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FULL Tenerife Road Trip Guide | Itinerary, Places To Visit in Tenerife, Car Hire!

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Tenerife is a small and compact island filled with so many different landscapes and terrains so a Tenerife road trip really is the perfect way to see the island and get an alternative look at the island away from the hotel resorts!

We spent a super quick 3 days in Tenerife recently and we saw so much of the island in that time and worked out the perfect Tenerife road trip itinerary. We saw towns that reminded me of being in South America, we saw incredible coastline and natural swimming pools. We saw remote mountain villages and climbed Spain’s highest mountain – Mount Teide, which is also a volcano… impressive hey!

For your Tenerife itinerary, you could do a 1 week road trip in Tenerife and easily spend your whole holiday travelling around the island because there are so many places to see in Tenerife, or you could spend a few days relaxing in one place and then a few days on a Tenerife road trip exploring the island.

Either way, this post of places to visit in Tenerife, things to see in Tenerife and my Tenerife road trip itinerary will help give you some ideas for your trip!

Tenerife Road Trip

Tenerife road trip
Keep reading for all the info on a Tenerife road trip and Tenerife road trip itinerary!

Car Hire in Tenerife

Tenerife has 2 airports. From the UK with TUI, we flew into Tenerife South Airport. We hired a car through Rentalcars which checks all the top car rental companies and although it makes sense, we were still so surprised to see most of the airport car parking as car hire!

Because Tenerife is an island, it’s not like you can bring your own car so you will need to hire a car in Tenerife for this road trip and although there are many residents and locals living in Tenerife, a lot of the cars you’ll see on the roads in these tourist places in Tenerife, will be hire cars.

We hired a car through Top Cars which was a company we hadn’t used before but we had no problems with them, Cicar (Canary Islands Car) was another company we saw a lot of cars from on the roads.

Check out prices and availability for car hire on Rentalcars here!

Tenerife road trip, cream mini hire car in national park
Our little Mini for our Tenerife Road Trip!

Driving in Tenerife

In Tenerife, like in the rest of Europe (except the UK), they drive on the right side of the road. Which is great for Europeans and North Americans! Not as much for Brits and Aussies!

Generally, we found the driving in Tenerife to be ok. There is definitely an island feel to driving here with locals doing as they please in certain situations, plus, with a lot of tourists on the road you do have to be cautious, but it is in no way a dangerous driving situation like in Morocco for example. Roads are all marked and there are rules of the road in place.

As for driving licenses for Tenerife. At the time of writing this, UK driving licenses are still valid in Tenerife as they are in the rest of Spain. Tenerife Guru’s page is a great place to look for updated license information though, more detailed information on driving in Tenerife and travel rules to Tenerife.

We used a mixture of Google Maps and Waze for getting around Tenerife and both worked really well despite the internet dropping here and there in the more remote places.

Tenerife road trip, steep road through village in Tenerife
This was one of the really steep roads in Tenerife going down to the coast!
Tenerife road trip, road through Masca Valley in Tenerife
A beautiful, but windy road through Masca Valley!

Check out prices and availability for car hire in Tenerife on Rentalcars here!

Roads in Tenerife

A Tenerife road trip is perfect because of the amazing roads in Tenerife with their spectacular scenery and later in this post I’ll tell you more about these roads and where to go in Tenerife to see such incredible roads.

For now, let’s focus on the practical side. We did find the roads in Tenerife really good to drive on. The main dual carriage way roads are all well kept and well sign posted. The smaller side roads are the same, and even the windy mountain roads, although narrow, are well kept from pot holes etc.

However, one major thing to note about the roads in Tenerife for tourists driving around the island is the amount of narrow and windy roads there are.

From our experience, many of the narrow windy roads were suitable for 2 cars to pass at once but both cars had to really slow down and go as far as they could to their sides.

We didn’t travel down many 1 way roads. Luckily, many of us from the UK we are used to small 1 way roads but I know most American drivers aren’t so these small 2 way roads might still be worrying to you and you do need to drive slowly around the bends and be cautious of what traffic is approaching.

From a passengers point of view, I actually got pretty car sick from all of the windy roads so if you do suffer from car sickness or motion sickness you might want to pack something for this for driving around Tenerife!

Tenerife road trip, Mini hired car by ocean
It was great having a convertible in Tenerife!

