9 facts about Mount Teide

Mount Teide is one of the most popular volcanoes in the world. It is well-known for its beauty, size and last but not least for its location in close proximity to the European continent. It was born more than 8 million years ago, and today it is an important tourist destination for people from around the world. Today the volcano is easily accessible thanks to the existing cable car. Don’t forget, however, that the site is a national park so you will always need a permission to visit it.

Mount Teide Tenerife

Mount Teide Tenerife by Jose Luis Tirado

1. Last eruption of Teide

Most people think that Mount Teide is a volcano that has extinct very long time ago and currently is not active. However, this is a great mistake.

In fact, the last eruption occurred much sooner than you can imagine. This happened suddenly and without warnings on November 18, 1909.

However, as we can see today, Teide is very far from being among the most active volcanoes. Actually, scientists describe it as a dormant volcano, which has not disturbed the peaceful life of the island’s inhabitants for a long period of time.

2. Highest peak in Spain

With its 3718 meters, Mount Teide is the highest point of Spain. Moreover, it is the highest peak in Western Europe outside the Alps.

Every morning at sunrise the volcano throws a tremendous triangle-shaped shadow over the entire vicinity.

If you have the unique chance to meet the sunrise in the higher parts of the island, you will be able to see and enjoy the enormous shadow of the volcano that for a while reaches hundreds of miles into the Atlantic Ocean.

The most amazing is that the length of the shadow is more than 3% of the distance between the Canary Islands and Florida in the United States!

3. Unique local microclimate

The Canary Islands are located where the tropical climate zone from the south meets the subtropical climate zone from the north and are know as one of the places with the best climate in the world.

Generally said, the islands enjoy weather that is very similar to Florida. However, Mount Teide is quite cold and different from the weather along the coast. The temperature is quite low throughout the year.

The average daytime temperature is about 4,1°C in January and 17,9°C in August, which means you should always wear some warm clothing if you want to climb the mountain, even in summer. Nights are usually cold with temperatures between 0,9°C in January and 13,5°C in August.

Formation of rocks, Teide

Formation of rocks, Teide by Sander Hoogendoorn

4. Very rich flora

If you are not an experienced biologist, you probably would say that Teide is a desert area. However, as a result of the rich volcanic soil, the mountain slopes are home to about 168 species of plants.

One of the most emblematic is Echium Wildpretii, which is very well known from everybody who have ever visited the area. It is an herbaceous plant, whose height reaches 2-3 meters.

The ring between 1000 and 2000 meters is covered by beautiful pine forests. Actually, only the highest parts are devoid of vegetation.

5. Very rich fauna

When you see the harsh landscape of Teide National Park, probably for you will be hard to imagine how many species call this place their home.

Actually, more than 1400 species of animals live here and about 40 percent are endemic and couldn’t be found elsewhere. Most of the species are insects.

However, there are also birds, rodents, lizards and many others. One of the advantages is that there are no dangerous animals in the area. Probably, the most hazardous of all are the bees and wasps.

6. Best place to observe the night sky

Have you ever heard that the Canary Islands are one of the places in the world offering the best conditions to observes the stars and the Milky Way?

Actually, some of the most amazing pictures of the night sky have been made exactly here, on the top of Mount Teide.

This is one of the most important reasons why in 1964, at a height of 2390 m, was built one of the most popular international observatories on the planet, Observatorio del Teide.

Because of the very good conditions in the area, years later on the neighbouring island, La Palma, was build second observatory – Roque de los Muchachos Observatory.

Mount Teide Snow cover

Mount Teide Snow cover by Jesús Padrón

7. Snow cover

There are very few places around the world which are located in the tropics and receive snowfalls at the same time. Mount Teide is one of them and the reason is it altitude above sea level.

At a height of 2371 m are possible temperatures below zero in 10 out of 12 months of the year. Only in August and September temperatures have never fallen below zero.

For that reason is not surprising that Mount Teide is covered with a thin cover of snow much more often than you could imagine. Practically, snow covers the highest parts of the volcano for a long period during the winter season.

However, the precipitations that fall over the island are scarce. That’s why you will be a bit disappointed if you expect to see the kind of snow cover you could find in the Alps or in the Balkans in winter.

8. Under the auspices of UNESCO

Since 2007, Mount Teide is under the auspices of UNESCO. The volcano is very beautiful and looks so different under different type of weather conditions.

However, its beauty is not the only reason why this place is of such a great importance. When it comes to science, the volcano offers a rich information about the geological processes that occur within the Earth.

The protected territory covers the territory of the Teide National Park. The UNESCO World Heritage Site covers an area of about 18,990 ha. There is also a special buffer zone, which services to ensure much better protection of the territory.

9. 3rd highest volcano

Mount Teide is the third largest volcano on the planet after Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii.

Teide is much bigger than you could imagine because actually a very big part of it, or nearly 48%, lies below sea level. If we count the entire height of the volcano, it wouldn’t be 3718 meters but 7200 meters!