Teide – the sacred mountain of the Guanches
In Tenerife, which is part of the Canary Islands, tourists can make a breathtaking climb to Mount Teide, which dominates the surrounding landscape. Rising 7,500 meters above the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean and 3,718 meters above sea level, it is the third highest volcanic structure in the world. The volcano looks very different depending on the viewpoint and the season. Its changing panoramas are a never-ending source of fascination for onlookers. At its feet lies a sea of volcanic rocks, formed not so long ago, so erosion has not had time to erase them. The mountain and its surroundings are part of the Teide National Park, which covers an area of 189.9 km² and is protected by UNESCO. Teide is the most interesting natural wonder of Spain. It is the most visited national park in Europe as of 2010, and by 2015 it was the eighth most visited in the world. It receives about 3 million people a year. In 2016 it was visited by 4,079,823 tourists, which was a historical record.
Height and other features of Mount Teide
Mount Teide is the third largest volcanic structure and the most voluminous in the world after the Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea volcanoes located in the United States on the Hawaiian Islands. It is the highest peak in the Canary Islands and all of Spain.
Teide is quiet on the surface but inside it boiling magma erupts.
Teide is an active volcano that last stirred the locals in 1909. Its formation began
170,000 years ago after a gigantic collapse of a volcano that was even larger than the one we see today. This is how the caldera of Las Cañadas was formed. Today we can only see part of it, because as the interior of Teide grew, it gradually filled the caldera with the products of eruptions.
Stratovolcanoes do not stop growing because successive lava eruptions are deposited one on top of the other. Over the past 20,000 years, virtually all lava eruptions have occurred in areas near the base of Teide, because it is more difficult for lava to erupt from the top itself at such a high altitude.
During 2003, seismic activity on the volcano increased and a rupture formed on the northeastern slope. No eruptive activity occurred, but this may indicate that magma is rising into the volcano, but this is not always a precursor to an eruption. In addition, Teide is considered structurally unstable, and its northern slope has a characteristic bulge. There are several small active fumaroles at the top of the volcano, emitting sulfur dioxide and other gases, including hydrogen sulfide. The volcano’s beautiful, varied coloration is due to the minerals in the rock. Present here are:
- White and yellow shades of pumice.
- Reddish and black tones of lava field basalt rocks.
- The black luster of obsidian.
The history of the name is controversial
Echeide or Echeyde is the name given to Mount Teide by the Aboriginal Guanches. The translation is interpreted differently: “axis”, “pillar” or “hell”. Most scholars believe that the Guanches considered the mountain a place where the forces of evil were located. Some authors argue that Teide was a kind of “Axis of the World”.
Where is the famous Spanish volcano
The summit is on Tenerife, a magnificent island located in the Atlantic, practically off the coast of Africa. It is the largest of the seven islands of the Canary archipelago and very popular with tourists. Every year 5 million people come here. With an area of 2,034 km² it acts as the largest and most populated island in Macaronesia. Location of the mountain on the map:
Location of Teide on the map
- 28°16′15″ north latitude;
- 16°38′21″ west longitude.
Climate: different from the rest of the island
The climate of Teide National Park is due to extreme altitudinal conditions, strong insolation, and heat fluctuations. It can be defined as a subalpine continental climate, very different from that prevailing in the lower and middle areas of the island.
Snow on Teide is rare and in small quantities
Above the mysterious sea of clouds that cover the slopes of Teide, rainfall is low in winter and summer, about 400 mm. Temperatures reach 34°C on the hottest days and can drop sharply to -16°C in winter. In addition, there are large daily heat fluctuations, which can reach 12°C. Their reason, along with the large number of frosty days, which can reach 100, may lie in the intense irradiation occurring in such a clean atmosphere. Average monthly temperatures range from 4.6°C (January) to 18.3°C (August), with a mean annual temperature of 10.9°C. To these conditions can be added a strong and gusty wind, which sometimes flies over the mountain at the speed of
High altitude belts of the mountain
High altitude belts are clearly defined:
- Semi-Desert. Located at the foothills and characterized by the presence of many canyons and gorges. Of plants, cushion-shaped, mostly succulent plants. They are common on the northern slopes from a height of 400 m to 800 m in the south.
