What makes cycling in Tenerife such a unique experience? How is it so different than any other popular cycling holiday destination? Why do all the Tour de France contenders come training on the “Island of Hell”?
Yes, you have probably guessed by now – it’s Mount Teide.
The volcano, with its summit at 3,718m above sea level, dominates the island’s landscape and is the main reason why cyclists from all over the world flock to Tenerife. The road reaches 2,300m, which may not be as high as some of the Cols and mountain passes in the Alps and elsewhere on mainland Europe, but if you take into account the fact that you can start climbing at around sea level, you begin to realise that cycling up Mount Teide is no easy task. Nearly 40km at 6%! Even experienced cyclists struggle to make it under 2 and a half hours.
And if the epic climbing isn’t enough to make Tenerife a great place for a cycling holiday, the island also offers great weather all year-round. It has been called the “Island of Eternal Spring” for a reason. Winters are extremely pleasant and during the summer it doesn’t get as hot as on mainland Spain for example.
Mount Teide influences Tenerife’s climate and there is a difference between the north and the south, something you should take into account when planning your cycling trip. The north is slightly cooler, which can be a plus in summer, and it does get a bit more rain, but it is also greener and offers the kind of scenery many cyclists seem to enjoy. The south is sunnier and much busier place as well, with its beaches and resorts.
Apart from Teide, the Teno massif in the north-west and the Anaga massif in the north-east offer some spectacular cycling too. And of course, if you fancy an easy day in the saddle, you can choose a flatter route and just enjoy the island.
A word of caution. If you really want to enjoy cycling in Tenerife and experience the unparalleled climbing the island has to offer, make sure you are reasonably fit. Only plan routes you are confident you will be able to do and always take into account the weather and the need for hydration.