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Driving in Tenerife: A Practical Guide

Are you planning a road trip to Tenerife? If so, you’ve made a great choice – this gorgeous island off the coast of Africa is full of breathtaking views and endless opportunities for exploration. 

From vibrant cities to verdant rainforests, mountainous landscapes, and serene beaches, there’s something here for everyone. 

But before you hit the roads in Tenerife, it pays to read up on what driving in Tenerife entails. 

view of a non-barren desert landscape with bright yellow bushes in forefront and large mountain in background under a clear blue sky

This guide will give you all the practical information about renting cars, getting around safely, and some general tips that’ll make your journey easier. 

So get ready – it’s time for a driving adventure in sunny Tenerife!

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Where to rent a car in Tenerife

Knowing where to stay in Tenerife is a number one priority for your trip but be sure to think about where to hire a car in Tenerife, too. 

There are many options if you are planning on researching a car in Tenerife and no matter your budget, you’re guaranteed to find something suitable. 

My Auto Europe recommendation 

I usually start by checking out the car rental deal on the Auto Europe website, since the website is very easy to use with the cheapest car rentals starting from as little as £3 a day, it’s definitely recommended. 

Auto Europe just requires a few pieces of information in order to pull up the best deals for Tenerife driving, which is something I personally like! 

There’s nothing worse than spending 10 minutes entering information only to be provided with a page full of confusing information. 

Auto Europe also offers 24/7 help via a dedicated helpline which is great for extra peace of mind when driving in Tenerife. 

How to rent a car in Tenerife

Other options for renting a car in Tenerife include visiting a rental place in person when you arrive or using one of the airport services upon arrival. 

Though it may seem wise to hire a car when you arrive, sometimes it can take a while to set up, and often it’s the last thing I want to do after a long flight – get me to the beach, please! 

I’d advise checking into your hotel or place of accommodation before carrying out your car rental research. 

Prepare the right documentation and insurance cover

Of course, when hiring a car for driving in Tenerife, you will be required to present documents and carry out insurance. 

Though this sounds like a lot of admin work, I can confirm that it is relatively simple. 

Rates quoted for car rental in Spain in the Auto Europe search engine include liability insurance, theft protection and CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) with or without excess, depending on the supplier. 

However, you will need to take into account the fact that in Spain CDW never covers damage to tires, windows, outdoor mirrors, undercarriage, interior, roof, or engine, damage to the locks and loss of the vehicle’s keys.

Most of the time, this will be advertised as seen on the Auto Europe website. 

Rules of the road

view of Costa Adeje from the water with mountain in background

If you are planning on hiring a car in Tenerife, it is essential that you know the rules and traffic laws in place. 

Driving laws in the Canary Islands are the same as in mainland Spain, so if you have driven on the roads in Spain before you may already be familiar with the rules and regulations. 

For those seeking driving in Tenerife tips, you simply need to follow the rules laid out by the government. 

Below, I’ve outlined the basics of what you need to know about the Tenerife driving side and other driving in Tenerife laws: 

  • In Tenerife, you must drive on the right-hand side of the road and ensure that the wheel is on the left-hand side of the vehicle
  • You must wear a seatbelt at all times 
  • Children under the age of 12 are not allowed to sit in the front passenger seat (unless they reach a height over 1.5 metres)
  • The speed limits vary but on motorways sections of it are limited to 120 km
  • In towns and cities, the speed limit is generally between 40 and 60 km
  • You must pay attention to all of the road signs for speed indications
  • Speed cameras are present 
  • You are not allowed to use a mobile phone whilst driving 
  • Breath tests are carried out by the police at random and the Tenerife drink drive limit is 0.1 mg per 1 mg of blood

As with all countries, if the rules of the road are not followed, you could be prosecuted. 

Therefore, it is extremely important to make sure you are abiding by the rules and laws in place. 

There are no major differences between driving in Tenerife and other European countries. 

The legal driving age In Tenerife is 18, so keep this in mind and be prepared for some of the roads to be quite narrow. 

When driving on roundabouts, make sure that you are in the right lane. 

This can be confusing at first, especially if you haven’t driven outside of the U.K. before since you will be driving in the outside lane to go around to the 3rd or 4th exit.

Popular Driving Routes

tenerife road to mount teide
Parador del Teide in the Teide National Park, Tenerife, Spain.

There are many popular Tenerife driving routes with some offering truly stunning scenery to take in along the way. 

1. Mount Teide road trip

The journey to visit Mount Teide National Park is a good example and on a clear day, you’ll be treated to glorious views as you drive on the roads. 

With no trip to the island being completed without a visit to Mount Teide, it’s a wonderful drive to add to your itinerary. 

If you’re staying in Playa de Las Americas, you can start your drive to the mountain from the direction of Vilaflor on the TF-21. 

2. Masca Valley 

Masca is a pretty little village tucked away at an altitude of 750 meters in the Teno Mountains. 

Though the drive to Masca is considered quite challenging due to the curved roads and tight corners, it is definitely worth a visit. 

The drive up the mountain to the village offers lush green vistas and amazing panoramic scenes. 

If you’re driving from the South of Tenerife, you will have to follow the TF-1 road until you reach Santiago del Teide. 

After this, you follow the roads for TF-436 which will take you right into Masca itself. I suggest stopping off at Mirador de Cherfe for a break and to take in some of the gorgeous landscape. 

3. Anaga Rural Park 

Another great driving route in Tenerife is the route to Anaga, which is certainly a unique location.

Unlike other areas of Tenerife, Anaga Rural Park is somewhat untouched by humans and remains largely wild.