Tenerife Road Trip Map

A Tenerife road trip is a brilliant idea because of how small the distances are from place to place in Tenerife and that the majority of the island has a ring road around it.

On this note, just because the island is small and just because there are many main roads in Tenerife, many of the roads are windy country roads meaning they will take longer to drive than you might expect from just looking at a map.

Here is a Tenerife road trip map with the below places to visit in Tenerife I have mentioned and our 3 day Tenerife road trip Itinerary

Check out prices and availability for car hire in Tenerife on Rentalcars here!

Tenerife road trip, Mount Teide Peak by Drone
Seeing Mount Teide was a highlight of our road trip in Tenerife!

Tenerife Road Trip Itinerary

The perfect road trip itinerary for Tenerife will break the island up into areas and focus on one area per day ideally.

We focused on the West Coast, North and Middle of the island mainly and we found so many gems here that really surprised me and gave us a totally alternative look at Tenerife than the ‘Brits Aboard’ and ‘All-Inclusive Hotel’ image Tenerife has been given to many.

Tenerife Itinerary

Our Tenerife itinerary looked like this:


  • Arrive into Tenerife South Airport Friday Evening
  • Hire a car and drive 40 minutes to a small town called Santiago del Teide
  • Stay overnight in a local and traditional hotel called Hotel La Casona del Patio
Tenerife Road Trip, Hotel La Casona del Patio view
Waking up to this view at Hotel La Casona del Patio was amazing!


  • Drive 10 minutes straight to Masca Valley
  • Drive the windy roads and explore Masca Valley and Masca Village
  • Drive 40 minutes to Garachio, have lunch and soak up this beautiful colourful town
  • Head up the West Coast to Icod de los Vinos and Charco del Viento
  • Drive into Northern Tenerife through Anaga Rural Park and Chinamada
  • Stay overnight in the city of San Cristobal de La Laguna in La Laguna Gran Hotel
Tenerife road trip, Masca Village view
Masca Valley was a highlight of this day in Tenerife!


  • Drive down the middle of the island to Teide National Park
  • Spend 8.5 hours hiking up Mount Teide, Spain’s highest mountain
  • Drive back through the middle of the island to Santa Cruz de Tenerife
  • Stay overnight in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, the capital city of Tenerife at AC Hotel by Marriott
Tenerife road trip, Mount Teide in Distance
Yes, we hiked all the way to the top!


  • Explore Santa Cruz de Tenerife
  • Drive down the East Coast back to Tenerife South Airport to fly home

What I liked and didn’t about our Tenerife Road Trip Itinerary

Looking back at our trip to help you with your Tenerife travel, I wish we hadn’t gone to Santa Cruz de Tenerife. This is really just a big city and although there are some noteworthy places to visit in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, we didn’t enjoy it.

I reallllyyyy wish we had stayed in the city of San Cristobal de La Laguna for another night because this city is smaller with a lot more charm and really reminded me of many South and Central American cities.

I loved La Laguna Gran Hotel too and wish we had booked another night here.

I am really glad we left the airport in the evening on Friday and drove 40 minutes close to Masca Valley as this enabled us to wake up in the mountains and be close to the first stop on our Tenerife road trip itinerary. I also really liked Hotel La Casona del Patio because it was so traditional.

We packed a lot in on Saturday because on Monday my husband had to work from the hotel. In a way, we were lucky because the weather wasn’t great on Saturday, it was warm and clear but very windy so we couldn’t go swimming. If it had been nice weather and we had swam and enjoyed the beaches, we wouldn’t have been able to fit as much in on one day in Tenerife as we did.

Check out prices and availability for car hire in Tenerife on Rentalcars here!

Tenerife road trip, Ellie by ocean in Tenerife
At some of the many natural swimming pools in Tenerife!
Tenerife road trip, Ellie in Santa Cruz de Tenerife
In Santa Cruz de Tenerife which I didn’t like that much!

Best Places to Visit in Tenerife

Here are many of the top places to visit in Tenerife that you’ll want to go on a road trip in Tenerife because many of these can only be accessed with your own car!

Masca Valley

Masca Valley is an absolute highlight in Tenerife and if you’re like me, you definitely didn’t know such places existed in Tenerife and it’s top of my list in best places to visit in Tenerife!

