A holiday guide to the Canary Islands


Isabella Noble

The Canaries are Spain’s most accessible destination under current UK travel rules – and home to historical towns, dramatic coastlines, wild walks and excellent seafood

Away from their pockets of mass-tourism development, Spain’s Canaries are an archipelago of endlessly varied landscapes, slow-going villages, lively towns, gastronomic delights and a thriving local culture that is at once firmly Spanish and distinctively Canarian. With two Unesco geoparks and four national parks, these eight sun-baked islands are home to a growing lineup of sustainable tourism initiatives – and you’re never far from a dip in the Atlantic.

This week, Spain opened its borders to British tourists, allowing them to enter without a Covid test or proof of vaccination. The change prompted UK tour operators to resume holidays to the Canary Islands – the only part of Spain exempt from the Foreign Office’s non-essential travel warning. That doesn’t mean that going on holiday to the Canaries is completely straightforward – along with the rest of Spain the islands are on the amber list, meaning visitors returning to the UK are required to self-isolate for 10 days and take a Covid test before landing, and two more on days two and eight. In addition, a negative PCR test is required prior to arrival if staying in an official tourism establishment. After a flurry of contradictory comments by ministers last week, Boris Johnson said no one should be going on holiday to amber-list destinations, though that hasn’t stopped airlines increasing the number of flights to them, encouraged by consumer demand. As travel expert Paul Charles put it: “Consumers are voting with their feet and booking trips to Spain; they know the rules, they know it’s not illegal and they know they have to self-isolate when they get home.”

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