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Tenerife - Parque National del Teide

Added: November 01, 2011

Tags: Spain mountains photos volcano
It is time to get some proper and lasting sunshine that summer holiday destination should offer. The best way to achieve that on Tenerife is to go above cloud level. OK, our plan was not exactly to get sunshine, it was just nice to have side effect. We wanted to visit Pico del Teide - a volcano in the middle of the island and also the tallest mountain in Spain.

But to get there you need to take winding road through dense cloud layer. It was strange experience, being in such a dense fog and believing it should get better soon. Otherwise the trip would be ruined...

We are in the clouds, hoping they are not going too high
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Yes, we made it - look at those stupid clouds below us :-)

And that must be Pico del Teide!

Some zoom...
Peak of Pico del Teide

Whole area is a national park, with some places protected even more. For example the peak of Pico del Teide has limited number of visitors per day. Only 150 permits are given for free if you manage to get one. And that is not so easy. We went to office in Santa Cruz de Tenerife just to find it is closed. We learned it moved to Orotava and also got informed we can book it online at following address: http://www.reservasparquesnacionales.es. We tried that later in hotel, but stupid old (and hacked to be slot machine) Internet explorer caused errors on page. Not to mention this day has been "sold out".

So the plan was to get as high as we can by cable car and leave last 200m to the luckier ones. An alternative would be to hike from its base, but then we would need to get up very early to catch up with rest of our plans. More sleep and comfortable way to travel is worth of 27€ ;-)

Manolo told us yesterday it is better to visit other places in old caldera instead of going up, because the views are more similar from top, while you can see different things around. He has been correct, regardless we went up and were satisfied.

There are several places you can stop at National Parque and explore surroundings. I usually don't like when they dictate where I should take my photos, but it looks like they picked nice places.

Pico del Teide



We have seen "hundreds" of these lizards. They are probably ubiquitous, because gift shops sell a lot of toy lizards here.

There are very interesting flowers growing in this rough environment. Roughness of this place looks in many aspects like Iceland, but much more colorful and full of flowers, also probably thanks to late spring/early summer time.
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Borders of old caldera Las Cañadas in distance

Up to the peak

They say it usually takes long time waiting in the queue for cable car. That is also reason they encourage tourists to come early. We did not have this problem, we were not early and yet we needed to wait just a few minutes until our car arrived.

We got out at the top and could just envy those people with peak permits to go up. Because a return ticket allows you only for 1 hour to look around we were busy enjoying views and taking photos (I think people with peak permit are allowed more time, but I am not sure).

Clouds in distance below us, weirdly shaped rocks or even weirdly coloured rocks (sulphur and other volcanic stuff), and also other hills at the border of caldera. Nice!

Cable car to Pico del Teide

For permit holders only :-(
Peak of Pico del Teide



It was quite cold and windy up there, no wonder there was still some snow


Wonderful shapes and colors of Las Cañadas from peak. They looked even better directly from caldera, but I had to limit number of shown photos.

Los Roques de García - our next big stop
Los Roques de García from peak of Pico del Teide

"Nearby" observatory

Los Roques de García

Our next stop would be much nicer if we came early in the morning. Low sun would probably change unbelievably wonderful place into magical one. I guess. But now the sun is quite high and all I can do is to get all help from polarizing filter.

Los Roques de García are former volcanic vents created from tougher material, while surrounding rock weathered "quickly".



Roque Cinchado with Pico del Teide. This is probably the most notorious view of from this park. (Plus minus a few meters around to get slightly different composition)
Roque Cinchado with Pico del Teide



Los Roques de García from distance. According to tourist information the plane is usually covered with water in early spring forming a lake. Well, I should probably return here at such a time. That would be a picture!!!


Montaña de Guajara from Los Roques de García
Montaña de Guajara

At Volcán de Sámara

Pico del Teide is not the only volcano here. Just at its side is Pico Viejo. And a couple of kilometers away is Sámara.

It is interesting to see the difference in country not so far away. It is still volcanic (and erupting more recently according to darker color), but different.

Crater of Pico Viejo
Pico Viejo


Pico del Teide and Pico Viejo



Who said we will not look down to crater today? This is crater of Sámara. HDR photo.
Vulcan Samara


It is time to finish today's trip and get back to cloud covered coast. You just need to take a road down the hill into clouds as following photo nicely shows. Peter found this photo opportunity, I gladly followed.