Every morning from our breakfast table at the hotel we had a magnificent view of the Pico del Teide. Sometimes the mountain was covered in clouds, sometimes it stood out in sharp contrast to the clear blue sky and on one morning we even saw snow at the top of it.
The Pico del Teide is 3710 meters high and is located in the Teide National Park Tenerife. It is, in fact, a composite volcano with almost completely bare slopes. The volcano last erupted in 1909.
The unusual landscape became a National Park in 1954 and was declared UNESCO World Natural Heritage in 2007. The area is controlled by gamekeepers, who regulate the masses of tourists. Hiking is only allowed on designated hiking paths. There are guided tours that lead away from the main road. A hike to the top of Pico del Teide requires a special permit that has to be applied for in advance. Only those who would like to take the cable car Teleférico del Teide up to the station that is about 150 meters below the summit are allowed to do so without a permit.
We took our hire car to the National Park. We planned to take the cable car to get up the mountain. After we parked the car in the massive car park at the lower terminus we abandoned this plan. The queue was insanely long!
But the National Park has lots of interesting spots where visitors can learn about the volcanic landscape. I was deeply impressed by the different types of landscape –big, open sand plains, rough and rocky terrain and everything in between can be found here.
The way back from the sunny Teide was particularly diverse. First, we disappeared in a thick soup of low hanging clouds and then all of a sudden it was pouring down.
A trip to this National Park is definitely worthwhile – we will certainly come back again.