Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, boasts of a diverse landscape, vibrant towns, and year-round sunshine. For an unforgettable adventure, renting a car in Tenerife is an absolute must.
Tenerife car rental gives you that much-needed freedom to follow the call of the open road, uncovering the island’s secrets, one turn at a time.
And with car rental companies offering such great deals, it may even be the cheaper option.
In this travel guide, find everything you need to know about car hire in Tenerife, including how to get the best car rental deals, pickup locations, and tips on navigating Spanish roads.
Do you need to rent a car in Tenerife?
While Tenerife does have a public transportation system – it’s a little difficult to use and is less available outside of the main tourist areas. Taxis are also quite expensive.
That’s why renting a car in Tenerife is definitely worth it. With a vehicle at your disposal, you can zip from one point to another with no restrictions.
Having your own vehicle turns any trip into a seamless joyride. Wake up in Santa Cruz, have lunch in the quaint mountain village of Masca, and watch the sunset from a beach in Costa Adeje – all in one day!
Here are some other reasons:
- Group Friendly: Traveling with a gang or loaded with luggage? Car rental simplifies it all.
- Cost Effective: Skip expensive taxis – renting saves you big bucks.
- Freedom Seeker: No frustrating bus schedules – travel when you want, wherever you want.
- Budget Stay: Stay in quiet, cheaper hotels outside the main tourist areas – easy with a car!
- Meal Planner: Rent a car, buy groceries, cook meals – perfect for the budget-conscious traveler.
When I visited Tenerife, I didn’t have much time to see everything. That’s why I rented a car – It was the only way I could visit Mount Teide, Masca Canyon, the Los Gigantes Mountains, Loro Parque, and more. I wouldn’t have been able to see all this in such a short time using tours, and taxis would have cost me a fortune!
As I was traveling on a budget, I used Discover Cars. This website makes it easy to find a cheap car hire in Tenerife by comparing deals from multiple companies.
What documents do I need to hire a car in Tenerife?
To rent a car in Spain, you need to have a valid driver’s license from your home country, and you’ll need to carry this license whenever you drive the vehicle.
For most EU citizens, there’s no need for an International Driving Permit (IDP), though you do need to have a newer photocard license.
When it comes to payment, you can use most of the common payment methods when booking a car. Just note that most rental companies only accept credit cards for the deposit – and the name on your credit card needs to match your passport.
Finally, you must be at least 21 years old to rent a car in Spain. If you’re under 25, expect to pay an extra daily fee. There’s usually a higher minimum age requirement for more powerful cars, so always check first.
Tenerife Car Rental Checklist
Here’s a full checklist for renting a car in Tenerife:
- A driving license from your home country
- At least 21 years old
- Possibly an International Driving Permit – if you’re not from the EU.
- Your ID (passport).
- Credit card, debit card, or PayPal for payment when booking the car online.
- A credit card in your name (not debit card) for the deposit on arrival.
- Extra insurance if you prefer.
Tip: Getting additional insurance coverage when renting a car is wise. It’s an extra layer of financial protection against unlucky mishaps.
How much does it cost to rent a car in Tenerife?
Renting a car in Tenerife is surprisingly affordable. Prices fluctuate based on the type of car you choose and the season, but you can generally find a decent vehicle that won’t break the bank.
Expect to pay around €15-50 per day for a small or economy car, and around €50-80 per day for a larger or luxury car.
Early bird gets the worm – or in this case, a discount! If you’re a planner, you’re in luck. Companies often offer discounts to those who book their car rentals in advance.
Expect to pay higher prices during the peak tourist season – June, July, and August. So, make sure to book ahead to snag the best deals and avoid disappointment.
Tip: Here’s a secret – the longer you rent a car, the cheaper the daily price. For instance, renting for five days instead of just two or three might only cost a smidge extra.
Car rental locations in Tenerife
There are several popular car rental locations in Tenerife:
- Tenerife South Airport: Have a car ready to pick up at Tenerife airport as soon as you arrive – super smooth.
- Santa Cruz de Tenerife: If you’re already in the island’s capital, renting a car here is ideal.
- Costa Adeje: A great pickup location if you’re staying on the southwest coast. Start your adventure with a coastal drive!
