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Driving in Tenerife: A Practical Guide

Here are some practical tips when you are driving in Tenerife.

Are you planning a road trip to travel 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 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. 

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!

a road in tenerife going to mount teide

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Pssst…??!! You can’t get enough Tenerife? Have a look at my other posts:

Where to rent a car in Tenerife

a closeup of a persons hands driving a car during the day

Knowing where to stay in Tenerife is a top priority for your trip, but be sure to consider where to hire a car, too. 

If you plan on renting a car in Tenerife, you have many options, and no matter your budget, you’re guaranteed to find something suitable. 

My recommendation 

I usually start by checking out the car rental deal. The website is very easy to use, and the cheapest car rentals start from as little as £3 a day. It’s recommended. 

It just requires a few pieces of information to pull up the best deals for Tenerife driving, which I personally like! 

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

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.

Check rental cars here.

Prepare the right documentation and insurance cover

Of course, when hiring a car to drive in Tenerife, you must 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 must know 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 tips on driving in Tenerife, you 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: 

  • What side of the road does Tenerife drive on? 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 meters)
  • The Tenerife speed limits vary, but on motorways, sections of it are limited to 120 km
  • In towns and cities, the speed limit in Tenerife is generally between 40 and 60 km
  • You must pay attention to all of the Tenerife road signs for speed limit Tenerife indications
  • Tenerife speed cameras are present 
  • You are not allowed to use a mobile phone while driving 
  • Breath tests are carried out by the police at random, and the drink-drive limit in Tenerife 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 ensure you abide by the rules and laws in place. 

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

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

When driving on roundabouts, ensure 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 Tenerife Routes

tenerife road to mount teide on a bright day at Tenerife National Park

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. On a clear day, the roads are filled with glorious views. 

No trip to the island is complete without a visit to Mount Teide, so 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 on the TF-21 in the direction of Vilaflor.

Mount Teide is truly one of the best things to see in Tenerife by car.

Check Mount Teide trips now.

2. Masca Valley 

Masca is a pretty little village tucked away at 750 meters in the Teno Mountains

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

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

Driving from the South of Tenerife, you must 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 taking in some gorgeous landscape.

Check Masca Valley tours now.

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.

Check Anaga tours here.

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

You must follow the TF-1, Santa Cruz, La Laguna signs. 

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

Once you arrive in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, find a suitable parking spot and enjoy all that this cultural gem has to offer.

Check activities in Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

5. Boca Tauce to Roques de García

Another fantastic 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 must follow a single road all the way along, so while 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.

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6. La Orotava Valley

One of the places to visit by car in Tenerife is La Orotava.

Start from Puerto de la Cruz and follow the road inland toward the picturesque town of La Orotava.

As you ascend into the valley, drive through lush greenery, banana plantations, and terraced vineyards. 

Explore La Orotava’s historic center, which features colonial architecture, botanical gardens, and scenic viewpoints overlooking the valley.

7. Garachico to Buenavista del Norte Coastal Route

Another option for a drive around Tenerife is the Garachico to Buenavista del Norte Coastal route.

Begin the drive from the historic town of Garachico and drive along the northern coast towards Buenavista del Norte. 

Enjoy stunning ocean views as you pass through charming coastal villages, rocky cliffs, and natural pools formed by volcanic activity. 

You should visit Garachico’s natural pools and the picturesque lighthouse at Punta de Teno.

8. Adeje to Los Gigantes Coastal Road

From Adeje, a town famed for its luxurious resorts and pristine beaches, trace the coastal route leading to Los Gigantes. 

This picturesque path unveils awe-inspiring vistas of the majestic cliffs, aptly named Los Gigantes, soaring dramatically from the ocean. 

En route, pause at viewpoints such as Mirador Archipenque, offering captivating photo opportunities. 

There are many things to do in Los Gigantes, such as exploring the marina, unwinding on the volcanic black sand beach, or embarking on a boat excursion to appreciate the cliffs from the sea.

Parking in Tenerife

Auditorio de Tenerife "Adán Martín" white monument surrounded with plants and a white building

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

All you need to know is the following Tenerife parking rules:

  • Parking Tenerife 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 accommodating and friendly which made parking in Tenerife much easier. 

I also suggest that you ask your hotel about the nearest parking areas. 

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 roads can be challenging to navigate, but with a little 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 plan 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 enjoy the scenery along the way, which 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 follow the most simple Tenerife driving routes and obey the laws. As you build your confidence, you can 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! ‘ 

Like in any other country, some Tenerife roads are in better condition than others, and unlike major cities, many of the roads are more narrow. 

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

Use GPS Navigation

Utilize GPS navigation or mobile apps to navigate Tenerife’s roads, as some rural areas may have limited signage.

Make sure to download maps offline in case of poor network coverage.

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. 

Gas stations are 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 7 PM for dinner and socializing so it’s worth keeping this in mind! 

Stay Calm and Patient

Embrace a relaxed mindset while driving in Tenerife. Traffic congestion and unexpected delays are common, especially in urban areas and tourist hotspots.

Practice patience and flexibility to navigate any challenges that may arise.

What to bring with you when driving in Tenerife

view of sun drenched mountain through canyon with path leading through the canyon

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

View of rolling hills and mountains leading towards the wide open sea with green grassy area in the foreground all under a bright blue sky with wispy clouds

Are you planning a Tenerife road trip?

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, rent a car from a reputable company and follow all of the laws and rules of the road. Most importantly, enjoy your trip! 

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

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FAQS on Driving in Tenerife

Is it easy to drive in Tenerife?

Driving in Tenerife can vary in difficulty depending on factors such as road conditions, traffic congestion, and familiarity with local driving customs. Still, it is manageable for most drivers with proper preparation and caution.

What side of the road do they drive in Tenerife?

In Tenerife, as in the rest of Spain, vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road.

Is it safe to drive in Tenerife?

Driving in Tenerife is generally safe, especially on well-maintained roads and highways. However, as with any destination, it’s essential to remain cautious, adhere to traffic laws, and be aware of local driving conditions.