The view down from the cable car station is stunning. especially when the is snow around it. It is possible to see the Las Canadas Crater in all of its glory (that's all 16 kms or 10 miles of it). Other Canary Islands are also visible in the sea.
When you get into the cable car, remember that the view down is very impressive, the view up is almost non-existant, so if you want to be able to see (i.e. you don't mind heights and dizzy views), make sure you get in the car quick, and get up against the window that will be facing downwards.
I don't really know what this object is or what it was called. To me it looks like a giant clam shell. It is up on the peak of Mount Teide and is about 5 minutes walk from the cable car station.
You aren't actually allowed to walk up to it as it is off the path and has ropes blocking you, although these two didn't seem to be too worried about that! There are quite a few Park Rangers wandering around with their whistles expressing their displeasure when tourists misbehave, but these two weren't spotted, and I felt it added a bit of scale to my picture so I prefer to use this one than the one without them in.
Down below you can see part of the huge Las Canadas crater, which is a mere 16 kilometres in size...
In this photo you can see a large chunk of the cone of the Teide volcano. The cone itself is 800 metres in diameter. The last time the volcano erupted was in June 1798. It followed 2 years of earhtquakes! So it probably wasn't a good time to visit the island.
The explosion in June 1798 did not come out of the top of the volcanic cone. Instead it came out of a side opening, which is what you can see in this photo (no, that is NOT me in the photo, just a tourist I saw standing there ;-) ). You can see the darker coloured lava around this side vent. The eruption lasted 92 days and covered an area of 5 square kilometers in lava. Lava was shooting up to a kilometre in height, and the smaller bits got as far as the islands of El Hierro and Gran Canaria.
If you get her just before sunset, the light is a gorgeous orangey colour (as you can see here!). No ticket is needed, and there is a largish layby to park in.
On a good day with good visibility, it is possible to see the other Canary Islands dotted around in the Atlantic when you are standing on the top of Mount Teide.
The is is circular walk just below the peak that takes you around, giving you all of these views. Don't be surprised if part of this walk is closed due to ice!
This picture shows the island of 'El Hierro' if I remember correctly. This is the nearest island to Tenerife, and is quite easy to take day trips to if you want to go. You can see the island poking out of the see in the upper part of the photo. You may need to enlarge the photo to see it properly.
Llano de Ucanca ia the plain off on the left hand side of this picture. Los Azulejos are on one side of this plain, so it is only a few minutes car journey from the Parador. The plain itself is very barren, there are no trees just a few bushes. Very little can grow in the poor soil and with the scarce water.
Most people probably see this by harsh sunlight. It was only because we had spent too long wandering around that we drove through at dusk. The mountains in the background appear to be painted in wonderful pastel colours (you'll need to enlarge the photo at this point!). You don't really see these pastel shades if the sun is shining brightly.
The sun had just set, and the sky had been a wonderful red colour, although this dosn't really show up in the long exposure needed for this picture. Definitely a place to see late in the day!
Los Azulejos is a word in Spanish used to describe tiles that you would place on a wall inside a house or in the garden. Typically they are placed in peoples porch ways in the South of Spain. The tiles are often a blue and white type colour.
However in this case, due to volcanic activity, there is an area very close to the Roques de Garcia where the rocks have been stained a deep green colour.
The name in this case implies that the rocks have been tiled in Los Azulejos tiles giving them this painted appearance (who cares whether they are green and the tiles are typically blue!).
I hadn't read about this in any guidebook, or heard it mentioned anywhere. It was just one of those things you unexpectedly see as you drive along the road.
It's a few miles past the Parador, and is quite well sign posted.
I'm not sure how well you can see it in this picture as it doesn't stand out too well, but there is a very large piece of rock, that looks exactly like a rather elegant ladies shoe.
To use a description on a board at the site, this 'shoe' is a 'phonolite dyke', which sounds rather grand! Apparently it simply means this is a very hard piece of volcanic rock. It has been sculpted by purely natural forces. They reckon if Cinderella were to fit the shoe, she would be over 100 metres tall (that's over 300 feet to some of you).
Again this place is completely free to visit, you just pull over at a car park on the side of the road.
The rock in this picture is the Roque Cinchado, and the rock at the top is of a harder material than the rock at the bottom, so the bottom wears away faster, which will eventually make it collapse under its own weight. This rock used to feature on the reverse side of the 1000 peseta Spanish Bank Notes, but with the advent of the Euro, you are unlikely to see one of these notes these days!
The Roque Cinchado is just one of the Roques de Garcia, although it is definitely the most well known one. It's pretty unusual for a rock to feature on a banknote!
The background of this picture again shows Mount Teide, but you can see the crater quite clearly at the top this time.
The Roques de Garcia (Rocks of Garcia) are a set of very strangely shaped rocks in the Teide National Park.
They are incredibly close to the Parador (Paradors are state run hotels in Spain, considered to be some of the best hotel accommodation for offer in Spain. They aren't cheap, but they are normally very nice in very nice buildings). So close that you can walk there from the Parador in a few minutes.
Some of the Roques de Garcia are as tall as 150 metres, and it is possible to climb up some (not all are as steep as the one in this picture!), and walk around the edge of the group of them.
To get an indication of the size of these rocks, check out the figure of the man in the bottom right hand side of the picture, he looks tiny in comparison! Behind the rocks, you can see Mount Teide again in all her splendor.
There is no admission charge to see these rocks, you just turn up and visit.
Before the Spanish conquered Tenerife, the original inhabitants were called Guanches. The name 'Tenerife' in the Guanche language means 'White mountain'. No prizes as to what this was referring to!
In this picture, Mount Teide is actually not that white as a lot of the snow has melted at the time the picture was taken, but apparently the mountain is white throughout the year.
The whole area around Mount Teide is actually a National Park (a new page on Teide National Park will be coming soon!).
It is possible to drive within 1 km of the summit, and then to ascend almost to the top of the mountain by cable car, which goes up pretty quickly! Once at the top, it is possible to wander around and get great views off to the other Canary Islands, or look down on the clouds!
Also visible is a 10 mile wide crater below Mount Teide.
We went up Mount Teide on Jeep Safari run by Freebird Tours. I would recommend a trip up there to anybody, the scenery was breathtaking, from the tree lined roads, the neighbouring islands to the barren landscape that surrounds the foot of the mountain.
Teide can be seen from almost anywhere on the island but to fully appreciate it you really need to get up close to it. Who would have thought that from the beaches of Playa De Las Americas there would be such a diversity of fauna and flora up there.
Teide NP is not just Lava and the Mountain. In the lower parts of the National Park there are some very nice forrests. This is the region where the clouds blown in by the passat winds loose their water before geting blown over.
A musst is of course a trip up spains highest mountain the Teide (3700 meters). The cable car takes you to about 200 meters below the peak. If you want to walk up you need a permission wich can be obtained at the National Park adminstration in Santa Cruz.
if you ever wanted to visit the moon then teide is the closest you can come anywhere is this world without a spaceship.
the vulcanic rock formations gives the whole place a surreal atmosphere.
the view from teide is absolutely stunning.
you can see most of the island and you get a good idea of how big the crater actually is.
the crater rim is really spectacular.