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Are the Canary Islands Safe to Visit in 2024? | Safety Tips

Are the Canary Islands Safe to Visit in 2024? | Safety Tips

The Canary Islands, a group of volcanic islands in the Atlantic Ocean, are one of the most unique destinations in Spain. The islands are one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations, with over 12 million international visitors annually.

Most people visit to relax on the beach. Popular beaches include the quiet sandy beaches of La Graciosa or the popular resorts of Gran Canaria and Tenerife.

Adventure tourists flock to the craggy volcanic landscapes, such as the spectacular peaks of Teide National Park. The Canary Islands are also a spectacular location for biodiversity, which you can see on dolphin-watching tours or in the many national parks and reserves.

With so many beautiful destinations, the islands are certainly somewhere worth visiting. However, it’s a good idea to check out practical concerns such as safety before traveling anywhere new.

This detailed travel guide can help you figure out how to travel to the Canary Islands safely. Keep reading for all the tips you need to maximize enjoyment of your vacation!

Are the Canary Islands Safe to Visit in 2024?

Sunset over Los Gigantes on Tenerife for a guide to whether or not the Canary Islands are safe to visit

Melinda Nagy/Shutterstock

Yes. The Canary Islands are very safe to visit, which is part of the reason why millions of people visit each year!

There is some petty crime, just like there is petty crime anywhere that receives many tourists, but overall crime rates are low.

You do have to take some precautions against nature, including natural disasters, but even those are relatively rare. The Canary Islands are actually one of the safest regions in Spain.

Many of the problems that countries such as the United States list in their travel advisories for the entire country of Spain, such as terrorism and civil unrest, are not present on the islands.

The archipelago is far away from the mainland and removed from many of the problems that other parts of Spain face. Some governments, such as Canada, issue separate travel advisories for just the Canary Islands, not including Spain’s mainland.

These travel advisories conclude that the islands are perfectly safe to visit. Of course, they do still have their own problems. Luckily, the most common problems facing residents and visitors are petty in nature.

Common crimes include:

  • Pickpocketing
  • Bag snatching
  • Theft of unattended items
  • Drug abuse
  • Robberies

Although petty crime occurs on the Canary Islands, the rates are far lower than in parts of mainland Spain such as Barcelona. Violent incidents such as homicides and assault are fairly rare.

You do have to be mindful about natural disasters when visiting.

The Australian government actually cites the risk of seismic activity in the Canary Islands in its overall travel advisory for Spain, as they are located in a seismically and volcanically active area of the Atlantic Ocean.

The volcanoes that formed the islands are still active. The most recent eruption was in 2021, when the La Palma volcano erupted for several months.

Although no people were injured or died during the eruption, thousands of buildings were destroyed and most of the island of La Palma was devastated.

Although the volcanoes on the Canary Islands are technically still active, they do not erupt frequently. You can check the website of the Canary Islands regional government (in Spanish) to see if there are any alerts.

Expert scientists and government officials monitor the earth for any changes and notify the public immediately if there is any danger.

Besides natural disasters, you should be careful of the same dangers that you encounter any time you interact with nature. When swimming, obey lifeguards and stay alert to posted warnings about swimming conditions.

The Canary Islands uses the popular colored flag system to signal if a beach is safe for swimming, so if you see a green flag, you are good to go (red means danger, purple means jellyfish).

If you go hiking, make sure that you bring appropriate shoes and clothing.

Always tell someone who is not going with you about your route. Make sure that you pick a trail that is appropriate for your skill level and research weather conditions and potential dangers ahead of time.

Crime in the Canary Islands

Coastal promenade along the Canary Islands (to show that they are safe to visit), pictured in Fuerteventura

Pawel Kazmierczak/Shtutterstock

Crime is a common concern that people have when visiting new destinations, especially those that are popular with other tourists. Crime is common in many crowded places.

The Canary Islands experience crime, just like any other place. The average crime rate over the past few years is 1087.3 incidents per 100,000 people.

However, most crime on the island is petty in nature. According to Numbeo, which uses popular opinion to calculate a crime index, the crime rate on the islands ranks 41.67 out of 100 on the crime index, a moderate value.

People are most concerned about petty crime such as vandalism, petty theft, and drug abuse.

However, Numbeo cautions that it doesn’t have enough data to present an accurate picture of crime in the Canary Islands, and the responses of a few people can skew the index.

Many people are worried about rising crime rates on the island. In 2022, crime rose by 20% compared to the previous year. There was a strong increase in almost all types of crime.

The crimes that increased the most were robberies with violence, which increased by 32.4%, drug-related offenses, which increased by 41.8%, and thefts, which increased by 46.7%.

However, these increases happened when compared to the previous year, 2021, which had historic low crime levels. During 2021, COVID-19 lockdowns were still in place, affecting the movement of everyone, including criminals.

Plus, many of the most common crimes in the Canary Islands are connected to mass tourism, which still hadn’t recovered from pandemic restrictions in 2021.

As visitor arrivals increased, it’s normal that crime rates went up. Putting these statistics in context is important before you get too alarmed. Compared to the rest of Spain, the Canary Islands have an average crime rate.

