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Thursday
Jan182018

Exploring Teide National  Park

The volcano Teide got its name from the word “Echeyde”, which is translated as hell from the language of the aboriginal “Guanches”, the indigenous people of Tenerife. Legends tell about the (evil) spirit Guayota, who is said to have lived in the underworld inside the mountain. Located in the heart of Tenerife, Mount Teide National Park is a must-see for everyone visiting the island. The National Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2007 and has a surface area of around 19000 hectares (47000 acres), it is punctuated with volcanoes and vast craters which give the landscape an alien, almost lunar appearance. The peak of Teide volcano reaches an altitude of 3718m (12198 ft), making it the highest point in all of Spain. It is the most visited National Park in Europe with several hiking trails leading through the landscape all the way to the mountain summit.

For those who don’t want to hike, there’s a cable car that can bring you up to the summit station at 3555m (11663 ft), from where you can enjoy the view over the island; on clear days you can even see the other islands of the Canarian archipelago. In addition, there’s a star observatory station, a visitors centre and the “Altavista refuge” situated at 3260m above sea level where overnight stays can be booked in advance.

Teide National Park offers a diverse collection of flora and fauna, with almost one third of the plants being endemic to the Canary Islands. Lots of endemic insect and reptile species including lizards, geckos and skinks, as well as different species of birds can be found in this area. The only native mammal species are bats, however other animals such as mouflons, rabbits, feral cats and hedgehogs have been introduced to the National Park. Its spectacular landscape with fantastic views and a spectrum of beautiful colours make it a very popular attraction where the beauty of nature can be seen at its best.

By Ramona Petrig - Tenerife Assistant Research Officer

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