These are the main places, but there are more car hire offices scattered all over the island. Booking ahead using a comparison site is a real game-changer. Get the best deal, then your chosen car is ready and waiting when you arrive. Smooth, right?
Which type of car is best to use in Tenerife?
The best type of car to use in Tenerife largely depends on your travel plans.
If you’re planning on sticking to the towns and main roads, a small car should serve you well. They’re cheap to run and easy to navigate through narrow streets.
However, if you’re feeling adventurous and plan on exploring the mountains and rural areas, a 4×4 might be a good idea. The extra power will come in handy on steep, winding roads such as the way to Mount Teide.
For families or large groups, minivans are available for the extra space After all, who wants to be squished during those long scenic drives?
Tip: Keep in mind, most rental cars in Tenerife come with a manual transmission. So, if you need an automatic, be sure to book in advance.
Is driving in Tenerife difficult?
Driving in Tenerife definitely has a bit of an ‘island feel’ – but it’s not particularly difficult. It largely depends on what you’re used to.
Tenerife Standard of Driving
Locals tend to either be slow, or speed around impatiently, and indicators aren’t used as frequently as you might expect.
This means you’ll have to be patient and drive a bit more ‘defensively’ than you might be used to.
Roads in Tenerife
Tenerife is also known for its narrow, winding roads and steep inclines, particularly in rural areas.
For seasoned drivers, these challenges may offer an adventurous twist. However, for less experienced ones, the roads might seem a bit daunting initially.
Most of the narrow roads do allow two cars to pass at once, but those with bigger cars will have to be slow and careful. Watch those wing mirrors!
And note that getting from A to B will take longer than you expect – the winding country roads mean you won’t be traveling at highway speeds.
The good news is that the island’s road network is well-maintained and well-signposted.
Parking and Traffic Information on Tenerife Island
Traffic on the island is not as heavy as in some other European cities, so you’ll find that driving in Tenerife is relatively stress-free.
There are usual hotspots that flare up at rush hour, such as the TF1 motorway between Costa Adeje and Guaza, but they can be avoided with a bit of planning, or by using a good navigation app like Google Maps, or Waze.
When it comes to parking, availability within busy areas can be limited. You may have to use paid car parks in busy areas, at upwards of €1.80 per hour. Be sure to check with your accommodation for the availability of on-site parking to make life easier.
Spain driving rules you should know.
You should be aware of a few Spanish driving rules before you start driving on the island:
- As in most European countries, you drive on the right-hand side of the road and overtake on the left – if you’re not used to this, you’ll need to be extra cautious when changing lanes or making turns.
- Drink driving rules in Spain may be stricter than you’re used to – the maximum blood alcohol concentration (BAC) allowed is 0.05%, while for the UK and most of the USA, the legal limit is 0.08%.
- You must wear a seat belt at all times, and children under 12 years old need a child seat or booster seat.
- You can’t use your phone while driving. This includes even just holding your phone. However, you can use it hands-free, so get used to voice commands.
These rules are pretty typical of European cities – there are no particularly unusual rules on the island.
FAQs about Renting a Car in Tenerife
When should I book a rental car in Tenerife?
It’s always a good idea to book your Tenerife rental car as soon as your travel plans are confirmed. This is especially important during peak tourist seasons when demand is high. The earlier you book, the more likely you are to get the best deal.
Can you rent a car for a day in Tenerife?
Absolutely! Most car rental companies in Tenerife offer daily rental options. Whether you need a car for a quick day trip or just to get around town for the day, you’ll be able to find a car to suit your needs.
Is it a good idea to rent an electric car in Tenerife?
Renting an electric car in Tenerife can be a good idea if you want to reduce your environmental impact and support the use of renewable energy.
Tenerife has been making efforts to promote the use of electric vehicles, and the island has a growing network of charging stations.
However, If you decide to go electric, you’ll have to plan your trips more carefully – Charging stations are not readily available on all parts of the island.
Finally, electric cars are usually more expensive to rent than conventional cars, so you should factor in the cost of rental and charging fees when deciding whether to go green.
Tip: If an electric vehicle is what you’re after, remember to book ahead. Rental companies usually have a limited supply, so don’t miss out!