The Canary Islands are one of the most visited places in Spain. The archipelago is composed of seven main islands and a few smaller islands. Every month, thousands of tourists go to the Canaries for an adventure or just to relax.
Boasting of lush forests, beaches of different colors, volcanic landscapes, marine life, rock formations, ancient towns, stunning architecture and rich history, the Canary Island is obviously frequently visited because of these reasons. Here are a few things to remember when you’re planning on going to the islands.
The Canary Islands is considered to be a low-risk area. Unlike the mainland of Spain, the Canaries’ most populated tourist resorts are low on crime, and there is a decent police presence.
Getting around the Canary Islands with a car is relatively easy with the town’s resorts as purpose-built. Locals are also used to tourists on the road. When driving, remember to drive on the right and be aware of all the mopeds and scooters.
In the Canary Islands, you can hire mopeds and scooters which are for rent. If you decide to hire a car, be sure that you are confident enough first before going on the roads and always wear a helmet.
The resorts’ beaches all have their lifeguards to keep a lookout, but you also have to do your part and know when to go for a swim. When the current is too strong, don’t go out swimming and always keep a lookout for the kids.
There are a lot of available watersports in the Canary Islands. Windsurfing and water-skiing are one of the most popular activities. Most companies in offering these sports can speak English, are insured and reputable, so you have minor things to worry about and just go ahead enjoy yourself. For an added peace of mind, you can ask your booked hotel the companies or activity operators that they recommend.
The Canary Islands enjoy a warm and sunny weather all year long. Most of the weather-related issues in the islands are sunburns and sunstrokes. Remember always to bring your sunscreen and have some water to keep you hydrated. On February and March, dust storms sometimes occur. Just stay inside when it happens. It shouldn’t be harmful.
If you ever are in the pinch of having no drinking water, tap water can be a substitute. It is safe for drinking but only does so in dire situations. To stay on the safe side, just buy yourself some bottled water.
Although the Canary Islands chain is famous for its volcanic landscapes, the last eruption was way back 2-3 million years ago. There’s no need to worry about its explosion in the next years to come.
When traveling, you first have to know what documents are needed to be allowed to go to a place. Knowing beforehand lets you avoid the unnecessary stress of having your vacation canceled just because you were not able to bring and show the correct documents.
Visas and Passports
Before booking your plane tickets, make sure that your passports are valid for your length of stay at the Canary Islands. As for the visa, the Canary Islands and all British nationals do not require it.
Vaccinations are not needed when traveling to the Canary Islands but if you have medical issues and health conditions, visit your GP a month or a few weeks before you go.
Before your travel date, get you and your group valid EHIC health insurance cards. It is by no means used to replace travel insurance but is needed when emergency situations for medical treatments arise while you are abroad. Don’t forget to call 112 for emergencies. The EHIC health insurance card is free of charge so don’t go paying websites who charge fees for this service.
Travel insurance is much needed when you are in situations such as canceled flights, theft, losses, medical problems, damage to property and many more. Read your travel insurance carefully to know what it covers. Other insurance policies do not include gadgets like mobile phones, cameras, and tablets just to name a few. Know what you need and what is important to you. Make sure that these are covered by your travel insurance so you will have fewer worries when you go traveling.
LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS
If you don’t want to stay in jail in an unknown place far away from home, then you better check the laws and customs of the area where you are traveling. In the Canary Islands, here are some of the local laws and customs that you need to know.
Like other places, the Canary Islands is very strict with possession of drugs. A small amount can even lead to an immediate arrest.
To drink wine and beer, you have to be 18 years old. Although from 16, you can already drink beer and wine if your parents accompany you. Also, it is illegal to drink in public.
Just like the rest of Spain, Spanish is the official language of the Canary Islands. When you go there, you will discover that there are people who can speak English and understand German. You will find that in most public places and establishments, there is one person who can speak German or English.
Despite having at least one person understand you, it is best to learn some Spanish terms and phrases to help you get around the islands.
WHERE TO GO
Being composed of seven main islands, the Canary Islands can be overwhelming for a tourist to choose where to go and what not to miss in each island. Here we give you the details on each island and what makes each unique from each other.
Because of the local artist and architect named Cesar Manrique, Lanzarote has turned into one of the best islands for being less spoilt. Cesar Manrique was a visionary who prevented the high rise developments of resorts in the island. What Lanzarote lacks in greenery, it compensates with volcanic landscapes that are out of this world. The island is also famous for its golden beaches.
Being the largest island, Tenerife boasts of resorts like the Costa Adeje and the Playa de las Americas. Also, the island is famous for its ancient towns and century-old architecture and buildings which dates back to five centuries ago. Tenerife has diverse sceneries and structure from rural farmlands, National park, villages and historic centers. The third highest volcanic mountain in the world and the highest mountain in Spain, Mount Teide, is located on the island.
Quite similar to Tenerife, Gran Canaria has its resorts and is frequented by tourists. The only difference between the two islands is that Gran Canaria has better beaches and historic buildings. The island offers the most scenic diversity in all the Canary Islands ranging from epic sandy beaches, rugged mountains, and lush forests. It even has an attractive view of Tenerife island’s Teide mountain. Another great place to check in the island is Playa de Amadores which is a man-made beach.
Fuerteventura is considered to be the oldest and the second largest island in the Canaries. The strong and constant winds that hit the island is what made the place a popular destination for kiteboarders and windsurfers. With the Corralejo dunes, Fuerteventura is a beach heaven. Away from the beaches, the island has a variety of birds.
Having been known as the La Isla Bonita which means beautiful island, the island of La Palma is supposedly the prettiest of the Canary Islands. Rich in history, La Palma is where a shipbuilding port was located in the past when explorers went to the New World. What makes La Palma unique is the stunning scenery that is not on the other islands. A few examples of places that stand out on the island is the Caldera de Taburiente and the Marcos y Cordero with its water tunnels. In 1971, the Teneguia Volcano erupted and formed land which is now 50 years old. The entire La Palma is a UNESCO biosphere reserve.
With the lush rainforests, hills that are similar to the Atlas Mountains, and palm groves, La Gomera Island is a favorite among the hikers with all the walking trails available. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the islands and go to a less crowded place to embrace nature, then La Gomera is the place to be.
El Hierro has a lower tourist count than the other islands because of the lacking air transportation and the three-hour ferry rides to get to the island. Diving is what’s popular in El Hierro Island. Here you can find peculiar things such as giant lizards, little ancient settlements which is unique to the island, a sabine forest, and a hotel which was once considered to be the smallest in the world. El Hierro Island is told to be the most “unspoiled" island.