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Europe > Spain > Tenerife

See: Why rent a car in Tenerife ? | Why not? | Ratings | Summary | Comments

(All of these pages will look a lot nicer when they are tidied up later in the spring)

Your key questions for any destination:

Do I need a car in Tenerife?

Strictly speaking, there are very few travel destinations anywhere in the world where it's absolutely essential to rent a car in order to see the main points of interest.

That's why we give you loads of ratings scales from 1 to 10, rather than just yes or no answers!

  • The need question is generally answered by looking at public transport (transit) options. Is it good enough for visitors who are happy to consider using it?
  • How many public transport routes are there, and are they mainly rail or road (bus) based?
  • Is public transport fast, frequent, safe, reliable and cheap?
  • Does public transport actually take you to the places you'll probably want to see?

Is it worth hiring a car in Tenerife?

This question is usually more about value for money. For this, we look at Tenerife car hire options, and consider how rental costs compare with using transit.

How far are you likely to drive anyway, and how much might you expect to spend on fuel, road tolls, parking and any other charges. We compare Tenerife with other destinations locally and around the world.

This is obviously much more of an issue if you are planning a longer road trip than it is on a small island.

Should I rent a car in Tenerife? 

This is basically a merging of the two questions. Everything else might be about giving certain facts about the costs of car rental or using public transport in Tenerife, but answering this question is very much a matter of opinion.

Please note that is currently being revised and updated in preparation for the Summer 2022 (northern hemisphere) tourist season. 

We do not intent to include detailed covid information, nor do we intend to suggest hiring a car, just because public transport might still have a mask requirement. Our advice will be based on the same criteria we've always used, ie whether or not you can get a better travel experience, or at least a better value one, by choosing not to hire a car.

Quick Ratings

Price band

Tenerife is in car rental price band: 1/10 (1 = cheapest car rental location)

General comment - based on price alone, is it worth renting a car in Tenerife? 

Yes. Extremely cheap car hire at quieter times and still good value year round.


Can you expect big swings in car rental prices in Tenerife between the peak and the off peak season?

3/10 (0 = stable prices)

Driving score: 7/10

Non car score:2/10

Balance: 8

(0 = car hire not advised / 10 = rental car essential)

General comment -


Do you need a hire car in Tenerife? Each year, millions of tourists from all across Europe flock down to Tenerife to soak up the sun, as the Canary Islands offer the closest thing to a year-round sun without taking a long haul flight to somewhere further away. So is it worth getting a hire car for your stay in Tenerife?

Why? Visiting Tenerife using a hire car

Why do you need a car in Tenerife ?

  • Variety¬†— despite its relatively small size, Tenerife has a stunning variety of cultural and landscape attractions. Where else can you drive from subtropical forests to the barren volcanic landscape of Teide within half an hour?
  • No trains — unfortunately, there are no train services in Tenerife or in any of the other Canary Islands for that matter, other than a small tram line in Santa Cruz. This is of little use if you are staying in the south of the island.

Why not? Visiting Tenerife without a car

Why don't you need a car in Tenerife ?

  • Cities — Tenerife isn’t just about coastal holiday resorts, the capital Santa Cruz is as vibrant as any other Spanish city, and it is also home to a stunning opera house, designed by the famous Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. Some might say that the roof structure is a case of serious overkill, but this is a cultural rather than a functional building, so what else would you expect? Although not quite in the same league as the Sydney Opera House, it is certainly worthy of a detour if you are on the island.On the western coast is the city of Puerto De La Cruz, with its famous zoo (Loro Parque). These locations can easily be visited by bus, so there is no need to get a hire car, but of course having one will give you much more flexibility, especially if you want to come back at night.
  • Island hop — for those with genuinely itchy feet, why stop at Tenerife? Hopping around the different Canary Islands can be a great way to pack even more into your holiday, and in some cases you can make a day trip to another island and still be back in the resort by early evening. Although you could Island hop using car ferries, you will have more flexibility without a hire car as you can also use some of the faster ferries or you can take the internal flights.
  • Excursions — you should have no problem finding an excursion to take you on a day trip to Teide or any other major attraction on the island, but as with anywhere else, you will be going at their pace not yours.

