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Each year, millions of tourists from all across Europe flock down to Tenerife to soak up the sun. 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?

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  • 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 mainline train services in Tenerife or in any of the other Canary Islands for that matter.
  • Other islands. As a passenger with car, you will usually get better value than going as a foot passenger, when 3 or more people travel together. However, you will often have to pay extra for ferry insurance with a hire car. Many companies won’t let you take your car off the island.

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  • Cities — Tenerife isn’t just about coastal holiday resorts. The capital Santa Cruz is as vibrant as any other Spanish city.
  • Santa Cruz 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?
  • Puerto de la Cruz. On the western coast is the city of Puerto de la a 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.
  • 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.

Beyond Tenerife

  • 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.
  • La Gomera is the most popular island excursion from Tenerife. This isn’t just because it’s the closest (allow around an hour for the sailing). It’s also because the fgerries set sail from Los Cristianos port, which is near all the major resorts.
  • As a foot passenger, you should be able to get a free bus transfer to the ferry port.

 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.

Verdict — yes

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.

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