Where Do All Those Tenerife Ferries Go?

Mon, February 16th, 2015 - By Linda

I was enjoying an ice cream close to the beach in Los Cristianos with a visiting friend. “Where on earth do all these ferries go?” She asked. “I thought this port was for fishing boats.”

Indeed, if you sit there long enough, the schedules can be quite mesmerising. Both of the main ferry companies which service the Canary Islands, Naverias Armas and Fred Olsen Ferries, run boats daily to neighbouring islands La Gomera and La Palma, seven days a week, and Armas have a service to tiny El Hierro every day except Saturday.


Ferry arriving Los Cristianos


In island capital, Santa Cruz, ferry activity is pretty hectic too, with ferries daily to Gran Canaria (and onward to Fuerteventura and Lanzarote), as well as services weekly with Armas to Huelva in mainland Spain, or twice weekly with Trasmediterranea to Cadiz.

Although there are efficient planes buzzing from island to island, I love to travel around the archipelago by ferry. For one thing, I can take my car. I can just throw everything in, and relax for the length of the journey. I can read my book, check my emails (though all the ferries have WiFi, it isn’t all that reliable, however), have a snack or a meal (depending on the length of the crossing), witness stunning sunsets and sunrises and, if I’m lucky, hang over the rail to watch a pod of dolphins playing alongside.


ferry interior, Canary Islands


There are several types of boat plying these routes, with different layouts; some have a simple snack-bar, others have a self-service restaurant, for long journeys such as Tenerife to Fuerteventura, you can book a basic cabin (after changing boats in Gran Canaria), and arrive fresh from a night’s sleep. Most have small tables with low armchairs grouped around, as you might find in an English pub, and all have sections of what they term “pullman seating” – the sort of seats you would like to have on your airplane, upright, but comfy enough. I’ve over-nighted on them, and whilst not luxurious they are quite adequate.


Ferry at sunset Los Cristianos, Tenerife


Except on dates around the big festivals, it’s not usually difficult to book a crossing. Both Armas and Fred Olsen Ferries have websites in English, though to be honest I often found them not working properly. Without exception, I’ve found staff in the booking offices in the ports very helpful, and the standard on board is quite good too, with announcements in English as well as Spanish. The main problem I found in my wanderings was that the booking offices are open only around departure times, which means that if you go to the port hoping to book for tomorrow, you need to do so during those hours.


Armas and Olsen in La Gomera


If you’re planning a trip around the islands the ferries, for me, are a great way to travel and observe slices of island life at the same time, like watching the huge lorries which carry supplies to the smaller islands, or groups of revellers returning from a fiesta on a neighbouring island. Only two of the routes are practical for day trips, those are the roughly one hour trip from Los Cristianos to La Gomera, and the 80 minute journey from Santa Cruz to Gran Canaria.

The departures I’ve mentioned in this post are correct at the time of writing. They change with the seasons, as do prices. Check online at www.navieraarmas.com for Naviera Armas and www.fredolsen.es for Fred Olsen Express.

Posted : Monday, February 16th, 2015 at 11:18 am
Category : about tenerife
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