Where and What to Hire
Although Tenerife is a relatively small island there are still a few car hire options to choose from. Tenerife’s North Airport has car hire companies Goldcar, Autoreisen and Thrifty while Autoreisen, and Thrifty are located in the South Airport. Sixt car hire is located on the nearby island of La Gomera. There is not as huge choice of vehicles to rent but smart cars and two-door and four-door options are usually available.
Driving on Tenerife is a relatively relaxing experience, given the little traffic on the roads; however there are still things to watch out for. On some of the large roads the slip lanes from motorways are used for both approaching and exiting traffic which can be a little hair-raising. Be aware that many pedestrian crossings are located close to bus stops so drivers should be extra careful driving past a bus stop as there may be people crossing the road. Tenerife’s roads are busier on Sundays as they are the most popular day for family outings. It is also a popular day for cyclists and motorcyclists to come out in their droves so be aware of this. When driving through the smaller villages, it is likely that there may be animals wandering across the roads so take extra care and drive slowly through these areas. Another occurrence on Tenerife’s roads is the unusual practice of locals stopping in the middle of the road to talk to someone they know – it is just part of daily life on Tenerife so accepting it is better than getting annoyed. Finally, the old banana trucks that transport goods from one end of the island to another are very slow moving. If stuck behind one, wait for an opportunity to overtake or be prepared to enjoy the scenery at a very slow pace. The speed limit varies between 25 and 40 miles per hour on smaller roads and 70 miles per hour on motorways.
Parking in Tenerife can be a little haphazard. On-street parking is free but locals are liable to cram their cars into the smallest spaces imaginable so be prepared to be wedged in on occasion. Underground car parks are also available and are very reasonably priced. Most hotels and resorts come with their own free parking.
Where to Go and What to See
Hiring a car on Tenerife is essential in order to explore the island at leisure and to see all of its sights. With such incredible landscapes it is a pleasure to drive across. The journey to Mount Teide National Park is one of the most beautiful as you wind your way through narrow mountain roads and hairpin bends, up the steep slopes towards the mountain. The 1 hour drive south from Güímar to the Valle San Lorenzo is another stunning example but only for those with strong stomachs. The twisty, winding roads, plunging ravines and narrow bridges are not everyone’s cup of tea but the stunning sleepy villages and hamlets you pass make it worthwhile. From La Laguna, the 20 minute drive to El Portillo provides some of the islands most jaw dropping views as roads snake through eucalyptus and pine and the incredible La Tarte rock formations towards the James Bond Villain lair of the Astrophysics Observatory. For anyone travelling with children, there are plenty of accessible family activities to choose from. Aqualand in Costa Adeje, in the south west of Tenerife, provides a fun alternative to the beach with water slides, wave pools and chutes galore. It also happens to be close to some rather stunning and more peaceful white sandy palm-fringed beaches that adults can happily relax on. In Northern Tenerife is Loro Parque, another must for kids. This is one of Tenerife’s leading attractions and one that adults will love as much as the kids. Loro means parrot and there are over 350 species of this colourful bird on show creating a rainbow of colour. A 600 seat amphitheatre hosts regular shows with these feathered friends. There are seven sea life tunnels to walk trough and a 65 meter deep park which is home to the breathtakingly majestic Orca whale. There are penguins, meerkats, waterfalls, plants and flowers and much much more for a fantastic family day out.