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Canary Islands travel advice

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Risk level

Canary Islands - Take normal security precautions

Take normal security precautions in the Canary Islands.

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Safety and security

Crime

Petty crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, is common. It’s most prevalent in larger cities and particularly during holidays, festivals and weekends.

Thieves work alone or in groups and may use various techniques to distract you and steal your belongings, such as asking for directions or informing you of a stain on your clothes.

Individuals posing as plainclothes police officers may ask to see your passport, IDs or wallets. In this situation, politely ask to see their official identification badge to verify that the request is legitimate.

Thieves are especially active in crowded areas, such as:

  • airports and public transportation facilities
  • hotel lobbies
  • restaurants, patios and outdoor cafés
  • beaches
  • tourist attractions

While in the Canary Islands:

  • ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • carry a photocopy or digital copy of your passport identification page, driver’s licence, train or airline tickets and credit cards
  • at the beach, bring only the essentials
  • expect travel delays and additional expenses if your passport is stolen
  • don’t leave luggage unattended
  • avoid frequenting unlit areas

Violent crime

Violent crime is rare but does occur. Home burglaries happen in larger cities and coastal areas and sometimes affect homes or vacation rental apartments offered through online accommodation apps.

On the road

Thieves have been known to simulate or provoke road-related incidents, such as flat tires. When a motorist stops to help, the thieves steal the motorist’s car or belongings. The reverse scenario has also occurred, whereby a thief offers to help a motorist in distress and steals the motorist’s car or belongings.

In the event of a road-related incident, be extremely cautious about accepting help from anyone other than a uniformed officer from the National Police Corps or Civil Guard.

There is also a high threat of theft from rental and parked vehicles.

  • Be particularly vigilant in service areas on coastal highways
  • Use secure parking facilities
  • Avoid leaving any luggage or valuables in the vehicle
  • Always lock your doors and keep windows closed

Reporting a crime

If you are victim of a crime, you can call the tourist hotline to file a police report with the assistance of a translator.

Hotline service to file a police report with a translator - Policía Nacional

Fraud

Internet scams

Unsolicited emails offering enticing business or financial opportunities are most likely fraudulent.

These emails may involve the following scenarios:

  • prizes won in the Spanish lottery (el Gordo)
  • inheritance
  • a friend or family member who appears to be in distress abroad

Never send funds to an unknown individual. Don’t travel to the Canary Islands to obtain restitution after losing money to a scam.

Romance scams

If you’re travelling to the Canary Islands to meet someone you’ve otherwise only met online, you may be the victim of a scam. Be wary of attempts at fraud by persons who profess friendship or romantic interest over the internet.

Investment scams

If you plan to buy a property or make other investments in the Canary Islands, seek legal advice in Canada and Spain. Do so before making commitments. Related disputes could take time and be costly to resolve.

Credit card and ATM fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs. When using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention if other people are handling your cards
  • use ATMs located in public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transaction on your account statements

More about overseas fraud

Spiked food and drinks

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as the items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

Demonstrations and strikes

Demonstrations and strikes occur regularly. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to traffic and public transportation disruptions, including access to roads, airports, and the railway and tram systems.

Flight delays or cancellations, as well as disruptions at ports, are also possible.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
  • Be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Terrorism

There is a threat of terrorism in Europe. Terrorists have carried out attacks in several European cities. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time.

Targets could include:

  • government buildings, including schools
  • places of worship
  • airports and other transportation hubs and networks
  • public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners

Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places. Be particularly vigilant if attending sporting events and during religious holidays and other public celebrations, as terrorists have used such occasions to mount attacks.

The Spanish government maintains a public alert system on terrorism and communicates threat level changes online and through local media. The current level is set to 4 (high) on a scale of 1 to 5.

More about the terrorism threat level - Spanish Ministry of the Interior (in Spanish)

Swimming and water activities

Coastal waters can be dangerous. Always obey warning flags at beaches, lakes and rivers.

The main warning flags used in Spain are:

  • Green: calm waters, swimming is allowed
  • Yellow: agitated waters, swimming with precautions is recommended
  • Red: dangerous waters, swimming or entering the water is forbidden
  • Black: contaminated waters, avoid swimming

In marine areas, coral, jellyfish and other ocean life found along reefs can poison, sting or cause infection if touched or stepped on.