Other popular tourist destinations in Spain, such as Barcelona and the Balearic Islands, actually have much higher crime rates. The islands are one of the safest of Spain’s popular tourist regions.

Although you should be on your guard against property crimes in the Canary Islands, you don’t need to cancel your vacation or spend your travels on high alert. A few basic precautions are enough to keep you safe.

Petty Theft

The most common crime you’ll encounter, as in many popular tourist destinations, is petty theft. It is the primary crime that Canada mentions in its travel advisory for the Canary Islands.

Petty theft usually takes the form of pickpocketing, bag snatching, theft of unattended items, or scams. Tourists are often targeted for theft because they are seen as easy, lucrative targets.

Theft is most common wherever there are big crowds, especially crowds of tourists. Be careful in towns or areas popular with tourists such as Tenerife.

Theft is more common during the high season, which is summer, than during the off-season. Be especially careful during times where more people arrive on the Canary Islands, such as weekends and festivals.

Make sure that you have a close grip on your valuables at all times.

When you are walking through a crowd, put valuables such as your phone or wallet in a place pickpockets can’t access easily, such as your front pocket, a money belt, or a cross-body bag.

Never, ever leave your things unattended, including in places where you might let your guard down such as cafes, restaurants, and hotel lobbies. Thieves have snatched bags from the back of chairs in restaurants and patios before.

Don’t leave your bag unattended on the beach. Either ask someone from your group to watch all of your things or invest in a waterproof pouch for your valuables.

Scammers often target tourists to try and get their money. Most of the common scams are the same you would find in other tourist destinations, such as someone spilling something on you to distract you for a theft.

The Canary Islands also has people posing as police officers to ask to see passports, then steal them. Always ask for ID if someone introduces themselves as a government official.


Although it is rarer than pickpocketing, robberies sometimes occur on the Canary Islands. One common location for robberies is the road.

Robbers sometimes pose as a person with car trouble, then steal the vehicle of whoever stops to help. If you are driving through a remote area, think twice before stopping to help someone, as cruel as it might seem to leave someone stranded.

Break-ins are not as common as they’ve been in previous years, but they can still happen. They are rare in hotels but sometimes happen in rental apartments.

Make sure that you lock your doors and shut your windows every time you leave a vacation rental. Ask your host about the safety of the neighborhood before booking.

Street robberies and muggings sometimes occur in bigger towns such as Fuerteventura. These are most common after dark.

Be careful with your movements at night and avoid unlit side streets. Don’t take out money from an ATM after dark as a robber might identify you as a potential target if they know you are carrying cash.

Avoiding Bad Areas

La Laguna village pictured in north Tenerife, one of parts of the Canary Islands to be careful in

Carlos Castilla/Shutterstock

Since the Canary Islands are so safe, there are no areas that you need to avoid completely.

The more crowded areas such as Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, and Tenerife have a higher rate of petty theft. You don’t need to avoid those areas but use a bit more caution around your valuables.

Things to Consider

Here are a few more common tips to stay safe in the Canary Islands:

  • Be prepared for everything. Although the weather in the Canary Islands is warm and pleasant, it can get chilly even during summer evenings. If you go hiking, the temperatures will be cool as mountainous areas have cooler weather.
  • Don’t drink outside. The islands have a reputation for hedonism, but local laws are unexpectedly strict when it comes to partying. Drinking outside of designated bar areas is illegal and you could be fined. Smoking outside of smoking areas is also banned.
  • Protect yourself against the sun. The sun is quite strong on the Canary Islands! Wear sunscreen and reapply it regularly. Stay in the shade during the hottest part of the day during the summer.
  • Be careful around the ocean. During fall and winter, the waves are very strong and have dragged people into the surf before.

Frequently Asked Questions

Neat view of the still water between the rocky coastline in Puerto Mogan, Gran Canaria

Valery Bareta/Shutterstock

Here are some common questions you might want to answer before visiting the Canary Islands:

How safe are the Canary Islands for tourists?

The Canary Islands are very safe for tourists. The crime rates are low and other dangers that might affect tourists, such as civil unrest, are not prevalent.

How safe is Tenerife for tourists?

The popular island of Tenerife is safe for tourists. It does have a higher rate of petty crime than some of the quieter Canary Islands due to the crowds, but basic precautions can keep you safe.

What is the crime rate in the Canary Islands?

The crime rate in the Canary Islands is about average for Spain. Usually, the crime rate is slightly above 1,000 incidents per 100,000 residents.

Should we go to the Canary Islands?

The Canary Islands are perfect for couples, families, and groups of friends traveling together. The archipelago has something for everyone, from beach bums to adrenaline junkies, and is safe.

Is it safe to travel to the Canary Islands after a volcano?

The Las Palmas volcanic eruption in 2021 disrupted tourism. However, the eruption ended a long time ago and there has been no volcanic activity since. The islands are perfectly safe to visit.

So, Should You Travel to the Canary Islands?

The Canary Islands are a perfect vacation destination because they are beautiful and safe to visit. Although petty crime happens, basic precautions can keep you safe.

So, with so much to see and do, what are you waiting for — book your trip to experience for yourself all that this picturesque island destination has to offer. Happy travels!