- Lava fields. The plant life here is rather sparse, mostly aeoniums. Gradually canary pines begin to appear.
- Belt of pine forests. It occupies the territory of the heights of 1 000-2 000 m. Pines are distinguished by their high fire-resistance, large cones, unusually soft and long needles. Closer to the end of the belt, the pine forests become thinner, giving way to black lava fields and zones with volcanic sands of the same color.
- Caldera. There are no more trees in the caldera: bare stone fields and sparse grass and shrub low-growing plants prevail here.
Flora and fauna of Teide
Most of the year, the slopes of Teide are bleak and lifeless, but in spring everything blooms and there is a riot of color, with one bloom following another.
The Algerian hedgehog was introduced to the national park to increase the diversity of the flora
After the canary pine, there are many plants endemic to Teide National Park in the high altitude zone of the caldera. They have learned to adapt to adverse weather and other peculiarities of life at altitude, including high inoculation, temperature changes and low fluids. Among the fauna here are skinks, spiders, mouflons, forest cats, geckos, Algerian urchins, lizards, rabbits, bats, and other inhabitants.
The story of the mountain’s ascent: who was the first to conquer it?
Sailors and travelers who sailed near the islands between the 15th and 18th centuries spread the version in Europe that Teide may be the highest mountain in the world. The first known European ascent of Teide took place in 1646 or 1650: It was made by a British expedition of several men.
After the Enlightenment, most expeditions to the Orient, Africa or the Pacific in the 18th century made climbing Teide a must. The famous German adventurer Hans Meyer, along with an Austrian mountaineer named Ludwig Pourtscheller, were the first Europeans to summit Kilimanjaro. Meyer also visited Teide in 1894, comparing the two volcanoes to each other as kings towering over the sea and the desert. Throughout the history of volcano research, no statistics were kept regarding deaths. However, there have been such cases: mostly people have become ill because of health problems. Also, in rare cases, they fell from steep slopes while climbing independently off the beaten path.
The Legends and Mysteries of Teide
Teide was a volcano considered sacred since ancient times, and among the Guanches it was revered in much the same way as Mount Olympus in Greece. According to their beliefs, Guayota, the demon of evil, lived there. According to legend, Guayota kidnapped the sun and light god Magek and took him with him into the interior of Teide, plunging the entire world into darkness. The Guanches demanded mercy from Ahaman, their supreme god. After a persistent struggle, the supreme deity succeeded in defeating Guayot, taking Magek from the bowels of Teide and closing the crater with Guayot inside. It is said that the cork that Ahaman placed is the last whitish cone that crowns Teide.
The Guanches believe that an evil demon lives in the crater of Teide
The Guanches also believed that Mount Teide was responsible for maintaining the sky. Archaeologists have found many things made of pottery, stone, and other natural products. It is believed that they were created by the Guanches and offered to the mountain as offerings to resist the influence of evil spirits.
Attractions and interesting places near the volcano
Tenerife is known for its resorts, Blue Flag beaches, and lively nightlife, but the island’s natural landscape and rich history offer much more. Here you can visit one of Europe’s best theme parks, Siam Park, or the Loro Park Zoo.
One of the most mysterious attractions are the pyramids of Guimar: extraordinary structures, which is still unknown who created it. It is also worth visiting the mountain village of Masca – a refuge of pirates who stored their looted gold here: according to legend it has not been found yet. There are also dozens of beaches and secluded coves, rugged coastlines, mysterious caves, and charming towns with colonial architecture.
How to get to Mount Teide
Unlike the other islands of the archipelago, this island has two airports at once:
- Queen Sofia South or Tenerife South.
Two airports not only provide a connection with mainland Europe (eg Amsterdam, Madrid, Barcelona, Munich, Dublin, Rome, Moscow, Bucharest and others), but also make available flights between Tenerife and other Canary Islands. In addition, Tenerife has excellent air connections to non-European destinations such as Miami, Dakar and Caracas.
