Looking to take on one of Europe’s most epic sunrise hikes? Put summiting Mount Teide in Tenerife, Spain at the top of your bucket list. At 3,718 meters (12,198 ft) above sea level, this massive volcanic crater offers jaw-dropping 360 degree views from its summit. Located on the beautiful canary island of Tenerife, mount Teide is also the highgest peak of Spain. Hiking to the summit of mount Teide is already a gorgeous hike in itself. But from my perpective, the best way to experience it is by timing a Teide summit hike to witness those first rays of sun cresting over the horizon.

In this post, I’ll share all my insider tips for conquering the Mount Teide sunrise hike. From when to start your ascent to the cable car hack, here are the crucial details you need for an unforgettable morning atop Spain’s highest peak.

Sunrise Summit Hike on Tenerife, Spain

Time Your Teide Summit Hike for Sunrise

The key for an unforgettable Teide summit sunrise experience is timing your hike just right. You’ll want to start your ascent in the early hours, around 2 am, so you can reach the summit just before sunrise - usually around 7am. Reaching it just before sunrise (and not a good while before sunrise) is essential. Although you might not expact it, it’s freezing cold at the summit pretty much all year round. So you’ll definitely want to make sure that you don’t have to wait around too long freezing your behind off at the top. Obviously, the timings wary greately depending on your pace, the route you’re taking, and the time of sunrise. Make sure to check these things out before you start planning your hike.

If you’re reasonably fit, it’s totally doable to hike up in one go from the base. No need to stay overnight at Refugio de Altavista along the way. The hut is currently closed anyway without a re-opening date announced. The full hike from base (which is already at around 2300m of altitude, depending on your starting point) to summit takes around 5-6 hours at a moderate pace.

Teide Sunrise Hike on Tenerife, Spain

Gear Up for the Teide Sunrise Hike

Be prepared for quite extreme temperature differences on this high-altitude sunrise hike by dressing in adjustable layers. You’ll want warm insulating layers like a down jacket, hat and gloves to ward off the cold at the start. As you get moving and gain elevation, you can shed layers. And most importantly, you can put them back on as you reach the summit. It’s literally freezing up there. If you want more specifc recommendations, check out my detailed guide on layering clothes for hiking.

Proper footwear with good traction is a must given the steep, loose, and rocky terrain. Trekking poles will also be very helpful. A headlamp is essential for lighting your way in the darkness (your phone flashlight won’t be enough and you need your hands, so no compromising on a good headlamp). And don’t forget fuel for hiking - energy snacks and around 3 liters of water per person. But again, this highly depends on your personal needs and preferences.

Sunrise Hike on Mount Teide

Cable Car Shortcut on Mount Teide Summit Hike

One of the most convenient aspects of summiting Teide is the cable car that takes hikers up to the crater’s edge at 3,555 meters (11,663 ft). While you can’t take it at night, it offers a nice shortcut for your descent if that’s something you’d like to do.

Hike up in the darkness, enjoy the epic sunrise from the summit, then take the first cable car down once it starts running around 9am. This way you can soak in those views without getting scorched by intense sun on your way down. I’m quite sensititve to the sun, so for me, this is a great option. It can also be great if you’re facing issues with your knees as hiking down on the volcano gravel can be very demanding and straining on the knees.

Descending from Sunrise Hike on Mount Teide

Permit Hack for Teide Sunrise Hike

While a permit is required to make the final push to Teide’s summit during daylight hours, there’s a hack for doing the night hike without one. The permits are meant to limit crowds, but they’re only enforced starting at 9am each day. Unfortunately, I only found out about this after I purchased one, but at least you don’t have to make the same mistake. 🙃

If you do the night hike and are back below the cable car’s highest station by 9am, you can avoid needing a permit at all. Just another reason why targeting the sunrise timing is ideal! Plus, it lets you skip the hassle and long lead times often required to book one of the limited permits.

Sunrise Hike on Mount Teide

Stay Hydrated

With the high altitude and cold temperatures that can mask thirst, it’s crucial to drink plenty of water throughout the hike. The dry air will additionally contribute to dehydrating you quickly. Paired with the thinning air at higher altituted, this is a dangerous combination. I learned this the hard way and was suffering from a strong headache for a good 2 days. Bring more water than you think you’ll need, and keep sipping frequently. This will help prevent altitude sickness too.

Sunrise Summit Hike on Tenerife, Spain

The Teide Summit Sunrise Payoff

All of the early wake-up call and effort to summit Teide in the dark will be worth it as soon as you reach the top. Being above the crater’s rim for those first rays of sun peeking over the horizon is truly magical. The vibrant colors, the 360 views over the Canary Islands, it’s an unforgettable sunrise experience. Especially seeing the triagular shadow of Mount Teide cast on the ocean and clouds is absolutely breathtaking. If you have enough time before you need to get down to avoid needing a permit and can stand the freezing cold, stick around to watch the whole show as the hues morph for about an hour.

Shadow of Mount Teide cast on the sea and clouds by the sunrise

More Canary Island Adventures

Inspired to take on the ultimate sunrise hike in Tenerife? Or have you also done it already and are looking for another adventure? One of my favourite Canary Islands for hiking is Fuerteventura, so make sure to have a look at

Happy hiking!