The largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, Tenerife offers some of the best road cycling around. It’s not an island that has many flat roads, but if you’re reading this guide you probably already know that! If you’re heading there for your next road cycling holiday, Mount Teide is undoubtedly one of the most popular Tenerife cycling routes to tackle.
There are five main cycling routes up Teide from the coast, two from the north, two from the south and one from the west. All five Teide bike routes take you to 2,360m before the asphalt road gives way to volcanic rock; from there you need hiking shoes or a trip in the cable car to reach the peak.
But which Teide climb cycling route is the best?
To answer that question, this article contains:
- A comparison of the five main routes up Teide; and
- Our view on the best route up Teide.
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Due to the terrible forest fires in 2023, we understand that some of the roads in Tenerife are closed. In particular, we’ve heard that some of the routes up/down Teide to/from the north are subject to restrictions on cyclists. Check with the local tourism office, your accommodation or tour operator for the latest news.
Comparison of the 5 best routes for cycling up Mount Teide, Tenerife
At 3,718-metres, Mount Teide is the highest point in Spain. Cycling Mount Teide is a mecca for pro cyclists who go to hone their fitness on the 40km+ climbs from sea level during their pre-season training camps. The sheer length of the cycling climbs in Tenerife are great for prepping for some of the Grand Tours and hillier parcour races, and they are unmatched in places like Britain.
But if you’re an amateur and you’re on Tenerife for a week, cycling Mount Teide will probably only be on the agenda once or twice just because it will be unlike any climb you’ve likely done before and has the potential to really sap the energy from your legs – unless you’re a professional cyclist, that is!
So which Mount Teide cycle climb should you choose?
Teide from Las Cristianos (Southwest): most popular route up Teide?
Distance: 51.3 km
Elevation gain: 2,808 m
Elevation loss: 450 m
Max grade: 22.5%
Av. grade: 5%
This is the most frequently cycled Teide bike climb by road. It helps that Los Cristianos (with Costa Adeje and Playa de las Américas next door) is the busiest resort in Tenerife, but it’s also a great road ride, passing vineyards and pine forest.
As you can see from the Mount Teide cycling profile, it’s a steady but drawn out climb with a few kickers, so your mental energy will be put to the test as well as your climbing fitness.
At 51.3km it’s a nice length of route but comes with an abundance of climbing. A popular way to cycle Mount Teide, it’s easy to see why with stunning views from the top.
Want to ride a full loop? Our Teide loop via Granadilla and Vilaflor article has full details of this climb after Vilaflor.
Teide from El Médano (Southeast): also popular…
Distance: 54.1 km
Elevation gain: 2,629 m
Elevation loss: 272 m
Max grade: 13.2%
Av. grade: 4.2%
This is probably the second most popular road bike ride route up Teide. It takes you up from the windsurfing capital in the southeast, El Médano, to the top of the mountain.
A somewhat steadier way of climbing Mount Teide than our first route, this cycle up the mountain maxes out at 13.2% and carries a slightly gentler average gradient of 4.2% at the expense of a few more kilometres of climbing.
Watch out for the traffic before Granadilla; read our Teide cycling loop via Granadilla and Vilaflor guide for full details of an awesome ride after Granadilla.
Teide from Playa La Arena (West): easiest and quietest?
Distance: 53.5 km
Elevation gain: 2,476 m
Elevation loss: 131 m
Max grade: 13.6%
Av. grade: 5%
Many say that this route up Teide is the easiest (just to be clear, not easy per se; no route is easy when it comes to Teide!). It’s still got nearly 2,500m of climbing over 53 km, but there is less downhill than other routes so the gradients are rarely overly steep.
There’s incredible scenery too, from the cliffs of Los Gigantes at sea level to the lava flows of Volcán Chinyero. We think it’s well worth the effort!
Our Mount Teide cycling loop via La Orotava does most of this route (in reverse, but you can always switch the route around).
Teide from Puerto de la Cruz (North): most beautiful?
