How To Get Around Tenerife
Nestled off the northwest coast of Africa, Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, with an area of 2,034 square kilometers. It is Spain’s most populated island, offering one of the best climates in the world and an array of activities year-round. That’s why it’s no surprise that it receives millions of Spanish and international visitors each year.
Residents here enjoy over 3,000 hours of sunlight annually, making it a perfect destination to escape the winter cold. If you prefer glorious white sands over a white Christmas, this stunning Spanish isle will allow you to sunbathe even at the peak of winter. Besides its miles of spectacular beaches and long bays, Tenerife also offers a range of breathtaking landscapes, including Mount Teide which can be seen at its best by cable car.
Knowing how to get around the island is the key to making the most of your trip to Tenerife. The first thing you need to know about is its two airports. Located on the northeast of the island, Los Rodeos Tenerife North airport mainly receives domestic flights from Spanish airports and is ideal for those staying in Santa Cruz or Puerto de la Cruz (see our guide on where to stay in Tenerife to read more about Puerto de la Cruz). In the south, Reina Tenerife South airport caters to most international flights and is a convenient option if you’re traveling to the southern resorts. Once you get to the island, you can explore Tenerife by car or use its efficient public transportation network.
If you plan to arrive early, make sure you book a dedicated luggage storage facility in Tenerife. That way, you can walk around without heavy bags and discover your destination hands-free.
How to get around Tenerife by train
There’s no rail network in Tenerife for public transport, but a tram system is probably the closest to the train system you can get. Constituted in January 2001, the Metropolitano de Tenerife is the company that provides railway services for public transportation. It is located in Santa Cruz, the central city and capital of the island of Tenerife.
Metrotenerife or Tranvia has two lines connecting the primary points of interest in the metropolitan area on the island, between Santa Cruz de Tenerife and San Cristóbal de La Laguna. The first line, easily known as Line 1, has been in operation since 2007. It runs between the main public offices, hospitals, cultural and educational centers, and service and shopping centers of the cities. Running transverse to the first line is Line 2, which operates from La Cuesta to Taco and Tincer.
The Tranvia is a practical and modern mode of transportation on the island, although the trams are limited to only the two cities. However, since they go through the essential parts of the metro area, it’s safe to say that the trams are a perfect alternative to get to your places of interest using public transport. They are a great way to navigate the city quickly and conveniently without spending a hefty amount of money. See Tenerife on a budget by reading our guide to free things to do. With savings for transport and attractions, your holiday will be wallet-friendly!
Metrotenerife offers different ticket types suited to your needs with discounts and personalized services. There are day passes, single or return tickets, and student and family tickets with a discount price. Ensure you secure a ticket before getting onto the tram, as there are no machines available onboard. You can find the ticket machines at the commercial offices and designated tram stops or acquire your tram pass through the ten+movil app, which also allows you to travel by bus throughout the island.
How to get around Tenerife by bus
Getting around by bus is an affordable way to explore Tenerife and see many of its main attractions and popular spots. It boasts an efficient network of buses the locals call guaguas. The company TITSA operates most of the bus system here and covers every corner of the island with its modern fleet of green buses.
Every bus is guaranteed clean, in good condition, and equipped with an air conditioning system and the latest safety technology, giving passengers a convenient and secure travel experience. Much of the TITSA fleet is also accessible for those with reduced mobility. It offers an outstanding frequent service, which will take you to many parts of the island at a reasonable price.
TITSA has reliable information centers where you can get details to plan your trip. These include the maps of the island that shows the routes available. The information offices are located at Santa Cruz Interchange, La Laguna Interchange, Puerto de la Cruz station, Los Cristianos main stop, Costa Adeje bus station, and other major bus stations. The buses run 24 hours a day, with about 3,800 bus stops dotted throughout the island. This allows for seeing Tenerife at night, without worrying about transportation.
Several bus routes in Tenerife will take you directly to both Tenerife south airport and north airport. The popular tourist routes are the number 102 and 103 buses, which travel between Puerto de la Cruz and Santa Cruz.
You can buy prepaid Bonus Bus tickets, also known as the Bono Cards, which give discounted fairs on TITSA buses. It’s a fantastic option if you plan on using the bus service on the island, as it can offer a discount of up to fifty percent on some journeys. You can also use the Bono Card when taking the tram in Santa Cruz. It can be purchased from the bus station and other shops on the island that displays the Bono Card sign. Remember that your bus driver won't sell the card, so you won't be able to get on the bus. Make sure you buy one before starting your trip.
