Winter in Tenerife, but the temperatures rise to a comfortable 21ºC. I am close to Teide volcano, the third highest volcanic structure in the world. I only had one day of free time to spend on the island of Tenerife and upon asking some friends for suggestions they all told me the same thing: ‘Visit Mount Teide National Park, that’s a must.’
So, without further ado I am going to show you why you must visit Teide National Park too.
Teide tour from Santa Cruz
I started in the city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and ended up at the Tenerife South Airport by the end of the day. What actually is the best route coming from the north and where to stop for viewpoints?
When you start early morning in Santa Cruz, first make a short drive to the town of San Cristóbal de La Laguna. It’s considered to be the most beautiful town in Tenerife. Park you car and enjoy a short walk and a good coffee. The historic city center is beautiful with lots of (coffee) bars and restaurants. The town is actually a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Leaving La Laguna, I follow the signs indicating road TF-24 towards Teide. It’s an easy route, you can’t miss it. The first part takes me through forest area. Hairpin bends bring me higher and higher. After a while the first of many viewpoints (mirador) appear. When I get out of my rental car, I feel the strong sunlight. On this altitude and with clear skies I wish I brought my sunscreen -.
Mirador de Chipeque
After 30 minutes a road sign suggests to turn off the main road. It announces two viewpoints: Mirador de Chimaque and Mirador de Chipeque. Go for it. It’s only a couple of minutes-drive towards the best one: Chipeque. Teide itself is still 30 kilometers away, but this view already was beautiful. My very first view of this majestic volcano, wow.
Pick as many viewpoints as you can but don’t miss out on La Tarta. The sharp curve in the road marks the famous multicolored layers of lava. They date of different eras and resemble a slice of cake (so they say -). The closer you get to Teide, the rougher and more volcanic the landscape becomes. The rougher, the better, right? I am amazed by the diversity of landscapes. I did not count, but probably I have gotten out of the car at least 30 times.
At some point you pass Mount Teide. There is the option to go up with a cable car. Some say you should buy tickets online ahead of your visit as it can become very crowded. Did I go up? No. Honestly speaking I lacked the time because I needed to catch a plane -. On the other hand, I also read that the views from afar are just as impressive. Have you been up the volcano?
Don’t end the trip at Mount Teide to turn around and drive back. Continue (at least for a bit) to enjoy the famous Roques de Garcia (Garcia Rocks), a spectacular rock formation. Just around the corner of Garcia, Mirador Boca Tauce offers again a wonderful view of Teide with the Garcia Rocks in front of it.
How long did the tour from Santa Cruz actually take? From Garcia Rocks I continue my tour driving further south towards Tenerife South Airport. It’s quite a steep descent but I enjoy guiding my car through all kinds of curves and bends. Everywhere there are cacti along the road, in all shapes and sizes. I left La Laguna around 12.30h and arrived at the airport at 17.00h. Count in many stops and a quick lunch.
Should I book a tour or go for a self-drive? Take a rental car, if you can. I definitely didn’t want to be inside one of those big tour busses. On a road trip like this, the traveler decides when to stop and for how long. And you should aim for the same; you will have so much more fun.
I am sure Tenerife has a lot more to explore next to this Teide tour from Santa Cruz. For sure I need to go back someday. Have you been Tenerife? What place would you recommend? Leave them in the comments below, thanks!