Top 10 Tenerife Drives
There's some pretty dramatic scenery if you follow the tarmac in the right direction in Tenerife. So fill up with petrol, wind the window down (or even better, rent a convertible) and enjoy the views on our top 10 Tenerife drives.
Before the TF1 motorway opened, the only way to get from the capital to the south of Tenerife was via a sinuous road which connects a series of bridges over deep ravines like a tarmac dot to dot. Through deserted villages, picturesque hamlets and cave-pocked landscapes, driving this needs a stomach for twists and turns and an empty memory card.
One of the Tenerife island drives with the biggest WOW factor, this spinal route takes you through eucalyptus and pine scented, dappled loveliness offering jaw-dropping views over both sides of the island. The road passes through the amazing La Tarte rock formation and onto the Astrophysics Observatory which looks like Dr Evil's lair.
Drive anywhere away from the motorways on Tenerife and you'll forget why you have a fourth gear and remember what the steering wheel's for – until you get to Boca Tauce. One of the straightest stretches of road on the island, drivers will love flooring the pedal on this one. Passengers can enjoy watching the landscape morph from pine to lava as it flies past the window.
If you like to gawp at the scenery when you're behind the wheel, consider someone else for the job. This is roller coaster of a road which has to be taken very slowly and is subsequently possibly the safest stretch of road on the island. But for passengers, it's a real show stopper as you twist down the near-vertical cliff side overlooking the village of Masca.
Having conquered the Santiago del Teide approach road, this is the driver's reward, but very few ever take it. Continue through Masca and emerge at the 'giant pie with a slice taken out of it' of El Palmar. Through country villages and along the beautiful north coast, you'll find very little other traffic and plenty of opportunity to merge driving with gawping, all the way to the picturesque town of Los Silos.
Combine a beautiful drive with a tour of Tenerife's most historic towns beginning with aristocratic La Orotava, famed for its traditional balconies and its flower carpets. Taking in Los Realejos with its fairy tale church spire, and epic panoramas, the road climbs to El Lance from where paragliders launch themselves – an urge we have always managed to resist.
Tracing Tenerife's most beautiful coastline, this drive takes in old haciendas set amongst palm groves and shady roadside parks filled with picnic tables and barbecue areas just crying out for a couple of steaks to be thrown onto the grill. As if that wasn't enough, it also takes you into the heart of Tenerife's charismatic town of Garachico.
Beginning with the fishing village of San Andrés with its excellent restaurants, the road climbs into the ancient Anaga Mountains with amazing views over the dramatic highland landscape. Take a trip to tiny Taganana, which is as much fun to visit as it is to say, and to Roque de las Bodegas where coach loads come to try the seafood, before arriving at one of the best viewpoints on the island. We should call this drive 'fish and cliffs'.
The TF 47 coastal drive takes in the sunny, west coast resorts of Playa San Juan, Alcalá, Playa de la Arena and Puerto Santiago before culminating beneath the 'giants' of Los Gigantes. At each resort, park the car and head to the sea to find their prettiest faces, beaches and lots of opportunities to lighten the wallet on family favourite drinks and snacks.
Following the TF28 as it climbs out of Los Cristianos, the road travels through La Camella and Valle San Lorenzo before turning left and climbing to Spain's highest village. From coast to 1500 metres above sea level and from sprawling modern resort to traditional village in under an hour, this is a route straight from Dr Who's secret map of time travel drives.
If you fancy a more sedate form of sightseeing, climb out of your car and check out our Tenerife Top 10 Walks.
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"Without new experiences, something inside of us sleeps. The sleeper must awaken" - Frank Herbert