  • Ask local authorities about the presence of such species and whether they are dangerous
  • Immediately seek medical assistance if you get hurt

In the fall and winter months, be cautious when walking along beaches close to the water’s edge as waves can be unpredictable in size and may come onto shore further than expected.

  • Don’t visit beaches or coastal areas during periods of severe weather warnings
  • Look out for signs warning of cliff erosion and falling rocks
  • Don’t dive into unknown waters, as hidden rocks or shallow depths can cause serious injury or death
  • Exercise caution and follow the advice of the local authorities

Useful links

Adventure tourism

Outdoor activities, such as hiking, can be dangerous if unprepared. Trails are not always marked, and weather conditions can change rapidly year-round, particularly around the high peaks of the archipelago such as Pico del Teide or Pico de las Nieves.

If you plan on trekking, or visiting natural tourist attractions or remote areas:

  • never do so alone, and do not part with your hiking companions
  • obtain detailed information on your activity and on the environment in which you will be before setting out
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
  • ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
  • avoid venturing off marked trails
  • ensure that you’re adequately equipped and bring sufficient water
  • stay informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary
  • dial 112 from a cellphone for any emergency

Road safety

Road conditions and road safety can vary throughout the archipelago. Some drivers are aggressive and drive at excessive speeds.

Public transportation

Public transportation is safe and reliable. The islands are connected through air and boat connections. Extensive buses and tram systems are available on the different islands of the archipelago.

Taxis

Taxis are generally safe. Metered taxis are widely available.

There are fixed rates for transportation to and from certain destinations. Confirm the rate before departure.

Useful links

Air travel

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

General information about foreign domestic airlines

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Entry and exit requirements

The Canary Islands are an Autonomous community of Spain.

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Spanish authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the Foreign Representatives in Canada.

Schengen area

Spain is a Schengen area country. Canadian citizens do not need a visa for travel to countries within the Schengen area. However, visa-free travel only applies to stays of up to 90 days in any 180-day period. Stays are cumulative and include visits to any Schengen area country.

If you plan to stay in the Schengen area for a longer period of time, you will need a visa. You must contact the high commission or embassy of the country or countries you are travelling to and obtain the appropriate visa(s) prior to travel.

Useful links

Passport

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid at least 3 months beyond the date you expect to leave the Schengen area.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

Visas

Tourist visa: not required for stays up to 90 days in any 180-day period
Business visa: not required
Student visa: required

Other entry requirements

Customs officials may ask you to show them a return or onward ticket and proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay. 

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Children and travel

Learn about travel with children.

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Health

Relevant Travel Health Notices

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines are right for you

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

Risk

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

COVID-19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

For destination entry and exit requirements, including for COVID-19 vaccination requirements, please check the Entry/exit requirements section.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air..

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in Southern Europe, food and water can also carry diseases like hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Southern Europe. When in doubt, remember…boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Insects and Illness

In some areas in Southern Europe, certain insects carry and spread diseases like Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic feverleishmaniasisLyme diseasetick-borne encephalitis and West Nile virus.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Some infections found in Southern Europe, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

Medical services and facilities

Health care is excellent. Service is available throughout the country but may be limited in certain rural areas.

Private healthcare is also widely available. Upfront payment may be required.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

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Laws and culture

You must abide by local laws.

Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.

Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons

Canada and Spain are signatories to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons. This enables a Canadian imprisoned in Spain to request a transfer to a Canadian prison to complete a sentence. The transfer requires the agreement of both Canadian and Spanish authorities. This process can take a long time, and there is no guarantee that the transfer will be approved by either or both sides.

Identification

Local authorities may ask you to show ID at any time. You must carry an adequate ID, such as a passport, to show upon request. You could be detained until you can prove your identity.

Keep a photocopy or digital copy of your passport’s photo page in a safe place should your passport be lost or seized.

In Spain, foreign visitors must present a passport upon check-in at a hotel. Restaurants, hotels, shops and other such establishments also routinely request passports or other pieces of government-issued photo identification, such as a driver’s licence, to process credit card transactions.

  • Don’t leave your passport or any other ID document with anyone
  • Wait until they have taken the details or made a copy of it and have given the document back to you

Drugs

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences or heavy fines.

