Montaña Roja is an outstanding natural attraction in the south of Tenerife. Also known as the Red Mountain or Red Rock, it towers over its surrounding beaches, including Playa de Montaña Roja, Playa del Médano and Playa de la Tejita. By hiking Montaña Roja, you’ll enjoy superb views of all of these beaches. After reaching the summit of the Red Mountain, it’s also easy enough to extend your walk to explore these beaches. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about hiking Montaña Roja. We’ll also provide plenty of detail about visiting Playa de Montaña Roja, Playa del Médano and Playa de la Tejita.
Before reading this guide, feel free to watch our Tenerife Hiking YouTube video below. By using the chapter function, you can check out footage of Montaña Roja in Tenerife.
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Everything You Need to Know About Montaña Roja in Tenerife
When you visit Tenerife, Montaña Roja hiking should be high on your to-do list. Located in the appropriately named Montaña Roja Special Nature Reserve, exploring the Red Mountain is certainly one of the hiking highlights of Tenerife. Also located in the 166 hectare (410 acre) Special Nature Reserve are the two beaches on either side of Montaña Roja – Playa de Montaña Roja and Playa de la Tejita.
From the summit of Montaña Roja, you’ll enjoy marvellous views of both beaches. But, on the flip side of that, from both Playa de Montaña Roja and Playa de la Tejita, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the Red Mountain. Located just outside of the special nature reserve, to the north of Playa de Montaña Roja, is Playa del Médano. This is a well-known beach in the south of Tenerife that can also be easily explored after visiting Playa de Montaña Roja.
Of course, hiking and exploring Montaña Roja, irrespective of the views of the beaches, is simply amazing. The vivid red volcanic rock, in these parts of the world, is a delight to see in its own right. To that end, in this guide, we’ll cover all of the necessary details for visiting this special place. Other than describing the Montaña Roja hike itself, we’ll cover practical tips and logistics to ensure your visit goes off without a hitch.
FYI – there’s another Montaña Roja in the Canary Islands, on the island of Lanzarote.
Montaña Roja: Stats and Map
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 8.5km
- Time: 2.5–3.5 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 170m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Parking Montaña Roja
- Map: Wikiloc
FYI – the stats and map above are related to the longer walk described in this guide, which includes walking to the beaches surrounding Montaña Roja as well as summiting it. For the shorter 3.5km standalone out and back walk to the summit of the Red Mountain from Parking Montaña Roja, check out a map and trail specs here. Otherwise, for information about the popular approx. 6.5km out and back hike to the summit of Montaña Roja from El Médano, click here.
Montaña Roja Trail Descripton
Montaña Roja Summit
From Parking Montaña Roja, you’ll join a flat dirt track heading toward the base of the Red Mountain. There are many different trails that lead to the summit. To follow the official and best route, you’ll follow a sometimes sandy trail that veers to the left. By doing so, you’ll briefly be heading around the base of the Red Mountain in a clockwise direction. You’ll soon reach a signpost. From there, you’ll turn right, hiking up the spine of the Red Mountain. As you gain elevation, you’ll start to enjoy views back towards Playa de Montaña Roja and Playa del Médano.
You’ll also enjoy views of La Playita, which is another beach located between Playa de Montaña Roja and Playa de la Tejita. It’s possible to explore La Playita as part of this walk. Although, personally, we didn’t.
If anything, the Mars-like landscape seems to get redder and even more vivid the higher you climb. Soon enough, you’ll reach the magnificent summit of the Red Mountain. From there, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of Playa de la Tejita to the south. On a clear day, you’ll get a glimpse of Mount Teide – Tenerife’s highest mountain from the summit of Montaña Roja. Once you’ve enjoyed the views, it’s time to retrace your steps down the mountain. You’ll soon arrive back at that signpost we mentioned earlier. From there, you’ll follow the sign to Montaña Bocinegro, en route to Playa de Montaña Roja.
Montaña Bocinegro and Playa de Montaña Roja
Montaña Bocinegro is a smaller mountain that sits in the shadows of Montaña Roja. Sure, the peak of Montaña Bocinegro isn’t as high or impressive. But, Montaña Bocinegro has a similar Mars-like terrain as the Red Mountain. So, it’s certainly worth checking out. Besides, it only makes for a slight detour en route to Playa de Montaña Roja.
At Playa de Montaña Roja, you’ll find calm soothing waters. Basically, this stretch of the coastline is divided by a rock slab formation. South of the platform, is Playa de Montaña Roja, where it’s discouraged to swim. This is to help with conservation and protection. But, it’s possible to swim just north of the rock platform at Playa de Leocadio Machado. Indeed, from Playa de Montaña Roja and Playa de Leocadio Machado, you’ll have sublime views of the Red Mountain in Tenerife.
