Guide to cycling Tenerife's Masca and Teno lighthouse - Epic Road Rides Back to top
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The Ride Masca and Teno lighthouse loop,
Tenerife

Distance

Elevation gain

Difficulty

Epic rating

104 km
3,560 m 
  
  

Distance

Elevation

104 km
3,560 m 

Difficulty

Epic rating

  
  

This is a seriously tough ride: 3,500 metres of climbing over 100km with some savage gradients. There's no getting around the fact that you're likely to form an intimate relationship with suffering.

But if you're up to the challenge, this is a ride you won't forget it. You'll pass through some of the most unique and astonishing scenery you're ever likely to see. 

If you're cycling in Tenerife and you've done Teide, do this ride next. It's a stunner.

Route map and profile

Route statistics

Related rides

HIGHLIGHTS

The two stand-outs are Masca and the Teno lighthouse.

Riding the road from Mirador de Cherfe pass down to to Masca is one of the most dramatic descents we've ever done. Lift your eyes from the road for a second and you'll see it snaking away, heading ever downwards, flanked by precipitous cliffs. Turn a few more bends and come to "that view" of the village, running along a ridge at the base of a bullet shaped rock, a mini Machu-Piccu. Sharply-cut ravine walls rise on either side and La Gomera island is framed in the V of the ravine sitting above a sparkling ocean.

The precipitous road to the Teno lighthouse was used for the opening scene in Fast and Furious 6. It is carved into the cliff face, with waves crashing below. You won't forget it - or the stunning lighthouse at the end of the road.

Twisting road snaking down to Masca village

The unforgettable sight of the road twisting down to Masca village

Punto de Teno lighthouse against orange cliffs at dusk

Punta de Teno lighthouse (photo credit: Mindaugas Anusauskas)

Road to Punta de Teno lighthouse in Tenerife, approaching a tunnel

Road to Punta de Teno ligthouse

RIDE LOG

1. Playa la Arena to masca: 0-20.5 km

It's uphill from the start on the TF-454 through banana plantations and with views down to the sea. You roll through the villages of Tamaimo, El Retamar and El Molledo until you reach Santiago del Teide. The adventure feels like it's about to begin as you turn left onto the narrow TF-436.

1.3 km of steep climbing (average 6.5%) takes you to the top of the pass at Mirador de Cherfe. Vertical cliffs tower above to the right of the road while on the left, the mountain drops away. You see the road spiralling downwards into the abyss, watched over by the jagged ridgeline of the Masca valley.

It's here the heart of the ride begins: nearly 4 km of twisty descent through vertical mountains and interlocking valleys until you reach Masca itself (see Highlights above). 

2. masca to Punta de Teno Lighthouse: 20.5-47 km

From Masca, sweeping vistas follow together with some vicious up, down and up (gradients hit double figures in places...). It's then an 11.5 km descent through lush terraced farmland to Buenavista del Norte.

The ride from Buenavista to the lighthouse is awesome. The sharp, volcanic cliffs rise up steeply on one side and the sea froths far beneath you. On the bends you catch sight of the massive stone banking that supports the road and in places, you're riding beneath vertical cliffs that jut out overhead. After a few kilometres of climbing, it's a fast descent down to the lighthouse, with views that stretch for miles down the coastline. Just remember to take lights for the tunnels (see our Tips below). 

3. Punta de Teno Lighthouse to Playa La Arena: 47-103 km

Make the most of the flat 6 km between Buenavista and Las Cruces: there's 19 km of uphill slog after that. At Las Cruces you see the road zig-zagging up above you and the fear sets in. But worry not, the gradients for the climb average at 5% and while it's long, it's not overly tough. That said, you have already got 2,400 m of climbing in your legs so don't underestimate how long it's going to take. Also expect traffic; you're on the TF-82 which is the main road between the North and West.

What goes up must go down and it's an 18 km descent to the sea. We added on a visit to the stunning cliffs at Los Gigantes, just west of Playa La Arena, but you may want to skip it and visit the pretty marina another day.

Masca village set amongst cliffs

Masca village, high in the mountains (photo credit: Christian Balate/Shutterstock.com)

View back over the Masca valley from a restaurant

What a spot for a restaurant, just after Masca village

View along coastline from Punto ligthouse road

Views back down the coast from the road to Teno ligthouse

CAFé STOPS

For quite an isolated region, there are a decent number of refuelling options assuming you aren't looking for a Michelin-style experience. 

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    Supermarkets/grocery stores can be found in the larger towns, for example Tamaimo, Buenavista del Norte and El Tanque.
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    There's a generous sprinkling of roadside restaurants, even small unassuming villages have a local restaurant.
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    Petrol stations are dotted along the larger roads, particularly the TF-82 between Playa La Arena and Santiago del Teide, the TF-42 along the North coast between Buenavista del Norte and Las Cruces and the TF-82 in El Tanque. Don't expect any around Masca, the lighthouse or the unpopulated part of the TF-82 after El Tanque and before Santiago del Teide.

ACCOMMODATION

We explored Tenerife from the Be Live Playa La Arena. Our children loved it and we found the location worked well for accessing rides across the island.

For other options - 

Take a look at more of our accommodation suggestions in our ultimate guide to Tenerife for cyclists.

Alternatively, our best towns for cyclists article should help you narrow down the best place for you to stay. 

TIPS

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    The descents around Masca and the road to the Teno lighthouse are spectacular but they are also technical and potentially dangerous. This is not somewhere for beginners learning how to descend. The roads are narrow with serious drop-offs. Only do this ride if you're experienced and confident riding major mountains. 
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    This is a major ride: fuel yourself properly, take plenty of water and plan where you'll fill up on en route.
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    Both Masca and the lighthouse are popular with day trippers. That means you'll certainly come across car traffic and probably come across coaches on the roads. Exercise caution. To avoid the worst of the traffic get out first thing.
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    The road to the ligthouse is infamous for fallen rocks and debris on the road: watch out.
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    Remember your lights for the tunnels on the road to the lighthouse. You'll need them.

And finally ... don't forget to read our general tips for cycling in Tenerife before you set out.


Enjoy this post?

Click here for our complete guide to planning a holiday on Tenerife.

Banner photo credit: Andrei Bortnikau/Shutterstock.com


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  • Andy Penn says:

    Rode this on Tuesday and included Garachico in the loop, fantastic route, thank you.
    https://www.relive.cc/view/2208776599#

  • Andy Penn says:

    I meant to add, for the tunnel near the lighthouse take a strong front light as it’s pretty dark in there 😊

    • Clare from Epic Road Rides says:

      That’s a great point – it is dark, especially given the usual contrast with the weather outside the tunnel! Take care everyone and happy riding!

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