Road Trip in Tenerife by van
The island of Tenerife is part of the Canary Islands, themselves belonging to Spain. Located in the southwest of Morocco, this Spanish archipelago enjoys a favorable weather all year round (well, normally)! However, we recommend you to avoid the 3 winter months when the average temperature is around 17 degrees. We will give you our best advice for a successful road trip to Tenerife!
For our first trip to the Canaries: direction Tenerife! Understanding right away that the island was to be explored in its entirety, we decided to rent a van for a one week road trip to Tenerife. We went through the Yescapa website. This platform puts in relation owners of vans or motor homes in all Europe. In a few clicks, we fell in love with a 1972 Volkswagen combi named Wendy! (more details about our van rental at the end of the article)
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Our itinerary : road trip in Tenerife
The climate of Tenerife
First of all, our road trip has been modified because of the weather. Indeed, we were not lucky the first 3 days and had to shorten stops – even cancel some. For you, we will put the stages in the ideal order. We will also give you some places to sleep in the van at the end of the article.
The island of Tenerife is very diverse. In the south, the climate is arid and many cities have become tourist hot spots (seaside resorts). While in the north, the climate is more humid and temperate, the vegetation takes over. Be aware that the weather can be unstable on some parts of the island. Sometimes, you are under the rain and it is enough to drive 10 km to find the sun.
What to do during your road trip in Tenerife?
Los Cristianos : seaside resort
We arrived in Tenerife South at the end of the day. Beware, the island has two airports so be careful not to be mistaken. We decided to spend a night in Los Cristianos, a few minutes away from the airport, in order not to pay a night in a van just to sleep. Find our very good value for money hotel with pool and sea view terrace on Booking.
Los Cristianos is one of the most popular and lively places in Tenerife. There is a wide choice of hotels, great beaches, many activities and lots of options for dining or going out. Nearby is the “best water park in the world” according to TripAdvisor: Siam Park. If you have children (or not) and time, do not hesitate.
Note: there is not much to see on the side of Los Cristianos, it was only a stop for the night.
Los Gigantes : the cliffs
For our first day of road trip in Tenerife with the van (aka Wendy), head west along the coast. First stop : Los Gigantes. This seaside resort is located at the foot of the cliffs, which can reach up to 600 meters high. Hiking trails or numerous boat trips are available to contemplate this spectacular coast.
We wanted to hike from the village of Masca to the beach (about 4 km). But know that the path is closed until further notice.
Punta de Teno : the lighthouse
Located at the western end of Tenerife, Punta de Teno has a beautiful lighthouse and we wanted to spend our first night there.
Access: Count 1h30 drive, without stops, to reach this spot from Los Cristianos. Be careful, depending on the period, the road is closed to vehicles from 10am to 7pm. But you can go there with shuttles leaving from Buenavista.
So, we waited until 7pm to take the surprising and unique road leading to the lighthouse. On the spot, we were treated to spectacular rain and gusts of wind! It was almost impossible to stand… Too bad because the spot is clearly photogenic with drone catches (at your own risk)!
Garachico : Natural swimming pool
For our second day of a van road trip in Tenerife, the wind is still blowing very strongly but the sky is clearing up. We took the direction of the natural swimming pool of Garachico. But big disappointment, the swimming pool is closed for work on the coast following numerous damages caused by the wind. We let you admire the reality in the face of waiting:
Charco de la Laja: Natural swimming pool
Heading north and 15 minutes from Garachico, you will find the natural swimming pool Charco de la Laja (see on Maps). When the weather is good, the pool is really beautiful!
There is one of the same name where we went but we advise you to prefer this one, which is more beautiful.
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Playa del Socorro
We stopped at this pretty beach of black sand to take our breakfast. Then, the black sand beaches, it always makes its effect… But we saw so beautiful in Martinique that we were a little disappointed by those of Tenerife, too concreted.
The city of Orotava, located in the highlands of the northern coast, has a pleasant climate and has preserved its artistic and historical charm. Surrounded by natural parks, including the Teide Park, the water flows in abundance and the gardens are very beautiful. It is also known for its interior courtyards and atypical balconies. Perfect for a lunch break, before resuming your road trip to the Teide National Park.
San Cristobal de la Laguna
We loved this colorful little town a few kilometers from the capital and at the foot of the Anaga rural park. San Cristobal de la Laguna is a UNESCO world heritage site. At the time we were there, there were not many tourists. It is very pleasant to walk through the colonial streets, with its many terraces and historical buildings.
Tenerife: The rural park of Anaga and the Miradors
A must-see spot for your road trip in Tenerife.
The park of Anaga is a biosphere reserve, located at the extreme north of the island. The clouds often hang over the mountain range and the climate is very humid. The diverse flora and fauna are the result of these weather conditions.
We went to the miradors that offer a breathtaking view of the area and Mount Teide :
Mirador de Jardina
It is the first mirador from San Cristobal. The view on the city and the ocean is magnificent.
Mirador Pico del Inglès
This lookout gives a 360 degrees view on the ocean and the mountains. Rather high in altitude, we had the chance to be in the middle of the clouds!
