Best places to visit in Tenerife
Wherever you go in Tenerife you can always see it. All you have to do is look up and there it is, dominating the entire island with its brooding presence.
Mount Teide is extraordinary. First and foremost it is very tall and rises to a height of 12,188 feet, making it the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in the islands of the Atlantic. Although its height above sea level is impressive, in fact it’s very much higher. Measured from its base on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, it’s 24,600 feet and the fourth highest volcano in the world. Its height just lifts Tenerife into the top ten highest islands in the world.
Although you can if you want to, it’s not necessary to climb all the way to the top to appreciate what an extraordinary natural phenomenon it is. It’s volcanic but you can relax on your way up and as you wander about as it hasn’t erupted for more than a century and is unlikely to do so again anytime soon. However, it’s not extinct and the experts believe it will be active again one day.
Some 8,000 or so feet beneath the summit and extending over a vast area of roughly 47,000 acres is Teide National Park, which is the most visited national park in Europe welcoming around 3m visitors a year. They come to see one of nature’s true wonders full of extraordinary volcanic scenery, unique flora and fauna and spectacular views that, partly because of the thin air, will literally take your breath away. What air there is, of course, is wonderfully clean and clear and you should therefore breathe in deeply.
One of the best things to do in the park is to take a ride on the cable car. The base station is at 7,729 feet and the cable car climbs all the way to the top station, which is at 11,663 feet. The journey takes about eight minutes and is quite a thrill. From the top, the views are absolutely incredible and you should be able to see Gran Canaria, La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera.
Although incredibly high, you’re still not quite at the very top. The good news for the incredibly intrepid is that there’s a trail from here that takes you to the crater on foot. It’s a tricky walk that takes about three-quarters of an hour but your account of what it’s like should certainly trump anyone who wants to talk about their birdie in the hotel bar in the evening.