No trip to Tenerife is complete without visiting Teide National Park. Boasting UNESCO status and the highest peak in Spain, El Teide (3,718 m), Teide National Park is one of the most impressive destinations in the Canary Islands. The park stretches across the center of Tenerife encompassing the Cañadas del Teide caldera.
About 300,000 years ago, a massive volcano collapsed, thus forming the caldera. From above, it looks like a huge basin or depression (you’ll see this more clearly on the map below). Pico Viejo, El Teide, and many other smaller volcanoes have sprouted out from the caldera floor, creating a striking lunar landscape of lava, pumice, and rock. The caldera is also home to rare, endemic flora and fauna, like Teide broom and Teide Bugloss.
During your visit, you can drive across Cañadas del Teide on TF-21, hike up the caldera rim, summit Pico del Teide, and walk over fields of lava and pumice.
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How to Visit Teide National Park
In this guide, we’re going to outline everything you need to know about visiting Teide National Park and summiting Pico del Teide (permit, cable car, ascent routes, etc…).
- Teide National Park Map
- Essential Info for Visiting Teide National Park
- How to Get to Teide National Park
- How to Summit Pico del Teide
- Walking Routes in Teide National Park
- Where to Stay in Teide National Park
Teide National Park Map
Essential Info for Visiting Teide National Park
Entrance Fee | There is no entrance fee to visit the park.
Parking | Parking is free throughout the park. If you’re visiting during peak holiday seasons, parking fills up very quickly.
Visitor Information | There are two visitor centers in Teide National Park: one at El Portillo and the other at Parador Nacional.
Permits | If you want to hike to Mount Teide Peak (Pico del Teide), you need to secure a free permit in advance. Try to get your permit as early as possible.
Safety | As you explore the park, you’ll be between 2,000 and 3,718 meters. That’s really high, especially if you started your day at sea level. High elevation can impact people in different ways. If you ascend too quickly on trails, you might experience shortness of breath, dizziness, and even nausea. If you feel ill, descend immediately. If you’re determined to tackle some high elevation hikes in the park, we recommend drinking lots of water and sleeping at a higher elevation the night before (e.g. Parador de Las Cañadas del Teide).
Food | Definitely bring snacks and water with you. Here are a few places you can grab a bite to eat in the park:
- Parador Nacional Cafeteria (adjoined to the shop)
- Parador de Las Cañadas del Teide hotel restaurant
- Mount Teide Cable Car base station café
- Restaurante La Bamby
- Restaurante El Portillo
Theft | Never leave valuables in your car. Throughout Tenerife, rental cars are often targetted by thieves because tourists leave their possessions in plain sight. We recommend peeling off your rental car sticker as well.
Essentials | Wear warm clothing (thermal jacket, wind-proof/rain jacket, fleece, beanie, and gloves) and sturdy hiking boots like the women’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX / Meindl Schuhe Island Lady or the men’s Hanwag Tatra II GTX.
Guidebook | We used the Tenerife Rother Walking Guide to figure out where to hike in Teide National Park
How to Get to Teide National Park
The best options for visiting Teide National Park are with a rental car or on a guided tour. Transit to and from the park is extremely limited, so it’s not something we recommend.
Teide National Park covers a surface area of 190 km2 (18,990 hectares). To get to the very heart of the park, head to Parador Nacional. You’ll find the highest concentration of trailheads and places to eat between Parador Nacional and El Portillo.
There are three ways to get to Parador Nacional (with a car):
- From the South (e.g. Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje), head to Vilaflor and take TF-21 into the park (30 minutes / 22 km)
- From the North (e.g. Puerto de la Cruz), head to La Orotava and take TF-21 into the park (1 hour / 38 km)
- From the West (e.g. Los Gigantes), head to Chío and TF-38 highway and then TF-21 into the park (40 min / 36 km).
How to Summit Pico del Teide
Step #1: Get a Permit
After 9 am, you need a permit to hike to the top of El Teide. Permits are free, but you should get one well in advance of your planned hiking date. Kati and I tried securing our permits a month in advance and we were already too late. You can obtain a free permit from the Parque Nacional Teide reservation website.
If you can’t get a permit…
If you can’t get a permit on your own, you can still book a guided tour like this one, which includes the permit, cable car tickets (up and down), and insurance. For more options, check out these Teide guided tours.
