Standing at 3,715 metres (12,188 feet) above sea-level the peak of Mount Teide (which is commonly known as ‘El Teide’, or ‘Pico Del Teide’) is not only the highest point in the whole of Spain, but it is also the highest point above sea-level throughout all of the Atlantic Islands. However, there is more of this incredible volcano beneath the sea than above it and if measured from the ocean floor, the height is over double the figures quoted above, making it the 4th highest volcano in the world –and the 10th highest island on the planet. Teide also casts the worlds’ biggest shadow projected on the sea, which occurs at sunset and tourists often climb to the peak of Mount Teide in order to witness this incredible phenomenon.
With an average of three million visitors annually, Teide, which was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on 28th June 2007, is unequivocally the most visited National Park in Europe -and it is also the 8th most visited National Park in the world. With regards to cycling, there are predominantly four major routes leading from various regions of Tenerife, all the way to the crater of Mount Teide, and Club Cycling Tenerife offers no less than three of these options to our riders. From the west the gradient is continuous, albeit quite gentle in comparison to other routes and all the effort is certainly worthwhile as one traverses the Chinero Volcano and Montañas Negras (Black Mountains) whilst riding-along on a lunar-like landscape.
A typical eastern tour often begins around the municipality of Arafo, 5km west of the coastal town of Candelaria, and as riders begin their climb through the hills, they can revel in stunning views over the Guimar Valley, which is famous for its Pyramids -the ancient sacrificial slaughter sights of the Guanches. Heading towards El Portillo, riders are afforded spectacular views of Mount Teide, Santa Cruz and Puerto de la Cruz, before finally reaching the magnificent Parador Hotel. Mount Teide from the south is a favourite tour, as riders head northwards, invariably through the villages of San Miguel and Granadilla de Abona, before reaching Vilaflor –the highest municipality in the whole of Spain and the halfway bench-mark of the climb. From here riders are treated to glorious views over the islands of La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro as they head for Retamar, which sits at 2,200 metres above sea-level, before finally reaching the crater of Mount Teide.