El Teide (Santa Cruz)

Start Town Altitude Elevation Gain Length Gradient Difficulty Rating
El Santa Cruz 2,325m 2,308m 63.7 km 3.6% 1,316 ***

El Teide Profile

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Climb Description

El Teide is the most iconic climb in Tenerife and one of the most famous in Spain. It is the highest mountain in all of Spain at over 3,700m and, although the road does not go that high, it is understandably popular with cyclists.

This climb to El Teide begins in Santa Cruz, the capital and largest city in Tenerife and is our least favourite of the main ascents to El Teide. The major problem is the traffic in the opening kilometres. However, it is also the side with the least interesting scenery; much of the route is covered by trees and you have to wait longer than on the other routes before the landscape opens up and becomes more spectacular.

One of the main advantages of this side is that you pass through the city of La Laguna - a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the historic capital of Tenerife, which is well worth exploring. But, if you have the choice, we recommend descending this way rather than climbing it. The road surface is excellent (better than some of the other sides) and you will be exposed to the heavier traffic for a much shorter period of time when going downhill.

In terms of difficulty, this is the longest and most gentle side to climb. But the gradients are also more inconsistent here and so it is harder to settle into a rhythm than some of the other options. There are downhill sections as well, so the amount of climbing is actually a few hundred metres more than the total elevation gain. At nearly 64km in length, bear in mind that this will take even very strong riders the best part of three hours to climb. So make sure you have adequate food and water, or plan your coffee stops carefully!

Due to Tenerife's sub-tropical climate, El Teide is open throughout the year. This makes it one of very few places in Europe where you can ride climbs that rival the great Alpine ascents throughout winter.

El Teide - Tenerife Cycling Climb

The volcanic scenery is impressive on this side of the climb

Roads & Traffic

The road surface is in very good condition throughout the climb. The biggest problem with this climb is the high volume of traffic, particularly in the first 15km. From Santa Cruz to La Esperanza expect a steady stream of cars which, although mostly slow moving, can severely affect the enjoyment of the climb.

From La Esperanza the climb turns into a more traditional mountain road, there are still a few cars on the road, but it is not nearly so bothersome as during the first 15km. Overall, we recommend climbing one of the other sides and descending this way if you have the choice; that way you will spend less time on the busier sections.

Alternative Routes

Teide can be climbed from several other sides. All of which are fairly similar in terms of difficutly; the main differences are in the traffic and the scenery on the lower part of the climb.

El Teide - Los Gigantes

El Teide - El Médano

El Teide - Playa de San Juan

El Teide - Puerto de la Cruz

Nearby Climbs

Erjos Garachico

Mirador de Masca

Pico del Ingles - La Laguna

Teno Alto


Cycling Holidays

The climb to El Teide is one of the highlights of our Best of Tenerife cycling holiday. We climb it from Los Gigantes, with the option to either start right on the coast, or a bit higher up in the village of Santiago del Teide.

In the links below you can find out more about this tour and other similar holidays that we are currently running in the mountains.

Mount Teide
Spanish FlagSpain

Self-Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 7 Days
Level: Difficulty Medium to Challenging
Price: from €1,390 EUR
Tramuntana Mountains - Mallorca
Spanish FlagSpain

Self-Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 7 Days
Level: Difficulty Medium to Challenging
Price: from €1,420 EUR
Lagos de Covadonga
Spanish FlagSpain

Self-Guided Cycling Holiday
Length: 8 Days
Level: Difficulty Challenging-Hard
Price: from €1,490 EUR