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Mount Teide is the highest point in all of Spain and it sits at the center of Teide National Park on Tenerife in Spain’s fascinating Canary Islands. The park itself is a giant caldera with geologically-recent lava flows from the Teide volcano, and a desert-like environment stretching far into the distance where ever you look.
On the drive up to the park, you will pass through several different ecological zones including a forest of Canary Island Pine Trees. Tiede really is one of the most spectacular parts of the Canary Islands and if you are there on a clear day you will be able to see at least four other islands. Teide is an unmissable day trip and must be a part of any trip to Tenerife.
Teide National Park is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain located in the Canary Islands. If you are planning to visit Tenerife, a visit to this national park is a must. It earns the distinction of being the highest national park in the island (it is also the highest mountain in Spain, with a height of 3,718 meters). It was declared a national park in 1954 but wasn’t recognized by UNESCO until 2007. The annual average tourist visits for this national park is around 4 million!
From the World Heritage inscription for Teide National Park:
Situated on the island of Tenerife, Teide National Park features the Teide-Pico Viejo stratovolcano that, at 3,718 m, is the highest peak on Spanish soil. Rising 7,500 m above the ocean floor, it is regarded as the world’s third-tallest volcanic structure and stands in a spectacular environment. The visual impact of the site is all the greater due to atmospheric conditions that create constantly changing textures and tones in the landscape and a ‘sea of clouds’ that forms a visually impressive backdrop to the mountain. Teide is of global importance in providing evidence of the geological processes that underpin the evolution of oceanic islands.
About Teide National Park
Teide National Park features Mount Teide as its main attraction. However, the entire coverage of the protected area by UNESCO spans to 18,990 hectares in land area. After it was named by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2007, it was also recognized as one of the 12 Treasures of Spain.
As of 2015, Teide National Park is the most visited national park in Europe and Spain! It also ranks number eight in the world in terms of national parks with most tourist visits. Hence, it speaks to the popularity of this national park as a tourist destination, apart from its cultural and natural value.
Aside from Mount Teide, Pico Viejo is also part of the national park area that was inscribed by UNESCO. Pico Viejo is the second highest peak in the Canary Islands with a height of 3,135 meters. These two mountains are the only ones to exceed the 3,000-meter height level of all the volcanoes in the Canary Islands.
On top of these two peaks, the Observatorio del Teide belongs within the national park limits. It’s located on a ridge to the east of Mount Teide and is also known as Teide Observatory. This was distinguished as the first major international observatories that were established. Due to the good astronomical sight-seeing conditions in the region, it has attracted the attention of many people, especially astronomical enthusiasts.
Natural Features in Teide National Park
Mount Teide and other volcanoes and observatories found within Teide National Park are not the only sights available to enjoy here. This UNESCO site also boasts of having a variety of flora and fauna species, as well as distinctive landscape formations.
The lava flows from Mount Teide has resulted in a mineral- and nutrient-rich soil within the premises of Teide National Park. This rich soil has made it possible for various life forms to grow and develop among its land. In fact, there are 168 vascular plant species within the park, and 33 of those are endemic to Tenerife.
Meanwhile, the park is also filled with Canary Island pines that cover the middle slopes of the volcano. For the higher altitudes, the Las Cañadas caldera offers shelter for other fragile species, including the Canary Island cedar and pine. The Teide white broom is the most dominant plant species found within the park. Other unique plant species that are found within the park include wallflower, Teide bugloss, Teide violet, and Teide daisy.
Aside from the flora species in Teide National Park, there is also a rich invertebrate fauna species collection within the park. About 40% of them are endemic to this national park. Meanwhile, 70 invertebrate fauna species are found only within the park. When it comes to the vertebrate fauna species, however, a limited number of them that live and thrive in the park. For example, there are only 10 species of bird, which includes blue chaffinch, Atlantic canary, and Berthelot’s pipit.
For the mammal species, Teide National Park is home to bats (specifically Leisler’s bat). This is the only native mammal species found in the park. Over the years though, other mammals were introduced into the park, such as the rabbit, house mouse, mouflon, Algerian hedgehog, and the feral cat.
Plan a Trip to Teide in Tenerife
How to Get to Tiede: Getting to Teide National Park is simple in a rental car. Or you can plan to a round trip route by public bus from Puerto de la Cruz or Los Cristianos—the two daily buses are timed for visitors to enjoy a visit and still make it back to town on time.
Where to Stay: My City Hotel in Puerto de la Cruz is the best deal to be had. Also consider Hortensia Suites Apartments, which is fabulously located in Los Cristianos, and Hollywood Mirage is also an affordable luxury.
Book Your Trip
Book Your Accommodation
Booking.com is hands-down the best way to book accommodation—it offers the lowest rates, and the massive community of user reviews helps you decide on the exact right place to stay, from high end hotels to budget hostels.
Find Interesting Things to Do
Viator, a TripAdvisor property, offers tours all over the world. I also love GetYourGuide, a scrappy booking engine with great prices and a wide selection of tours on every corner of the earth. If you’re keen to take a multi-day tour, I’ve been on more than a dozen G Adventures tours and highly recommend the company.
Protect Yourself With Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is the single best way to protect yourself and your trip from unforeseen complications, illness, theft, and more. Book travel insurance with a trusted company for your international adventure. World Nomads is the best for adventurous trips and budget travelers. International Medical Group (IMG) offers great prices for families and seniors traveling the world. The EE team has used both for more than a decade and highly recommends choosing the one that best fits your next trip.
Pack the Necessities
I carry a lot of travel gear, but I never leave without my travel adapters. This Glamfield one is my favorite: It features three USB chargers, USB-C, and adapts to most plugs anywhere in the world! If you’re looking for a lower profile adapter, however, you can’t go wrong with this one (I carry both!).
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