If you’re looking to hike Spain’s highest mountain, or you’re looking for the best hiking in Tenerife, here is my complete, and easy guide to hiking Mount Teide!
We flew to Tenerife last weekend purely to do the Mount Teide Hike as my husband has an aim to hike all of Europe’s top peaks (the last hike I did with him was Andorra’s highest mountain which was a great hike too!!).
Climbing Mount Teide is definitely a challenge, it’s one big peak at an elevation of 3715m and you start the hike pretty low down! It’s also incredibly unique because Mount Teide is actually a volcano and is the world’s third-largest volcanic structure after 2 others in Hawaii!
Mount Teide Hike
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Easy Guide to Hiking Mount Teide
I’ve said this is an easy guide to hiking Mount Teide because when I was searching for how to hike Spain’s highest mountain I found websites giving lots of different routes and starting points.
Only to realise when we got there that the hike is very straightforward and doesn’t require knowing all of these Mount Teide walking routes.
One of the best things about hiking Teide is that there is a cable car, which gives hikers lots of different options and ways to get to the top.
The downside to hiking Teide is that to get to the very top you need to apply for a permit in advance so planning is needed for this hike.
In this guide to hiking Mount Teide, I’m going to tell you how to apply for the Mount Teide hike permit, AND how to hike Mount Teide WITHOUT a permit as there is one sneaky way. Plus, where to park for the hike, which routes to follow, what to pack and what to expect!
Climbing Mount Teide
Before we go into all the in-depth detail, let me give you some information on my experience climbing Mount Teide in case you are still in the early stages of planning this hike.
How to visit the top of Mount Teide?
There are a few ways you can get to the top of Mount Teide depending on your fitness and the time you have. You could:
1. Apply for the permit in advance, walk all the way up and walk all the way down.
2. Apply for the permit in advance, walk all the way up and take the cable car down.
3. Apply for the permit in advance, take the cable car up, walk the final 40 minutes to the summit, and walk down.
4. Apply for the permit in advance, take the cable car up, walk the final 40 minutes to the summit, walk back down to the cable car and get the cable car down.
5. Don’t apply for the permit and see Mount Teide Summit only from the cable car station either by getting the cable car up or walking and then getting the cable car down or walking down.
How long to climb Mount Teide?
This will depend on which option you choose and your fitness level, but our total day hiking Mount Teide took 8.5 hours. We hiked all the way to the top and took the cable car back.
Our day looked like this:
9:10 – Parked at the start of the footpath
9:30 – Started the hike
14:45 – Got to the refuge (which means a big chunk of the hike is done)
15:15 – Got to the Cable Car Station
15:30 – Started the hike to the Summit through the permit-only route
16:10 – Got to the Summit
16:30 – Started to walk back down to the Cable Car Station
17:15 – Got on the Cable Car to go down
17:30 – Got to lower Cable Car Station and walked back to our car
18:00 – Got back to our car
How far is the Mount Teide hike?
From the signs I saw, starting at the start of the footpath along the road at Sendero de Montaña Blanc to the summit of Mount Teide it’s just under 9km.
9km is not that far for many hikers but the incline and the altitude definitely makes it harder than your average 9km walk.
How hard is the Mount Teide hike?
The Teide hike difficulty is going to change depending on how fit you are, the time of year you do the hike, the time of day and whether you hike all the way up and all the way down or use the cable car for some of it.
This hike was really strange for my husband and me. On the hike, we both struggled and got out of breath easily which got worse as we got higher, much more than we usually do. We had to stop a lot more regularly than we usually do on hikes too, but once we had stopped for a breather we were fine to start again and recovered quickly.
We guess these symptoms were from the altitude although they were definitely not strong altitude symptoms.
I do go to the gym and I am quite fit but despite the long walk we did and the incline, I wasn’t achy the next day or after the hike at all which shows me that it wasn’t as tough on my body as I thought it would be.
But without a doubt, this is one long and high hike. As you start the hike and you look up at the very top of Mount Teide from the road it looks like a scarily long way. It starts off quite gentle and then gets steeper and steeper towards the end.
Plus, you need to be mindful of the time of year you do the hike. Hiking Mount Teide in Summer is going to be tough because of the heat. We did it at the start of October and the weather was perfect!