The Teide cable car, which acts as the main starting point for climbing, is easily accessible by road by public transport or rented car.
Climbing to the summit of Teide
The main option for access to the summit is the cable car, which virtually duplicates the main 2,356-meter long land road most of the way. Access directly to the summit and the crater of the volcano is limited: the last 200 meters require a free permit, which can be obtained online before the trip. The number of permits is usually limited to 200 per day. The only possible danger in climbing is the development of altitude sickness in mild form. If you feel dizzy or unwell, it is worth descending to lower altitudes to acclimatize.
A modern cable car leads to Teide Peak
Cable car routes
The 3 main routes open tourists to the beauty of the upper elevations of Teide, after climbing on the funicular:
- Route No. 10. The route to the crater of Mount Teide, which leads to the highest peak in Spain, from where you can enjoy the panoramas. On clear days you can see the nearby islands. For environmental reasons, access to the summit is controlled, requiring a permit issued by the national park offices on site or online.
- route #11. An incredible place with spectacular views of the north side of Tenerife.
- route #12. A nearly flat trail leading to the Pico Viejo Stratovolcano, which gives panoramas of its crater and the southern side of the island.
Tourism and infrastructure of the famous peak
The lower station of the cable car is easily accessible by trail, it is located at 2,356 meters above sea level. The lower station has a stunning view of the peaks surrounding Mount Teide. It has free parking for 220 cars, which is open from 8 am to 6 pm.
A paved highway leads to Teide.
The lower station of the cable car to the volcano has comfortable seating, a café and buffet with an impressive view of Teide National Park, as well as a gift store and public restrooms. The station near the crater has a small lobby, which is equipped with Wi-Fi, toilets and the highest public telephone in Spain.
Interesting facts about the famous volcano
Teide casts the world’s largest shadow projected onto the sea. This phenomenon occurs during sunset and also causes the shadow to partially cover the islands of Gran Canaria and Gomera at sunrise more than 40 km from the mountain. One of the features is that the shadow has a perfectly triangular shape, although the silhouette of Teide is not: it is a perspective effect. Many tourists climb to the top of the volcano at sunset to witness this phenomenon.
The region near Teide is a research site that focuses on Mars because of the similarity of the landscape and environmental characteristics. In 2010, a research team tested one of the vehicles intended to be used in a NASA expedition. In June 2011, a team of researchers from Great Britain visited the park to test a method of finding life on Mars and to find suitable locations to test new robotic vehicles.
Climbing volcano Teide – video
The extraordinary demand for this picturesque region and the volcano itself provides hundreds of videos showing the area’s extraordinarily beautiful panoramas, the tips from tourists, and the thrilling cable car climbs.
Teide Volcano in Tenerife is the highest point in Spain … in Africa.
Teide volcano is one of the most famous attractions of the island of Tenerife.
It so happens that the highest point of Spain is thousands of kilometers away from the capital, and not even on the mainland, and not in Europe at all. One of the most famous tropical islands, Tenerife, which belongs to Spain, is located near the west coast of Africa. This is where is nestled the highest peak of Spain – Volcano Teide.
Volcano Teide on the map
- Geographical coordinates 28.272253, -16.642315
- Distance from Spanish capital Madrid approximately 1800 km
- Distance to the nearest airport in Tenerife-South is about 26 km
Usually people come to Tenerife for tropical bliss and an unforgettable vacation. But besides the palm trees and the ocean, travelers can visit the peak of Teide, which will complement and enhance the experience of the island. It must be said that Teide looks very majestic against the background of both the island and the ocean.
Volcano Teide is an island-forming volcano. Well, that is, the island is practically created by a volcano. In shape it is a classic stratovolcano. The peak is 3,718 meters above the sea. It’s slightly lower than Japan’s Fujiyama. But if measured from the bottom of the ocean, the figure is 7,500 meters.
You remember that there is disagreement about measuring the height of mountains. In particular, it is believed that Mauna Kea is the highest mountain in the world, but Everest is only the highest point on the planet. It all depends on the measurement methodology.