Tenerife road trip, Masca Village
Drive down towards Masca Valley to see this amazing view!

Masca is a small hidden village within the Masca Valley with a very small population. Now, it is one of the major tourist destinations in Tenerife with lots of tours visiting as well as tourists like us hiring a car and going as part of a Tenerife road trip or day trip, but there’s a reason why it’s so popular!

The road leading to Masca has a lot of sharp hairpin turns so it definitely requires some concentration and cautiousness.

Tenerife road trip, windy roads in Masca Valley Tenerife
The Masca Valley needs to be high on your Tenerife Road Trip itinerary!

After passing through the town of Santiago de Teide (we stayed overnight here so we could go to Masca first thing the next day which was not only a great way to start the day, but a great time to miss a lot of the crowds! We stayed at Hotel La Casona del Patio which we really liked!) you’ll come across lots of viewpoints and lay-bys to stop in to take in the view before you decend into the village.

I was wondering how far you need to travel down into the village to get the iconic shot with the village and the rock above it and to get these photos, we parked up just before the roundabout turning into the village which was a popular spot for many with car parking spaces.

If you have time, you can go for a wander into the town of Masca and get a coffee in one of the cafes in Masca. There are many walking and hiking opportunities in the area, hiking the Masca Canyon is one of the popular things to do in Tenerife. Or you can carry on down the windy roads to Masca Beach / Playa de Masca!

Tenerife road trip, Ellie in Masca Village
I’m so glad we came here first on our Tenerife road trip!


When I asked on my Instagram, where to visit in Tenerife, a few people told me to go to Garachico and I’m so glad we did.

It’s one of the prettiest towns in Tenerife with lots of colourful buildings and a fantastic coastline to walk along. I loved it as it reminded me so much of towns I’ve seen in South and Central America.

Tenerife road trip, street in Garachico
How beautiful is this street in Garachico!

Garachico is one of the popular places to visit in Tenerife on a day trip, especially from the South Coast so do expect it to get busy, but when I went on a Saturday lunchtime at the start of October it was lovely.

Most of the top things to do in Garachico are visiting lovely buildings and churches, plus relaxing in the main square which we did whilst eating some authentic Churros! This is great if like us, you’re going your road trip around Tenerife out of the summer season where the beaches and ocean are more off limits.

Tenerife road trip, main square in Garachico
A stop in Garachico for a coffee is a must on your Tenerife road trip itinerary!

If you are doing this road trip in Tenerife in Summer, you can also enjoy the natural swimming pools of El Caleton and Garachico Beach.

Tenerife road trip, ocean and natural pools in Garachico

Icod de los Vinos

Like probably most people, we got pulled to the town of Icod de los Vinos because of Drago de Icod de los Vinos which is the lone Dracaena Tree estimated to be 1000 years old that sits in the middle of the town.

Although the tree is impressive, we didn’t pay to see it up close and we weren’t a huge fan of Icod de los Vinos, however it’s on this list of places to go in Tenerife because if you are doing this driving around Tenerife with children, it does have some good tourist attractions like a Butterfly farm and plenty of places to eat to break up a drive with kids.

Tenerife road trip, Drago de Icod de los Vinos
The iconic 1000 year old Tree – Drago de Icod de los Vinos
Tenerife road trip, Icod de los Vinos town street and shops
Street in Icod de los Vinos

Charco del Viento

There are many natural pools in Tenerife to swim in, and and Charco del Viento is one of the best natural pools in Tenerife to visit because it’s not hugely close to a town and therefore is going to attract fewer people than the likes or Garachico I mentioned above where the El Caleton pools are right in the town.

It was a bit of a random drive down a side road along a huge banana plantation to get here but well worth it for what was waiting for us.

Although the weather was not good enough for us to swim, we could see how amazing these natural pools were along with the small pebble beach areas, and even if you are aren’t coming to swim as we weren’t, it’s a great place to add to your Tenerife road trip itinerary, and I read it’s lovely at sunset!

Tenerife road trip, Charco del Viento natural pools
Charco del Viento Natural Pools although the waves were too strong for us to swim!

Rambla de Castro

If you’re looking for an alternative trip to Tenerife visiting more off the beaten path destinations, Rambla de Castro and it’s hike, is for you and should be on your Tenerife itinerary!

