Tenerife, or nonetheless any of the Canary Islands, was not on our wish list. Not even thinking about it when planning a new trip. I remember that we decided to travel there when our fellow digital nomad friends told us the island owns some of the most amazing roads, some that even the Fast & Furious franchise used them for their dramatic (and yet still, scenery) scenes. There’s no secret Victor is passionate about cars and driving, so driving in Tenerife became a question of ‘how soon can we go?’.
So, here we are, after spending almost three weeks of ‘remote and travel’-ing in the beautiful member of the Canary Islands that we have some impressions for you. I will not go too much into travel tips or photo worthy places in Tenerife, but more into the experience of driving there.
Driving from the most Southern point to the most Northern point of Tenerife takes about an hour, so you can imagine how big this island is. So, our lesson learnt from the entire trip, after one bad choice regarding accommodation, is that you shouldn’t worry where you choose to stay or hunt for popular locations. Staying near the beach makes sense only when you are not interested in exploring, but more in relaxing and sun bathing.
You can easily stay in a small village in a cheaper place than the ones in Costa Adeje or Los Cristianos and still enjoy amazing views. Choosing Los Abrigos, Las Caletas or El Medano might even give you authenticity feelings of the island and less touristy ones. That is as long as you have a car on your plate, because we really really believe this is a must with all that Tenerife has to offer.
Renting a car
Renting cars in Tenerife is quite easily, especially in the South airport where we landed. There are a lot of companies available, so you can easily choose your favourite. We went for Sixt, for no other reason than we use it quite frequently when in Europe and we get some discounts for loyalty.
The pickup and return are both happening at the airport, so no more fuss about transportation to another place. Only keep in mind that because it is an airport, there is the classical problem with waiting in lines for a long time. After all, just your plane only landed with at least 200 people, half of which want to rent a car.
The prices for a vehicle may vary depending on when you want to rent. But in the best case scenario, when you reserve the car a few months in advance, the prices might get from 12 euros/day (Ford Ka) to 20 euros/day (BMW Series 1), 70 euros/day (a van for 9 people) to 88 euros/day (BMW Series 7) for a week.
Our tips for renting cars in Tenerife:
- Reserve in advance! The prices for car rentals are great on the island in comparison with the rest of Europe, especially reserving a few months earlier. There is an option with no money charge before arrival, so even if you have just an idea about the dates you want to travel, book them. You can cancel it afterwards if the plans change.
- Buy the full insurance! In other countries you might not need it, but in Tenerife you will. People are not very attentive with their parking and will scratch your car. We got hit in parking places at least three times. Also, some of the roads will have pebbles and they won’t go unnoticed.
- Keep in mind that full insurance in Tenerife means something different than in Germany for example. It covers only the bottom and the top of the car, but not the middle part (for example, the doors or the front window). And if another driver opens his door into yours in the parking place or a pebble hits the window, you might need to pay up. So better choose to pay the extra 3 euros per day!
- Choose a small car, as there are a lot of narrow parking places, both underground or above and you might not be fit to enter them.
- Don’t worry for returning the car at the airport with a lot of time in advance. The returning process is very easy and there is no line.
- Drive safe and enjoy the ride! No metaphor here, actually enjoy it as the rides are like nowhere else. The pictures or videos don’t do them justice.
The best roads
During the time we stayed in Tenerife, we managed to cover almost the entire island as we went to somewhere new everyday. From the whole experience, we now have some favourites that we can recommend to you.
Driving to and back from Masca village
Masca village is the smallest and most picturesque village on the entire island. And as if this wouldn’t be enough, to get there you must drive some of the most frightening roads, at least for the ones with fear of heights like me.
You start from Santiago del Teide and you drive for almost half an hour if you are lucky enough not to stay in line. There are only 5 km, but the road is so narrow that you can hardly pass a car from the other way without stopping for a bit.
The road itself is full of awesome views from start to finish, the village itself being something not to miss either. Definitely one of our favourites.
From South to Santa Cruz de Tenerife
Oh my! Never have I ever thought that driving on a highway can be not boring. Driving to Santa Cruz de Tenerife from the South of the island shows you some spectacular views over the ocean, old sculpted rocks snapshots, the mountain in the distance or villages spread over the coast. If you’re lucky, once in a while you can also see some airplanes close landing or departing.
Around Playa de Las Teresitas
Playa de Las Teresitas is spectacular in itself, but driving around it’s not for missing either. The first part would be going from the beach to Mirador Last Teresitas, where you can admire the beach and hills from above. The second part is driving from the Mirador to Playas de Las Gaviotas, which seems scary from above but not so much when on the road.
Teide National Park
The best of the best! Something that I’m sure Tenerife would not have the same charm without. This national park seems like a part of the moon with its volcano and rocks. You can also hear about it being called the ‘lunar experience’.
No picture or video would do it justice. After all, before going there I was looking over some pictures and it seemed kind of with no personality to me. But once there, I could not stop saying once every 2 minutes ‘Oh my God, how awesome is this!’. Something that I have not seen before. Or maybe I haven’t seen that much till the present 🙂
Apart from going to the peak of the mountain (which we did, and will probably write about it in the future), the park can be covered just by driving only. Once every kilometre there are small parking spots where you can take a picture break, and every one of those stops is more beautiful than the previous.
Lunar experience indeed and something not to miss, for sure!
Would you go there just for the driving part?