Tenerife is the largest of the seven Canary Islands, located off the coast of Africa. It is a popular tourist destination known for its year-round warm climate, beautiful beaches, and vibrant nightlife. Tenerife is also home to Mount Teide, a volcano that’s also the highest point in Spain.
Renting a car in Tenerife is the best way to explore. It gives you the freedom to visit everywhere at your own pace.
In this essential guide, I share useful tips for car hire in Tenerife. Find out everything you need to know about the rental process, including what you need to rent a car, where to rent from, and how to save money.
Do you need to rent a car in Tenerife?
Renting a car in Tenerife is a good idea for a number of reasons:
- It gives you the freedom and flexibility to explore the island at your own pace. Public transportation on the island can be limited, especially in less touristy areas, so having a car can make reaching some of the more remote beaches and attractions easier.
- Renting a car can also save you money on transportation costs. You’ll avoid paying for taxis or guided tours – these can be pricey.
- A car can make it easier to carry your belongings, such as beach gear or shopping bags. It’s also especially useful when traveling with a group or family.
When I visited Tenerife, I decided to rent a car and was thankful I made this choice. I only had a short holiday – so it was the only way I could see Mount Teide, Masca Canyon, the Los Gigantes Mountains, Loro Parque, and many other attractions in my short time there. There’s no way I could have seen all this in 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 compares the cheapest car hire deals from multiple companies.
What documents do I need to hire a car in Tenerife?
To rent a car in Spain, tourists need to have a valid driver’s license from their home country. This driving license also needs to be at least 12 months old. There’s no requirement for an International Driving Permit (IDP).
Additionally, most rental companies only accept credit cards for payment. They’ll unlikely accept debit cards, so keep this in mind. The name on your credit card must match your passport’s name.
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.
How much does it cost to rent a car in Tenerife?
The cost of renting a car in Tenerife can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the type of car you rent, the length of your rental period, and the season.
In general, you can expect to pay around €25-50 per day for a compact or economy car and around €50-80 per day for a larger or luxury car.
Some rental companies may offer discounts for longer rentals or for booking in advance, and you’ll save money by booking a car through Discover Cars– which finds the best prices from every rental company.
Additionally, the rental cost may vary depending on the time of year. Expect to pay higher prices during peak tourist seasons – June, July, and August. It’s also a good idea to book in advance if you’re visiting during these times.
Popular car hire locations in Tenerife
There are several pickup locations:
- The airports in Tenerife North and Tenerife South. These allow you to pick up a car as soon as you arrive at the airport
- The city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife
- The resort towns of Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas
It is typically easier to pick up a rental car at one of the island’s airports. Use Discover Cars to get the best deal – then find the booth for your car rental company at the airport.
Many car rental companies will deliver to your location if you’re already at your hotel.
Which type of car is best to use in Tenerife?
The best type of car to use in Tenerife will depend on your specific needs and preferences.
If you’re mainly interested in sightseeing and visiting the beach, a smaller car is a good choice – they’re typically more fuel-efficient and easier to park in crowded areas. They’re also the cheapest to hire.
If you plan to fully explore the island and visit some of the more remote areas, a car with good ground clearance and 4-wheel drive may be useful. An SUV will better handle the island’s hilly and rugged terrain and will be especially useful if you plan to visit Mount Teide or other off-road destinations.
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.
Is driving in Tenerife difficult?
Driving in Tenerife is not considered to be particularly difficult.
The island has a good road network, with well-maintained highways and roads that are generally easy to navigate. Additionally, 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.
It’s always a good idea to have a quick read of the Spanish driving guidelines before you start driving and to take it slow and be cautious until you get used to the roads.
Spain driving rules you should know.
You should be aware of a few driving rules in Tenerife 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.