Expedition to Mars or maybe somewhere around Las Vegas, Nevada? It was our first thought when we were on the road to the El Teide volcano. You can skip a lot of places in Tenerife (what we’re not recommending at all), but El Teide is a “must visit” and you can’t miss it!
Hight of El Teide is 3718 meters above sea level which makes volcano the highest mountain of Spain, despite this is geographically located in Africa. National Park El Teide isn’t only volcano peak, it’s the whole Las Cañadas caldera – what is colloquially speaking hole in the Earth created after volcano eruption. Caldera Las Cañadas is rather flat area with diameter around 15 kilometers, what’s making it one of the biggest in the World.
There is one road going through National Park of El Teide – T21, but you can start your trip in a few different places: El Medano, Los Cristianos, Los Gigantes or from Nothern part of island- La Laguna or La Orotava. We started near El Medano, because we spent night there, but few years ago Dawid went from Los Gigantes. Road from Los Gigantes is very interesting at the top surrounded by black lava flows and rarely growing green trees.
We were on the Island in march, so it was literally the end of Tenerife winter (yeah, we wish to have winter like that in Ireland or in Poland.) and volcano peak was covered by snow, what caused that everything looks more incredible and unreal. Unfortunately because of that and high winds we couldn’t go to the volcano peak, cable car which is going from 2356 meters above sea level to the peak was closed this day. National park staff was watching and didn’t let anyone walk up to the top either. Both way ticket for cable car costs 27 euro, but if you want to get close to crater you need to have National Park admission. Local authorities allow only 200 people a day to get there, so it’s worth to think about it earlier and book admission online upfront (you can do that here). Best part is you do not have to pay it is totally free if you are lucky enough to book your place. Cable car tickets you can buy here.
If you are planning to do the peak you have to be aware, that it is almost on 4000 meters above sea level and temperature there is much lower, also wind is very strong. Hoodie is enough on 2300 meters above sea level, but we suspect that is worth to have jacket if you want to go to the top. Also lack of oxygen and thin air might cause some issues as well as very fast height gain worth to remember that.
Whole Tenerife and especially El Teide are a candy shop for road cyclists. Perfect weather during whole year and smooth roads are reasons why every month numbers of cyclist coming here to ride and cyclist pro teams have their training camps. Dawid couldn’t let it go and he had to rent a bike for two days, one of his rides was El Teide. He started in El Medano and finished around the highest point above 2000 meters above sea level which is the longest continuous climb in Europe – almost 40km
Like you can see expedition to Mars is affordable for everyone, you don’t have to be filthy rich and have connections in NASA- Mars is closer than you think 🙂