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Canary Islands travel and holidays: quarantine and Covid test required

Tenerife 'border closure' led to fears holidays would be cancelled but Canaries government says they can still go ahead, although Covid tests and quarantine on the return to the UK is still required.

Canary Islands travel and holidays: quarantine and Covid test required

Rising coronavirus cases led Tenerife to announce it will close its borders for non-essential travel for 15 days from December 18, leading many to fear that holidays would be cancelled.

However, the Canaries government has said that tourists with travel already booked will still be able to enter – as long as they have a PCR Covid test within 72-hours of arrival.

Jet2 have told us that their information from the authorities on the island is that those with travel already booked can take their holiday as planned. Holidaymakers should be aware that restrictions on the island are more stringent than on the rest of the islands. There is a curfew that starts at 10pm, rather than the 1.00am in the rest of the Canaries.

Those on package holidays should approach their operator in the first instance for more information.


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Canary Islands removed from travel corridor list

The Canary Islands was removed from England’s travel corridor list on 12 December because of rising cases – mostly driven by the situation in Tenerife. That means those returning to England are required to quarantine for 10 days, or for five days if they pay for a private test.

Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura – popular for winter sun – saw a spike in bookings after the islands were added to the safe travel corridor list in October. And while the travel corridor advice changed based on the rising infection rates in early December, holidays have continued to go ahead because the FCDO advice has not been amended to warn against holiday travel. Package holiday providers cancel holidays based on FCDO advice, not travel corridors.

With the end to the Brexit transition looming on 1 January it’s also important to be aware that non-EU nationals are not currently allowed to travel to Spain or other EU countries with current Covid restrictions. This applies to the Canaries as well as the mainland. This may change for UK visitors, depending on the  negotiations.

Canary Island holidays in 2021: Do I need a test?

Once holidays to the Canary Islands are back on the safe travel list, you will need to be aware of the entry requirements. You must provide contact information and any history of exposure to coronavirus, 48 hours before you fly. You can do this on the Spain Travel Health website. On completion of this form, you will be issued a QR code that you will need to show on arrival.

You will also undergo a visual health and temperature check when you land, plus there is a nationwide requirement across Spain to present a negative PCR (swab) test taken within no more than 72 hours prior to arrival, in order to enter the country.

Once at your (regulated) accommodation, you will also now be required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test, also taken no later than 72 hours earlier. This should not be an NHS test, you should seek a test privately. You must also download and activate the Radar Covid notification app for the duration of your stay on the islands and for 15 days after you return home.

Because the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has said the Canaries is now exempt from its all but essential travel advice, any existing insurance will once again be valid.

But with further disruption to holidays likely still even after 2 December, from local lockdowns to the Canary Islands being removed from the travel corridor list again, it’s essential you book with a tour operator or travel agent you can trust to refund you.

Which? has surveyed more than 6,000 holiday company customers to tell you which ones have the best holidays, best customer service and best prices.

Is an antigen coronavirus test acceptable in the Canary Islands?

Not just yet. The Canary Islands is said to be finalising an agreement to accept antigen Covid-19 tests as well as the usual PCR tests – in time for when England’s lockdown ends.

Antigen test results can be returned in under 15 minutes, meaning those wanting to travel won’t have to wait days for results to be returned like with PCR tests.

We will update this story when this has been confirmed. Until then, only PCR test results will be accepted.


Q&A: Where can I get a private Covid-19 PCR or antigen test to go on holiday?


Best Canary Island holiday deals for 2021 – Jet 2 Holidays

Rated best for package holidays by customers in our holiday companies survey was Jet2 Holidays. Last month it was advertising last minute deals leaving in early November from £352pp, or £704 in total for seven days. However, it has currently stopped holidays from England again due to the national lockdown.

If you do decide to book a holiday to the Canary Islands for the future, it’s important to note customers of Jet2 Holidays rated it four stars for value for money, and it had one of the cheapest average holiday prices of the companies in our survey. Crucially, you can trust it to look after you if disruption does strike – it was one of the only large operators to refund customers quickly when holidays were cancelled over the summer. In short, Jet2 promises good prices, great holidays and brilliant customer service.

See all Jet2 Holidays Canary Island holiday deals

Canary Island holiday deals with Tui

The UK’s biggest tour operator launched deals to the Canary Islands almost immediately after the travel corridor was introduced, with holidays departing from October 24th. Canary Island holiday deals start at £323pp for seven nights, or £646 in total. Tui has since stopped holidays from England for the duration of the lockdown period.

Rated average overall by its customers in our survey, Tui picked up good ratings for value for money and the organisation of the holiday. Unfortunately, it did a poor job of refunding of customers whose holidays were cancelled earlier this year – not picking up the phone, forcing credit notes on to customers and taking months over refunds. It has subsequently apologised and promised any further refunds will be processed in 14 days or less.

See all Tui Canary Island holiday deals

*Prices listed were captured on 22/10/20 and were the cheapest price displayed for seven nights, departing from any UK airport to any of the Canary Islands. 

Hoping to choose a less crowded Canary Islands destination? Our survey highlighted the best and the quietest islands to visit for some winter sun, as rated by Which? readers.

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