Exploring Tenerife by car - top routes

Teneriffa Ausflüge mit dem Auto
The highlight when you exploring Tenerife by car: on the road trough Teide National Park and the volcanic landscape
General informations when you driving a car in Tenerife:
  • Book rental car
  • Speed limits
  • Petrol stations
  • Parking

Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, has an incredible amount to discover. Depending on which side of the Pico del Teide you are on, the island impresses with new breathtaking natural and cultural impressions. This is why excursions by car are a special attraction for so many tourists, who explore the "Island of Eternal Spring" to its very last corner on the well-developed roads.  So that you don't miss the most beautiful sights of Tenerife, exciting walking and hiking trails and the many other highlights of the Canary Island on your car trip, we have put together some of the most beautiful routes. Whichever route you choose, your Tenerife excursions by car will give you an unforgettable experience of the island!

Routes at a glance:

Top 5:  Pico del Teide

Top 4:  Panoramic view in the mountains (Teno mountains & Anaga mountains)

Top 3:  Old coastal trail

Top 2:  Wine route

Top 1:  Trough the south of Tenerife

Top 5 - On the road to Mount Teide

You can hardly avoid the Pico del Teide during your holiday in Tenerife - and you shouldn't! The routes that lead through the Teide National Park, to the volcanic crater and through the Canadas are some of the most exciting, spectacular tours that you will take on your Tenerife trips by car!

The best place to start your exploration tour is Los Cristianos, from where you can reach Granadilla de Abona via TF-1 and TF-66. The direct route to Vilaflor is via the very winding C-821 road, and a more leisurely route via Charco del Pino and El Frontón to Vilaflor and the foot of the Pico del Teide. Vilaflor, which is 1450 metres above sea level, is the perfect starting point for a walk through the Teide and the Cañadas.

But you can also cross the seven valleys with their different lava landscapes by car for about 16 kilometres. Your route takes you via Vilaflor and Arona back to Los Cristianos.

Routing: Los Cristianos - Granadilla de Abona - Vilaflor - Cañadas - El Portillo - Cañadas - Vilaflor - Arona - Los Cristianos

Distance: 128 kilometres

Journey time: about 3 hours

What you can expect: fascinating volcanic landscapes and rock formations, lava deserts, narrow, winding roads, views over the clouds, hiking trails through the Teide National Park and Cañadas

Top 4 - Panoramic view in the mountains

Teneriffa Ausflüge mit dem Auto Tenogebirge
Mountain road trough Teno-Mountains

Besides the Pico del Teide and the volcanic landscapes in the centre of the island, Tenerife has two other high mountains. The Teno mountains in the south and the Anaga mountains in the north-east of the island could not be more different. On your Tenerife excursions by car you should therefore plan one or two day tours through both mountain regions. In this way you will get to know the entire wealth of facets of the island!

Teno Mountains

From the holiday resorts in the south (Los Gigantes, Los Cristianos, Costa Adeje) you can reach Santiago del Teide via the C-822 after the end of the TF-1 motorway. Starting from Santiago del Teide, the road takes you in numerous serpentines and hairpin bends up to the Teno Mountains. From here you will reach Cruz Grande. From here you have an astonishing view of the north coast, which is several hundred metres lower, all the way to Garachico. However, before you visit Garachico you should go to Icod de los Vinos and visit the "Drago Mileniaro". Afterwards you will drive via Garachico to Buenavista del Norte and from there through the Teno mountains along the north coast to Masca - one of the most popular destinations in Tenerife. The tour through the Teno mountains ends finally in Santiago del Teide.

Routing: Santiago del Teide - Erjos - Ruigomez - San Juan - Icod de los Vinos - Garachico - Buenavista del Norte - Punta de Teno - Buenavista del Norte - El Palmar - Masca - Santiago del Teide

Distance: about 100 kilometres

Journey time: 2 – 3 hours

What you can expect: breathtaking views to the north coast of Tenerife and the Montana Negras, popular sights like the "Drago MIlenario" in Icod de los Vinos, numerous hairpin bends and hairpin bends, idyllic little towns off the beaten track

Anaga Mountains

A tour of the Anaga mountains is without doubt one of the highlights of a holiday in Tenerife. The best place to start a trip to the extreme north-east of the high mountains, which are known for their green laurel forests, is Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The TF-11 will take you to San Andrés, which is just a few minutes away from one of Tenerife's most popular beaches - Playa de la Teresitas. The real Tenerife excursion by car through the Anaga mountains begins as soon as you get on the TF-12 from San Andrés. The further you get to El Bailadero and Chamorga, the more dense the mountain slopes become.

The most fascinating feature of the Anaga Mountains is their dense laurel forest, where the high humidity creates interesting cloud formations. Don't miss the two viewpoints - Mirador de Ingles and Mirador Cruz del Carmen - before you drive back to Santa Cruz via La Laguna.

Routing: Santa Cruz - San Andres - Playa de la Teresitas - San Andres - El Bailadero - Chamorga - El Bailadero - Mirador de Ingles - Mirador Cruz del Carmen - Bosque de la Mercedes - Las Mercedes - La Laguna – Santa Cruz

Distance: about 83 kilometres

Journey time: about 2 hours

What you can expect: dense laurel and pine forests, scattered small mountain villages, rugged mountain valleys, breathtaking vantage points, narrow bends and hairpin bends, but well maintained roads

 

 

Top 3 - The old coastal track 

Teneriffa mit dem Auto - die alte Küstenstraße
View to the coastal road

Many of the roads - like this one along the north coast to Almaciga - are very curvy, but reward with a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean

 

If you are looking for the "real" Tenerife, you should leave the motorway and drive along the old coastal road. On the way from Los Cristianos to Candelaria (or vice versa) you will only meet a few package tourists. The tour takes up to five hours and takes you along winding roads through less busy places off the beaten track. Parallel to the TF-F motorway, take the C-822 along the coast from southern Los Cristianos to Barranco Hondo near Candelaria. On the way you will pass through smaller towns like Chimiche and Las Rosas rather than more touristy areas like Güímar. The special charm of Tenerife is revealed to you, between wasteland and tourist centres.

