico del Teide

Pico del Teide on Tenerife is the biggest of them all. It’s even higher than any other mountain on the Spanish mainland. Surrounded by a huge caldera, its peak juts 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, and winding roads along titled layers of rock and miscellaneous volcanic deposits.

NaturePic Challenge – Mountains & Volcanoes # 3: Pico del Teide, Tenerife

Pico del Teide

Pico del Teide, a colourful volcanic playground.

Pico del Teide

View from Volcán de Sámara across to Pico Viejo and Teide in the distance.

Pico del Teide

Bizarre structures & rock formations.

Pico del Teide

Titled layers of rock, with Teide astronomical observatory in the distance.

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. It’s a great location to explore the park from.

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. 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.

(c) Nancy Claus – Wilderness Coffee & Natural High

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More stories & inspiration

El Hierro – A volcanic hotspot underneath the sea

Solar eclipse – A mind-blowing experience

Stromboli – The ancient lighthouse of the Mediterranean

Hawaii – Volcanic fields of fire

Fimmvörðuháls – The fiery pass across Eyjafjallajökull


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