Last updated: 3 Sep 2018

Canary Islands

About

All the islands are of volcanic origin, and the archipelago offers strikingly diverse landscapes including remarkable sub-tropical flora, luxuriant pine woods, giant sand dunes and mountain peaks.

By far the most popular holiday playgrounds are Gran Canaria and Tenerife. Away from the resorts however these islands also offer the most varied landscapes.

Explore the cosmopolitan city of Santa Cruz de Tenerife the island capital. Enjoy its rich architecture, churches, museums and colourful bustling market. Afterwards relax on the golden sands of Playa de Las Teresitas. Take a hike in the Caldera de Taburiente on La Palma, one of the largest and most fertile volcanic craters on earth.

Visit Timanfaya National Park, an awe-inspiring moonscape created by an 18th-century volcanic eruption that covered around one-third of Lanzarote in lava. Take the coach tour, feel the heat of the dormant volcano and book a walking tour.
Country: Spain – Spanish autonomous community
Capital:  Gran Canaria (LPA) 
Currency:  Euro (EUR)
Language:  Spanish. English is widely spoken. 
Dialling code from SA:  + 34
Time Zones: No UTC / GMT offset (2 hours behind South Africa). 
Daylight Savings Time: From last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October: UTC / GMT +1 (1 hour behind South Africa)
Public Holidays 2018:  Jan 1, 6; Mar 30; May 1; Aug 15; Oct 12; Nov 1; Dec 6, 8, 25
Best Time to Go: November - March
Best for: Island Relaxation, Water Sports, National Parks
Plugs: 220 Volts AC 50Hz, two round pins
Drinking Water: Mains water in hotels and towns is safe to drink, but has a salty taste due to the high mineral content. Bottled water is available.
Health: There are adequate and well-equipped medical facilities, however visitors are required to pay for these services. Comprehensive health insurance is recommended and it should include emergency air evacuation coverage. If you require any medication on your travels it is best to bring it with you, in the original packaging, with a signed and dated letter from your doctor detailing exactly what it is and why you need it.
Customs: Normal social courtesies
Local Offences / Laws: Foreigners are required to carry identification at all times, although in practice this is rarely enforced.  
Travel Tips / Warnings: Credit and debit cards are widely accepted.  Avoid any touts for time-shares.
Duty Free: Spain is within the European Union. If you are travelling from the UK, you are entitled to buy fragrance, skincare, cosmetics, Champagne, wine, selected spirits, fashion accessories, gifts and souvenirs - all at tax-free equivalent prices.

If you are travelling from within the EU, there is no limit on the amount or value of goods you may import, providing your goods are for personal consumption. Goods imported for commercial purposes are subject to duty and the following guideline amounts are in place to determine whether this is the case:
• 800 cigarettes or 400 cigarillos or 200 cigars or 1kg of tobacco.
• 10L of spirits over 22% volume, 20L of alcoholic beverages less than 22% volume, 90L of wine (no more than 60L of sparkling wine) and 110L of beer.

If you are arriving from a non-EU country, the following goods may be imported into Spain by persons over 17 years of age without incurring customs duty:
• 200 cigarettes or 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco.
• 4L of wine and 16L of beer and 1L of spirits over 22% volume or 2L of alcoholic beverages less than 22% volume.
• Other goods up to the value of €430 for air and sea travellers and €300 for other travellers.
Prohibited Imports: Meat and dairy products from outside the EU, and unauthorised firearms and ammunition.
Prohibited Exports: Endangered species require an export permit.

Visa Requirements

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Travel Health

Compulsory:  None
Recommended Travel Vaccines:  Hepatitis A & B, Tetanus, Polio