How to Get to Tenerife, Canary Islands: 2024 Guide

How to Get to Tenerife, Canary Islands

Dreaming of sun-soaked beaches, stunning volcanic landscapes, and a lively local culture? Tenerife, the largest of Spain’s Canary Islands, is calling your name!

Nestled in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwestern coast of Africa, Tenerife is a paradise waiting to be explored. Whether you’re planning a quick getaway or an extended stay, getting here is easier than you might think.

In this guide, we’ll cover all the essentials: where Tenerife is, passport requirements, and the best ways to arrive.

Choose between flying into Tenerife South (TFS) or Tenerife North (TFN) airports, with numerous direct flights available from major cities. We’ll also discuss plane costs to help you plan your budget.

Prefer a scenic sea journey? We’ll explain how to get to Tenerife by ferry, detailing ports, direct ferry options, and costs.

For those already in the Canary Islands, we’ll share tips on island hopping to Tenerife.

Plus, we’ve included our top tips on what to do in Tenerife, local cuisine, and where to stay. So without further ado, let’s jump in!

Aerial view of Tenerife's coastline and Mount Teide from an airplane window, highlighting the scenic route of how to get to Tenerife.

How to Get to Tenerife, Canary Islands Overview

When planning our journey to Tenerife in the Canary Islands, we initially found it a bit tricky to determine the best way to travel there. That’s why we’ve collected all the essential information during our trip to make it straightforward for you!

We’ve detailed the options for how to get to Tenerife below. Since Tenerife, Spain is also an island, your main choices are: by ferry or by plane.

The challenge lies in where you’re coming from. How you get to Tenerife may vary, whether you’re traveling from another Canary Island or from a different part of the world.

Generally, it’s a good idea to compare both ferry and flight options to choose what works best depending on your travel dates. We provide all the necessary details on what to expect whether you choose to fly or take the ferry!

The majestic Mount Teide rising in the distance on Tenerife

Where is Tenerife?

Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands, located off the northwest coast of Africa but politically part of Spain.

It sits in the Atlantic Ocean, less than 300 kilometers from Morocco’s west coast.

As the central hub of the Canary Islands, Tenerife serves as a key point for travel within this archipelago. The island is famous for its stunning landscapes, from beautiful beaches to the dramatic Mount Teide, one of the world’s tallest volcanoes.

Map of the Canary Islands, showing the location of Tenerife and neighboring islands, useful for planning a trip.

What is the nearest island to Tenerife?

Tenerife is located in the “middle” of all of the Canary Islands, making it a great starting/ending point. La Gomera is the closest island, but the others aren’t too far away either!

  1. La Gomera: About 28 kilometers (17 miles) to the southwest.
  2. Gran Canaria: Roughly 60 kilometers (37 miles) to the east.
  3. La Palma: Approximately 85 kilometers (53 miles) to the northwest.
  4. El Hierro: About 120 kilometers (75 miles) to the southwest.
  5. Fuerteventura: Around 250 kilometers (155 miles) to the east-southeast.
  6. Lanzarote: About 280 kilometers (174 miles) to the east of Tenerife.

Passport Requirements for Tenerife

Since Tenerife is part of Spain and therefore a member of the European Union and the Schengen Area, the passport requirements for visiting Tenerife are as follows:

Two passports on a map of Europe, highlighting the need for travel documents when planning a trip.

EU/EEA/Swiss Citizens:

  • If you are from an EU country, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, or Switzerland, you do not need a passport to enter Tenerife. A national identity card is sufficient for travel.

Non-EU/EEA/Swiss Citizens:

  • For travelers from countries outside the EU/EEA/Switzerland, a valid passport is required. The passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of intended stay.


  • Whether you need a visa depends on your nationality and the length of your stay.
  • Citizens from countries that have visa exemption agreements with the Schengen Area do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
  • For longer stays or for purposes such as work or study, a visa would be necessary.
  • Check if you need a Visa here – we find the map at the bottom the most helpful!

