Tenerife is the largest of the seven Canary Islands and attracts thousand of mainly English and German tourists.The Tenerife island has two big airports Tenerife South and Tenerife North. This Spanish peninsula in the Atlantic Ocean is known for its spectacular beaches and other worldly beauty. The island receives around 5 million visitors each year, and most people opt for the south of the island, to enjoy the – more or less – constant T-shirt weather. Our guess is you have come to Tenerife for the sunshine, so we recommend you simply chill out for the first couple of days. The golden sand on Playa de la Americas is perfect for that, and if you want to get active while there, you can try just about any water sport you can imagine. Only a 10-minute drive north is Playa del Duque, another great beach to visit, situated on Costa Adeje. In fact, the entire Costa Adeje area is an exclusive resort. For a different seaside experience travel to the north or west of the island, and discover the beautiful black beaches. Los Gigantes, nested between cliffs, is always a great idea.
Another great idea is hiring a car in Tenerife. This way you can explore and discover the island easy and at your own pace. With tourism in full swing, you will definitely notice there is a lot to choose from when it comes to rentals, but you might want to move fast if you want to find a great car hire deal.
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Basic info and car hire in Tenerife
- Location: Canary Islands, Spain.
- Capital: Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
- Population: 906,613 (2015).
- Official language: Spanish.
- Currency: Euro (€).
- Weather: Warm tropical climate with an average of 18–24 °C (64–75 °F) in the winter and 24–28 °C (75–82 °F) in the summer. Spring has an average temperature of 18°C (64 °F) and autumn has an average of 21°C (70 °F). Read more »
- Holidays in Tenerife: For public holidays in Canary Islands click here »
- Internet coverage: Many hotels, bars, restaurants and cafés are equipped with Wi-Fi.
- Road conditions: Major roads are well maintained, while secondary roads may have potholes or are unpaved.
- Car hire in Tenerife: There are two airports in Tenerife – Tenerife South Airport, previously known as Tenerife Reina Sofia and Tenerife North Airport, previously known as Tenerife Los Rodeos. The majority of visitors collect their hired car at the airport, with Tenerife South Airport being slightly more visited than Tenerife North Airport. The average daily car hire price for both airports is 9€/day in autumn, 12€/day in winter and 15€/day in spring and summer. Keep in mind that car hire prices fluctuate frequently. To ensure you have the lowest car hire price, make a car booking from 3 to 8 weeks prior to your vehicle collection. Alternatively, it's possible to get a great last minute car hire deal also. Find the best car hire deal in Tenerife!
Driving in Tenerife
If you’re planning on hiring a car in Tenerife, you will most likely get a manual one. There are plenty of car hire companies, such as Sixt, Europcar, Enterprise and more. As far as the driving goes, there are a few things you should know. Always pay close attention to the road, because the local drivers tend to simply slam on the brakes and stop for a chat. Roundabouts are another specialty there – enter the roundabout in an anticlockwise direction, and keep in mind that the locals only use the outside lane on a two lane roundabout, whether they are taking the first exit or the last one. It’s advisable to hire a smaller vehicle, so you can manoeuvre it easily, and thus park in small parking lots on the streets. Before you drive off from the rental company, make sure the parking brake on your rental is working, because some streets go uphill, and you will want your vehicle to stay still while you’re exploring the area. Keep in mind that the maximum BAC level is 0.05% for drivers of private vehicles. There is a Zero Tolerance law for young drivers or drivers who are 21 years old or younger. And lastly, the best time to visit Tenerife (weather-wise) is during the high season (from November to March). If you prefer an even warmer climate, travel there any time in May, June or July.
- Age limits: 21 (minimum age may vary depending on the car hire company. A Young Driver fee will apply to drivers under 25 years of age. In order to hire a car, it is required that a driver has held a driver’s licence for a minimum of one year).
- International driving permit: Yes, if you are a non-EU licence holder.
- Additional papers: ID (passport), a valid driver's licence and valid proof of insurance. (It is advisable to purchase insurance at the car hire company in case your policy doesn't cover you while driving in Tenerife).
- Additional requirements: Two warnings triangles and two reflective jackets (if you’re not a solo traveller). Hands-free equipment is required when talking on the phone while driving.
- Children in the car: All car occupants must wear a seatbelt. Children under the age of ten must travel in the back seat of the vehicle with an appropriate seat belt.
- Driving side of the road: Right.
- Lights: Headlights are not turned on unless you are in a tunnel or during conditions of poor visibility.
- General speed limits: 120 kph on highways, 90 kph on rural roads and 50 kph in residential areas.
- Parking suggestions: On-street parking in major resorts is plentiful and free, as well as underground car parks with reasonable prices. Parking on yellow or white lines is prohibited.
