Living on Tenerife

Those of us who aspire to living in a foreign country are like minded people who want a better lifestyle for ourselves and our children. The moral support you gain from fellow Brits who have succeeded in creating their own lifestyle in Tenerife is worth its weight in gold and the relaxed way of life in Tenerife affords us the opportunity to pass the time of day with our fellow countrymen. You will be amazed at how much you have in common with them, which immediately creates a bond leading to good friendships and new acquaintances.

This is where the fun starts, if you didn’t have much of a social life in the UK, you will have when you move to Tenerife. Once people get to know you the invitations flow and usually involve going out for a meal or a drink at their favourite restaurant or bar. A great way of networking and getting yourself known as you will invariably be introduced to others. The only downside is that it can become too much especially if you have to get up for work the next day! Saying “no thank you” occasionally won’t offend and you will be asked again.

Tenerife (the Island of Eternal Spring) is an island that is bathed in sunshine throughout the year. Black sand beaches, golden sand beaches and palm trees create an impressive coastline. The mountains provide a dramatic backdrop with Mount Teide at the heart of the island surrounded by spectacular rock formations and Canarian pine forests.

Tourism is a big part of the island and improvements continue to be made to the popular resorts in a bid to entice holidaymakers to become regular visitors to the island. An increasing number of people from all over the world have relocated to Tenerife and have successfully opened businesses that cater for holidaymakers. Please see here for full details.

Citizens of the European Union can live and work in Tenerife once they have completed a few formalities. If you want to buy property in Tenerife or work in Tenerife it is essential to obtain an NIE. This is a Foreigners Identification Number similar to the National Insurance Number in the UK.

It is no longer a legal requirement to apply for residencia, however you are still expected to register your presence on the island with the authorities by a obtaining a ´Certificado de Residencia´. Application forms are available from the National Police Station.

It is also a legal requirement that you carry photo identification on you at all times. Passports and EU driving licences are generally accepted as ID.

Unless you are fortunate enough to be able to buy property in Tenerife before you relocate, the chances are you will require long term rental accommodation. The vast majority of properties are apartments and you can expect to pay between 500€ and 1000€ per month depending on location and how many bedrooms you require. If you prefer a house or villa you could expect to pay upwards of 1200€ per month. Utility bills (electric and water) are occasionally included in the rent, however with the recent increase in fuel costs, some landlords are only allocating approximately 30€ - 50€ per month towards these bills, the tenant must pay the difference. Phone lines and internet connections are not normally included, so you will have to organise this directly with a Telecoms Company.

One of the first things you need to do when you get to Tenerife is open a bank account. There are non-residents accounts and resident’s accounts. Needless to say, you can only open a resident’s account when you formally become a resident. A non-resident’s account should be adequate initially.

If you have a large amount of money that you need to transfer into your new Spanish Bank Account from the UK please see here for full details.

Shopping in Tenerife is great once you know where to go. There are several big supermarket chains but the Mercadona is possibly the most popular and they supply a wide range of products including a very small selection of familiar brands. Hyper Trebol and Hyper Dino also sell some British brands, however don't be put off by trying Spanish equivalents, quite often they are better and cheaper.

Overseas Imports is a popular supermarket with the British as they sell well known British products and frozen foods supplied by Iceland and other well know British supermarkets.

There are several large warehouses and department stores in the south of Tenerife where you can buy electrical equipment, furniture and other household items.

The Gran Sur Shopping Centre can be found at Junction 29, off the TF-1 at Torviscas. This shopping centre opened in 2007 and is a great favourite with both residents and tourists. Apart from a supermarket, a bank and a good selection of shops, bars and restaurants, the centre also boasts a seven screen cinema which has at least one film per week shown in English.

El Corte Ingles is a large department store in Santa Cruz, similar to House of Fraser where you will find designer goods, electrical equipment, kitchen and household items to name but a few. They also have a supermarket and large underground car park. There are several commercial centres located in Santa Cruz offering a good choice of shops, bars and restaurants. The sunday market in Santa Cruz is well worth a visit.

Carrefour can be found at Añaza on the way to Santa Cruz, situated within a commercial centre, Carrefour is very similar to Tesco or Asda, they sell just about everything under one roof but on two floors. Other shops in the commercial centre include clothes shops, shoe shops, jewellery shops, toy shops and one we are all familiar with - the Disney Store.

Alcampo is situated near La Laguna, and apart from being a hypermarket, it is situated within a commercial centre where you will find a good selection of shops including a couple of familiar ones. Ikea, Makro and Toys 'R' us are also located close by.

Having a car is almost a necessity in Tenerife unless you don’t mind getting the bus or taxis whenever you want to go out. Most hire car companies can offer discounts for long term rentals, but shop around and get the best deal you can.

Buying a second hand car in Tenerife isn’t as easy as it is in the UK and you will need to use a Gestor to make sure that the paperwork is transferred into your name and that there are no outstanding debts against the vehicle.

Motor insurance is considerably less expensive in Tenerife and it is normal for the vehicle to be insured rather than the driver, although this is not always the case, so check with your insurance company before allowing anybody to drive your vehicle.

Driving in Tenerife is quite a different experience from driving in the UK. Please see here for full details.