This demanding loop takes you through the rolling countryside of Northern Tenerife to La Orotava, a World Heritage Site and utter gem.
From there, you tackle the 38 km ride up the northern side of Teide. This ascent is considered by many to be the most beautiful of the routes up Teide and the dense forest in the upper reaches provides welcome shade.
Route map and profile
Distance: 136 km
Elevation Gain: 3,450 m
Max Grade: 16%
All metrics in this guide are approximate
The 38 km ascent of Teide from La Orotava is a truly great climb. It's long but the gradients are never unmanageable. The forest provides welcome respite from the sun. The road surface is flawless, maintained by the cycling gods themselves. And you are blessed with breathtaking views of the summit of Teide and an ever more distant coastline.
1. Chío to Icod de los vinos: 0-28 km
Chío is a good hub to start a number of rides. It sits at the bottom of a 38km climb to the summit of Mount Teide.
This route starts on one of the smaller roads from Chío, climbing up the hillside northwards above the TF-1 motorway to Arguayo. Climbing straight from the gun is rewarded by incredible views both west and northwards on quiet country roads, lined by palms and brown volcanic rock.
The road joins the TF-82 and you reach Santiago del Teide. Leaving the town, you see the steep hairpins up to the Mirador de Cherfe, the road to Masca. That’s for another day though (read more here).
The TF-82 takes you over the col and after a short descent, you take a sharp right onto the TF-373. This scenic, peaceful road bypasses the busy TF-82 and takes you nearly as far as Icod de Los Vinos, passing through fields, forest and the village of La Montaneta.
Avoid a trip into Icod itself, or be prepared for a vertiginous descent into the town and a lung-busting climb out again!
2. Icod de los Vinos to La Orotava: 28-58 km
From Icod it’s a rolling 30km ride on the TF-342 towards La Orotava, though La Guancha, Icod El Alto, Los Realejos, Cruz Santa and La Perdoma. The radiant blue sea expands on your left while the steep north side of Mt Teide rises on your right.
Orotava is a beautiful historic town with narrow cobbled streets, grand pastel-coloured buildings and sublime views down the steep hillside. It's also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. La Orotava to Chío: 58-136 km
From Orotava, navigation is easy: get on the TF-21 and climb!
It’s 38km from the town to the summit of Teide, a long gradual climb from 350m of altitude to over 2300m. While the length, elevation gain and altitude challenge some of the epic climbs of the world, some things are on your side. As you'll have read in the highlights, the forest provides a wonderfully cool respite, the road surface is excellent and the views of Teide are superb. It’s never too steep and sections of 8% are interspersed with shallower gradients, helping your recovery.
After the visitor centre at the junction of the TF-24, the gradient eases and you enjoy the rugged lunar landscape within the crater of Mt Teide, with black and brown shades of volcanic rock lining the perfect tarmac.
From the summit at the cable car, beware the fierce winds as you pass the famous Parador Hotel, turn right on the TF-38 and enjoy a never ending descent to Chío.
There are numerous villages between Chío and La Orotava where you'll find restaurants, bars and the odd shop. La Orotava would make a particularly fine place to stop to refuel before you tackle Mount Teide. It's at least worth filling the water bottles at this point since there's nothing between the end of the urban settlement at Chasna, outside Orotava, and the top of Teide. [Note: one of our readers has advised that there are now cafes after Chsana - see the comments below!]
Once you're at the top, pick between a few places that offer food and drink along the road between El Portillo and Boca Tauce - you are likely to need sustenance after that climb! Your choice includes the famous Parador Cañadas del Teide and the cable car station.
The temperature at the top of Mount Teide is often significantly colder than at sea level. We'd suggest taking some arm warmers, thin gloves and a windproof jacket - and more if the weather is uncertain.
The summit road can be windy: we'd suggest leaving the deep sections at home.
Remember there's less oxygen at 2,000 m. Don't push too hard.
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