Tenerife: Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Tenerife
Where is Tenerife?
Although Tenerife is an autonomous region of Spain, it actually lies within the Canarian Archipelago just 300 km off the west coast of Africa, thus giving it a unique blend of Spanish culture and African sun.
Is Tenerife in the EU?
Yes, as a part of Spain, Tenerife is very firmly within the EU and its currency is the Euro. However, the island has VAT free status which means it falls outside of EU Customs allowances.
When is the best time to visit Tenerife?
Although Tenerife has low seasons, it has no 'off season' and places are generally open all year. The visitor trend is for Northern Europeans to favour the winter months in order to escape the cold of home and for Spanish mainlanders to favour the summer months in order to escape the heat of the cities and plains.
What is the weather like?
Tenerife has a sub tropical climate which means that sunshine is its default setting all year round and you can sunbathe no matter what month you visit. Summers are hot, but not too hot with average temperatures around 26°C and cooling trade winds to keep the island in the comfortable zone. Winters are pleasantly mild with an average of 19°C.
Is there a time difference?
Unlike mainland Spain, Tenerife is on Greenwich Mean Time and moves its clocks forward in spring and back in the fall, so if you're coming from the UK, there is no time difference.
Can I climb Mount Teide?
Yes, provided you have the stamina, anyone can climb Mount Teide but you need a permit to reach the summit for which you can apply online. Most people prefer to take the cable car to within 200 metres of Spain's highest peak but those who wish to plant their virtual flag on the top can do so either by climbing from the base of the mountain at Montaña Blanca or from the cable car exit.
The ultimate reward goes to those who begin from Montaña Blanca, stay the night at the Altavista Refuge and then climb to the summit to witness daybreak over the archipelago, for which you don't need a permit provided you return before the first cable car of the day.
My cruise docks at Santa Cruz for one day. What's the best way to spend my limited time?
The city of Santa Cruz has many attractions including botanical gardens, museums, splendid architecture, great shopping and excellent cafés and restaurants. It's also very compact to explore on foot so get hold of a walking guide and get to know Tenerife's capital city.
If you're looking for a beach, jump on the 910 bus at the port and head to Tenerife's most beautiful sun, sea and sand spot, the golden, tropical paradise of Las Teresitas. If you want to get to Mount Teide, pick up a local excursion but expect to spend in total up to three hours of your time travelling.
Is Tenerife safe?
Yes, Tenerife has a very low crime rate and is a very safe place to visit and to live in. There aren't any 'no-go' areas and streets are safe to wander in at night as well as during the day. You should nevertheless exercise common sense, particularly in the main tourist resorts, by not leaving valuables unattended on the beach or in your hire car.
I've heard the north is cloudy and wet while the south is sunny and dry...is that true?
Generally speaking, the north of Tenerife enjoys the same idyllic climate as the south but is a little cooler and cloudier, most noticeably during the summer months of July and August, and it does get rainfall in the winter, mainly in the months of November and March.
Is the water safe to drink?
Yes, but you can taste the minerals which may not be to everyone's liking. Most visitors choose to drink the bottled water instead. But if you're out walking and find a water fountain in a picnic zone or a rural village, stock up – it's fresh mountain water and delicious.
Do I need to hire a car to see the island?
No, there is a very good bus service – Titsa – which has good coverage over most of the island, is clean and reasonably reliable. But some journeys can take a long time, particularly in tourist areas where every little hamlet is served, and some places are too tricky to get to by bus so ultimately, car hire gives you the most flexibility and freedom. It's cheap too.
Are there cockroaches?
It's important to recognise that Tenerife is a sub-tropical destination and inevitably you may encounter the occasional cockroach but they are largely confined to the tourist areas around large bins and of course are only nocturnal. You can also find mosquitoes in late summer, particularly around fresh water sources such as irrigation tanks but generally speaking, Tenerife is largely a pest-free zone...
Are there timeshare touts?
...speaking of pests, all the big resorts on Tenerife have a few touts who will try to get you to a timeshare sales venue via scratch cards. A polite refusal is all you need to keep them at bay. The same goes for the street vendors with their 'designer' sunglasses and watches.
Is it expensive to eat out on Tenerife?
No. As in most of Spain, eating out is an integral part of the culture and can be done for as little as seven or eight Euros for a three course menu del dïa and beer at €1 - €1.50 a pint. For those who have more exacting culinary tastes, Tenerife has some excellent restaurants serving both local and International cuisine.
Is it easy to get work for a season?
As you can imagine, lots of people who visit Tenerife want to stay longer but unless you are a competent Spanish speaker and have marketable skills, the work you're most likely to find is doing PR on the streets for bars, restaurants or the timeshare industry.