Always check the latest information from official sources or consult the Spanish consulate or embassy in your country before traveling, as immigration rules can change.

How to Get to Tenerife by Plane

If you are trying to figure out how to get to Tenerife from outside of the Canary Islands, flying on a plane is probably your best bet!

Luckily, there are a ton of great options for flying to Tenerife – let’s dive into the details!

Airplane taking off from Tenerife with the island's mountainous landscape in the background, illustrating another aspect of how to get to Tenerife.

Tenerife Airports

Tenerife is unique among the Canary Islands because it has two airports, making it highly accessible from various locations.

The two airports are Tenerife North Airport (TFN) and Tenerife South Airport (TFS).

Both airports are well-equipped with facilities such as car rentals, public transport links, and a variety of shops and eateries.

Tenerife North Airport (TFN)

Tenerife North Airport (TFN), also known as Los Rodeos, is located near the capital of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

This airport mainly handles flights from other Canary Islands, mainland Spain, and a few international destinations.

It’s also closer to the island’s northern resorts and is preferred for local travel.

View of Tenerife Airport's terminal with an airplane wing, a landing spot when you are trying to get to Tenerife.

Tenerife South Airport (TFS)

Tenerife South Airport (TFS), known as Reina Sofia Airport, is the larger of the two and is situated near the towns of Los Cristianos and Costa Adeje.

This airport handles the majority of the international flights coming into Tenerife, including those from Europe, making it the busier hub.

It’s conveniently located closer to the popular beach resorts in the south of the island.

Tenerife Direct Flights

Both airports offer many options for direct flights from all over.

In fact, Tenerife South Airport (TFS) has direct flights from almost all major European airports. This list includes, but is not limited to:

  • Frankfurt FRA
  • Paris CDG
  • Amsterdam AMS
  • Rome FCO
  • London LHR, LGW, and STN
  • Munich MUC
  • Barcelona BCN
  • Madrid MAD
  • Lisbon LIS
  • Zurich ZRH
  • Vienna VIE
  • Milan MXP
  • Dublin DUB
  • Edinburgh EDI
Passenger boarding a TAP Air Portugal plane, illustrating another airline option for getting to Tenerife.

Further, there is a direct flight from New York, USA during the summer.

If you are looking to fly to Tenerife from the other Canary Islands, your options are Binter Canarias and Canaryfly, the local airlines.

Tenerife Plane Cost

A flight to Tenerife from mainland Europe can cost as low as $40 roundtrip on budget airlines like Ryanair, making flying a great budget-friendly option for how to get to Tenerife.

View from a Ryanair 
airplane window showing the wing and the landscape of Tenerife, emphasizing air travel to the island.

On average, a roundtrip flight from Europe to Tenerife costs around $180.

The flights between the Canary Islands on Binter Canarias or Canaryfly typically range from $55 to $125 (roundtrip).

How to Get to Tenerife by Ferry

If you are looking for how to get to Tenerife from one of the other Canary Islands, a ferry is likely your best bet!

The 2 main ferry operators in the Canary Islands are Fred Olsen and Naviera Armas. Both operators have ferries out of the 2 Tenerife ports.

Armas ferry in the Canary Islands harbor, a popular transportation option for how to get to Tenerife.

Tenerife Ports

Tenerife is well-served by two major ports, which are gateways to the island for travelers and goods alike. These ports are the Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the Port of Los Cristianos.

  • Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife:
    • Located in the capital of the island, this port is one of the busiest in the Canary Islands. It handles a wide range of activities, including passenger ferries, cruise ships, and cargo operations.
    • The port is a popular stop for numerous cruise lines touring the Atlantic and provides excellent connectivity to mainland Spain, other Canary Islands, and even some destinations in Africa.
Armas ferry docked at a port in the Canary Islands, a common way to travel between the islands.
  • Port of Los Cristianos:
    • Situated in the south of the island, near popular tourist destinations, this port primarily focuses on passenger traffic. The port is smaller than Santa Cruz but is crucial for tourism and local inter-island connectivity.
    • It offers frequent ferry services to the neighboring islands of La Gomera, La Palma, and El Hierro.
Fred Olsen ferry ready for departure at Los Cristianos port in Tenerife, a common route for how to get to Tenerife

Both ports play a significant role in Tenerife’s transport infrastructure.

💡 It is important to make note of which port you have a ferry out of. These ports are an hour’s drive away from each other without traffic, which is common in the capital.

Tenerife Direct Ferry Options

Both ports offer several direct ferry options, making travel from Tenerife to the other Canary Islands easy.

Direct Ferries from the Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife:

  • Gran Canaria’s Agaete Port – 1 hour and 20 minutes with Fred Olsen
  • Gran Canaria’s Las Palmas Port – 1 hour and 40 minutes with Naviera Armas

Direct Ferries from the Port of Los Cristianos:

Tenerife Ferry Cost

The ferries between islands typically range from €40 to €80 per person depending on the route.

Cars driving onto the lower deck of a ferry – a common sight for those taking the ferry to reach Tenerife.

Additionally, you can bring your car on the ferry – a great advantage when island hopping! This costs another €15-20 per car.

How to Get to Tenerife from the Other Canary Islands

It can be a bit tricky to figure out the best way to travel between the Canary Islands.

Scenic view of Los Cristianos port, illustrating how to get to Tenerife with the town's colorful buildings and mountains in the background.

Here is a quick breakdown of how to get to Tenerife from all 6 of the other Canary Islands:

How to Get to Tenerife from…Ferry ⛴Flight ✈️Our Recommendation
La Palma2.5-hour direct ferry to Tenrife’s Los Cristianos Port30-minute direct flight to either North or South AirportEither – or check out this day trip!
La Gomera50-minute ferry to Tenrife’s Los Cristianos Port30-minute flight to Tenerife NorthEither – or check out this day trip!
El Hierro2.5-hour ferry to Tenrife’s Los Cristianos Port (only operated by Naviera Armas)40-minute flight to Tenerife NorthEither!
Gran Canaria80-minute ferry from Gran Canaria’s Agaete Port to Tenerife North (Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife) or 100-minute ferry from Gran Canaria’s Las Palmas Port to Tenerife North (Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife)50-minute direct flightEither!
Fuerteventura2-hour ferry to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, transfer to Gran Canaria Agaete by car, 80-minute ferry from Agaete to Tenerife North (Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife)50-minute flight to Tenerife NorthFlight ✈️
Lanzarote25-minute ferry from Lanzarote to Fuerteventura, 2-hour ferry to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, transfer to Gran Canaria Agaete by car, 80-minute ferry from Agaete to Tenerife North (Port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife)50-minute flight to Tenerife NorthFlight ✈️

How to Get to Tenerife from Mainland Spain

The best and easiest answer for how to get to Tenerife from Mainland Spain is by plane.

There are numerous direct flights a day to both of Tenerife’s airports from all of Spain’s main airports: Madrid (MAD), Barcelona (BCN), Palma de Mallorca (PMI), Málaga (AGP), Valencia (VLC), Seville (SVQ), and Bilbao (BIO).

These flights can be very affordable with budget airlines like Ryanair.

A white Vueling airplane sits at a gate at an airport

In addition to flying, you can also take a ferry from mainland Spain to Tenerife. The ferry leaves from Huelva, Spain (1 hour west of Seville) and takes almost 40 hours to arrive in Tenerife North (Santa Cruz de Tenerife).

Due to the hefty ferry travel time, this is NOT an option we would recommend.

How to Get to Tenerife from the UK

Flying is the best option for how to get to Tenerife from the UK. Several UK airports offer direct flights to Tenerife, catering to the popularity of the island as a holiday destination.

