The Joys of Driving on Tenerife

There’s no doubt that the easiest way to get to some of the best walking areas on Tenerife is by car. If you live on Tenerife and drive around the island on a regular basis, then you’ll already know that the older roads are a joy to drive on. However, those of you that are new to driving on Tenerife may have some concerns about the roads and what you’re likely to meet on them

First of all there’s a huge difference between driving on Tenerife’s motorways and driving on its country roads. The TFs (Tenerife’s version of motorways) are great for getting from A to B quickly, but they’re not the best way to see the island. Some Tinerfeños also experience personality changes when they drive on the TFs. Some drive too fast and too close to cars in front of them and have the most annoying habits that have you wishing you were driving James Bond’s Aston Martin from Goldfinger so you could machine gun their rear ends.

Country roads are a different story. The motorways take anyone wanting to get anywhere quickly away from them, so life on them is at a much slower pace…sometimes an annoyingly slower pace. The older towns can be like this as well and I find that I struggle to get out of 2nd gear much of the time as  Tinerfeños go about their business as though they have all the time in the world. I bitch about it, but in truth I like the fact that they cruise along, one eye on who’s passing-by in case it’s someone they know. In the hills in the north, you’re far more likely to encounter banana trucks than boy racers. If you’re lucky you might come across one of these great little machines which seem to be a cross between a lawnmower and a sewing machine. You find a lot of these little guys around El Tanque and the El Palmar Valley in Buenavista del Norte. They’re usually driven (steered?) by an old guy in a fedora, occasionally accompanied by his wife wearing a wide-brimmed straw hat to protect her from the sun when she’s working in the terraces. Getting past them is no problem, even on windy roads as an averagely fit person could probably walk faster, but sometimes it’s just nice to crawl along behind one for a while enjoying witnessing life in rural Tenerife.

As for the roads themselves; some people don’t like driving on the country roads, others love them. I’m in the latter group. I think of it as proper driving. You feel as though you’re far more involved negotiating narrow, winding roads that snake through glorious landscapes. But in truth there are few that are scary – Masca first time is one of them and even that is more ‘WOW’ than scary.

I’ve said it before  – anyone who’s used to driving in the highlands of Scotland, on Welsh country roads or even Devon’s leafy lanes won’t find anything on Tenerife that is too demanding. For anyone else more familiar with the straight, even roads of motorway and town driving…oh well, consider it an experience to tell the folks about back home.

Seriously, most roads are more than wide enough for two cars and are in a decent condition. Driving to the start of walking routes on Tenerife is almost as enjoyable as the actual hike…almost.

2 Comments

  1. ROUNDABOUTS!

    Why do they go 270º (or more) around a roundabout in the outside lane… and act as if you are infringing all traffic codes should you have the audacity to want to move from the inside lane in front of them (after indicating appropriately) to get to your exit?

    Apparantly the inside lane of roundabouts is only for tourists so that they can revolve indefinitely admiring the view.

  2. LOL. I picked up that little cracker very quickly after arriving and avoid the inside lane at all costs…except for some reason in Los Cristianos where I seem to always end up in the inside lane having to grit my teeth, shut my ayes and put the pedal to the metal when trying to exit without dying in the process.

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