Who can hike Mount Teide?
We saw a range of people climbing Teide and various ages, although we only saw children coming down and not going up. I don’t recommend hiking all the way up with a child.
You definitely don’t have to be a pro hiker to do this hike, but you do need a good level of fitness, the right clothing and the awareness that it is a high hike and the altitude might get you, or at least make you more out of breath than normal.
We saw a woman pass out on the track about halfway up and her group had to call an air ambulance which was quite scary to see. We also saw a woman at the very top who was really struggling with her breathing and walking.
Hiking Mount Teide
Now we have covered the basics, let’s get into more information about how to hike Mount Teide!
Mount Teide Hike Permit
This is the most important point. You have to get a permit to hike from the Cable Car station at 3555m to walk to the very summit at 3715m.
(Although there are 2 ways you can do the hike without obtaining the permit yourself, keep reading below for these ways!).
The permit is free to get and you need to enter the passport details for all people you are getting a permit for. And you HAVE to take your passport with you on the hike to show the officer along with a printout of the permit.
You’ll have to pick an entry time. Ours was from 15:00-16:30 which worked well for us, we entered the permit-only area at 15:15.
You will probably notice that permits are not available until a few weeks or months’ time because they are sold out, which means you do have to plan your trip to Tenerife in advance to do this hike.
Start of Mount Teide Hike
Sendero de Montaña Blanca (google maps link here) is the start of the Mount Teide hiking trail from the closest road.
Parking for Mount Teide Hike
Put Sendero de Montaña Blanca into your navigation. This location does have a small car but unless you get there really early, or late at night, it’s unlikely you will be able to park here.
However, you’ll see quite a few places to park along the road here. This is how we parked our hired mini.
On this note, there is a bus stop at Sendero de Montaña Blanca but overall it is best to hire a car in Tenerife so you can see the island in your own time and explore all of the hidden gems it has.
Mount Teide Cable Car Tickets
If you plan to get the cable car up or down to help you with the El Teide hike, you will need to purchase these in advance.
Volcano Teide is the main and official cable car company and ticket provider so you can buy the tickets directly from them here!
One thing to note is that Tenerife can get quite windy and when the wind is strong, the cable car doesn’t run so this could affect your experience and your hike. From what I saw if the cable car doesn’t run, Volcano Teide will email or message you in the morning of your booked ticket so you are aware.
Teide Cable Car Facilities
As a hiker, although there is a cable car station near the top of Mount Teide, the facilities are still quite limited.
There are toilets at the top cable car station which is handy so you can use them before or after summiting.
There are 2 drink vending machines outside the toilets which take cash only, but there are no other facilities and not anywhere to buy any food.
There are places to sit around the top cable car station but nowhere that’s covered like a cafe. So if someone you are with is doing the hike whilst you get the cable car up, or you get to the permit entry area too early before your permit entry time. There isn’t a huge amount to keep you occupied or covered whilst you wait.
Mount Teide Without Permit
Yes, there are a few ways you can still do the Mount Teide hike without a permit, or without getting one yourself.
1 – Hike in the middle of the night for a sunrise summit or early morning!
Basically, there is only someone checking for permits whilst the cable car station is open, once it has closed for the evening, no one can check your permit.
We met a couple on our way up who were hiking down. They started the hike up at 1:30 am to reach the top for sunrise and we passed them at about 10:30 am as they were finishing.
Not only is climbing Mount Teide at sunrise a good way to avoid getting the permit, but it will also be an experience walking up in the dark and seeing the sunrise from the top!
You are not doing anything wrong by not getting a permit and going at night though!
Altavista Refuge is towards the top of the hike, at the time of writing this, the Refuge is still closed from the pandemic, but even on Volcano Teide’s website, they say you can (when it’s open) stay in the refuge overnight and do the hike before 9:00 am without a permit.
So it is officially allowed, although it feels sneaky in a good way!
2 – Take a Mount Teide Hiking Tour
The other way to do the hike without obtaining a permit yourself is to join a tour and they will provide you with a permit.
This is a great way to hike Mount Teide if you are solo or don’t have a car in Tenerife because the tour company will pick you up and you’ll do the hike with a guide and group.
Mount Teide Hiking Tours
Here are some hiking summit tours like this you can book to hike Mount Teide in a group and be provided with a permit by the company.
