Full instructions on renting a car in Tenerife: features and personal experience
Rent a car in Tenerife

Full instructions on renting a car in Tenerife: features and personal experience

To have time to visit all the sights of Tenerife in a short vacation, you can’t do without a car. I will tell you how to rent a car, how much it costs and how things are on the roads of the largest island of the Canary archipelago.

The quality of roads in Tenerife is excellent, they are free of charge, the traffic is calm, you will not have to stand in traffic jams. In historic cities on narrow streets there are paving stones, and in the mountains you will have to drive on the serpentine, so it is better to rent a small but powerful car.

Where to rent a car in Tenerife?

Rental prices in Tenerife are among the lowest in the EU. You can rent a car online in advance, go to the rental desk at the airport or arrange the car at the rental office near the hotel. The earlier you book a car, the lower the rental cost will be, and the more choice you will have. The most expensive is to rent a car in hotels or tourist offices, the extra charge to the base price will be 20 — 30%.

Choose and book a car in Tenerife in advance if:

  • You are traveling during the «high season»: New Year’s Eve, August or Carnival period (second half of February — early March).
  • You need a car with automatic transmission. There are few such cars on the island due to the high cost of automatic transmission repair, and there is no automatic transmission repair on the island.

The most convenient and economical way to rent is to book online. You can use aggregators or the rental company’s website.

Freeway in Tenerife
Freeway in Tenerife

Car rental aggregators

Aggregators are sites where you can view offers from several rental companies and immediately book a suitable option.

I prefer to choose a car on such sites, because it saves time searching for information on each rental company. International aggregators work with trusted companies: there is no risk of running into a dubious company. On the other hand, the catalogs of aggregators do not always include local rental companies, which may have lower rental prices.

For rentals in Tenerife, I recommend popular international aggregators with Russian navigation:

  • Rentalcars. There is an opportunity to cancel a reservation free of charge in 48 hours, but the service searches mainly for large rental companies.
  • Economybookings is a Spanish aggregator that operates in 130 countries. Searches for deals on large and local companies, but abuses selling additional services.

Rental offices

If you have free time or personal preferences, you can choose a car on the websites of rental offices. They are not always available in Russian, but all have an English interface.

International rental agencies providing services in Tenerife: Europcar, Hertz, Budget, Sixt, Avis, Thrifty.

Local large companies are Plus Car, Canary Islands Car (Cicar), Autoreisen, TopCar.

Among local companies, Cicar has the largest fleet and the best prices.

There are also small rental offices, where you don’t even need a plastic card to make a rental, but the quality of service and vehicles can be low.

What to look out for when choosing a car in Tenerife

Competition among rental companies on the island is high, so some companies indicate a low rental price per day, and you will learn about additional fees only if you carefully read the rental contract. When choosing a car and the company where you will rent, pay attention to the following points:

  1. Is full insurance, child seat and co-driver service included in the rental price?
  2. Can you take your car out on the ferry if you want to visit neighboring islands?
  3. Gasoline conditions. The tank can be filled upon receipt of the car and by the time of delivery it must be refilled by yourself, otherwise the cost of missing liters and a fine of 15 — 50 € will be deducted from the deposit. Or you will have to pay for the gasoline in the tank when you pick up the car, and the price will be higher than if you refill it yourself.
  4. Can I drop off my car at another location, for example, if my return flight is scheduled from another airport?
  5. The amount of the deductible for car damage is the amount you cover at your own expense. It can range from €500 to €1,500.

What you need to rent

Drivers at least 21 years of age can rent a car, some rental companies provide a car to drivers over 23 years of age. Driving experience — at least one year.

When executing a lease, the following will be required:

  • Russian driver’s license.
  • A credit card issued to the driver with funds for the deposit. The deposit amount depends on the company and class of the car — from 500 to 1500 Euros. This amount is blocked on the card and unfrozen in 1—2 weeks after the car rental. Some small companies practice renting without blocking.
  • Cash or credit card to pay for the rental.