Ratings: How does Tenerife compare?

Is it worth hiring a car in Tenerife? TBC

This is based on a rough consideration of the costs of renting a car in Tenerife, and how this compares with the costs of using public transport. The answer to this varies hugely from one destination to the next, based on a wide range of factors. It's based on renting a car at the airport (TBC), and driving for an average of 2-3 hours on open roads on most days.

How does this compare if:

You are travelling:

Solo / As couple / small family / larger family / senior couple etc

Does car rental make sense on different budgets?



Do you need to hire a car in Tenerife? TBC

This is based strictly on whether or no we think it's possible to visit Tenerife (and the surrounding area) without using a car. Of the three key questions, this one is the most likely to be a "no".

Should you rent a car in Tenerife? TBC

This is a balance of all factors. Remember this is an answer to the question for people who are already asking it. That's why the answer might still be a "yes", even when public transport is good. 

See global comparisons

Hiring | Driving | Parking

Trains | Buses | Local travel


Car hire basics:


Public transportation basics:


Regular bus services: YES

Coach (inter-city): YES

Tram: NO

Metro: NO

Commuter Rail:

High Speed Rail:

Rail type (end stub / through / junction / hub):


As you start ....

Does Tenerife airport have a direct rail link?

(Yes - within terminal / adjacent / short walk) (Yes - bus transfer / other) No






Has our advice for Tenerife car rental changed over time, or has it been pretty constant?

2017 - 8

2019 - 8

2021 - 8

Average score - 8



Canary Islands & Madeira Compared

How does Tenerife compare with other islands in the Canaries? The Canary Islands and Madeira are a very popular year round travel destination, largely with visitors from Europe. Renting a car might often seem like the natural choice, but there are big differences in the road networks and in public transport standards between the different islands.

Overall Car or No Car Ratings

El Hierro 6 5 6
Fuerteventura 4 4 6
Gran Canaria 7 4 2
La Gomera 2 5 5
La Palma 4 5 7
Lanzarote 8 7 5
Tenerife 8 7 2
Madeira 8 7 2


Based on Price Alone?

A more detailed price comparison will be done late in 2021, as more international travel is allowed. Generally speaking, price is not a significant factor in determining whether or not to rent a car in the Canary Islands.

Car rental in Tenerife v other options:

  • Car hire is generally cheap.
  • Distances are short - every island can be driven around in one day or less.
  • Fuel is free from IVA (VAT) - except in Madeira.
  • Parking is usually free, or available in commercial car parks at reasonable rates.


  • Buses are widely available in most resort areas in Tenerife.
  • Taxis are cheap compared to other parts of Spain and very cheap compared to Northern Europe.
  • Most hotels are near the coast with good access to beaches.
  • Resort areas in Tenerife always have good facilities and easy access to shops.
  • Walking trails are widely available - both along coastal routes and inland.
  • It's usually easy to reach walking trails by bus.


Why compare the Canary Islands with renting a car in Madeira?

These islands all have similar characteristics - almost all visitors are arriving by air at the main airport on each island, and there is no rail based public transport, except for the tram in Tenerife. The islands have a year-round warm climate, and driving conditions are generally similar. Although there are seasonal variations in car rental prices, these tend to be driven by the demand to get away, rather than seasonal changes locally.

Even during the most popular holiday periods (especially around Christmas and Easter), car rental in Tenerife is generally good value. Buses in Tenerifeare still widely available, and taxis are usually cheap. 

¬†Conclusion — Do I need a hire car in Tenerife? Tenerife is clearly an island where the car is king, and if you want to have the most flexibility than a hire car is essential.

Note — there are two airports in Tenerife. Most holiday flights to Tenerife will use Tenerife South airport (Reina Sofia), whereas Spanish domestic flights including island hopper services generally use Tenerife North, which is much closer to the city of Santa Cruz. Extensive hire car facilities are available at both airports, although Tenerife North is also just a short taxi or bus ride into Santa Cruz.


Do you or don't you need a car in Tenerife ?

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