Situated on the Spanish island of Tenerife, Teide National Park features the Teide-Pico Viejo stratovolcano that, at 3,718 m, is the highest peak on Spanish soil. Rising 7,500 m above the ocean floor, it is regarded as the world’s third-tallest volcanic structure and stands in a spectacular environment. The visual impact of the site is all the greater due to atmospheric conditions that create constantly changing textures and tones in the landscape and a ‘sea of clouds’ that forms a visually impressive backdrop to the mountain. Teide is of global importance in providing evidence of the geological processes that underpin the evolution of oceanic islands. UNESCO World Heritage Centre
As described above by UNESCO, the Teide National Park is indeed a stunningly dramatic landscape that was a joy photograph earlier this year. It was here, together with the neighbouring island of La Gomera, that I was most looking forward to seeing during my visit to the islands and it didn’t disappoint.
As you drive upwards from the coast through the cloud layer and beyond, the scenery changes dramatically making the final destination even more impressive. It is hard to believe when you stand here gazing at the scene before you that, not far away, the popular beaches of Tenerife are packed with holidaymakers baking in the sun!
When I visited in March, you could still see a little snow on the volcano’s peak and occasionally even by the side of the road. An interesting tradition kept by the locals is to drive up here in the winter and build a snowman on their car bonnet. They then quickly drive back down to the coast, where it might be 25°C, before the snowman has time to melt. It has now been banned by the government, due to the excessive speed people would drive at, although that hasn’t entirely stopped people from doing it anyway!
Note the green hue of some of the rocks due to the presence of copper, however, mining and the removal of any rock from the area is illegal.
Unsurprisingly the Teide National Park featured as the setting of the 1967 film, ‘One Million Years BC’, starring Raquel Welch, scantily clad in a goatskin bikini, fending off rubber dinosaurs, and more recently, it was a dramatic location used in ‘Clash of the Titans’.
I’m so glad that I didn’t miss this side of Tenerife (even though there were no signs of a T. Rex or Sam Worthington).
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Excellent photos and I’m really pleased you discovered the Tenerife that I know and love (most days). In truth, the tourist resorts cover only a tiny geographical area. But usually that’s the part that gets most of the media attention, so people’s perceptions (especially in the UK) are often skewed.
It’s like Paul commented about Teide National Park – crowded with tour groups. Except it isn’t. They all go to the same handful of spots. head out along any of the trails at any time of the year and you soon have that incredible landscape all to yourself – except when it snows and all the locals head there to frolic in the white stuff… and make snowmen on the bonnets of their cars 🙂
Wow, Great pictures Kathryn. It looks like a really adventurous trip. I enjoyed reading your post. It was really interesting. I would love to visit such a place. I learned few things about it from your post. Your blog is very resourceful to the readers, so keep writing.
Thank you. Lovely to hear you enjoyed it. I’m not familiar with your blog so I’m off to take a quick peek now.
Stunning photos, Kat! The snowman story is awesome. Did anyone ever tell you how that came about? Or is it one of those traditions that no one is quite sure how it started?
Afraid I’ve no idea how it started but I was longing to have a go, although not much snow left when we were there in March.
This is so amazing, Kat! Your photography is out of this world AWESOME. Keep it up!
More fabulous photography of Tenerife – you’ve captured the landscape with such gorgeous colour and clarity.
These pictures are stunning and I am very envious that you were able to explore this part of Tenerife. I am not sure if it is because I studies Geography at Uni that I have a strong desire to explore such geological parts of the world but I am very intrigued to learn more about Tenerife’s natural, volcanic landscape. This is a really interesting post and one that I will likely refer to in the future. Thanks for sharing this information Kathryn and again, the pictures really speak more than a thousand words!
Thank you so much Chris. I do hope you get to see it for yourself one day (and this isn’t the only stunning landscape you’ll find there.)
Beautiful pictures Kat! I’ve never visited Tenerife but heard a lot of stories about the volcanic landscapes from friend and relatives. A lot of pro cycling racers from our country (Belgium) go over there during the winter for mountain training stages and to enjoy it’s mediterranean climate.
Thanks Jempi and what a magnificent landscape to cycle through it is, although being so high up it must be very cold in the winter. Lovely though to be able to then return to the coast for a bit of winter sunshine.
This is incredible! All I have ever seen of Tenerife in people’s holiday photos is the black beaches and I’ve never been that interested, but this scenery makes me wonder why people even bother with the beach! I’d far rather sit somewhere like this with a book! I guess at least the UNESCO site will always be empty, as most people don’t realise what they are missing!
We did see quite a few coaches but there was only one place where it got busy. While I’d love everyone who visited Tenerife to see this landscape, it will be easier to protect, and a nicer experience for those that do visit, if the majority don’t!
What time of year were you there, Kat? You seem to have done a good job of avoiding the crowds… of course, most people will be at the beach or the water/parrot parks, but on the occasions I’ve been there, even the areas around Teide have been relatively busy…
We were there in March. The area around the last photo was pretty busy (and you can just see a few people in the picture) but everywhere else, there wasn’t a soul in sight.
Wow, it’s truly amazing. I wish I was there right now. You should definitely print these photos off and stick it to your wall at home! 🙂
Thanks Agness. I might just do that! 🙂
That’s funny, I can already see Raquel Welch trapsing all around the valleys – it is stunning and extremely hot I’m sure.
Actually it is so high (well above the clouds) that it is quite chilly.
And Raquel did wear a goat skin very well, a great favourite with my Dad I remember. Not sure it was her acting skills he admired!
Wow! Beautiful pictures! I had no idea there was landscape like that on Tenerife! Do you know if you can do any hiking around the area?
Thanks Amy. There’ll be more on hiking and some more wonderful hiking country coming soon! You might also want to check out my last post on La Gomera – another UNESCO site and a fabulous place for hiking.
I absolutely love the photos Kathryn, they are wonderful. This is an amazing landscape and definitely the main highlight of Tenerife. I didn’t know about Raquel Welch!
Thanks Jackie. There’s more wonderful, but completely different, scenery yet to come!
Great pics and snowman story! I went to the Troodos mountains in Cyprus where there was loads of snow in April but temperatures of around 20C – bizarre!
Thanks Richard. It was surprising how the temperature changed depending on where you were on the island. Love the snowman story too – shame it’s banned!