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Guide to Cycling Masca in Tenerife

29th April, 2021

Masca and the Punta de Teno Lighthouse

Mount Teide might grab the headlines but there is you one ride you don’t want to miss on a cycling holiday in Tenerife. The ride to Masca, is one of the toughest rides in Europe. It features hair raising descents, stunning views and endless climbing.  Be prepared for a long and tough day in the saddle and read our guide to cycling Masca below.

Why Ride Masca?

Our guide to cycling Masca in Tenerife will give you all the information you need for a loop starting and ending in Santiago del Teide.

If you have ever dreamed of a descent that plunges through the valley and down to the sea, then this is why you must cycle Masca. The Mirador de Cherfe descent towards Buenavista del Norte is simply breathtaking. It might be the most dramatic ride anywhere in Europe. Short, sharp hairpins mix with sweeping turns on this epic road. Everywhere you look you will see high cliff faces before La Gomera comes into view through the valley sides.  The road from Buenavista del Norte down to the lighthouse is equally as special. 10km of twists and turns await you with waves crashing at the rocks to your side. Reaching the red and white striped lighthouse feels like the end of the earth as you gaze out at La Gomera sitting alone in the Atlantic.

Close up of tarmac in the Masca Valley

Starting the Route

If you are staying in Adeje or any further south, this will be a mammoth day in the saddle. We recommend cycling Masca from further up the coast. If you have a hire car, a good start is Santiago del Teide. If not, ask us about a transfer to Santiago del Teide if you’re travelling with us on a Tenerife cycling holiday.

You will ride just a couple of kilometres from Santiago del Teide to the Mirador del Chefre. Despite having only just got on your bike, you need to stop here. The views from the lookout are simply sensational. Giant cliffs dominate the scenery whilst Teide looms behind you. You will see the road snaking down into the Masca valley and it is here that your will start.

Masca to Buenavista del Norte

A couple of short ascents will see you through Masca before you start to descend. From here, you will descend before a couple of fairly brutal ascents will shock your legs back into climbing mode. Once you reach Las Portelas about 7km away from Masca, the road falls away sharply and you will enjoy a fabulous 3-4km descent down into Buenavista del Norte. Stop in the square where you can admire the beautiful white stone church before continuing your ride.

View of the road after Masca with brown mountains at the back.

Buenavista del Norte to the Lighthouse

The route from Buenavista del Norte to the lighthouse is simply awesome. The road isn’t a huge descent, instead it’s winding roads hugging the very edge of the cliffs. The rock faces plunges into the sea below making this an incredible spectacle.

You will have a couple of sharp inclines to get over before the road finally gives you some respite and you descend all the way down to the lighthouse. The descent is fast as the road is fairly straight and after passing through some tunnels, you will arrive at the Punta de Teno lightouse.

View of the Punta de Teno lighthouse in Tenerife

Teno Lighthouse to Santiago del Teide

Hopefully you have kept enough in your legs as you will be riding back up some tough climbs. We recommend riding back up to Buenavista del Norte and carrying on up the road to Los Silos which will give you a fairly flat ride, before you begin your climbing. The route back from Los Silos is 14km where you will climb a whopping 1,000m back to Santiago del Teide. As we have mentioned, this is an epic day in the saddle so you will need to be very well prepared. Read our top tips for cycling in Tenerife for how to prepare.

Key Stats

Length: 58.3 kilometres

Average Gradient: 4.2%

Toughest Gradient: 18%

Total Ascent: 2,450m

Top Tips For our Guide to Cycling Masca in Tenerife

As well as providing you with our guide to cycling in Masca in Tenerife, there are some top tips that you need to know before you ride.

If you are staying in the southwest, transfer up to Santiago del Teide if you can. Riding from Adeje or Los Cristianos will put some serious mileage on to an already tough day in the saddle.

Masca is not for beginners. It’s an extremely technical ride with ravines and cliffs surrounding you. Only ride Masca if you are experienced.

Masca valley is extremely popular with hikers, photographers and sigh seeing groups. You will be sharing the road so go carefully and ride with extreme caution.

We recommend riding early. Coaches arrive in Masca throughout the day for people wanting to see the views so the earlier you can ride, the less traffic you will have to contend with.

The perfect tarmac of Tenerife is not so perfect here. Watch out for cracking in the road, especially on the descent from Masca.

Take your glasses off before you reach the tunnel towards the lighthouse.

The extreme change from bright sunshine to darkness will take you by surprise if you haven’t prepared for the tunnel.

The road from Buenavista del Norte has quite large amount of fallen rocks and stones on the road so ride this section with care.

Read out top tips for riding in Tenerife here.

Other Routes in Tenerife

The most famous routes in Tenerife are those that climb Mount Teide.

Check out our route notes on the south east coast climb from El Medano.

Read these route notes for the western climb from Adeje.

These are our route notes on the south western climb from Los Cristianos.