Here are some of the major airports with approximate flight durations:

  1. London Gatwick Airport (LGW) – around 4 hours and 30 minutes
  2. London Heathrow Airport (LHR) – around 4 hours and 40 minutes
  3. Manchester Airport (MAN) – about 4 hours and 30 minutes
  4. Birmingham Airport (BHX) – approximately 4 hours and 30 minutes
  5. Glasgow Airport (GLA) – around 4 hours and 45 minutes
  6. Edinburgh Airport (EDI) – about 4 hours and 45 minutes
  7. Bristol Airport (BRS) – around 4 hours and 35 minutes
  8. Newcastle Airport (NCL) – about 4 hours and 40 minutes
  9. Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA) – approximately 4 hours and 40 minutes
  10. East Midlands Airport (EMA) – about 4 hours and 40 minutes

Additionally, more airports around the United Kingdom offer flights during the summer season.

How to Get to Tenerife from the USA

During the summer, there are direct flights from New York to Tenerife, which is the most efficient option for how to get to Tenerife from the USA. The flight is 7 hours in duration.

Outside of the summer, it is recommended to fly to mainland Europe, likely in London or Madrid, before flying to Tenerife.

What to Do in Tenerife

Tenerife is a vibrant island known for its diverse landscapes and activities, catering to all interests, from thrilling adventures to serene nature escapes. Here are the top 10 things to do in Tenerife:

  1. Visit Teide National Park – Explore Spain’s highest peak and the world’s third-largest volcano. The park offers stunning views, hiking trails, and a cable car ride up Mount Teide.
  2. Siam Park – Have fun in one of the world’s best water parks and best Tenerife theme park. Siam Park features a Thai theme with a variety of water slides, a lazy river, and the world’s largest man-made wave.
  3. Loro Parque – Enjoy this world-renowned animal park, home to parrots, orcas, dolphins, and many other animals. The park emphasizes conservation and animal welfare.
  4. Masca Valley – Hike or drive through this breathtaking valley, known for its dramatic landscape and traditional Canarian village nestled among the mountains.
  5. Whale and Dolphin Watching – Take a boat tour from Costa Adeje to see whales and dolphins in their natural habitat in the waters around Tenerife.
  6. Los Gigantes Cliffs – Visit these impressive cliffs that rise up to 800 meters above the sea, offering spectacular sea views and opportunities for water sports.
  7. Barranco del Infierno – Hike through this “Hell’s Ravine,” a scenic and protected gorge known for its rich vegetation and beautiful waterfall at the end of the trail.
  8. Santa Cruz de Tenerife Old Town – Wander the historic streets of Santa Cruz’s Old Town to see the architectural gems, bustling markets, and the iconic Church of the Immaculate Conception.
  9. Anaga Rural Park – Discover the ancient laurel forests and rugged landscapes of Anaga, perfect for hiking and experiencing Tenerife’s biodiversity.
  10. Garachico – Visit this quaint town that offers a glimpse into Tenerife’s past with its natural rock pools, historical sites, and traditional Canarian architecture.

Each of these activities provides a unique way to experience the beauty and diversity of Tenerife, making it a memorable destination for any traveler.

Weather in Tenerife

Tenerife is famous for its pleasant climate year-round, often described as the ‘island of eternal spring.’

The weather is one of Tenerife’s biggest draws, with temperatures that are consistently mild and enjoyable. In the coastal areas, average temperatures range from about 18°C (64°F) in the winter to 25°C (77°F) in the summer.

The island experiences two main seasons: a warmer summer from May to October and a cooler winter from November to April.

View of Playa de las Américas in Tenerife, featuring a sandy beach with umbrellas and sunbathers, calm blue ocean waters, and a clear sky.

While the southern part of the island tends to be warmer and drier, the northern part can be slightly cooler and more humid, offering lush landscapes.