This is a nature preserve in Tenerife with spectacular views across the ocean. The Rambla de Castro hike starts in the city of Puerto de la Cruz, here’s a great post on how to do the Rambla de Castro hike.

Check out prices and availability for car hire in Tenerife on Rentalcars here!

Puerto de la Cruz

Known for being one of the first tourism destinations in the world, as you creep up West Coast from Southern Tenerife to Northern Tenerife, you’ll come across the popular resort town of Puerto de la Cruz.

With just a few days in Tenerife, we didn’t visit, but if you have 1 week in Tenerife, it should be on your list to see how this popular resort has kept some of its old charm.

There are many things to do in Puerto de la Cruz like visiting its famous black sandy beach, chill and swim at the huge Lago Martianez swimming pool and visit the Old Quarter.

Tenerife road trip, Lago Martianez swimming pool in Puerto de la Cruz
The impressive Lago Martianez swimming pool in Puerto de la Cruz

Piscina natural de Jover

Another one of the popular natural swimming pools in Tenerife, this one is much further up North so perfect if you are focusing on Northern Tenerife more on your Tenerife road trip, in fact, there are so many gems and amazing places to visit in Northern Tenerife!

One of the great things about being up in this part of the island is that there are not lots of resorts around here and therefore, this swimming pool is going to be much quieter, or at least quieter from tourists and more popular with locals.


We really pushed ourselves to visit Chinamada at the end of a long one day in Tenerife and I’m so glad we did!

We had to drive through the beautiful, and windy, roads of Anaga Rural Park to reach here (more on that soon) and when we arrived in the small remote village of Chinamada we couldn’t believe it.

It’s a remote place but definitely not cut off, there was one restaurant, a church and a few houses. We walked up a track and got an incredible view of the mountains and I saw many footpaths carrying along the mountains in different directions.

Tenerife road trip, Chinamada village from mountain
Looking back on Tenerife road trip, Chinamada village from a footpath up the Mountain
Tenerife road trip, Chinamada footpath
Leave time for hiking in Chinamada on your road trip in Tenerife!

Playa de Benijo

Benijo Beach is one of the popular and best beaches in Tenerife to visit because of the rock formations along the coastline, known as the Roques de Anaga rock formations.

Because of it’s location it’s a great place for sunset in Tenerife too so try to plan this into your Tenerife road trip itinerary!

Check out prices and availability for car hire in Tenerife on Rentalcars here!

Anaga Rural Park

We drove through Anaga Rural Park to get to Chinamada in the North from San Cristobal de la Laguna and we were so surprised by this mountainous forest! This is not what we expected Tenerife to look like at all!

After some research, I found that the forest is called a laurel forest made up of laurel trees which is a type of subtropical forest that grows in areas of mild temperatures and high humidity, this is probably why it looked so unique.

If you have more time in Tenerife than we did with our long weekend in Tenerife, perhaps you have 1 week in Tenerife, I really recommend planning in time here to do some hikes and walks. Just from driving along the (windy) road up to Chinamada we saw so many lay-by’s to park in and footpaths leading from the road into the forest, or you can go to the visitor centre at Cruz del Carmen and start a walk from there.

For unique things to do in Tenerife, going walking here, or even just driving through Anaga Rural Park is something you should do!

Tenerife road trip, Anaga Rural Park sign and mountains
Put hiking in Anaga Rural Park on your list of things to do in Tenerife on a road trip!

San Cristobal de La Laguna

We stayed overnight in this city and I really liked the vibe. It’s a much smaller city than the nearby capital city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife but has plenty of amentities, and therefore felt like it had more charm, especially in the old town area. We stayed at La Laguna Gran Hotel which we loved and we loved the old surrounding streets.

Reception area in San Cristobal de La Laguna hotel  La Laguna Gran Hotel
The lovely lounge and reception area in Reception area in La Laguna Gran Hotel
Tenerife road trip, La Laguna Gran Hotel balcony area
I loved this ground floor room terrace area in La Laguna Gran Hotel

These really reminded me of being in South America and I later read that the city was the model for several colonial cities in Latin America, so that now makes sense!