Playa del Médano
Once you’ve explored Playa de Montaña Roja and Playa de Leocadio Machado, it’s possible to walk further north to Playa del Médano. El Médano is a well-known coastal resort town. That’s why Playa del Médano is a popular and highly visited beach. Personally, Beck and I didn’t enjoy Playa del Médano as much as the other beaches. That’s because the beach was smaller, busier and further away from Montaña Roja. Of course, it’s still a lovely and serene coastal area, which provides superb views of the Red Mountain. But, if you decided to simply walk to Playa de la Tejita from Playa de Montaña Roja, instead of extending the walk to Playa del Médano, we’d understand.
Playa de la Tejita
Once you’ve scoped out Playa de Montaña Roja and/or Playa del Médano, it’s time to make your way to Playa de la Tejita. We think Playa de la Tejita provides the best beach-based views of the striking Red Mountain. Although, be warned it’s a nudist beach. So, you’ll need to weave and dodge past some bare sunburnt rigs to access views of the amazing Red Mountain. Indeed, it’s a very popular beach. Beck and I arrived around midday, during the off-season in February, and it was rammed.
To access a quieter area, we recommend heading to the southern outskirts of Playa de la Tejita, where you’ll enjoy spectacular rock formations along the shoreline. Unfortunately, when we visited Playa de la Tejita, most of this section was closed to the public. That’s because filming was going on. Otherwise, you’d usually be free to explore the rocky coastal area, with the Red Mountain looming large above.
Practical Information About Visiting Montaña Roja in Tenerife
Let’s look at some logistics for your trip to Montaña Roja in Tenerife. Below, we’ll focus on how to get there, where to stay and useful things to know before you go.
How to Get to Montaña Roja
In terms of getting to Montaña Roja in Tenerife, your best options are getting there by car or bus.
The easiest and quickest way to get to Montaña Roja in Tenerife is to drive there yourself. If you’re visiting from abroad, you’ll need to hire a car. Beck and I always use Rentalcars.com when renting a car. You’ll find a wide range of cars on Rental Cars, which are simple to book online and easy to pick up and drop off at South Tenerife Airport. That’s what Beck and I did. Also, they offer an excellent cancellation policy which is always free.
How to Get There From El Médano
As mentioned, El Médano is a popular place for tourists to stay. As mentioned, it’s also possible to walk to the summit of Red Mountain from there. You’ll simply pass by Playa del Médano and Playa de Montaña Roja, before summiting the Red Mountain. Easy peasy. The choice is yours whether you then extend the walk to Playa de la Tejita.
How to Get There From Other Places in South Tenerife
Most tourists stay in the south of Tenerife where there are many resorts and hotels. This includes coastal areas such as Costa Adeje, Los Gigantes, Los Cristianos and Las Americas. From there, we simply recommend driving to Montaña Roja in Tenerife. Otherwise, it’s possible to catch the bus. We’ll look at this option below.
How to Get There From La Laguna or Santa Cruz
Other than staying in the south of Tenerife, some tourists choose to stay in the north of the island, usually in San Cristobal de La Laguna (La Laguna) or Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Santa Cruz). Again, we recommend driving to the Red Mountain from either of these locations. Otherwise, it’s possible to catch the bus.
Public Transport: Getting Around Tenerife By Bus
Thankfully, Montaña Roja is easily accessible by bus. From whichever location you’re travelling from, you’ll likely need to catch a bus to the San Isidro Bus Station. From there, you’d catch the 408 or 411 bus to the Red Mountain. We recommend using Google Maps or the official Titsa website to plan your journey.
Where to Stay Near Montaña Roja
Let’s look at some accommodation options near Montaña Roja in Tenerife. We’ll focus on two popular tourist areas near the Red Mountain – El Médano and Los Cristianos. In fact, we’ve handpicked the best budget, mid-range and luxury accommodation options in both El Médano and Los Cristianos. We’ll also talk about accommodation options in the north of Tenerife.
El Médano Accommodation
El Médano is the perfect location for hiking Montaña Roja in Tenerife. As mentioned, you can start the walk from El Médano. You’ll simply roll out of bed, walk out the door of your hotel and start the walk to the Red Mountain.
- Budget – Médano Nest Hostel: for the best budget stay in El Médano, we recommend Médano Nest Hostel.
- Mid-range – Hotel Ventus: if you’re after a great value-for-money deal, then consider staying at Hotel Ventus. You’ll pay only a little more per night, compared with Médano Nest Hostel, and you’ll get to enjoy staying in a modern hotel room rather than in a dorm. The rooms at Hotel Ventus feature a sensational balcony, overlooking the stunning Tenerife coastline.
