Pico del Teide

Pico del Teide

One of the most popular tourist destinations that should not be missed when visiting Tenerife is the hike up Spain's highest mountain, Pico del Teide (3,718 m), which is both an active volcano and a natural symbol of the entire island. Believe me, if you go here, you won't regret it. The unique lunar landscape full of lava formations and sulphurous springs is worth seeing, as are the unprecedented views of the ocean and snow-white clouds.

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The imposing El Teide can be found roughly in the centre of the island in the national park of the same name, which covers 36% of the island. On the way to the top, be aware that altitude problems (headaches, difficulty breathing, high intensity of sunlight) may occur.

Permission to enter

The summit of Pico del Teide is a totally unique site, so access to it is strictly limited and you must therefore obtain a permit from the official website of the national park: reservasparquesnacionales.es.

The permit is issued free of charge, but due to the huge demand, it must be booked well in advance.

Usually permits are sold out 2-3 months in advance! Permits are only required for the last 700m of the trail from the top of the cable car to the summit called "Telesforo Bravo" - see route map.

Ascent of Pico del Teide - route options

There is only one basic walking route to the top of Pico del Teide.

Montaña Blanca - La Rambleta

The starting point is at the car park at a place called Montaña Blanca. The car park is very small and there is often parking in the open spaces along the road.

The climb is quite challenging, but the average trained hiker can do it without special equipment. However, good quality and sturdy hiking boots are a must. The first half of the route (about 4 km) is comfortable and only slightly uphill on a gravel road. The second half is steeper and very rocky, where a fairly narrow path is trodden. However, you don't have to worry about the downright dangerous sections.

After about 8.5 km, you will reach the top station of the cable car, from where you have only a 700-metre stretch to the top. At the beginning of this section, the national park guards always check the permits.

  • Distance: 9.5 km one way
  • Time: approx. 5 hours there + 2.5 hours back
  • Altitude: approx. 1,350 metres
  • Difficulty: difficult (no special equipment required)
  • Route map

La Catedral

The second route leads from the rock formations of La Catedral on the other side of the mountain around the summit of Pico Viejo. It is longer, gentler, but goes over more difficult terrain, where the path often gets lost among the rocks and sometimes is not at all legible or marked. For this reason too, this path is considerably less frequented.

  • Distance: 10 km one way
  • Time: approx. 5.5 hours there + 3 hours back
  • Elevation: approx. 1 570 metres
  • Difficulty: difficult (no special equipment required)
  • Route map

Cable car to Pico del Teide

Up to 3,555 metres, you can approach the hanging cable car, which can be reached by car, but also by bus number 342. The bottom station of the cable car is at 2,356 metres and the entire route to the summit is covered in less than 8 minutes by a pair of modern cabins.

The cable car operates daily throughout the year:

  • First ride - 9:00 a.m.
  • Last trip up - 16:00
  • Last trip down - 16:50

Ticket prices are as follows:

  • 22 eur One way
  • 40 eur return

Seats are limited and tickets for the cable car can only be purchased online at the cable car website: volcanoteide.com.

The stay at the top station of the cable car is limited to 1 hour for all passengers, if you have booked a pass for the journey from the cable car to the top (approx. 1.5 km in total) then the stay is limited to 2 hours.

How to get there

The easiest way to get there is by car along the TF-21 road, which follows the slopes of the Pico del Teide from the south side, along the lower cable car station and both of the boarding points for the hiking trails to the summit. The largest car park is at the lower cable car station, all car parks in the surrounding area are free of charge.

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You can also get here by bus, but each line only runs once a day (morning there, afternoon back):

  • Line 342 from the south (Los Cristianos, Costa Adeje)
  • Line 348 from the north (La Orotava and Puerto de la Cruz)

For detailed information on transport by rental car and buses, see the Transport chapter.


If you are walking to Teide, accommodation near the mountain may be useful. There is a mountain hut called Refugio Altavista not far from the top station of the cable car, but you must make a reservation by email at least 2-3 months in advance.

The nearest classic accommodation in the form of better hotels are:

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