Mount Teide – Spain - Atlas Obscura

Mount Teide

According to the Guanches, the aboriginal people of the Canary Islands, the king of evil lives inside this volcano. 


This incredible volcano located in the center of the island of Tenerife is great whether you’re looking to take pictures, take a drive and appreciate the drastic change in flora from beach to mountain, or are more adventurous and are looking to go for a challenging hike.

The highest elevation in Spain and the islands of the Atlantic, Mount Teide is also the third largest volcano in the world from its base, after only Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa. An active volcano that last erupted in 1909, Mount Teide is surrounded by the Teide National Park. The park, which has an area of nearly 19,000 hectares, was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in mid-2007. That recognition helped to boost the allure of the park, which was also named one of the top twelve treasures of Spain after making the UNESCO list.

The most visited national park in the Canary Islands and Spain, Teide hosts close to three million visitors. In 2010, Teide was also the most visited national park in all of Europe and second most visited worldwide.

A sacred mountain to the aboriginal Guanches, Mount Teide was long considered a mythological mountain. It’s hard to overstate how important this geological wonder was to the native people; it was held in regard similar to that of Mount Olympus by the ancient Greeks. According to the aboriginal legend, the devil kidnapped Magec, the god of light and the sun. The devil imprisoned the god inside of the volcano, a world of darkness and fire, similar to many religious visions of hell. The supreme god of the Guanches fought the devil and plugged the volcano after freeing Magec. Today, some still believe that the devil is living deep inside of the mountain.

The aboriginal Guanches also believed that Mount Teide was responsible for holding up the sky. Archeologists, over the years, have found many tools and pottery crafted from stone and other natural products. It is thought that these tools were built by the Guanches and offered to the mountain to counter the influence of evil spirits.

Know Before You Go

From the center of Tenerife island, just go uphill.