What to see in Tenerife
There’s plenty to explore in Tenerife, so it all comes down to your preferences. Whether you’re into active holidays, or you prefer a more laid-back stay on the island, Tenerife won’t disappoint. Like we mentioned before, hiring a car in Tenerife is warmly recommended, since it’s practical, convenient and low-cost. In addition, it’s by far way the best way to soak up all the sights and experience the dramatic landscapes.
Our favourite spots
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
The island’s capital is bustling with high-end restaurants, shops and attractive architecture, perhaps best seen if you walk down the lively Castillo Street. Head over to the beautiful and sandy Playa de Las Teresitas beach and find shade under the palm trees. If you’re a nature-lover, get in your hired vehicle and drive about 37mi (60km) north to the rich rain forests of the Anaga Mountains. This chunk of Tenerife hides many hidden treasures worth discovering. It is the greenest part of the island, so if you like walking and hiking, this is definitely your area. On the other hand, if you prefer a nice city stroll, all you have to do is drive 6mi 10km) west of Santa Cruz and visit San Cristobal de La Laguna, a UNESCO World Heritage site with a picturesque historic centre. This city is also the island’s former capital.
The big and busy resort on the south of the island offers a sizzling nightlife, top-rated restaurants, shops and a popular beach – virtually everything is on your doorstep! Very different from the sleepy fishing village it used to be. The close by attractions include Siam Park and Aqualand water parks.
Mount Teide and Teide National Park
Mount Teide is the highest peak in all of Spain (1,2198ft / 3,718 m). The cable car will take you almost to the top of the mountain (unfortunately, the very peak of Mount Teide is protected), and the vast and varied landscape under your feet will dissolve all your worries into thin air. Don't forget to put on some warm clothes, because it is very windy.
Puerto de la Cruz
A popular resort, nested in the mesmerizing Orotava Valley in the north. Explore the plazas, hit the beach and enjoy a delicious dinner. The charming La Orotava town is only a few miles away and worth visiting. Marvel at the old houses and lovely cafes, explore the historic part, relax on at least one of the three volcanic sand beaches – El Bollullo, Martín Alonso and El Rincón and take photos of the exotic plants in the La Orotava botanical garden. Another nearby attraction is an animal adventure park called Loro Parque.
Hotels in Tenerife
Park Club Hotel
This is a great choice for an all-inclusive vacation in Tenerife! Park Club hotel offers plenty of entertainment and activities. It's located in Playa de Las Americas on the south of Tenerife, only 15 minutes from the Tenerife South Airport.
Hotel Las Águilas
Located in Puerto de la Cruz, offering spectacular views of Mount Teide and Orotava Valley.
Oceano Hotel Health Spa
Located in the north of the island and surrounded by mountains. As if that isn't enough, they have a list of spa offers.
The Ritz-Carlton Abama
Whether you are searching for a room or a Villa, the Ritz-Carlton Abama resort offers a luxury stay on the south-western side of the island
Drive your rental car around Tenerife
There is no greater feeling than uncovering all the gifts this island has. The beautiful scenic roads are remarkable on their own, but the best part is doing the final bit on foot. With that in mind, don’t forget to carry water and snacks with you, along with some comfortable walking shoes. Once packed and ready to go, drive your rental vehicle to Masca Valley, only 35 km north of Playa de Las Americas. The captivating nature offers numerous hiking opportunities, winding roads, charming valleys and breath-taking views of different parts of the island. Another road trip can be a visit to one of the oldest towns in Tenerife, Garachico town, only about 25 km north-east of Masca. Devastated by a volcanic eruption in 1706, this peaceful, authentic little town has rebuilt itself – narrow cobbled streets, old monuments and cosy restaurants are a pleasant contrast to the buzzing south. If you want to see the biggest and oldest Icod Dragon tree, you don't have to travel far. Get in your rental and you will quickly reach Drago Park. It’s located only about 6 km east of Garachico, in a town called Icod de los Vinos, and it’s where you can gaze at the 16-metres-tall Dragon tree. Not only that, this imposing tree is 800 years old and an important symbol of the Canary Islands.
Where to eat, drink and party in Tenerife
Cuisine of the Canary Islands is a mixture of Spanish, Latin American and African cuisine. It consists of vegetables, fruit and fish. The meals are generally light, and hence easily digested in a warm climate. The traditional dishes are Papas Arrugadas, which are potatoes with sauces and the fish meals called Caldereta and Sancocho Canario with sauces. You will also find lots of stews, soups and grilled fish dishes. If you’re a vegetarian, order a warm pot of chickpeas known as Potaje de Berros. Try their delicious dessert, Bienmesabe, a combination of honey, eggs, rum and almond cream. For a complete meal, order a glass of the light, fruity white wine called Brumas de Ayosa. Great restaurants are on every corner, with Costa Adeje known for their impeccable seafood restaurants. For those seeking a lively night out, head to the south of the island – Playa de Las Americas is lined with clubs and bars. Another great option is Santa Cruz.