How to get around Tenerife by car
The quickest and most popular way to get around this beautiful island is by car. Having your private vehicle allows you to get to many places, stop whenever you want to take photos, and discover Tenerife’s natural beauty without hassle. If you don’t have much time on the island, it’s incredibly convenient to travel without waiting for buses to come. You can even explore scenic spots that are off the beaten path, see more of its glorious landscapes, and maximize your trip.
Since Tenerife is small, with a road perimeter of only about 223 miles, so you can easily drive around the entire island in a few hours. In addition, it has established road infrastructure and its major roads and motorways have clear markings, ensuring a smooth and safe journey even for first-time visitors or anyone unfamiliar with the area.
Renting a car is your best option if you want to drive in the Canary Islands. Car rental is a popular and flourishing service on the island, so you’ll find over a hundred car hire companies here. Major car hire companies even have offices at the south and north airports and main urban centers.
Many companies also have an impressive fleet of high-quality cars you can rent all over the Canary Islands. You can choose from something small and comfy, large and family-friendly, 4x4, or convertible at competitive prices. All you need to do is book the vehicle you want in advance. The company will have it ready for you to pick up from the airport or deliver it to your accommodation.
You must be over 21 years old to hire a car in Tenerife. You must also provide a passport and a valid driving license. But most importantly, make sure you review the traffic law on this Spanish island and check the rules and regulations about driving in the Canaries.
If you don’t want to drive or rent a car, you can find a taxi in Tenerife to take you to places. You’ll see taxis lining up as soon as you step out of the airport, so you won’t have trouble finding transport to your destination. There are also taxi ranks in resort areas and other hotspots for tourists. Don’t worry about taxi drivers overcharging you because your journey will be metered. The prices may vary depending on the day and time you travel, as taxi fares may go up after midnight and tend to be more expensive during bank holidays.
Exploring Tenerife by motorbike
Tenerife's mountainous terrain, volcanoes, forests, and beaches are a feast on the eye. And if you’re looking for an exciting way to enjoy these treasures on the island, a motorcycle ride is the way to go. It’s not the best option for groups or if you’re traveling with your family. But it provides a chance for solo travelers to experience a thrilling adventure on their own and have more freedom in exploring Tenerife and relishing its amazing views.
If you don’t want to rent a car and like to soak up the relaxing island atmosphere on your own, book a motorcycle before your arrival. You can rent a motorcycle from the airport and most major towns for a fun ride and choose from a variety of models and brands, from maxiscooters to classic motorcycles. Tenefire also has different motorcycle routes; some allow visitors to travel along the coast, while others are within the heart of the capital city. You can always pull over anytime you want for some pictures and take in the breathtaking scenery.
Can I get around Tenerife by foot?
You will probably need more than your two feet to get around Tenerife. Although it isn’t exactly a walkable place, it has excellent walking options worth your time. It features countless lovely paths that will lead you through magnificent landscapes that will almost certainly take you months to cover, if not years. But if wandering and strolling are your favorite things to do for an adventure, Tenerife has coastal walks and hiking trails for thrill-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Stroll along the coast for a leisurely experience, or choose one of the mountain routes if you’re looking for a heart-pumping activity. Some walks start at a hotel, a restaurant, or a park, and they’ll lead you through steep ravines, awe-inspiring coastlines, forests, or even deserted areas. You might also end up at the rock formation or in the streets of the next municipality. If you’ve decided to get around Tenerife by foot, make sure you wear suitable clothing and bring enough water and snacks. It would also be best to check the weather before starting your journey.
Travel to Tenerife by ferry
Tenerife is one of the few main Canary Islands you can visit by plane or ferry. It’s a major transport hub for the rest of the islands, so there’s no shortage of ferries there. There are approximately 190 ferries operating each week across twelve routes and four operators providing services to Tenerife. It has two commercial ports: Los Cristianos, located on the southwest coast, and Santa Cruz, on the northeast coast.
Traveling by ferry is a good option for those who want to bring their car to Tenerife and plan to stay on the island for an extended time. You can travel from Gran Canaria and depart from Las Palmas to reach the Santa Cruz port or leave from El Hierro and La Gomera. If you’re coming from mainland Spain, expect a long journey, but it’s a cheap way to get to Tenerife.
Plan Your Trip to Tenerife
Tenerife has a lot to offer its residents and visitors with its idyllic villages, pristine sandy beaches, and spanning mountains. It also has a remarkable food scene for everything from brunch to fancy dining places and Michelin-starred restaurants. It provides everything you need for a relaxing holiday and delightful island trip, and there are plenty of ways to get around and visit places. If you haven’t been to this gorgeous Spanish island yet, it’s time to plan a trip to Tenerife and start venturing far beyond the beach!