21.6.16

Mount Teide and more

Hello and happy summer! It's June, my birthday month, and very soon it's Midsummer or St John's which this year thankfully comes with a couple of spare days as a lovely, much-needed bonus. Because our official summer vacation patiently waits behind five long weeks. But enough chit-chat now - today's post is dedicated to April 19 and Mount Teide as most of you guys requested more about Tenerife. So let's get it started!

Selfie power - the lower station at 2356 m above sea level, Mount Teide behind us

Mount Teide (or Pico del Teide in Spanish) is an active stratovolcano on Tenerife in the Canary Islands. Its 3718-metre summit is the highest point in Spain and the highest point above sea level in all islands of the Atlantic Ocean. If measured from its base on the ocean floor, it is at 7500 m the third highest volcanic structure and most voluminous in the world after Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

The volcano and its surroundings comprise Teide National Park which has an area of 18 900 hectares. Its natural boundaries are marked by a grandiose, spectacular Las Cañadas caldera and in 2007 Teide National Park was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Teide is the most visited natural wonder of Spain, the most visited national park in Spain and Europe and by 2015 the eighth most visited national park in the whole world.

A mountainous view down on our way to Mount Teide
Somewhere near Vilaflor, the highest (1400 m) village of Tenerife
Another rocky view on our way to Mount Teide
The lower station at 2356 m above sea level
Mount Teide

I can easily say Teide National Park and Pico del Teide are the most spectacular sights we've seen and discovered so far. Therefore we're already planning to go back next year because of two main reasons:
1. We both fell in love with Tenerife - its wonderful climate (the Island of Eternal Spring!), delicious food, magnificent nature, compactness, nice shops and customer service, the Atlantic Ocean, overall cosiness and so on... I will probably write more about it in another blog post but you should know I wanted to cry when we had to leave, and a fairly big chunk of my heart is situated somewhere in Tenerife right now.

2. It was too windy to use the cable car - allegedly at times even 100 m/s. Therefore we reached the lower station at 2356 m above sea level but unfortunately not the upper station at 3555 m altitude nor the Telesforo Bravo Trail to the crater of Mount Teide at 3717,98 m. So we both agreed that we have to return and try again, until we have fulfilled that goal. It may happen next year or the year after next year or... whenever because the weather is unpredictable but it just has to happen!

Against the windy background of Las Cañadas caldera

One of the stops we made on our way back to our temporary home in Costa Adeje was at the very cool Roques de Garcia viewpoint. It's basically a group of pinnacles in the Las Cañadas caldera which is a large depression surrounding Pico del Teide. These pinnacles used to lie hidden and were exposed when Las Cañadas was formed as a result of the collapse of the volcano with the same name. Since then the pinnacles have been constantly worn away by erosion and Mother Nature has given them their odd shapes.

Roques de Garcia vol 1
Roques de Garcia vol 2
Las Cañadas caldera

We also passed through Los Gigantes where famous Acantilados de Los Gigantes or Cliffs of the Giants stand. These are giant rock formations that rise from the sea to a height of 500-800 metres and the whole town has been named after them. Los Gigantes is another fascinating place where I definitely want to return to and do some thorough exploring there.

Leaving Teide National Park
Los Gigantes against the background of Acantilados de Los Gigantes
Another piece of Los Gigantes

All in all it was a wonderful experience. We were both amazed by the distinctive nature and breathtaking views. Teide National Park with Pico del Teide and Roques de Garcia, and also Los Gigantes are all places you're going to miss after leaving them. Actually I started missing Tenerife already before leaving the place so I guess it's pretty obvious how I feel. But I hope you guys enjoyed today's post and learnt something interesting about Tenerife. Have a sunny Midsummer and see you next time!