This Teide hiking tour via GetYourGuide has a 4.5/5 rating. It includes the permit, cable car tickets and a pick-up from North Tenerife:
Volcano Teide, the official cable car company, also offers guided hikes up Mount Teide which you can view here!
Mount Teide Walking Route
Let’s get into the actual hike and how to hike Mount Teide.
As mentioned above, start your hike at Sendero de Montaña Blanc car park and park as near to here as you can.
There is only one footpath from Sendero de Montaña Blanc. I saw some blog posts about climbing Teide which give lots of different numbered Mount Teide walking routes but for me, I only saw one clear path to follow all the way to the top which is why this hike is so easy… in that sense!
STEP 1: The footpath from Sendero de Montaña Blanc winds around quite a bit and offers a fairly gradual incline. The footpath is basically a road although only permitted vehicles are allowed up here.
There are quite a few signs around here telling you about the landscape like the big lava egg rocks you’ll walk past.
This part took us 1.5 hours to hike.
STEP 2: As the road footpath ends you’ll see an incline ahead and that’s where the next step of the hike is. At this point, the trail also goes to a viewpoint but there’s not much point in going there as the view you are going to get will be even better.
The footpath goes all the way up the side of the mountain and zig-zags around quite a bit. It is made up of a mixture of gravel as well as steps and stones to walk up.
After quite a long slog, you will start to see the Altavista Refuge building with a sign that says there are 60 more minutes until the cable car (although it did take us a bit longer!)
This part took us 2 hours to hike.
STEP 3: From the Altavista refuge you just keep following the path but the terrain does change. It becomes a lot rockier and at this point, you really feel like you’re hiking up a volcano!
The top of Mount Teide will also start to appear which is the first time we had seen the peak since being at the start of the hike on the road.
You’ll probably know that you’re getting close to the cable car station because more people will appear. It seems people who get the cable car up do go for a wander around here, maybe they’ll walk down a bit before walking back to the cable car.
Eventually, you will see the cable car station!
This part took us 1.5 hours to hike.
STEP 4: Next to the cable car station there is a building with toilets and a security office. Next to this is a little gate and footpath and this is where the permit-only holders can go!
We gave our passports to the lady who was really nice and friendly. She gave us a bit of information on the hike. She told us it would take 30-40 minutes to reach the summit and 20 minutes down, which was much less time than I expected so this was great to hear!
The way to the top is very straightforward too. The path is steep but not far and winds around a bit. Here, we did see many people struggling, but as fairly fit hikers, we also struggled.
Some people hadn’t hiked up and were only hiking this part so they did find it hard, but for those of us who had hiked all the way from the bottom, it was also hard!
Before reaching the summit you walk up the side of the crater which is super cool, and as you get closer the smell of sulphur aka rotten eggs, gets stronger!
This part took us 40 minutes to hike.
STEP 5: The walk down from the summit of Mount Teide to the cable car station was soooo much easier than walking up and didn’t take us long at all.
We had purchased cable car tickets to get down already so we did this to save time, but in hindsight, we could have walked all the way down the way we came as we didn’t feel too bad or tired at this time.
STEP 6: Back to the car! One thing to note if you walk up and get the cable car down as we did, is that it’s a 30-40 minute walk from the bottom cable car station back to Sendero de Montaña Blanc which is the start of the hike and probably where you parked.
The road walk isn’t too hard and is a gradual incline but it might ruin if you don’t expect it or leave time for it!
What to pack for the Mount Teide hike?
It’s important to expect a range of weather conditions. It might be hot when you start but the top of Mount Teide can get cold and windy so pack layers.
You need to pack all your food and water for the hike. There are drinks machines at the top cable car station but the selection is limited and you need cash. You cannot buy any food.
Despite doing this hike in October, we burnt badly where we hadn’t applied suncream, so pack and apply your SPF!
I saw people doing this Tenerife hike in trainers but if you have hiking boots to bring from home, bring them!
Things to do in Teide National Park
Honestly, I loved driving through Teide National Park to get to and from the hike. I spent 3 days road tripping around Tenerife and it was my favourite area by far. I wish we had spent more time exploring it.
Here are some of the great things to do in Teide National Park and tours you can also book: