Even though I wanted to do nothing more than lie by the pool and soak up some sunshine, I was determined to get off a lounger and see some of Tenerife. And a visit to the UNESCO heritage site of Teide National Park was top of my agenda.

From our hotel in Coste Adeje, it was about an hour’s drive, and while it appeared to be a straightforward route, it wasn’t so much – well not for someone who doesn’t drive on the right-hand side all that often, as well as navigate foreign roads. It was rather nerve-racking, particularly on the climbing winding twisted roads heading into the park – at one point I could see the sheer drop below…

7 Things To Know Before Visiting Mount Teide in Tenerife

But putting aside the strain from the white knuckles that gripped the steering wheel, it was all rather worth the stress and bother. Because once you enter the National Park, it’s like landing on a different planet, and hard to equate that this spectacular volcanic landscape, with its strange alien-like rock formations, sits right in the middle of Tenerife. Not only does is cover an awe-inspiring 47,000 acres, but it also has Spain’s highest peak and the tenth largest volcano in the world, Mount Teide.

What I was surprised about was how little information there is on actually visiting Mount Teide. There are plenty of sites where you can gather some details, as well as many companies that organise tours. But if you’re short on time, and want to experience it for yourself without a guide, then I share a few pointers that I discovered during our trip to this magnificent and must-see natural wonder.

7 Things To Know Before Visiting Mount Teide in Tenerife

It’s still active

Okay, so Mount Teide hasn’t actually erupted since November 1909, but there have been murmurings in recent years that an eruption could happen at any time due to re-occurring earthquakes – in 2017 there were 20 of them  – on the island. Amid fears, experts have been quick to dispel the scaremongering. The fact remains though, it’s still an active volcano.

7 Things To Know Before Visiting Mount Teide in Tenerife

It takes one day to climb to the summit

If you’re relatively fit, it will take around 24 hours from the bottom of Teide to reach the top. However, if you want to take a break and do it at a more leisurely pace, then you can always stop at the refuge of Altavista, sleepover, then continue your climb and watch the sunrise in the morning.

If you’re lazy, like me, just take the Mount Teide cable car

The Mount Teide cable car or teléferico del Teide takes you to the upper station and offers the most amazing views at 3555m above sea level. It is also the starting point to three different routes, including Route 10, that will take you to the summit. However, be mindful it will still take several hours from this point. Tickets cost from €13.50 for a single journey and there is ample free parking space.

7 Things To Know Before Visiting Mount Teide in Tenerife

You’ll need a permit…

For the protection of the area, the number of visitors allowed to the summit is regulated on a daily basis, so if you know you want to reach Pico del Teide, then reserve your permit way in advance of your trip. Even though it is possible to do it before 2.00pm prior to the date of your arrival, they will most likely be allocated.

It’s cold…

Don’t be fooled into thinking that on the ground it’s lovely and hot in the sunshine. Mount Teide is one of the very few places in the world where it has tropical temperatures and also receives snowfalls at the same time. Once you reach even the upper station, the temperature drops dramatically and the air is icy cold – so make sure you bring warm clothes with you. Flip flops and shorts really won’t cut it…

7 Things To Know Before Visiting Mount Teide in Tenerife

It’s rocky and uneven…

So wear comfortable shoes. The lava which has spewed from the volcano and solidified is quite tough on the feet! And for those who aren’t too steady or need help walking, there are observation points in the upper station which have flat surfaces.

You may feel dizzy…

And short of breath. At this altitude from 3555m and higher, the air is much thinner and the likelihood of suffering from altitude sickness is quite high. You could be the fittest person on the planet, but that doesn’t mean you’d be infallible to getting dizzy spells or find it hard to recover from any exertion. I felt lightheaded and had to sit down a few times myself.

7 Things To Know Before Visiting Mount Teide in Tenerife

The best view of Mount Teide is from afar…

While the sprawling scenery is epic from high up, in order to see the volcano in all its glory, park at one of the several viewpoints and you’ll be rewarded with the most spectacular sight of the Mount Teide. Meanwhile, take a meander through the Park itself – we just drove and drove, but this gave us different perspectives of the landscape as well as seeing Los Roques de Garcia – a stunning rock formation that is recognised all over the world.

Do you have any more tips for people planning on visiting Mount Teide and the National Park?