The road leading to the Punta de Teno Lighthouse.
We consider Tenerife the best venue in the world for cycling climbing in the winter and off season. It has the second-best climbing mountain (as defined by routes to it and difficulty) after Monte Grappa (Veneto, Italy) and the weather is mild during the winter months. Although direct flights from Newark to Tenerife begin in June and end in late September or early October, it is worth the inconvenience of one layover to go during the winter.
Some of the MANY amazing roads and sights on Tenerife.
The Canary Islands, and particularly Tenerife, are one of the best winter climbing destinations in the world. While a trip to Tenerife is warranted at any time of the year, your best deals, least crowds, and some of the best winter weather for cycling are in the winter months here. See historical weather at the bottom of this page for more details on month-to-month conditions on the island.
THE climb(s) on the island is Mount Teide - hands down.
There are six primary routes to Mount Teide. Not all routes end at the same location because there are varying high points to the ascent, depending on which part of the Island you are traveling from.
PJAMM Google Map with six of the most popular routes up Mount Teide.
The routes in counterclockwise order beginning with Mount Teide in El Medano (Southeast):
- El Medano: 38.3 kilometers gaining 2,289m at 5.7% average grade ending at the park sign on TF-21
- Los Cristianos: 33.2 kilometers gaining 2,109m at 6.4% ending at the park sign on TF-21
- Los Gigantes: 36.6 kilometers gaining 2,068m at 5.6% ending at highpoint on TF-38
- Puerto de la Cruz: 47 kilometers gaining 2,429m at 5% ending at the highpoint on TF-21
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife: 62.5 kilometers (longest climb in Europe) gaining 2,827m at 3.7% ending at TF-21 highpoint
- Guimar: Ride 48.9 kilometers gaining 2,508m at 4.4% ending at the highpoint on TF-21
There are four primary access routes to the Visitor Center -
TF 21 (north and south) TF 38 (west) and TF 24 (north) and TF-525 (east).
Teide Visitor Center
Food, beverages, bathroom, and extraordinary views from the VC.
The Visitor Center is located a few miles past the finish of each route up Mount Teide - there are a bit of rollers to get to it from each direction, but an easy and worthwhile addition.
The tram is 4.6 kilometers past the Visitor Center from the southern ascents and 2.3 kilometers past the finish of the climbs from the north. The tram will take you to near the top of Mount Teide. If you wish to hike to the highest point in Spain, get those tickets well in advance of your trip - we were told two months at the information booth in October 2022 (Official Website). Because of an unseasonal rainstorm the tram was not running during our trip.
Cycling Masca - a World Most Epic bike climb.
After Mount Teide, the Masca climb is the most epic and popular on the island. This can be done via the Lighthouse Loop - see PJAMM Tenerife Adventure Page (this page shows the route in a direction where we descend Masca - however, it is our preference to do the route counter-clockwise and climb Masca).
The Lighthouse Climb - begins at the lighthouse and climbs 3.5 kilometers from there.
FIVE NICE CLIMBS TO THE NORTH
There are a grouping of five shorter climbs at the northern end of the island.
We drove to San Andres from the south central part of the island (Vilafor) to try the northern end of the island which was recommended to us by several cyclists with knowledge. We had time only for the Bailadero climb, but have charted the five climbs for you if you are interested in one or all of them. They are the Bailadero 5: 84 kilometers with 2,915 meters of climbing (52 miles/9,565’).
TOUR GUIDE AND BIKE RENTALS
Bike Point - five locations on Tenerife.
Center Photo - Alberto Delgado (center) - Tenerife Cycling Tours - HIGHLY recommended!
Alberto (left) and Marcos Delgado grew up on the island and know Tenerife like the back of their hand.
Both brothers speak excellent English and offer reasonably priced and excellent tours, as well as quality bike rentals. If you are looking for a cycling tour or cycling guide for Tenerife, you cannot get any better than Tenerife Bike Training.
If you aren’t bringing your own bike to the island, bike rentals on Tenerife can be obtained via: (a) Bike Point (five locations - which we visited and were very impressed by) and (b) Free Motion which has Specialized, Cannondale, and Pinarello rentals, and is endorsed by our cycling friend Bo Jensen who has significant experience cycling the Canary Islands.
Or, lug your bike there . . .
Both charts are from Wikipedia.org/tenerife which cites to Agencia Estatal de Meteorologia as source of data.
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at Hotel Villa Alba in Vilaflor on the south central side of Mount Teide. We chose to stay halfway up the mountain as the hotel was very nice and affordable, and it gave us easier access to the other starting locations for Mount Teide and Masca than if we stayed down at the coast on one side of the volcano or the other. However, if I were to do the trip over again and self-supported, I’d try Paradores (see details on Paradores, below).
Paradores are Spanish government owned luxury hotels. The Parador on Tenerife is located at the Visitor Center and is the best location to stay, though it is pricey, for cycling the many routes up to Mount Teide. The professionals stay here because it also provides altitude acclimation (situated at 2,100 meters) and is a central location for routes up Mount Teide and other climbs on the island. The cost of Parador de Las Canadas del Teide was about twice the cost of our Vilaflor hotel (Villalba Hotel Spa; 85 versus 160 euros).
Check for direct flights from the east coast of the US to Tenerife. When we flew out in September 2022, there were United direct flights from Newark to Tenerife that are between seven and eight hours long. Couple that with five hours form the west coast to east coast of the US, you are in the air about 12 hours to get there from the west and seven hours from the east coast (adding in time for the layover, you’re at about 15 to 18 hours). In the off season, expect even lengthier travel time (including layover, time is from 19-26 hours).
FERRY TO LA PALMA
Fred Olson Ferry - Los Cristianos, Tenerife.
If you have the time and the adventurer’s spirit, consider taking the 3.5 hour ferry ride to La Palma where you can ride the sixth hardest bike climb in the world and one of the most epic bike climbs on earth. We took the Fred Olson ferry from Los Cristianos, Tenerife to San Sebastian, La Palma and spent a day riding Lano de las Animas (sixth hardest world bike climb) and Roque de los Muchachos (a top 10 world most epic bike climb). You can get details on that climb and logistics at our PJAMM Tenerife-La Palma App Page and at our Llano de las Animas and Roque de los Muchachos West climb pages.
Cycling Roque de los Muchachos from the west.
Ride 17.7 miles gaining 7,465’ at 7.4% average grade (9.7% climb only)
This is one of the most epic climbs in the world and ranked World #27 in difficulty. We made the two-hour ferry ride from Tenerife and stayed two days just for this climb and Llano de las Animas (world #6). However, we believe three or four days riding on the island would be justified.
Roque de los Muchachos is truly one of the best bike climbs in the entire world.
Cycling the sixth hardest bike climb in the world:
Llano de las Animas.
Ride 15.6 kilometers (9.7 miles) gaining 2,000 meters (6,560’) at 12.6% average grade (13.7% climb only).
Llano de las Animas is one of the world’s greatest road bike climbs.
This is the second steepest 10 kilometers of tarmac in the world at 15.2% (just behind Al Jaadah Pass, Saudi Arabia at 15.4%).