At 3,718-metres, Mount Teide is the highest point in Spain. It's a mecca for pro cyclists who go to hone their fitness on the 40km+ rides from sea level.
There are five main routes up Mount Teide from the coast, two from the north, two from the south and one from the west. All five take you to 2,360m before the asphalt road gives way to volcanic rock; from there you need hiking shoes or a trip in the cable car.
But which cycle route up Mount Teide is the best?
If you're on Tenerife for a week, you'll probably only want to tackle it once or twice. So which ascent should you choose?
To answer those questions, this article contains:
- A comparison table of the five main routes up Teide; and
- Our view on the best route up Teide.
Comparison of the 5 best routes up Mount Teide
Teide from Las Cristianos (Southwest)
Distance: 51.3 km
Elevation gain: 2,808 m
Elevation loss: 450 m
Max grade: 22.5%
Av. grade: 5%
This is the most frequently cycled route up Teide. It helps that Los Cristianos (with Costa Adeje and Playa de las Américas next door) is the busiest resort in Tenerife. But it's also a great ride, passing vineyards and pine forest.
Our Teide loop via Granadilla and Vilaflor has full details of this climb after Vilaflor.
Teide from El MÉdano (Southeast)
Distance: 54.1 km
Elevation gain: 2,629 m
Elevation loss: 272 m
Max grade: 13.2%
Av. grade: 4.2%
This is probably the second most climbed route up Teide. It takes you up from the windsurfing capital of Teide in the southeast.
Watch out for the traffic before Granadilla; read our Teide loop via Granadilla and Vilaflor for full details of the awesome ride after Granadilla.
Teide from Playa La Arena (West)
Distance: 53.5 km
Elevation gain: 2,476 m
Elevation loss: 131 m
Max grade: 13.6%
Av. grade: 5%
Easiest and quietest?...
Many say that this route up Teide is the easiest (just to be clear, not easy per se; no route is easy when it comes to Teide!). It's still got nearly 2,500m of climbing over 53 km, but there is less downhill than other routes so the gradients are rarely overly steep.
There's incredible scenery too, from the cliffs of Los Gigantes at sea level to the lava flows of Volcán Chinyero.
Our Mount Teide loop via La Orotava does most of this route (in reverse, but you can always switch the route around).
Teide from Puerto de la Cruz (North)
Distance: 47.5 km
Elevation gain: 2,400 m
Elevation loss: -65 m
Max grade: 13.8%
Av. grade: 5%
It's hectic getting out of Puerto de la Cruz, but once you're at picturesque La Orotava, this route up Teide is stunning. It has the least downhill of our five routes up Teide, but the gradient is manageable (though watch out for the tough stretch just before La Orotava).
Many say it's the most beautiful of the routes up Teide.
Our Mount Teide loop via La Orotava describes the climb from La Orotava in detail.
Teide from Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Northeast)
Distance: 63 km
Elevation gain: 2,787 m
Elevation loss: -449 m
Max grade: 15%
Av. grade: 4.3%
This route takes you from the bustle of Tenerife's capital (expect traffic and try and avoid rush hour!) to the lunar landscape of Teide's crater. It also takes you through the wonderful city of La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There is more downhill in this ascent than the others and the gradient is more inconsistent. There is a lot of forest, so you have to wait longer for the views than on other routes. However there aren't many places in the world where you can climb for over 60 km; this is one of them.
Whichever way you ride up Teide, you need to prepare yourself for a long, unrelenting climb. Also expect some traffic, particularly in the lower stretches through the resorts and towns. In happier news, the road surface is almost universally very good. Also, stretches through the forest, particularly on the two northern routes, give respite from the heat.
And whichever route you choose, the views are stunning.
Everyone will have their own opinion, but we have a soft spot for the route up from El Médano (we rave about the Granadilla to Vilaflor stretch, here) and from La Orotava to the crater (we love a view; read more here).
What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.
Found this helpful? Check out our other Tenerife content, including:
Banner photo credit: Santi Rodriguez/Shutterstock.com
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