Back on Tenerife. Terrific! And since we’d scheduled in a full day to acclimatize before the business part of the trip, it was high time to get behind the wheel and off around those hairpins and up them volcanoes. Naturally!

Now, normally to get to the top of a volcano your need to trek, climb and clamber up it, sometimes for several days (Kilimanjaro, for example). There are a few exceptions, one being Mount Etna, which can be scaled via first a ski-lift then specially equipped buses. Another is Mount Teide on Tenerife. This one’s for reeeaaal lazy tourists.


You can get practically up to Teide’s peak – which after the latest eruption now stands some 3718 meters above sea level – in a cable car! Yep, lazy tourists get whisked up 1200 meters (if the Internet is to be believed): from 2356 to 3555 meters above sea level. When you get off the funicular near the top there are a mere 170 meters up still to go.

Warning! If ever you’re here and want a ride on the cable car, buy your tickets well in advance! Otherwise during high season you can be waiting in line for hours, we were told.

Whoah! What views from the cable car! This sure was the highest I’ve ever been in a cable car. Curiously this one doesn’t make the world’s top-ten cable car lifts lists – neither CNN‘s nor National Geographic‘s. Eh?

Teide is an active volcano, though comatose since 1909. Multicolored fresh volcanism at the top, the smell of sulfur, steep volcanic rockslides, and cooled lava flows still with no greenery upon them: all signs of a (deceptively) active volcano!

Alas, we didn’t get to see the crater at the very top since permits need to be obtained months in advance. Only 200 permit-holding visitors per day are allowed up there. I wonder why just 200 per day? Is it so cramped up there?…

Oh well, will have to save that one for next time. In the meantime, walking around by the top of the cable car was good enough. There are nice paths up there making the whole volcanistic experience rather special for those who’d never normally make it up a volcano without such civilized paths.

Warning No. 2! Take note of the altitude up here. Three thousand five hundred meters! And if you’ve never been so high up before there’s a real risk of suffering from altitude sickness. I describe altitude sickness as it seeming like a concrete block is resting upon your poor head and you’re depressed and apathetic. But don’t worry. Just take it easy: sit down for a while, calm down, and breathe deeply. It’ll help. And running is simply forbidden – not that you’ll fancy running anyway :).

Another thing that might be making you uncomfortable up here is that it’s 10-15 degrees cooler than down below on the beach. So, say it’s 30 degrees down there, it can be 15 degrees up here – and windy. Warm clothing is a must, as are suitable trekking boots. Look at the surface of the paths – hardly for flip-flops…

Btw, these paths lead down into the valley at the foot of the volcano, and there are plenty of them…


Even better: to go up a path, then (with a permit!) to get to the very top, and then to descend down the opposite slope. Now that would make a fine one-day-trek route. You’d have to set off early though, and be ready to cover 20-25km and rise ~1.2km!

Down below too there’s also some fantastic volcanism to be beheld…

Incredible scenes. My travel companions, V.B. and I.S., were so astounded by the incredibleness that they just couldn’t stop taking pics of each other and selfies. There was no stopping them!…


Ah, it’s only to be expected. Anyone’s first time up a volcano is always special. It’s almost like being on another planet.

But we need to be going, ladies, so cameras and phones away and let’s be off. After all, Tenerife is a big island and we need to see it all!…


Next stop: Masca Gorge, and the village of Masca at its top. Pretty place. Massive, 300-meter volcanic rock formations, and amazing views…

Nice views, but nowhere to walk around here. The path down to the beach was blocked with rocks from a landslide. But even it were clear it’s a good 600 meters down, and then you need to get back up those same 600 meters. Best would be to sail to the beach, climb up to the village, have lunch, and then back down. That’s what we’ll do next time…

This time however, we got up to Masca in a car.  On a crazy serpentine road


This road is very narrow, and as you can see very winding and snake-lake. Super views one side, steep cliffs the other.


Google claims it takes 15 minutes to get from one end to the other, but no way is that possible. And 17 on a bus? Yeah right. Google – sort your algorithms out!

Buses shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near this road. The turns are so tight they just get stuck all the time.

Of course the buses cause hold-ups. So if you do ever drive along this road and they still haven’t banned buses and you find yourself behind one, you’d better just park up and enjoy the scenery. Your senses – and nerves will thank you for it!

Another hazard: Masca parking isn’t great. So either come here off season, or get to the village early in the morning…

Next up: Macizo de Anaga, northeastern Tenerife. Yet another magnificently magical place that really needs a whole day, or two, spending at. A wide mountain range, monumental mountainous views, lush forest and lots of good paths. Perfect trekking territory!

Alas, since we only had a day for tourism on the island, we decided not to do any walking, and stuck to automotive cruising – with the roof down. Weeeeeeh! :)

Hmmm. Here’s a road up there with the likes of GI-682, which I drove along recently. Hairpins, super views, steep cliffs. One minute we’re shrouded in cloud, the next – blinded by the bright sunshine. Bizarre!

The road’s about 30km long: plenty long enough to extract sufficient satisfaction from its surroundings.


Here’s the route we covered that day…


…It was real fun, to say the least.


But now: back to work, a stellar-synopsis thereof coming up tomorrow…

All the Tenerife pics are here.


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