And if happen to be visiting Tenerife in October, or Tenerife in Christmas, or any other off-peak time, you’ll have the road even more to yourself.

To get to the park, drive towards Mirador de Cherfe and stop off at Sendero de Los Sentidos which offers a beautiful walk if you’re hoping to discover the magical laurisilva forest.

After you’ve enjoyed the lush greenery, continue on the road until you reach El Bailadero and finally Taganana. It’s one of the best things to do in North Tenerife.

4. Santa Cruz de Tenerife – La Laguna

No need to look for things to do in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, it has a huge castle that is considered the best preserved on the entire island! 

I’d definitely suggest Santa Cruz de Tenerife as a sightseeing must, whether you’re a history enthusiast or not. 

You will need to follow the signs for TF-1, Santa Cruz, La Laguna. 

You can then reach a coastal road which will spoil you with views of the beautiful sea as you coast along. 

Once you arrive in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, find somewhere suitable to park and then enjoy all the riches that this cultural gem has to offer you. 

5. Boca Tauce to Roques de García

Another amazing driving route in Tenerife is the drive from Boca Tauce to Roques de García. 

Offering one of the straightest stretches of scenic road on the island, you’ll enjoy all sorts of scenery spanning volcanic rock formations and pine forests. 

This journey starts on the TF-1 and is short but very sweet. 

You need to follow a single road all the way along, so whilst it’s simple, it’s certainly rewarding! 

This is also a great road trip if you’re looking for things to do in South Tenerife.

Parking in Tenerife

Auditorio de Tenerife "Adán Martín", Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain
Auditorio de Tenerife “Adán Martín”, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

When it comes to parking in Tenerife, there’s nothing too worrisome to memorize. 

All you need to know is the following: 

  • Parking can be tricky in some areas, but patience is key! 
  • Parking is always free on roads marked with white lines 
  • You can’t park between yellow lines 
  • If you find a spot on blue lines, you must pay the parking toll

If in doubt, you can always ask for help. I found the locals to be extremely helpful and friendly which made parking in Tenerife a whole lot easier. 

I also suggest that you inquire with your hotel as to where the nearest parking areas are. 

This can help if you’re hoping to get out and about without venturing too far from where it is you’re staying. 

Tips & Tricks for Driving in Tenerife

view from a hilltop of valley with areas of houses and grassy fields surrounded by tall green hills with mountains in the distance

If you’re considering driving in Tenerife, take this as your sign to hire a car and do it! 

I completely understand that driving abroad can be nerve-wracking, especially if you haven’t done so before, but the rewards are endless. 

Because Tenerife offers such diverse terrain and landscape, some of the roads can be challenging to navigate, but with a little bit of confidence, they are easy to tackle. 

I’ve included some driving in Tenerife tips for you to follow below: 

– Driving on mountainous terrain

I found driving around Tenerife rather straightforward, though driving up the mountainous terrain required some effort and a few stop-offs). 

If you’re planning to visit Mount Teide, aim to complete the journey in steps rather than trying to complete it in one go.

This will allow you ample time to take a break and take in the scenery along the way and can make the drive a lot less stressful. The advice laid out above should be helpful to you! 

– Choose simple routes if you aren’t confident

Always be sure to follow the most simple Tenerife driving routes and stick to the laws set out. As you build your confidence, you’ll be able to take on more off-the-map roads and routes.

If you were to ask ‘is driving in Tenerife hard?’, I’d have to answer ‘no!’. 

Just like in any other country, some of the roads are in better condition than others, and unlike major cities, a lot of the roads are more narrow. 

The best tip and advice I can give is to have your wits about you. Be super vigilant and don’t do anything silly. 

– Familiarise yourself with the locations of gas stations

Gas stations operate as they do in other countries, though they may be a lot less modern. Again, if in doubt just ask. 

You’ll find gas stations dotted about the island though it’s worth doing your research if you’re looking for the cheapest option.

If you’re hiring a car from a rental place in Tenerife, you’ll usually be informed of the nearest gas station which is great. 

– Try to avoid rush hour traffic in Tenerife

To avoid rush hour traffic, aim to do the majority of your driving throughout the daytime. 

Locals in Tenerife usually head out after 7pm for dinner and socializing so it’s worth keeping this in mind! 

What to bring with you when driving in Tenerife

Amazing Hikes in Tenerife, view of sun drenched mountain through canyon with path leading through t,he canyon, driving in tenerife

If you plan on driving in Tenerife, there is legal documentation that you must have ready to present in your vehicle at all times: 

  • Permiso de circulación (the equivalent of a U.K. ‘Log-Book’)
  • Ficha Tecnica (the vehicle’s technical specification)
  • A valid Insurance Policy
  • The driving license that is valid for your vehicle category
  • A passport or a residency card
  • Spare glasses (if you need them for driving)
  • 2 warning triangles
  • 2 reflective jackets
  • A Fire extinguisher
  • A First Aid Kit

Final words

Are you planning a road trip to Tenerife? If so, you’ve made a great choice – this gorgeous island off the coast of Africa is full of breathtaking views and endless opportunities for exploration. 

From vibrant cities to verdant rainforests, mountainous landscapes, and serene beaches, there’s something here for everyone. 

But before you hit the roads in Tenerife, it pays to read up on what driving here entails.

This guide will give you all the practical information about renting cars, getting around safely, and some general tips that’ll make your journey easier. 

As recommended at the beginning of this guide, be sure to rent a car from a reputable company and follow all of the laws and rules of the road. But most importantly, enjoy your trip! 

So get ready – it’s time for a driving adventure in sunny Tenerife!