Teide volcano eruptions
Volcanologists believe that the formation of Teide began about 150,000 years ago. Then there was a big eruption, which resulted in a caldera about 16 km in diameter, within which eruptions took place. Exactly how many eruptions are known, but the volcanic activity was recorded by Christopher Columbus himself in 1492.
Later, scientists determined that at that time there was an eruption of the side branch of Teide. There are reports of eruptions in 1704 and 1705. But in 1706, a powerful eruption wiped out the town of Garachico and several villages nearby. The remains of the 1798 eruption can still be seen in the form of frozen lava near the highway from Vilaflor to Chio.
The last time Teide volcano was active was in 1909. Now the volcano is closely monitored by scientists, so it is safe to visit.
The legend of Teide volcano
The locals, the Guanches, call the volcano Echeide (which translates to “devil”) and do not agree with the official science. They have their own version of the origin of the mountain.
According to the legend, a devil (or an evil spirit, a demon) named Guayota used to live here. His professional duties included sabotaging the natives, and planning and carrying out various disgusting activities.
Guayota was doing an excellent job. But one day this character decided to make the most ambitious diversion, stole the Sun from the sky and hid it deep in the mountain. Life on the island became unbearable, and people began to ask the chief god Achman to have a preventive conversation with Guayiot and somehow influence the outrageous man.
Achman helped the people, removed the sun from the mountain, and imprisoned the mischievous Guayota there instead. That is why the evil spirit languishes in the volcano crater to this day, and sometimes reminds you of himself with ash emissions and fiery tongues of lava.
Remains of stone tools and pottery have been found in the vicinity. Researchers believe that these are ritual attributes used to resist evil spirits.
How to conquer Teide
With the development of technology, the way to the summit of Teide is now much easier. By bus or cab you can get to a height of 2,356 meters. Then there is a cable car that can take 38 people in just eight minutes to a height of 3,555 meters.
The remaining 163 meters can be overcome on foot. Sometimes the waiting time for your turn to the elevator can be up to 2 hours.
Visiting the volcano itself, although free, but limited to 200 people per day. You can also use the helicopter and view the volcano Teide from height. But the most measured and impressive way is a simple hike. On the way up you can enjoy the views and get a little acclimatization at the same time.
It is no secret that the higher above sea level, the less oxygen in the air. Accordingly, a gradual ascent gently adapts the body. If you have problems with your cardiovascular system, it is worth weighing the pros and cons of such a walk.
There is a special trail for hiking. By the way, if you leave it, you can get a good penalty. The administration of the National Park, where Teide volcano is located, protects the nature and tries to preserve the most natural conditions in the vicinity. Here you can not even take a stone as a souvenir.
The management of the park believes that it will harm the volcano. Simply put, tourists on the stones can spread it all over the planet. Of course, do not need to remind you that arbitrarily make a fire here too can not.
A special charm is considered a meeting of dawn on the mountain top. To do this, you can spend the night at Altavista camping site at an altitude of about 3260 meters. And at night, from late July to early August, there is a gorgeous view of the meteor shower from Teide Peak. Hundreds of meteors scratch the starry sky and bring incredible excitement to tourists. And you can order a lot of wishes for yourself and for all the relatives.
Interesting facts about Volcano Teide
- The peak is located on the territory of the national park of the same name with an area of just under 19,000 hectares. Both the park and the volcano are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2007
- Teide Park is a useful testing ground for research related to the development of … Mars. Scientists believe that the geological features of the area are most similar to those of Mars. In 2011, British researchers tested methods to find life on Mars here
- on the mountainside is the astronomical observatory of the Canary Astrophysics Institute
- The first ascent dates back to 1582, but there’s no record of who made it
- Of course Tenerife is a tropical island, but on the summit of Teide the temperature difference can be up to 20 degrees Celsius. Wrapped clothes might come in handy.
Volcano Teide photo
Volcano Teide. View from above Martian scenery of Teide Volcano Fanciful stone pillars on the background of the volcano Starry sky in Tenerife