The Canary Islands Travel Advice
Security travel advice for the Canary Islands
How Safe are the Canary Islands?
Threat level: Low
COVID-19 Situation in the Canary Islands
The nationwide state of alarm declared on the 25th of October due to a resurgence in COVID-19 cases ended on the 9th of May 2021. However, restrictions can be applied at regional level including local curfews, so you should monitor local news.
Since the 24th of May, UK holidaymakers can travel to Spain for tourism. However, Spain is on the UK government's amber list of countries that pose a COVID-19 risk, which means that travellers should not go unless it is for essential, family or business reasons. On their return, travellers are required to fill in the passenger locator form, to present a negative PCR COVID-19 test result before travelling, to quarantine at home for 10 days and to take a sequencing test on day 2 and day 8 after their arrival.
Nationals from the European Union (except Portugal) and Schengen-area countries are now allowed to visit Spain without having to quarantine on their arrival but travellers from risk countries must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test result on arrival, taken no more than 48 hours before arrival. Alternatively, they can present a certificate of vaccination that shows they have received two doses of an EU-approved COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to travelling or a certificate of recovery. Further to this, travellers will be subject to temperature check, a visual health assessment and must fill in a health declaration form 48 hours prior to travelling to indicate the address where they will be staying, their contact details and history of exposure to COVID 19. Please note that due to a surge in cases, you will be required to quarantine on your return to the UK and other EU countries.
However, people must maintain social distancing of 1.5m, facemasks are mandatory in public except when swimming, at the beach and playing sport and gatherings of more than 6 people are banned. Regional authorities have restricted the capacity of restaurants and bars as well as operational hours and in some areas, such public venues have been closed. A track and trace system is also in place in facilities welcoming the public.
See our healthcare section for preventive measures against the disease.
Security in the Canary Islands
The current travel advice for the Canary Islands is to remain cautious throughout your visit, however the risk of trouble or attack is extremely low.
The Canary Islands are part of Spain and are located just off the southern coast of Morocco, the 7 main islands are considered to be on the outermost parts of Europe. The islands are a popular tourist destination, as such the security is at a relatively high standard and crime rates are low.
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides Security and Bodyguard Servcies across the Canary Islands and Spain. If you are interested in these services, please see: Bodyguard Services in Spain.
Recent Security Risk Events
In 2015, 40 African migrants landed on a beach in Gran Canaria, one of the Canary Islands. Migrants trying to reach the country have long troubled the Canary Islands, however the Spanish navy have begun patrols around the islands in an attempt to protect them from migrant ships reaching their destination.
Although there is a hightened risk of terrorism for Spain, this does not apply to the Canary Islands except for the tightened security on the islands.
Some of the islands are known to be party destinations for tourists such as Tenerife. Partying and excessive alcohol consumption at these destinations can leave tourists vulnerable to crimes including muggings, anti-social behaviour and drink spiking. Whilst these issues are relatively rare, tourists are advised to remain aware at all times and do not drink excessive amounts in order to stay in control.
The Canary Islands's International Relations
The international relations are mostly associated with Spain’s relations. On behalf of the islands, Spain has developed and broaden its contacts with sub-Saharan Africa and countries such as Mauritius and Mali in order to deal with the issues of illegal immigration to the Canary Islands.
Travelling around the Canary Islands
Roads can be winding but are in excellent condition. Exploring the island by car is considered to be the most effective method, and vehicles can be hired at airports. You should book these in advance for smaller islands.
When travelling by car in Spain, British nationals do not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) but a motor insurance green card issued by their car insurer is required to drive a UK-registered car in the EU.
Every island has sufficient public transport that can take you to main points of interest. If you are looking to visit multiple islands during your visit, there are fast ferries that can transport you between them.
Commercial Travel Risk Services
Intelligent Protection International Limited provides companies and organisations with Commercial Travel Risk Services designed to mitigate risks of staff when they travel for business. If you are interested in these services, please see: Commercial Travel Risk Services.
Emergency Services in the Canary Islands
Police emergency: 112
Policía Guardia Civil: 062 (responsible for national security)
Policía Municipal: 091 (responsibility for local traffic control, minor offences)
Fire emergency: 112
Medical emergency: 112
Coast Guard: +34 91 755 91 33
The Canary Islands Overview
Time now in Santa Cruz de Tenerife:
Consular information for the Canary Islands
U.S. Embassy Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
C/ Los Martínez Escobar, 3, Oficina 7
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,
Telephone: +34 928 27 1259
British Consulate Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Calle Luis Morote 6-3º,
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,
Telephone: +34 928 26 2508
Emergency Consular Team: based in London, +44 020 7008 1500
Visa requirements for the Canary Islands
Providing you are staying for less than three months, most nationalities will be able to enter the country without the need for a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months. Check with you local Spanish Embassy for more information.
Healthcare and Immunisations
Due to the coronavirus outbreak that is affecting the country, it is recommended to self-isolate, wear a face mask in public places, apply good hygiene practices, maintain social distancing and avoid unnecessary travel and gatherings.
It is advised that visitors to the Canary Islands are up-to-date with primary boosters such as MMR. It is further recommended that most travellers get a Tetanus vaccination. Check with your local health professional prior to travel if you are unsure.
You should be wary of heat exhaustion as the sun can be extreme on the islands. Ensure that you drink sufficient amounts of water throughout the day to avoid this.
The Spanish healthcare system extends to the Canary Islands, as such it has excellent facilities. For EU citizens, an EHIC card will allow visitors to receive medical care at the same cost that a local would pay. It is not a substitute for medical insurance and it is highly advised that you purchase comprehensive insurance too.
Many tourists prefer to drink bottled water as most of the tap water is desalinated sea water and can taste strange to those not used to it.