Independently Hiking El Teide, Spain’s Highest Mountain

What is El Teide?

This is!

El Teide is a dormant volcano (and Spain’s highest peak!) in Tenerife, Canary Islands.

How high is it?

3718 meters or 12198 feet.

How do I climb El Teide?

You can go with a guide or independently! There’s also the option of taking the cable car up and just hiking to the peak. This post is going to share how to climb it independently from the bottom!

A note on permits:

You MUST have a permit to climb Teide during the day. You can get those online from the national park site. You choose your time slot. This allows you to take the cable car up and to hike the last 300 meters to the top.

You do not need a permit if you stay at the Alta Vista Refugio. You can go up to the peak until 9am.

How to climb El Teide independently:

First things first. You have to GET to Teide. If you rent a car in Tenerife (highly recommend, as its about 8 euros a day), you can drive right to the trailhead. You should start hiking at about noon.

We stayed at Parador De Las Cañadas Del Teide, a hotel right at the base of Teide and a quick bus stop away from the trailhead. I recommend this, as it’s very convenient. You stay there the night before your hike (the stars are amazing at night!), hike Teide, and end right back at the hotel. It’s 103 euros for a triple room. There are loads of trails around the hotel.

To get from the hotel to the trailhead, you have to take a bus. You can take the 342 Titsa Bus, which you catch to your left exiting the hotel. This comes once at 11am (be there a bit before) and it costs 2.10 euros. Get off at Montaña Blanca (the trailhead).

Montaña Blanca from above
Montaña Blanca from Above

Follow the 7 trail up. The first couple hours were pretty easy! It’s a gentle uphill walk on a great trail.

Once you get to the fork between the viewpoint and the peak, it gets tough. We stopped at the viewpoint for a little break before going up.

After the signpost at the fork, the trek gets much harder, with plenty of steeper uphill switchbacks. Getting to your first stop (the refugio!) takes about 4 to 5 hours.


We stayed at the Refugio Alta Vista. It’s a nice way to split up the hike. It’s clean and there’s a kitchen with a microwave, kettle, and hob (we made couscous and soup!). Pots, bowls, plates, and cutlery are provided! They have basic but clean bunk beds with linen provided. There are also about 14 people in your dorm.

Some important things to know:

You need to make a booking in advance for the refugio. There were people turned away after dark because they did not make a booking.

There is no potable water at the refugio, so make sure to bring lots of water or a water bottle you can pour boiling water into. We brought 4.5 litres of water, had to refill our bottles with water from the kettle, and had hot tea. We STILL ran out of water. Bring loads!

The rooms don’t actually open up until 7pm, but there is a beautiful view outside (and if the weather is good the sun keeps you warm!) and the kitchen/common room is open.

outside the Refugio

There’s a coffee/hot chocolate machine for 2 euros and a candy vending machine for 3 euros. Bring chocolate as you’ll really want one as soon as you see the vending machine!

*  *  *  *  *

The sunrise was at 8:10 for us, so we left at 6:15. I’d start hiking two hours before sunrise. There are lots of little switchbacks, and then once you get to the cable car, there are steep rocks to hike up… It’s a bit like climbing uneven stairs.

The sunrise was absolutely beautiful. You can see the shadow of Teide in the clouds. Though beautiful, it’s also really cold (and it smells like sulfur up there)! Make sure you bring a good jacket and gloves (my hands FROZE). It’s windy at the top, so a windbreaker might be good as well.

The way down from Teide can be done two ways: the cable car or hiking. Definitely take the cable car if you are tired, or if you have bad ankles/knees.

We walked the way down. The beginning is deceptively easy, along a gentle downhill trail. This lasts for maybe 40 minutes, then you’re scrambling down bigger rocks (they sometimes move and it’s very easy to roll your ankle!). The first hour of this isn’t bad, but it gets tiring, as it’s a very long trail down. Follow trail 7 and then 23. It takes about 4-5 hours to get back to the hotel, and by that point, you’re exhausted! The only tough part is the terrain and the strain on your joints.

The views from trail down are stunning, so if you do have the energy or the will, I recommend it! We had a great time (despite Phil only having 2 hours of sleep and twisting my ankles about 132132 times)!


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9 thoughts on “Independently Hiking El Teide, Spain’s Highest Mountain

  1. Never thought there would be such a challenging and stunning mountain so close to home (UK)! I’ll definitely look into this for a week’s getaway 🙂


  2. This was such a fascinating read! I didn’t realize that Spain’s highest mountain was actually in Tenerife! We almost traveled there back in 2014, but ultimately changed our minds and hit Andalucia instead.

    I’m saving your post because this is so up our alley. Although, we’ll probably have to wait until it’s just my husband and I as I’m pretty sure my daughter would revolt if we made her hike this far. 🙂 She’d probably take the cable car and just meet us at the top. Ha!

    Good for you guys for completing both the hike up and down. I am always SO much clumsier on the way down!!


    1. To be honest there were a few tears on the way down! Swollen ankles/knees and exhaustion definitely got to me!

      If she stays a night at the hotel at the bottom of Teide, she could totally meet you at the top of the cable car and she’d need to get a permit, but she could hike the rest of the way with you!


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