You don't need a car to lie by the hotel pool soaking up the Tenerife sun. But if you want to combine working on your tan with discovering an incredible island that takes you from snow covered volcano to sun-soaked beach in less than two hours, then hiring a car on Tenerife
should be at the top of your priority list.
Most of Tenerife is covered by the TF1 and TF5 motorway system which connects coastal points all the way from Puerto de la Cruz on the north coast, via the capital city of Santa Cruz, to Costa Adeje on the south west tip. The speed limit is 120kph (75mph), driving is on the right and if you avoid the rush hours of 8am to 10am and 7pm to 9pm, traffic flows quite freely on the whole. For moving from airport to resort and vice versa, the TF1 or TF5 are your best bet, but if you want to discover the 'real' Tenerife, leave the motorway and head into the hills.
Before the TF was constructed, roads on Tenerife joined the dot to dot of hill towns to one another and each town to the coast so that early road maps look as if the island has been blanket stitched. Today those roads are largely ignored by tour buses and commuters leaving them free for locals and independent drivers to enjoy. Traverse the spine of the island along the TF24 and drive through scented eucalyptus and pine forests with tantalising glimpses down to sun-kissed coasts on both sides of the island. On clear days the islands of Gran Canaria on the east and La Palma and La Gomera on the west are clearly visible.
Tenerife may not have the Bond credentials of the Italian Riviera when it comes to impressive roads but it's certainly not without its own drama, like the white knuckle drive to Masca – Tenerife's mini Stelvio Pass. Snaking its way into the mountains high above picturesque Santiago Del Teide, the TF436 'Masca' road reaches its peak with breathtaking views over the prehistoric pinnacles and gorges in which the village lies, before plunging down the cliff side in a series of narrow, hairpin bends.
Or drive through the seat of the Gods in the 17km (10 mile) wide volcanic crater above which Mount Teide, Spain's highest mountain and the third largest volcano on Earth, rises to 3718 metres (12,198ft) above sea level. Used for testing Mars probes and the location for the filming of Clash of the Titans, Teide National Park is one of the most extraordinary landscapes on the planet.
Guest Post - Jack and Andrea Montgomery are authors and travel writers who have lived on the island of Tenerife for the past 8 years and spend much of their time driving its roads. Their Real Tenerife Island Drives guide takes you off the standard tourist trail and into the 'real' Tenerife (www.realtenerifeislanddrives.com).