Navigation on the island

All roads in Tenerife are free of charge. The expressway is located in the south-eastern part of the island and has a speed limit of 120 km/hour.

At the west end of the island, a paved two-lane road with many curves replaces the highway.

The most difficult road for the driver is the mountain serpentine to the village of Maska, which is several kilometers long. On this narrow, winding road, you need to be extremely careful, first of all, with regard to oncoming traffic: local drivers, for whom the serpentine is already familiar, can be daring.

All roads have easy navigation, so it’s hard to get lost on the way. To avoid missing the right turn, be careful at the numerous traffic circles.

The cost of gasoline in Tenerife is one of the lowest in the European Union — 0.98 €/liter. In mainland Spain gasoline costs 1.25 €/liter. When going to the volcano Teide, take care of gasoline availability in advance: there are no gas stations in the mountains.

Mountain serpentine to Mask village
Mountain serpentine to Mask village

Rules and fines for traffic violations

There are many road signs and road markings on the roads of Tenerife, the requirements of which must be complied with in order not to receive fines.

Paying your fine within 20 days of notification will get you a 50% discount.

If you are stopped on the road for a traffic violation, you can pay the fine on the spot. Cash or plastic cards are accepted for payment. If you do not have the necessary amount with you, a receipt will be issued, which can be paid at the post office, at a bank or online at the website.

  • Exceeding the speed limit up to 20 km/h will cost 100 €, between 20 and 30 km/h — 300 €, and over 50 km/h — 600 €.
  • It is forbidden to leave cars on the yellow line, bus stops or cab stands. The fine is from 100 € plus the cost of a tow truck if the car is taken to a parking lot.
  • The fine for not wearing a seatbelt is 200 €.
  • The use of anti-radar devices is prohibited. The fine is 6000 €.
  • Talking on the phone can only be done using a hands-free phone, otherwise there is a fine of 200 €.

Fines from CCTV cameras are sent to the rental company, which provides the police with the renter’s Russian address, to which a receipt is sent. You can pay the fine by bank card on the website. If the fine is not paid on time, it will increase several times over, and the offender may be refused the next Schengen visa.

Parking in Tenerife

When parking will be required, pay attention to the color of the markings:

  • Places marked in white or without markings are free parking.
  • Blue color — paid parking, 2 — 3 € per hour. In such places there is a time limit and for long parking, more than two hours, it is better to look for underground parking.
  • Yellow solid markings — no parking allowed.

There are machines near surface paid parking lots where you can pay by card or cash. The ticket received after payment indicates the time of parking end. The ticket must be left on the windshield so that it can be seen by the inspector.

Personal experience

We rented a car in Tenerife two months before arrival through Rentalcars. We were looking for a small car with full insurance for seven days and the possibility to pick it up at the North Airport of the island. We were traveling with a child, so we needed a child car seat.

The best offer was given by the local TorSag — 27 € for the day:

  • The cost of renting a car for a week is 105 €.
  • The cost of full insurance (analog of Russian KASKO) — 84 €.

We got the keys to the car at the mobile counter near the exit to the parking lot. We got a Citroen C3 with less than 40 thousand kilometers of mileage. We had 500 € blocked on our credit card as a deposit, and the rental fee was deducted from it.

The return flight was early in the morning, so no one inspected the car. We just left it with the keys in the airport parking lot. We took photos and sent them to the rental company so that they would know where to look for the car.

The full amount of the deposit (500 €) was returned to the credit card within a week after the car was handed over.

Rental car
Rental car

Public transportation on the island is buses: it is convenient to travel between cities, but it is impossible to get to interesting corners. Cab services in Tenerife are expensive, and organized excursions, in addition to the high cost, limit the freedom of the independent traveler.

Renting a car in Tenerife makes traveling around the island easier and gives you access to all its attractions. Inexperienced drivers may face difficulties on mountain serpentines, but otherwise, driving in Tenerife is easier than in Russia. For your own peace of mind, don’t skimp on insurance — it will cover all expenses in case of any problems with the car.

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