Distance: 47.5 km
Elevation gain: 2,400 m
Elevation loss: -65 m
Max grade: 13.8%
Av. grade: 5%
It is hectic getting out of Puerto de la Cruz, but once you’re at picturesque La Orotava, this route up Teide is stunning. It has the least downhill of our five routes up Teide, but the gradient is manageable (though watch out for the tough stretch just before La Orotava).
Many say it’s the most beautiful of the routes up Mount Teide Tenerife.
Our Mount Teide loop via La Orotava describes the climb from La Orotava in detail.
Teide from Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Northeast): longest…
Distance: 63 km
Elevation gain: 2,787 m
Elevation loss: -449 m
Max grade: 15%
Av. grade: 4.3%
This route takes you from the bustle of Tenerife’s capital (expect traffic and try and avoid rush hour!) to the lunar landscape of Teide’s crater. It also takes you through the wonderful city of La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There is more downhill in this ascent than the others and the gradient is more inconsistent. There is a lot of forest, so you have to wait longer for the views than on other routes, but that does mean there is more protection from the sun if you are riding in the heat of summer!
Besides, there aren’t many places in the world where you can climb for over 60 km; this is one of them.
Train for it
Whichever way you ride up Teide, you need to prepare yourself for a long, unrelenting climb. Also expect some traffic on your Teide cycling routes, particularly in the lower stretches through the resorts and towns. In happier news, the road surface is almost universally very good.
We’d recommend getting some training in prior to your visit to Tenerife and Mount Teide. It’s not a climb that you’ll be able to practice easily in Britain but increasing your climbing endurance before your trip will help you immensely.
Don’t start too fast
Secondly, don’t start out too fast! It’s easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of a big climb, but try to pace yourself as you could be climbing for a couple of hours. Although the gradients aren’t particularly challenging, the unrelenting ascents can take a toll on your will, so tick down the kilometres in chunks to make the climb feel more achievable.
Additionally, stretches through the forest, particularly on the two northern routes, give you some respite from the heat – which is something to consider if you are cycling up Mount Teide in the height of summer. If you are riding in summer then remember to pack some suncream.
Sun cream, fluids, fuel
If you are out riding for a good couple of hours it’s important to remember to protect your skin with some good SPF coverage. In terms of clothing, it may well feel cooler towards the top of the mountain and while you descend, so we recommend taking a packable jacket for these occasions during your ride.
Remember to drink plenty of fluids and fuel well with food and gels, whatever works best for you and your stomach – don’t try anything new during this ride, though! Try and hone your on the bike nutrition strategies prior to tackling Mount Teide.
Which route is best?
There is no right or wrong way to climb this mountain, but whichever route you choose, the views are stunning – there is a reason that the multiple Teide climbs by bike are widely regarded as the best cycling climbs in Tenerife.
Everyone will have their own opinion, but we have a soft spot for the route up from El Médano (we rave about the Granadilla to Vilaflor stretch, here) and from La Orotava to the crater (we love a view; read more here).
Cycling in Tenerife is a fantastic experience, not just for the Mount Teide cycling routes. The island is well equipped for cyclo tourists (as long as you like climbs), with plenty of Tenerife bike rental shops and hotels ready to cater to your every training need – there is a reason this area is so popular with the professional teams!
For more information make sure you read our full guide to cycling in Tenerife here.
And if these Tenerife cycling climbs seem a bit overwhelming for you at the moment, there are plenty of other nearby places such as other Canary Islands or even mainland Spain that can cater to road cyclists that may be better suited – and even allow you to have some leisurely café rides on rest days!
For other Canary Islands, you could look to Gran Canaria or Lanzarote. Read our guides to cycling in Calpe for a popular winter training camp destination of choice. If you want to ride in the home of many professional cyclists, read about cycling in Girona. And for the classic training camp holiday island of Mallorca, check out our guide here.
Books you might like
We found these books and maps really helpful when planning our trip to Tenerife, although they’re not entirely cycling holiday specific. You might too!
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