Timed and limited tickets keep experience reasonable
Chaotic check-in for cable car
Quick ride up may be physically challenging
No visit of the island of Tenerife seems to be complete without visiting the Teide, the volcanic mountain in the center of the islands. On my last Tenerife, I went to the interior of the island and took the trip up close to the summit of Spain’s highest mountain.
Teide – Cableway Location & Tickets
The Teide Cableway (Teleferico del Teide) is really in the heart of the island. Going there from the touristic centers can take you quite some time, especially if you are caught in traffic. If you include a scenic route like TF-436, you can easily need around 2 1/2 hours from a touristic center to the valley station.
The return ticket for the cable car is 27 Euro per adult. The tickets are timed, you should arrive within a ten minute time slot (which means: being there early), which is limiting the time of your trip uphill. However, if you come too late, you may be able to change the date and time of the reserveration. Furthermore, trips may be cancelled due to bad weather, mainly fog and wind.
There are two more challenges when you visit the area: first of all, you should buy the tickets early in advance as they sell out pretty fast at the day of riding the cable car. Secondly, parking around the valley station is a nightmare and may require some time. There are also multiple combo-tickets adding some sort of guided tour to your trip. The cable car is opened all year and typically operates between 9:00 and 17:00 hrs. You are just allowed to stay on the top for one hours.
Teide – Riding the Cableway
The Teleferico del Teide is an aerial tramway, i.e. there are two cars which are fixed to the same rope. One car is going up, while the other one is going down. One cabin holds 44 people, the trip from the valley station at 2,356m to the top station at 3,555m just takes eight minutes. The cableway has been inaugurated in 1971, there were two renovations in 1999 and 2007. There were two breakdowns, both in recent times, 2017 and 2018.
Apart from the ticket shop, base station has all the facilities with two cafes, an ice cream vendor and a souvenir store.
Uphill, there is not too much at the station. You have to take a hike for a cafe. In the station area itself, there are just sanitary installations and a drink vending machine.
Despite the timed tickets, it took us some 20 minutes after our time slot to in fact board the cablecar. The organization was not too ideal, so that especially boarding the car was very chaotic with people refusing to enter, so that they enter last and stand by the window. Before that, the staff suggests very strongly that you have to take a souvenir picture to board the trip, which is of course a very doubtful way of making money (and illegal under European GDPR as well). The pictures were quite decently priced, though. Overall, the ride is impressive, due to its speed (up to 8 meters per second) and some very steep passages.
When you exit the tramway uphill, you have not reached the peak of the teide. You may visit the top crater, but there are just 200 licences per day, so you have to apply for it early. The views are already breathtaking when you exit the station, though.
Unfortunately, I could not enjoy it too much, due to an effect you will find very frequently when you google for Teide trips: you exit at more than 3,500 meters above sea level. In contrast to the Alps or other destinations, where your base is typically already at a certain height, you typically started your day at one of the tourist destinations, which are mostly about sea level. Having this quick change in height can be very bothering for your body. Unfortunately, there are no warnings by the operators about that effect.
Teide National Park
The pictures below are not sorted in any way, they should just give you a very minor impression about the beauty of Teide National Park. I would recommend to go there by car, just because you can stop where you like and take your time. It is an amazing and surprisingly versatile landscape.
Teide – My View
First of all, I love Teide National Park. If you are on Tenerife, go there, take a hike (even if it is an easy one), do a road trip through National Park and be overwhelmed by that lovely piece of nature. It is unique and i absolutely love it!
Regarding the cable car, I feel very split. I was dreaming to do this one for years now – but finally, it was disappointing. The organisation is weak, I could not enjoy it too much – and even despite the limited number of people around, it feels stressful. On the positive side, you will not forget the amazing views of the area once you are up there. The rating of 3/5 stars is for the Teleferico experience only, there is no doubt that you should explore the region.