Tenerife road trip, San Cristobal de La Laguna street in morning
Street in San Cristobal de La Laguna Old Town

Before you leave San Cristobal de La Laguna, or as you arrive, be sure to drive out of the city and up to Mirador de Jardina which is a viewpoint that looks over the whole city and the surrounding mountains!

It’s also easy to add into your road trip Tenerife itinerary because its on the way to Anaga Rural Park and Chinamada so you can visit them all in one go as we did!

Tenerife road trip, city view from Mirador de Jardina
City view of San Cristobal de La Laguna from Mirador de Jardina
Tenerife road trip, mountain and village view from Mirador de Jardina
The other side looks over the mountains and villages from Mirador de Jardina

Mount Teide National Park

This is one of the main places to visit in Tenerife that would bring me back to this Canary island because driving through here and seeing all of the places to go in Teide National Park was so spectacular!

We had just stayed overnight in San Cristobal de La Laguna at La Laguna Gran Hotel which was the perfect place to drive from the North of the island into the middle of the island to Teide National Park. Firstly we drove through Las Lagunetas which is a natural reserve and we were blown away by the forestry here and all of the beautiful pine tree’s lining the roads, especially as we were driving in the morning with the morning sun rising.

Then, we entered Teide National Park and drove along the mountain roads where with amazing views, especially as we started to see Mount Teide – the highest mountain in Spain, emerge!

Tenerife road trip, Mount Teide in Distance
Yes, we hiked all the way to the top!

For your Tenerife road trip, I’d really recommend driving into Teide National Park from the North of the island as it was the best drive in Tenerife for us!

Tenerife road trip, road in Mount Teide National Park
For the best road trip in Tenerife, plan some time in Mount Teide National Park!

Because we spent our one day in Tenerife in this area hiking Mount Teide we didn’t get to explore much of the area but there are many things to do in Teide National Park and ways to see Mount Teide National Park like taking the Mount Teide Cable Car close to the Summit, hiking, go Stargazing, visiting the Teide Observatory and if you don’t have a plan or know what to do in Teide National Park, there are plenty of lay-bys you can just pull into with signs leading away from the road that you can just follow and explore for yourself!

Tenerife road trip, Mount Teide National Park hiking sign
Look out for signs like this that line the road through the National Park and go and explore!
Tenerife road trip, Mount Teide Cable Car view
Take the Cable Car up and down Mount Teide!

Mount Teide

Finally, easily one of the top places to visit in Tenerife is Mount Teide! This is Spain’s highest Mountain at 3715m and it’s the third largest volcanic structure in the world with the first 2 being in Hawaii!

There are many ways you can visit Mount Teide, if people don’t have a car they can get a tour bus to Mount Teide and then get the cable car up to see the amazing views from very near the top of Mount Teide. For those that are doing a self drive road trip in Tenerife like we did, you can either get the cable car to the top too, or hike as we did!

Tenerife road trip, hiking to the top of Mount Teide
Hiking to the top of Mount Teide

Here is my full post on how to hike Mount Teide from the bottom, all the way to the top! To go to the very peak and summit of Mount Teide you do have to apply for a permit in advance, the permit is free but they do sell out a few months in advance so you do have to be organised and book this a few months out.

Otherwise, from hiking or from the cable car, you can go very close to the summit, see the views and have a little walk before returning to the bottom by cable car or by foot.

Tenerife road trip, Mount Teide Cable Car viewing platform at the top
Mount Teide Cable Car Viewing Platform
Tenerife road trip, top of Mount Teide from a drone
It’s possible to go inside this crater at the top if you get the permit!

East Coast of Tenerife

For even more ideas of where to go in Tenerife, the East Coast looks like it has some nice places too, especially the North East. Unfortunately, I did not have time to see this side but I love this post on places to visit on the East Coast of Tenerife so have a read of this too!

South Coast of Tenerife

For more places to visit in Tenerife, there is the South coast of Tenerife. This is generally where holiday tourists go and many of the Tenerife tourist attractions like Siam Park are. If you’re looking for places off the beaten path in Tenerife, the South might not be for you, like it wasn’t for us, but just incase, here are the top places to visit in South Tenerife.

Tenerife road trip, Beach on East Coast of Tenerife
And there are plenty of beaches all around the island to see on a Tenerife road trip!

I hope you have found this Tenerife road trip post helpful and it has helped you with your Tenerife road trip itinerary and places to visit in Tenerife!