- Luxury – Hotel Médano: perfectly located next to Playa de la Tejita, you’ll find Hotel Médano. These stylish and modern hotel rooms are some of the most highly rated in town. Best of all, the hotel’s four large sun terraces and private balconies offer outstanding views of Montaña Roja.
Los Cristianos Accommodation
Another popular play to stay in the south of Tenerife is Los Cristianos. Indeed, many people visit the Red Mountain from Los Cristianos.
- Budget – Hotel Andrea’s: one of the best budget stays in Los Cristianos is at Hotel Andrea’s. Featuring a sun terrace, restaurant and bar, you’ll enjoy a luxurious stay at a budget price.
- Mid-range – Sol Arona Tenerife: if you want a fantastic value-for-money stay, then stay at Sol Arona Tenerife. The hotel has a large outdoor pool with sun lounges, whilst most rooms have balconies with water views. It’s a great place for families to stay as there are playground facilities also.
- Luxury – Paradise Park Fun Lifestyle Hotel: a popular Los Cristianos accommodation has always been Paradise Park Fun Lifestyle Hotel. At this fantastic hotel, you’ll find the absolute works – a sauna, a small fitness centre and even a Turkish bath in its Sparadise centre. The hotel also offers spacious green areas, five swimming pools and four hot tubs!
La Laguna or Santa Cruz Accommodation
During our trip to Tenerife, we spent some of our time staying in the north of the island in La Laguna. It’s actually a great base for exploring the Anaga Mountains. It’s also not too far away from the Red Mountain (about an hour’s drive). Given the city is fairly densely populated, you should find plenty of accommodation options.
Personally, Beck and I stayed at Estudio La Concepción in La Laguna and highly recommend it. This small apartment has all the necessary amenities. By staying here, you’ll enjoy a well-equipped kitchen, private bathroom and cosy living area. Indeed, this is one of the best value-for-money stays in La Laguna.
Other than staying in La Laguna, Santa Cruz is another popular base for tourists as it’s the capital city. You’ll find plenty of accommodation options in the city.
Things To Know Before Hiking Montaña Roja in Tenerife
Below, we’ve highlighted some of the best things to know before visiting Montaña Roja in Tenerife.
- Be sun smart: even in winter, the weather conditions at the Montaña Roja Special Nature Reserve are very dry and hot. So, make sure to pack plenty of water and wear long sleeves, sunscreen and a hat.
- Best time to hike: with the hot weather in mind, it may be best to avoid hiking during midday, when the sun is at its strongest. Either start the walk early in the morning or late afternoon.
- Sunset: we’ve heard one of the best sunsets in Tenerife can be enjoyed from the summit of the Red Mountain.
- Navigation: thankfully, trail navigation is fairly simple and straightforward. There are plenty of signposts en route. But, just in case, it’s always best to have a map handy.
What to Pack For Montaña Roja in Tenerife
These are our gear essentials for hiking Montaña Roja in Tenerife.
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these hiking boots are super comfortable and lightweight.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket if the weather isn’t as bright as usual.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for hiking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a lightweight pair of water-resistant convertible trousers that are great for protecting your skin in warmer climates.
Below, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Montaña Roja in Tenerife.
What Is the Red Volcano in Tenerife?
Many people ponder this question as they spot a huge red mountain from the seat of their plane when flying into Tenerife. Indeed, that’s Montaña Roja!
Can You Climb Montaña Roja?
Yes, this guide tells you all about this!
How Long Does it Take to Climb Montaña Roja in Tenerife?
It depends on which route you take. The simple out and back to the summit may only take an hour. But, by exploring the surrounding beaches, the walk may take anywhere between 2–4 hours.
How High Is Montaña Roja in Tenerife?
It’s only 171 metres above sea level.
- Hiring a car is easiest for exploring Tenerife: it’s possible to explore Tenerife by bus. Buses are able to access most places on the island. But, a car will give you the ultimate flexibility and freedom to explore Tenerife at your own pace.
- Other great Tenerife hiking trails: for other easy hikes in Tenerife, consider going to Teide National Park to do Roques de Garcia, Montana Rajada, Mirador de Samara or the Chinyero Volcano Loop.
- Other things to do in South Tenerife: so, what else is on in Tenerife? Well, other than walking, exploring the coast by boat is a popular thing to do. Whale and dolphin-watching tours are sensational ways to experience the sublime Tenerife coast. GetYourGuide’s Tenerife: Dolphin and Whale Eco-Cruise with Snack & Drinks is an incredible eco-friendly catamaran tour. It’s actually one of the most popular tours on the island. This great value-for-money tour includes seeing (if you’re lucky) beautiful whales and dolphins whilst offering opportunities to swim and snorkel.
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