Routing: Autopista del Sur - exit Barranco Hondo - Geraja - Güimar - Fasnia - Lomo de Arico - Chimiche - Granadilla de Abona - San Miguel - Valle de San Lorenzo - Los Cristianos

Distance: 145 kilometres

Journey time: 4 – 5 hours

What you can expect: Coastal region of El Médano, Poris de Abona and Güímar, views of the Atlantic Ocean, magnificent sandy beaches like those in the Montaña Roja area, tourist attraction "Pyramids of Güimar“

Top 2 - Tenerife wine route by car 

Teneriffa Weinstraße
There are more than 70 local wineries in Tenerife and the quality is increasing every year

One of the most popular routes is the Tenerife Wine Route, because in the area around Tequeste and Valle de Guerra, not far from La Laguna, there are still many wineries and "guaninches" that sell country wines made in the traditional way. Especially along the old country road between La Laguna and La Orotava you can find the guaninches in former truck garages or converted barns.

Grapes like Negramol, Tintilla or Vijariego have been cultivated and processed here since the 16th century. One of the biggest producers is Bodegas Monje near El Sauzal. Here you will also find the "Casa Museo Insular de la Vid y el Vino", a real wine museum with exquisite wines. The best thing to do is to stay in the area so that you can enjoy an extra glass of wine.

Routing: Santa Úrsula – El Sauzal - Valle de Guerra - Tequeste

Distance: 26 kilometres

Journey time: about 30 minutes

What you can expect: traditional Bodegas and Guaninchen, volcanic wines, which matured up to 200 years in oak barrels, fabulous views of the Atlantic north coast

Top 1 - Tenerife road trip trough the south

Teneriffa Ausflüge mit dem Auto - Der Süden
View of the southwest coast

There are warm temperatures all year round in Tenerife, which in the south of Tenerife can even reach the mark of 30° degree in summer and winter months. So sun-seeking people should explore the southern tip of the island in particular and travel from El Médano via Granadilla and Vilaflor to Arona and Adeje.

Along the fairly short route you will be on the sunny side all the time and can take a swim at some of the most beautiful beaches on Tenerife. If you leave the TF-25, before reaching Adeje, you will find the beaches of Playa de los Cristianos and Playa de las Vistas in the popular resort of Playa de las Américas. 

Routing: El Médano – Granadilla – Vilaflor - San Miguel -  Arona – Adeje

Distance: 111 kilometres

Journey time: about 3 hours

What you can expect: a lot of sunshine, some of the most popular beaches in Tenerife, destinations like Jungle Park and Aqualand

If the "driving" is too tiring for you, we recommend these guided sightseeing tours:

Guided island excursions in Tenerife

All about car driving in Tenerife

Teneriffa mit dem Auto - wichtige Informationen
Road in Teide National park / Photo by Michal Mrozek

In order to travel safely on the roads of Tenerife, it is important to know the traffic regulations of the island. If you decide to spend your holiday on Tenerife by car, you should familiarise yourself with the traffic regulations of the island. We have summarised the most important facts for you - from speed limits to petrol stations and parking on Tenerife.

How to book car in Tenerife

Whether on site or in your home country, booking a rental car for your Tenerife holiday is not a problem. This is also due to the fact that especially in the holiday resorts on Tenerife, there are car rentals like sand at the sea. Basically you have three options:

1. Via international car rental companies: International providers such as Avis, Europcar and Hertz have several stations in the larger tourist centres where you can rent and return the car. Compared to local providers the prices are often higher, but the vehicles are often better maintained.

2. Via local providers: More favourable prices are offered by local car rental companies operating nationwide. Pay particular attention to the technical condition of the desired vehicle and take out fully comprehensive insurance.

3. Via tour operators in your home country: You can also book a rental car in Great Britain at local rates through your tour operator.

Even if the prices differ, the costs for car rental in Tenerife are very moderate. You can book a rental car from as little as 20 - 30 Euros/day - including unlimited mileage and all necessary insurance.

Attention: To rent a car in the Canary Islands you need to have an international driving licence, at least one year old. Minimum age for the driver is 21 years.

How fast you can drive in Tenerife 

The following speed limits are applicable in Tenerife:

  • in in built-up areas 50km/h, more rarely 60 km/h,
  • on road 90 km/h,
  • on highways 100 km/h
  • on motorway 120 km/h.

 

Where to find petrol stations in Tenerife

Tank empty and no petrol station in sight? You will hardly have this worry in Tenerife, as there is a relatively dense network of petrol stations on the island. Only if you are planning a car tour to the Anaga mountains or to the Teide and the Canadas, you should not set off with an almost empty tank. Especially in the high mountain areas there are no or only a few petrol stations.

The prices for diesel and petrol in Tenerife are quite moderate - in comparison to your home country they are only about 60% of the usual prices here. However, on Tenerife it is common to find petrol stations that take care of filling up the car. At some Repsol petrol stations there are even talking petrol pumps. Tenerife excursions by car are therefore also a real luxury in this respect!

Attention: On some motorways there are tolls. These can be recognised by an additional marking in the form of a P..

 

Where to park in Tenerife 

During your holiday in Tenerife, pay attention to the colour of the markings on the roadside when you are looking for a parking space. If the roadside is marked yellow, parking is forbidden. Here you will have to expect fines. If the areas are marked in blue, parking is subject to a fee.