You cannot visit Tenerife without ascending to its beautiful volcano El Teide. It is located in the National Park, which is an area protected by the Canarian government. The amazing nature must be preserved as it is home to many species, many of them are endemic (they grow exclusively there) and make the volcano a unique place in the world. Indeed, the conditions in el Teide are very special as the floor is composed of minerals that are only present there, so there are some plants growing in the National Park that you will not find in the rest of the island or any other place in the world. Throughout the year you discover different landscapes in el Teide. Winter is a nice season to go to play in the snow on the top of the volcano and summer is the hottest time when you will enjoy the sun more than ever. Spring is the best time to admire blooming plants and to witness rainbows of amazing colours everywhere in the park. Visitors are reminded that it is forbidden to collect these fragile plants in the park. Here is a list of some of the plants and animals that you can observe only by going up to the National Park.
Red bugloss (Echium wildpretii): the visitors enjoy the sights of this astonishingly long (up to 3 meters!) red plant while walking around in the trails of the National Park. The intense red color of its small flowers is bright during the spring and after blooming the plant gets grey. The plant blooms after 2 years only. They attract the bees so we can find good honey in that area. In the same family, we can find in the eastern part of the park the Dwarf bugloss (Echium auberianium) which flowers are slightly blue and which is smaller than the red bugloss.
The emblem of the park is the Teide violet (Viola cheiranthifolia), which is the most fragile plant of the area. These flowers can be found only on rocks on the top of the volcano (more than 2500 meters) and are often considered as the highest flowering plant of Spain. But let us not forget the Teide daisy (Argyranthemum teneriffae) which also grows in the top of the volcano and can be seen up to 3600 meters.
The Teide broom (Spartocytisus supranubius) is full of white little flowers and when spring comes, it covers a large portion of the park, which makes it the dominant plant of the area.
When you drive along the main road of the National Park, you can stop at lookouts to enjoy the view of flixweed fields (Descurainia bourgaeana) with the lava flows in the background. These yellow flowers in a moon-like landscape give plenty of emotions to the visitors who feel like they left the Earth to discover a new planet.
You can also observe endemic species of animals, Tenerife’s most emblematic one is a lizard (gallotia galloti) that can reach 30 cm long and has blue colours on the neck.
Teide is also home to many birds like the Teide finch (Fringilla t. Teydea) which lives in the pine forest surrounding the volcano but we can also spot it in the park, the Betherlot’s pippits are seen everywhere in the area and the kestrels is the principal bird of prey (faucon crécerelle).
Did you know that there is only one native mammal in Teide? And it is the Canary big-eared bat (Plecotus teneriffae). All other mammals have been brought there by humans (rabbits, mouflons, cats…).
As you see, many interesting things expect you on your visit to the Teide National Park and it is why the volcano is the number one place to visit when you come to Tenerife. Its preserved nature makes it a perfect spot to relax and take a break from our technological world. You can do many activities in the park such as hiking, driving a bike, a quad, taking pictures at the various lookouts, observing the local fauna and flora with a guide, taking the cable car to reach the top of the volcano and many more. So come and visit the National Park of Teide to discover plants and animals that you have never seen before!