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      our holidays > Walking Holidays > Spain & its Islands > Canary Islands > To the Top of Spain

To the Top of Spain

Journey to Tenerife's iconic mountain

STARTING POINT: Hotel Rural San Miguel, in San Miguel for two nights.

Day 1
Circular walk via Roque de Jama: 11km, 4hrs

From your base in one of the oldest settlements in the south of Tenerife whose old quarter includes several good restaurants and a small museum, we suggest a circular walk that takes you along a camino real  (merchant trail) which was used by agricultural workers and their camels en route to the fields to plough, sow and harvest barley, wheat and tomatoes and to trade their goods with neighbours. The path traverses the flank of the mighty Roque de Jama and returns along another camino real which was once used for carrying the dead from the town of Aldea Blanca to San Miguel for burial.

Day 2
San Miguel to Vilaflor: 10km, 4hrs

Leaving San Miguel, you ascend steadily above the village into its agricultural heartland alongside cultivated terraces on paths lined with prickly pear, the presence of pine trees and green hills becoming ever more prevalent as you progress towards the corona forestal (forest crown) that circles the heart of the island. In mid to late January and early February you'll find the way lined with pink almond blossom as you enter the pretty mountain village of Vilaflor. A final short climb above the village takes you to the splendid Hotel Spa Villalba, your base for the next three nights.

Days 3 & 4
Circular walk via Camino de Chasna: 14.5km, 5hrs
Circular walk via vinyards: 9km, 3hrs

From your pine-scented base, we suggest two routes to make the most of your days here and still leave you time to enjoy the hotel's facilities.

The first, partially circular walk takes you along the ancient camino real of 'Camino de Chasna' which was the main route connecting the spa town of Vilaflor with Mount Teide and was used extensively by explorers, scientists and well-heeled Victorians over-wintering on Tenerife on the advice of their physicians. Climbing above the village, you ascend to the surreal rock formations of Paisaje Lunar where, over half a million years, the elements have sculpted fantastical shapes from volcanic fallout to create a unique and fascinating landscape.

Our second route combines an easier walk with an opportunity to try some of the Hotel Villalba's award-winning wines. The lovely circuit takes you through the pine forest to Vilaflor's wine country where you traverse country lanes lined with vineyards and, in early spring, almond blossom. A short detour takes you to the Bodega Reverón where you can take a tour before trying a selection of wines which are also available to buy should you wish to take a taste of Vilaflor home with you.

Day 5
Vilaflor to Las Cañadas: 16km, 6hrs

A challenging ascent of over 1,000 metres lies ahead which takes you through the forest above Vilaflor and alongside the abyssal ravine of Barranco del Cuervo before rising steeply, sometimes out of the cloud, to emerge at the lovely picnic zone of Las Lajas, beneath a brilliant blue sky with the peaks of El Sombrero and El Sombrito on the horizon. Your ascent then continues to reach the crater wall where the magnificent panorama of Mount Teide and the Las Cañadas crater opens up before you. Traversing the crater ridge with El Teide on one side and a sea of clouds, or views down to the south coast, on the other, a final descent takes you to Las Cañadas Parador.

Day 6
Circular walk to El Teide via cable car: 11km, 4hrs (plus detours to viewpoints)

Having journeyed to this, the very heart of Tenerife, we suggest that, weather permitting, you take your journey to its ultimate high by following a level route through the kaleidoscopic landscape of Teide National Park to reach the cable car (pay locally) which will take you to within 200 metres of the very peak of the volcano. From the upper cable car station paths lead off to the north with views over the remaining north crater wall of Fortaleza and Montaña Blanca from where those wishing to climb to the peak from 'base' level begin their ascent. To the south, the path leads to the perfect crater of Pico Viejo, the lower of the two volcanic peaks, from where you can see the islands of La Gomera, La Palma and El Hierro on the horizon as well as the southern coast of the island .

If you wish to go to the summit of El Teide, you will need to obtain a free permit, available online in advance of your trip. Permits become available six months in advance, and are very popular, so we recommend reserving yours as soon as possible. The ascent to the peak takes an additional hour due to the altitude, which makes progress slow. (NB: In the event of heavy snowfall, which is not uncommon between November and February, the summit path will be closed, although the cable car may continue to run. The latter, however, does not operate in high winds, in which case it is impossible to access the peak.)

In the event of bad weather, and as an alternative, we offer two additional routes within Teide National Park:

Circular walk via Roques de García: 4km, 1.5hrs
Linear walk to Mount Guajara: 14km, 5hrs; ascent/descent 715m

The first is a short but unforgettable walk past the various weird and wonderful rock formations of the Roques de García, including the shillelagh-shaped Roque Chinchado which used to grace the 1,000-peseta banknote. Many of these striking natural monuments resemble fingers pointing into the sky, and another looks like a cathedral, with several tower-like formations.

The second is a more demanding route which takes you from the Parador to the peak of Mount Guajara, the highest point of the remaining crater wall and site of the world's first high-mountain observatory, before returning along the same route.

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 Grade 2-3 Walk
Local Map
 Walking Chart
Walking Chart:To the Top of Spain This is an approximation only. If comparing holidays, please note the scale of the chart as this can differ.
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