Driving holidays in Tenerife - car hire, taxi or public transportation?

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and also the most popular tourist destination of the archipelago.

See the general map of the Canary Islands.

Visited by over 5 million tourists from all over the world, Tenerife is a fascinating mix of paradisiac beaches, holiday resorts, vibrant cities, rich historic and cultural heritage, as well as unique nature landmarks to be found nowhere else in the world.

Tenerife has a good network of roads of European quality and quite a choice of solutions for travelling to the most remote places of the island.

What to see in Tenerife?
Over 200 beaches await sun-seeking tourists in Tenerife, on both northern and southern coast. Although most of Tenerife beaches are white sanded, you cannot really say you know Canary Islands without visiting at least one volcanic black sand or pebble beach.

The water temperature in Tenerife keeps steadily between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius, making the island a perfect year-round destination for scuba divers. In many locations along Tenerife coast there are world top ranked diving sites. PADI courses, as well as diving equipment are widely available in Tenerife.

Read about Tenerife dive sites here.

Tenerife's capital, Santa Cruz is a large cosmopolitan city with a tourist offer to suit all tastes. The second biggest city of Tenerife, San Cristobal de La Laguna is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and many other towns and traditional villages on the island are steeped in history.

Last but not least, Tenerife's natural beauty is more than good a reason to visit the island. The Canary Islands are of volcanic origin and their unique landscapes - product of fairly recent volcanic activity, are well worth a drive through. Tenerife's most famous natural icon is Mount Teide, a volcano and the highest mountain of Spain at the same time. Mount Teide is situated in the heart of Teide National Park, also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

There are many wonderful hiking trails on the island and Tenerife hiking and trekking can easily be combined with pleasurable driving in stunningly beautiful scenery. The winding mountainous road to Masca village in Tenerife is one of Spain’s best scenic drives.

See Tenerife weather chart.

Where to hire a car in Tenerife?
Tenerife car hire is available at both Tenerife South and Tenerife North airports, as well as in any major tourist location on the island, such as Los Gigantes, Playa de Las Americas, Santa Cruz and Puerto de La Cruz.

Amongst the car hire companies in Tenerife there are well known rent-a-car brands, such as: Europcar, Hertz, Avis Rent a Car, Alamo and National Canary Islands.

The local car rental services, Auto Reisen Rent a Car, Goldcar Rental, Orlando Rent and Cicar Canary Islands are also very popular in Tenerife.

With Cartrawler search engine of car hire offers you can chose the most convenient pick-up location of your Tenerife hire car and compare the prices of car rental from many major and local rent a car providers.

Taxi in Tenerife?
For worry-free holidays, many tourists like to rely on taxi services when travelling.

In general, taxis are inexpensive in Tenerife if used on short distances. Most of the licensed taxis have meters and standard trips from A to B can be considered very affordable by European standards.

On the other hand, Tenerife sightseeing by taxi may turn out to be quite costly, as there are considerable distances to cover.  For longer trips, and with many stops on the way, it is advisable to try to negotiate a fixed price beforehand.

Those who do not plan to move much around the island should still factor in the distance from the airport where they arrive to their hotel/holiday resort. Most international flights to Tenerife arrive at Tenerife South Airport and a great deal of Tenerife beach resorts are located in the northern part of the island. A taxi fare from Tenerife South Airport to, for instance, Puerto de la Cruz, on the northern coast represents an expense of around 100 euros (2012).

Also, be prepared to have to queue in front of the arrivals hall as the taxis may not be sufficient in the busiest months of the high tourist season in Tenerife.

An important note: licensed Tenerife taxis will only take onboard 4 passengers, meaning that if you are a family of 5, you will need two taxis. A good solution is to pre-book the taxi(s) or a larger vehicle before your arrival in Tenerife.

Tenerife public transportation
Public transportation is the cheapest way to travel across Tenerife.

The net of bus routes, operated by TITSA (Transportes Interurbanos de Tenerife, S.A.U) covers bigger urban areas and most of the inter-urban zones.

The trips by modern, air-conditioned busses are very reasonably priced. The above-mentioned Tenerife Sur Airport - Puerto de la Cruz ride will cost around 10 euros per person.

On the downside: as in case of any public transportation service, the coverage is limited and the comfort of travelling may be compromised in tourist high season. Try not to depend on the last bus of the day, as even if you manage to get on, it will most likely be very crowded.

Check here Tenerife public transportation timetables and maps on TITSA website (available in English).

Tenerife car hire – rates
Usually, the best rates for Tenerife car hire are found online, through internet search engines of car hire offers, such as Cartrawler. If searching and booking well in advance before your Tenerife holiday, you may find a very affordable, not to mention comfortable, solution for moving around the island.

The cheapest Tenerife car hire offers start from around £75 for 7-days rental of a small city car, as for example  Peugeot 107, or similar. For only slightly more you can enojy a quite more comfortable super-mini class vehicle, such as Ford Fiesta, or Peugeot 207, with prices from approx. £82 for a week of Tenerife car hire.

For bigger groups of holidaymakers in Tenerife, the cheapest MPV – a VW Touran 5+2, or a similar 7-seater is frequently available with prices from around £155 for a 7 days Tenerife rental.

A minibus with capacity for 9 people, as for instance a Mercedes Vito, or similar, can usually be found in Tenerife for approx. £360 for a week of car hire. A standard drivers license is fully sufficient to drive this large people carrier.

Peak tourist season in Tenerife
Please mind that there are two peaks of high tourist season in Tenerife: one in the summer months of July and August and one in the winter, in December and January. Always try to book your Tenerife hire car as early in advance as possible for those months.

Fuel policy in Tenerife car hire - "pick-up full / return-empty” fuel policy is common in Spain
As in mainland Spain, there is no standard fuel policy in Tenerife car hire.

Some car hire companies on the island deliver the rental vehicle with full tank and expect it to be returned with full tank also. However, the “pick-up full/return-empty” policy is quite common in Tenerife for longer (more than 5 days) rental periods. Please mind that in those cases there will be no refund for unused fuel.

Also, the clients of Tenerife car rental companies may come across a sometimes confusing partial tank fuel policy.

To avoid unexpected charges after delivery of your Tenerife hire car, always clear out with the rent-a-car company what fuel policy applies to your rental.

In Cartrawler search engine, the fuel policy is stated under the ‘Rate details’ of each car rental offer.

Popular Tenerife car hire locations
The most popular car hire locations in Tenerife are:

Driving holidays in Tenerife - car hire, taxi or public transportation?
Article: Driving holidays in Tenerife - car hire, taxi or public transportation?
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