Rainfall is generally light, but the north experiences more frequent rain during the winter months, contributing to its greenery. The higher altitudes, like in Teide National Park, can see more dramatic weather changes and even snow during the winter.

Overall, Tenerife’s climate makes it a perfect destination any time of the year, whether you’re looking for beach weather or cooler, comfortable temperatures for hiking and exploring.

What to Eat in Tenerife

Tenerife offers a delightful variety of local dishes that reflect its rich cultural heritage.

Here are some must-try foods when you visit:

Papas Arrugadas with Mojo, wrinkled potatoes with red sauce are on almost every menu in the Canary Islands
  1. Papas arrugadas – These “wrinkly potatoes” are a simple yet delicious Canary Islands staple. Boiled in salt water and served with mojo sauces, red (spicy) and green (herby), they’re a flavorful treat.
  2. Conejo en salmorejo – This dish of rabbit marinated in a typical Canarian sauce made with garlic, peppers, vinegar, and herbs, then fried, showcases local flavors and cooking techniques.
  3. Gofio – An ancient Canarian food, this flour made from toasted grains is used in various ways, from cereals to desserts, and even integrated into soups and stews to add thickness and flavor.
  4. Queso asado – A grilled cheese often served with mojo sauce or honey, this dish is a favorite for cheese lovers.
  5. Ropa vieja – Literally translating to “old clothes,” this hearty stew made with chicken, beef, chickpeas, and potatoes is packed with flavor and is a comforting meal.
  6. Bienmesabe – This sweet dessert made from almonds, egg yolk, and sugar is often served with a scoop of ice cream, making for a delightful treat.
  7. Fresh Seafood – Being an island, Tenerife has a wealth of fresh seafood dishes to try. Look out for grilled fish, calamares (squid rings), and pulpo (octopus), often prepared simply with local herbs and spices.

Sampling these dishes will give you a genuine taste of Tenerife’s culinary landscape.

Where to Stay in Tenerife

In general, we recommend staying on the western coast of Tenerife. Here, you’ll have great access to the majority of the top Tenerife attractions as well as the southern port and airport.

Here are our favorite places to stay in this area:

There are a lot of great places to stay all around the island. Use the following map to find the best place in the area you’d like to be for the best price:

How to Get Around Tenerife

The easiest way to get around Tenerife is by car, but they have a bus system that can help you navigate the island without a rental!

Tenerife’s bus system, known as TITSA, offers good coverage across the island with frequent routes connecting major towns and most tourist spots. You can purchase the tickets on the bus or on their app (which also has the schedule).

A smooth road meandering through a colorful landscape with yellow wildflowers and palm trees, with a view of Mount Teide in the distance.

If you can, however, we recommend grabbing a rental car! We had a great time exploring Tenerife with the flexibility our rental provided.

FAQs for How to Get to Tenerife

What is the best way to get to Tenerife from Spain?

The best way to get to Tenerife from Spain is by taking a direct flight from major cities like Madrid, Barcelona, or Valencia. Flights are frequent, typically taking around 2-3 hours.

Where do you fly into Tenerife?

When flying into Tenerife, you can choose between two main airports: Tenerife South Airport (TFS), also known as Reina Sofía Airport, and Tenerife North Airport (TFN), also known as Los Rodeos Airport.

Tenerife South Airport is the busier of the two and handles most international flights, while Tenerife North Airport mainly serves flights from mainland Spain and other Canary Islands. Both airports provide convenient access to different parts of the island.

Is there a ferry from Barcelona to Tenerife?

You can take a ferry from the southern Spanish port of Cadiz, which takes about 40 hours to arrive in Tenerife.

Can you island hop from Tenerife?

Yes, you can easily island hop from Tenerife to other Canary Islands! We did this and it was very easy.

Ferries operated by companies like Fred Olsen Express and Naviera Armas provide regular services to nearby islands such as Gran Canaria, La Gomera, and La Palma. These ferries are a convenient and scenic way to explore more of the Canary Islands.

