Here in Tenerife, there is one geographical feature that dominates the landscape – Mount Teide. This immense, active volcano is present wherever you go, as it sits proudly in the middle of the island. Despite it being active, it’s pretty chilled, so tourists visit it day after day. Most will take a bus tour up through the national park, followed by a cable car to just below the summit. A lucky few will also get a permit and hike right to the peak – something I hope to do very soon (once the snow has gone!). But, only a handful go and explore the landscape at night, and they really are doing Teide right.
When I was coming to Tenerife on holiday with my parents (a few weeks before I moved here for good), I was looking for some fun activities to do, that they wouldn’t say no to. My parents are not really the adventurous type – a perfect holiday for them is spent relaxing by the pool in the day, and good food and wine in the evening; not that I was really complaining about that! During one of my many google searches, I came across a Teide at night trip, and knew straight away that I HAD to do it! And surprisingly, my parents thought it sounded fun too. So, we all booked to go together one night during our holiday.
We were picked up by our tour guide from right outside our hotel, and piled into the – already nearly full – minivan. We were on a group tour, but it was a small group. Usually, I avoid these group excursions like the plague! I hate feeling like just another tourist being herded around an attraction, but thankfully, that was not what this trip was like. Our group totalled around 16 people, plus 6 “guides”, and 4 telescopes.
Halfway to the top, we stopped to watch the sunset and take advantage of the amazing photo opportunity. This was possibly the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen. Being on top of the world like that, and seeing nothing but nature stretching out before, bathed in an orange glow – simply magical. My Dad became official blog photographer, and got some awesome shots of me enjoying the view, and on we went.
When we arrived at the top of the mountain, you could really feel the change in temperature. Pro Tip: It may be Tenerife, but even in summer, it’s COLD at the top of Teide. Wrap up well – learn from my mistakes! One thin cardigan was NOT sufficient to stave off the cold. Thankfully, the tour guides bring along a box full of warm jackets for all of us who underestimated the cold (which was pretty much everyone FYI). Now, it was time for the main attraction – the night sky.
The team had set up 4 high power telescopes for us to view the wonders of the cosmos through. First on the list was the moon. Now, it may not sound like the most amazing thing to look at through a telescope – I mean, you can see it without one, right? But, because of how advanced these telescopes were, the view we got of the surface of the moon was amazing. Just look at the pictures below, and you’ll understand!
– FYI, these pictures were taken with my phone, just by pointing the camera through the telescopes viewfinder. No fancy lenses needed! –
Because of it’s proximity to earth, the moon was the only sight I was able to capture on camera, but it was not the only one I loved! We got the chance to see Saturn and it’s rings, the milky way, and loads of different constellations. I was in awe the entire time! The guides were also scientists, so were able to explain all sorts of facts about what we were seeing as the night went on.
After some solid stargazing, we were treated to some bubbly (or tea and coffee, but who wants to be that boring?) and some yummy nibbles. Then, we were driven back down the mountain and dropped off at our hotels. I totally fell asleep at this point, as it was past midnight and I’m a bit of a Grandma when it comes to bedtimes…
All in all, this trip was amazing. Even my parents couldn’t stop talking about how much they loved it! (My Dad kept checking out his stargazing app the rest of the holiday to find the things we’d been looking at!) This is one I would definitely recommend to anyone coming to Tenerife, as it really made the holiday special!