A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Mount Teide was granted this honour in 2007. It is the most visited natural wonder in Spain and the 8th most visited natural wonder throughout the world. Mount Teide is the world’s third largest volcano and when measured from its base below the depths of the ocean it is the highest of the world’s volcanoes outside of the Hawaiian Islands.
Flora and Fauna
The ancient lava flows on the hillsides surrounding Mount Teide have given rise to a thin but nutrient rich soil that supports a variety of plants including 33 that are only found on Tenerife. Among them is the Teide bugloss, with red flowers standing up to 3m in height. The Teide violet grows as high as the summit and so is the highest flowering plant species found in Spain. The Teide National Park has 70 unique species of invertebrate including spiders and beetles. In contrast there are only 10 species of birds found in the National Park including the Atlantic canary a subspecies of the kestrel. There are three species of reptile unique to the mountain area including the Canary Island’s lizard, skink and wall gecko. The Leisler’s bat is the only mammal native to the island although other non-native species of mammal have been introduced there.
The Shadow of Teide
The shadow of the volcano is the worlds largest projected onto the sea. This phenomenon only occurs during sunset, while at dawn it partially covers the islands of Gran Canaria or La Gomera. Perhaps the strangest event of this shadow is that it appears as triangular in shape while the volcanoes silhouette does not resemble this shape. Lots of visitors to the volcano will climb to the top just before sunset to witness this strange event.
Teide National Park is often used as a reference point when scientists are studying Mars related topics due to the environmental similarities in the geological formations.