Alcohol

In several municipalities, alcohol consumption in the street is prohibited. If you don’t comply, you could be fined.

Useful links

Photography

It is illegal to photograph military installations.

Counterfeit merchandise

It is illegal in certain municipalities to buy counterfeit merchandise from street vendors, such as sunglasses or purses.

Local authorities may impose heavy fines on tourists caught buying counterfeit merchandise.

Dual citizenship

Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Spain.

If local authorities consider you a citizen of Spain, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.

General information for travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Spain.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Spain, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Spanish court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Spain to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.

Useful links

Driving

You can drive in Spain with your valid Canadian driver’s licence and an international driving permit for up to 6 months. For stays longer than 6 months, you must obtain a local driver’s licence.

Vehicles must be equipped for emergencies. You must carry the following items:

  • 2 red warning triangles, of which one must be placed in front of the vehicle and one behind in case of accident or breakdown
  • a reflective jacket, kept inside the car (not in the trunk), that you must wear when leaving a vehicle stranded or involved in a highway accident
  • a spare tire and a repair kit
  • a full set of spare light bulbs, plus the tools to change them
  • snow chains if travelling in adverse winter conditions

You may be subject to on-the-spot fines if you fail to comply with these laws.

Emission zones

Certain cities have put in place low-emission or zero-emission zones (Zona de Bajas Emisiones [ZBE] and Area Central Cero Emisiones [ACCE]) to reduce air pollution. Access to these zones is restricted, and speed limits are lowered.

You may need to obtain a permit to prove that your vehicle responds to environmental standards.

Useful links

Money

The currency of Spain is the euro (EUR).

If you are carrying €10,000 or more, or the equivalent in other currencies, you must make a declaration to customs when you enter or leave the European Union. It includes sums in:

  • banknotes and coins
  • bearer negotiable instruments such as cheques, travellers’ cheques, promissory notes and money orders
  • bonds, shares
  • gold coins with a gold content of at least 90 %
  • gold bars, nuggets or clumps with a gold content of at least 99.5 %
  • any other convertible asset

This does not apply if you are travelling within the European Union or in transit to a non-EU country.

EU cash controls - European Commission

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Natural disasters and climate

Seismic activity

The Canary Islands are located in an active seismic zone and have several volcanoes. Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur.

In 2021, the eruption of the Cumbre Vieja volcano on the island of La Palma caused widespread damage.

During a volcanic eruption, ash can disrupt air travel. The air quality may deteriorate and affect travellers with respiratory ailments.

While in the Canary Islands:

  • follow the instructions of local authorities, including any evacuation orders
  • monitor local media sources for up-to-date information on volcanic activity

Latest news – Canary Islands Volcanology Institute

Wildfires

High temperatures create dry conditions, which can lead to large fires. Fires can lead to railway and road closures, including major highways, and affect air traffic.

The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke and affect travellers with respiratory ailments.

In case of a major fire:

  • avoid areas affected by active wildfires
  • follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel, including any evacuation orders
  • monitor local media sources for up-to-date information

Civil protection - Spanish Ministry of the Interior (in Spanish)

Rainstorms

Severe rainstorms can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.

  • Exercise caution
  • Stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.

Latest weather warnings - Spanish government’s meteorological agency

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Need help?

Local services

Emergency services

Dial 112 for emergency assistance.

Consular assistance

There is no Canadian government office in the Canary Islands. You can obtain consular assistance from the Embassy of Canada to Spain, in Madrid.

Madrid - Embassy of Canada
Street AddressTorre Emperador Castellana, Paseo de la Castellana 259D, 28046 Madrid, SpainTelephone(34) 91 382 8400Fax(34) 91 382 8490Emailespana.consulaire-consular@international.gc.caInternethttps://www.Canada.ca/Canada-And-SpainServicesPassport Services AvailableFacebookEmbassy of Canada to SpainTwitter@EmbCanEspanaOther social mediaCanada in Spain
Embassy of Canada to Spain
Consular district

Spain, Andorra, and Canary Islands

Appointment Book your appointment online

For emergency consular assistance, call the embassy of Canada to Spain, in Madrid, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

Disclaimer

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services.

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