Mirador de Cruz del Carmen
Starting point for several hikes in the Anaga, this is the most visited viewpoint. If you have the opportunity, we advise you to make a sunrise or sunset here, you will be right in front of Mount Teide.
If you have more time and are less lazy than us, many hikes are possible in Anaga Park. We did not visit it on foot because the weather forecast announced rain.
Small town on the seaside where it is pleasant to walk or swim on its wide beach, with a view on the red mountain. The small streets and its stores make the charm of the place.
El Médano is very famous for kitesurfing because it is the windiest spot in Tenerife.
Red Mountain (montaña roja)
This 170 meter high volcano, located next to the southern airport, is quite easy to climb. The view from the top over the beach of Tejita and the town of El Médano is very beautiful. Perfect to take a deep breath of air.
As said before, there is a lot of wind. We do not hide you that it is a little annoying (we hate the wind).
Access: A parking lot is near and the ascent takes 20 to 30 minutes according to your form!
Natural swimming pool of Los Abrigos
Close to the Montaña Roja, you will find a beautiful natural swimming pool. The access is very simple, a parking lot is nearby. The water inside the pool is crystal clear!
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Road trip in Tenerife: Teide volcano
The national park of Teide
Real favorite of our trip to Tenerife. Located in the center of the island, the lunar landscapes and the vegetation are impressive. Since 2007, the park of Teide (19 000 hectares) is classified as world heritage by UNESCO. It attracts nearly 3 million tourists every year. The Teide volcano culminates at 3 718m of altitude, which makes it the highest peak in Spain.
We decided to visit the park of Teide by ourselves in two days. If you want a guide tour, book here
Visit Teide National Park : Day 1
Starting from Los Cristianos, it is possible to make a 100km loop (in 2 hours) in order to contemplate the landscapes south of the Teide volcano. We advise you to do this itinerary clockwise because the climb is gentler. Find the Google Maps route of the loop
The route is really nice and you will have a lot of pleasure along the way. We found a great spot for a picnic or to take pictures. From this place, you can also climb the small volcano on the left side of the road to have an amazing view! Be sure to bring appropriate footwear even if the climb only takes 15 minutes.
On this itinerary, you will also find a beautiful hike: Samara. Very easy, count 1h30 for the 5 km of walk (little difference). This part of the park is beautiful, the neon green pines are dotted on the volcanic black ground, with stunning views of Mount Teide.
Visit to Teide: Day 2
For this second day, we visited Teide National Park from south to north. Starting from Los Cristianos, you can also cross the park to Las Rosas. It takes 3h30 for this 190 km itinerary. The first kilometers of ascent are very rough! We understand why it is necessary to avoid taking Wendy by here. So, we did it with the JEEP of the owner of the van, who lends it to the tenants not to damage the engine of Wendy. Day 2 itinerary on Google Maps
Once on the plateau, we recommend you the hike to Roques de Garcia. You will be at the foot of Mount Teide and surrounded by large rocks. Except for the end of the trail, which is quite steep, the walk is very easy and takes only 1h30 for about 5 km. The landscape is incredible !
You will then drive on the plateau of Teide for several kilometers, until you reach the forest of Las Lagunetas. It is impressive to see the landscape change gradually while approaching the north of the island. We always keep in sight the mount Teide, but we have the impression to change country, even of season! Once in Las Rosas, we had lunch in El Pariente, a local restaurant with excellent meats. Then back to Los Cristianos by the highway.
For those who wish to climb to the top of Mount Teide, plan to request your authorization a few weeks (or even months) before on this site. The request is free. The problem is that you will not be able to change your date if you realize, once there, that the weather is not good. If you want to take the cable car, which stops almost at the top of the volcano, we advise you to go at the opening or in the afternoon once the tourist buses have left. Tickets are available on this site LIEN. We chose not to take the cable car because we thought it was better to see the volcano from below.
Rent a van for your road trip in Tenerife
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, we rented a van for our trip to Tenerife. We booked it through the platform Yescapa. It is a website that puts private individuals in contact with each other. You will find thousands of offers to rent motor homes and vans throughout Europe. The platform is secure, on both sides! This allows you to leave with peace of mind.
If you prefer to sleep in a hotel, you can find many offers on Booking! The advantage of Tenerife is that the island is small. So, you can choose two drop-off points (one in the north and one in the south) for several days in order not to move too much with your luggage.
Travelling by van in Tenerife
It is very easy to travel by van in Tenerife. Parking is accepted everywhere, we never had any problems to find a place to sleep at night!
The question that came up most frequently was about the shower. The van we had for the week had a portable shower that plugged into the water tank of the vehicle. So, we could take our showers in the wild. The other solutions: find a beach shower (there are some on most of the beaches of Tenerife) or, as a last resort, shower with a water bottle.
Honestly, it is also what we love when we make a road trip in Tenerife by van! We do not have any more the usual comfort and we have to manage with the means of the edge. It is what makes the best memories.
Here we are, we shared with you the whole itinerary of our road-trip to Tenerife. For more pictures, we let you look at our highlight story on our Instagram account (@amoureuxdumonde). We were marked by the originality of the landscapes of Tenerife with its volcanoes and its natural pools.
> Discover our other travel guides in Europe, like those in Portugal, Italy or Greece. LIEN
Have a good trip.