If you’re not a fan of guided tours and are still determined to summit El Teide, you could visit the peak before 9 am (no permit necessary). The best way to do that is by overnighting in the Altavista Refuge (reservation needed) and hiking up to the summit early the next morning. Bring a headlamp, food, and warm clothing. You just have to be off the peak (trail No 10) before 9 am.
Step #2: Pick your Route
Cable Car Up & Down
There are different ascent routes, but the most popular and easiest way to summit Teide is by taking the cable car (there’s only one cable car in the whole park) up to the top station, La Rambleta, and hiking the final 163 meters up to Teide Peak. Make sure to purchase your cable car tickets in advance.
TF-21 (Trailhead at km 40.5) – Refugio de Altavista (3260 m) – Pico del Teide (3718 m)
If you’re not planning on taking the cable car up, this is the easiest ascent route to the top. However, it still involves a hefty 1400 meter ascent. This route follows trails 7 and 11. You can descend with the cable car (book in advance), or hike down the way you came.
Step #3: Purchase your Cable Car Tickets
Purchase your cable car tickets here. Pricing (as of 2020) is as follows:
- Ticket for the ascent: 13.50 EUR
- Ticket for the descent: 13.50 EUR
- Cable car return ticket: 27 EUR
The cable car only operates in stable weather conditions. You can check the cable car status here.
Kati and I planned to take the cable car up to the top station and hike to Pico Viejo and then all the way down to Parador. We purchased our tickets, but when we arrived at the cable car station, we were informed that the cable car wasn’t running, due to strong winds.
If that happens to you, you can either get a full refund or re-book your ticket for another day, at no extra cost.
Step #4: Monitor Trail Conditions and Weather
If it’s really windy, or icy, Teide National Park will close the trails to the summit, to the Refuge or Pico Viejo. You can monitor trail conditions and closures here.
Step #5: Have a Backup Plan
If the cable car isn’t running, or the trail to the summit is closed, there are other options.
If it’s not windy and you’re up for a half-day hike, we recommend the Parador to Guajara circuit trail.
For an easy, but stunning hike, walk the circuit trail around Roques de García.
You can read more about these hikes in our round-up of Best Hikes in Teide National Park.
Teide National Park Walking Routes
There are some outstanding walks across Cañadas del Teide and up to the caldera rim. If you’re not in the mood for a big hike, we highly recommend the Roques de García circuit walk and the Montaña de la Botija loop trail.
Easy Walks in Teide National Park
- Roques de García (1:15 hours)
- Montaña de la Botija and Montaña Samara (2 hours)
- Fortaleza (4 hours)
Moderate Hikes in Teide National Park
- Parador Nacional to Guajara (4:30 hours)
- El Portillo to Huevos del Teide and Montaña Blanca (5:30 hours)
Learn more about these trails: Best Hikes in Teide National Park.
Where to Stay in Teide National Park
Midrange | The best place to stay in Teide National Park is Parador de Las Cañadas del Teide. This hotel is situated on TF-21 in the best possible location. Parador is the trailhead to Mount Guajara and a few minutes away from the Roques de García trailhead. You can also walk from the hotel to the cable car base station (1 hour) or drive (6 minutes). If you stay here, you’ll also be able to enjoy the starry skies, as there’s no light pollution in the park.
Another Option: Vilaflor
Another great base for visiting Teide National Park is the town of Vilaflor, which is only a 30-minute drive from the park. If you overnight in Vilaflor (1,400 m), you’ll have the advantage of acclimatizing before tackling higher elevations in the park.
Mid-Range | Hotel Spa Villalba is surrounded by forest and located in the mountains below Teide National Park, this peaceful hotel encourages you to unwind and relax. Guests have access to a wellness area featuring saunas and an indoor/outdoor pool. Bedrooms are comfortable and spacious. But, our favorite thing about staying here was the breakfast buffet, featuring local specialties and everything else you’d ever want. It’s possible to eat dinner at the hotel, but we’d recommend eating in the town of Vilaflor instead.
More Info for Your Trip to Tenerife:
- Tenerife Road Trip Itinerary
- Where to Stay in Tenerife for Hiking
- Tenerife in January
- Best Hikes in Tenerife
- Best Hikes in the Anaga Mountains
- Benijo to Faro de Anaga Day Hike
- Anaga Rural Park: Escape to Tenerife’s Ancient Moutain Range
- Best Hikes in Teide National Park
- How to Visit Punta de Teno
- Hiking in the Mysterious Teno Mountains
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