Holidays from the Island

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After recent terrorist incidents in Spain and in nearby north Africa, how safe are the Canary Islands and is it somewhere visitors should think twice about going to?

 Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote.... although situated off the west coast of Africa, to many holiday makers, the Canary Islands are one of the first places they think of when Spain is mentioned as a possible destination.

But what are the issues potential visitors should think about before booking their trip?




Any major tourist destination around the world is a potential target, and the Canary Islands are no different.

Spanish police have already disrupted home-based groups aiming to send people to Syria and Iraq and, in addition, Spain has had its own long-running security issues relating to the Basque separatist group ETA.

However, their last major attack was in 2006 and, in April 2017, after six years without armed incidents, they declared a "unilateral disarmament".

Street crime

Beware fake police officers, and when in doubt ask for forms of identification. No real police officer will ask to check someone's wallet or purse. When asked, however, you should be able to show police photo ID.

There are also scams going on relating to timeshare property sales. The British Embassy website has a section devoted specifically to property purchases.

Keep a copy of your passport and any ID documents somewhere safe in case you lose them or have them stolen - and if you're involved in a robbery, the emergency telephone number is 112.

Report any incident at the nearest Guardia Civil or Policia Nacional station. A copy of the police report should be kept for insurance purposes and, in the case of a lost passport, you will need to inform the British Consulate to arrange emergency travel documents.

Keep an eye out for "highway pirates" who are known to target foreign registered vehicles, sometimes by pretending there is something wrong and encouraging you to stop. Only stop in decently lit areas and be wary of people offering help.

Personal behavior

There have been a number of incidents of tourists, often drunk or under the influence of drugs, falling from balconies. Not only may your insurance not cover this, but some local authorities have been known to fine people behaving recklessly on balconies. Be warned.

Spain also has strict drink-driving laws, and if your car breaks down and you are awaiting the emergency services, you must wear a reflective vest.

Natural dangers

Weather conditions can change quickly, so beware in particular of rising temperatures if you are planning any hikes.

Particularly in the summer, forest fires are a major risk, so make sure not to leave any litter which could in any way cause them.

Take care when swimming in the sea as many areas are subject to strong tides and currents. Keep an eye out for beach warning flags too.


There are no specific health issues related to visiting Spain, but visitors should have adequate health insurance and also obtain a free EHIC before travelling


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