Additionally, there are short domestic flights available between Tenerife and other islands, offering a faster alternative for island hopping.

Airplane approaching a landing at Tenerife airport, showcasing one method of how to get to Tenerife.

In Conclusion:  How to Get to Tenerife

Tenerife, with its breathtaking landscapes, dynamic culture, and endless activities, is a dream destination that’s easy to reach.

Whether you choose to fly into Tenerife South or North airports or prefer the scenic ferry routes, you’ll find convenient options to suit your travel style and budget.

Once you arrive, explore everything this stunning island has to offer, from its beautiful beaches and delicious local cuisine to the fascinating attractions and friendly locals.

With our comprehensive guide, you’re well-equipped to plan your trip and make the most of your time in Tenerife.

Ready to start your adventure? Pack your bags and experience the magic of Tenerife!

We wish you the best travels and don’t forget to set your “Out of Office!” 

🌟 Loving our content? Support the journey — buy us a coffee! ☕️

Read More About the Canary Islands


La Palma

La Gomera

Canary Islands Travel Planning Guide

🚙💨 Is it safe to rent a car in the Canary Islands?

Yes — Renting a car is a necessity in the Canary Islands if traveling between cities! If you want to go on day trips or adventures outside of the major cities, you can use public transportation, but we recommend renting a car. Discover Cars is our go-to choice for car rentals in the Canary Islands.

📲 Will my phone work in the Canary Islands?

Maybe, but it will be expensive— Depending on your provider, plans can charge you $10 per day while in Europe. To use your phone in the Canary Islands and save money, we recommend an eSim with Airalo. Airalo simplifies the steps and provides you with all the necessary data for convenient travel. There is not a lot of free WIFI in the Canary Islands, so you’ll need your phone for navigating.

🌐 Do I need a VPN when on the internet in the Canary Islands?

While abroad, we consistently prioritize our online security by using a VPN to appear as if we’re streaming from the US and protect ourselves from cybercrime. NordVPN serves as an incredibly convenient solution for both mobile phones and laptops, effortlessly ensuring our safety while browsing or streaming.

🏩 What’s the best way to book my the Canary Islands?

Our go-to for Canary Islands hotels is They offer the widest range of choices, and their filtering system simplifies the process of discovering the perfect accommodation for your needs.

✈️ What’s the best site to buy flights to the Canary Islands?

For finding cheap flights to the Canary Islands, we recommend Kayak. Their awesome multi-city flight search and handy price notifications help us save big, allowing us to splurge on other adventures once we arrive. Vueling and Iberia are usually our airlines of choice to get to the Canary Islands. Air Europa and Binter Canarias are the main inter-island airlines.

🚐 Should I book tours in the Canary Islands? Do the guides speak English?

We LOVE taking tours in the Canary Islands. We prefer to book our tours on Viator and GetYourGuide for easy searching, trusted reviews, and transparent pricing. We always filter for the tours that are offered in English. For free walking tours in English, we always book through GuruWalk.

🚑 Should I buy Canary Islands travel insurance?

100% YES! — Spain has a publicly funded healthcare system known as the Sistema Nacional de Salud (SNS), which provides universal healthcare coverage to all Spanish citizens and legal residents in the Canary Islands! Foreigners visiting need travel insurance in case anything happens on their visit. We recommend Safety Wing – they provide general travel coverage as well as medical!

💧Can you drink the water in the Canary Islands?

The water in the Canary Islands is safe to drink. In some rural or remote areas, or in older buildings with outdated plumbing systems, water quality might not be as high. For an extra layer of protection, we recommend always using a LifeStraw Go Series to stay safe and hydrated.

🎫 Do I need a visa for the Canary Islands?

Likely Not — US passport holders don’t need Spanish visas for travel less than 3 months. If you plan to stay for more than 3 months, you will be considered a resident and must have an entrance visa.