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Canary Islands

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Canary Islands: We Went on Holidays but We Decided to Stay.

What we need to know before moving to the Canary Islands.
The Canary Islands are situated in the Atlantic Ocean and consist of 7 islands:

Gran Canaria
La Gomera
The Palm
El Hierro

Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera and El Hierro form the Spanish province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

Instead the islands of Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote and six smaller islands Alegranza, Graciosa, Montaña Clara, Los Lobos, Roque del Este, Roque del Oeste belong to the province of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
Both provinces together form the Autonomous Region "Islas Canarias".


The Canary Islands benefit from year-round sunshine and warmth with little seasonal variation. Summers are dry and hot while winters are only a little cooler with few showers. The Canary Islands are often called islands of eternal spring due to their exceptional climate.

The climate is subtropical and desertic, moderated by the sea and in summer by the winds. There are a number of microclimates and the classifications range mainly from semi-arid to desert. According to the Köppen climate classification, the majority of the Canary Islands have a hot desert climate represented as BWh. There also exists a subtropical humid climate which is very influenced by the ocean in the middle of the islands of La Gomera, Tenerife and La Palma; where the laurisilva forests grow.

Tenerife is located in the middle, is the largest and most populous island of the seven, is also the most populated island of Spain, with a land area of 2,034.38 sq km, with an average of 18–24 °C in the winter and 24–28 °C in the summer and a high annual total days of sunshine with a perfect level of heat, little rain and plenty of sun. Tenerife is a mountainous island, located in the cooling Canary current of the North Atlantic Ocean. On the island there is a volcano, mount Teide is the third largest volcano in the world and is the highest point in Spain. It also provide many routes for climbers, trekkers, walkers and mountain bikers.


According to, important factors such as the insularity, the distance from the continent and lack of raw materials constitute disadvantages for the development of the Canary economy. In order to compensate for these drawbacks, the Canary Islands have a special economic and fiscal regime.

Some of the socio-economic figures of the Canary Islands region are provided below:

-The total population of the Canary Islands represents over 5% of the country's population and amount to 2,100,306 inhabitants (National Statistics Institute, January 2015). The average population density is more than twice the Spanish average;
-The Canary Islands recorded, in 2015, an increase of GDP in volume of 2.8% thanks in part to the services sector. In 2015, the GDP reached €42.316m and the Canary Islands economy is ranked in eighth place at country level.
-The economic environment expected for 2016 for the Canary Islands can be summed up by the following indicators: a positive variation of 2.8% of GDP in constant terms, which confirms the turnaround begun in 2014 (2.2%); a moderate rate of inflation (0.8%); a positive rate of job creation (3.5%); and a decrease in the number of unemployed (-1.8%).
-The unemployment rate is expected to reach 27.9% in 2016, the lowest level since 2009, but it remains the most serious problem in the archipelago.
-The budget of the Canary Islands for 2016 amounted to €7,071.89m, which translates into a growth of 5.3% compared to 2015;
.The implementation of the budgets of the community will focus mainly on public services. In addition, the policies aim at developing the productive sectors, given the need to stimulate the economy and encourage job creation.
-The Canary business network consists largely of freelances and SMEs, which represent more than 90% – a percentage far greater than the national average. Only 0.2% of local businesses have more than 200 employees. This structure will influence the R&D strategy.


According to, the Canary Islands have eight airports altogether, two of the main ports of Spain, and an extensive network of autopistas (highways) and other roads. For a road map see multimap.

There are large ferry boats that link islands as well as fast ferries linking most of the islands. Both types can transport large numbers of passengers and cargo (including vehicles). Fast ferries are made of aluminium and powered by modern and efficient diesel engines, while conventional ferries have a steel hull and are powered by heavy oil. Fast ferries travel relatively quickly (in excess of 30 knots) and are a faster method of transportation than the conventional ferry (some 20 knots). A typical ferry ride between La Palma and Tenerife may take up to eight hours or more while a fast ferry takes about 2 and a half hours and between Tenerife and Gran Canaria can be about one hour.

The largest airport is the Gran Canaria airport. It is also the 5th largest airport in Spain. The biggest port is in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. It is an important port for commerce with Europe, Africa and the Americas. It is the 4th biggest commercial port in Spain with more than 1,400,000 TEU's. The largest commercial companies of the world, including MSC and Maersk, operate here. In this port there is an international post of the Red Cross, one of only four points like this all around the world. Tenerife has two airports, Tenerife North Airport and Tenerife South Airport.

The two main islands (Tenerife and Gran Canaria) receive the greatest number of passengers.

The port of Las Palmas is first in freight traffic in the islands, while the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the first fishing port with approximately 7,500 tons of fish caught, according to the Spanish government publication Statistical Yearbook of State Ports. Similarly, it is the second port in Spain as regards ship traffic, only surpassed by the Port of Algeciras Bay. The port's facilities include a border inspection post (BIP) approved by the European Union, which is responsible for inspecting all types of imports from third countries or exports to countries outside the European Economic Area. The port of Los Cristianos (Tenerife) has the greatest number of passengers recorded in the Canary Islands, followed by the port of Santa Cruz de Tenerife. The Port of Las Palmas is the third port in the islands in passengers and first in number of vehicles transported.

National Parks

The Canary Islands officially has four national parks, of which two have been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, and the other two declared a World Biosphere Reserve, these national parks are:

-Caldera de Taburiente National Park (La Palma): Created in 1954 and declared a World Biosphere Reserve in 2002. It currently covers an area of 46.9 km2 (18.1 sq mi).
-Garajonay National Park (La Gomera): Created in 1981 and declared in 1986 as a World Heritage Site. Its area is 3986 hectares at the core and some areas north of the island.
-Timanfaya National Park (Lanzarote): Created in 1974 and declared a Biosphere Reserve in 1993, together with the whole island. Occupies an area of 51.07 km (31.73 mi) ², is located in the southwest of the island.
-Teide National Park (Tenerife): Created in 1954, was declared a World Heritage Site in 2007. It covers an area of 18,990 hectares, is the oldest and largest national park in the Canary Islands and one of the oldest in Spain. The Teide in 2010 became the most visited national park in Europe and second worldwide. Located in the geographic center of the island is the most visited National Park in Spain. The highlight is the Teide at 3,718 meters altitude, is the highest elevation of the country and the third largest volcano on Earth from its base. Teide National Park was declared in 2007 as one of the 12 Treasures of Spain.


The distribution of beliefs in 2012 according to the CIS Barometer Autonomy was as follows:

-Catholic 84.9%
-Atheist/Agnostic/Unbeliever 12.3%
-Other religions 1.7%

Among the believers 38.7% go to religious services frequently.

Health Information for Travelers to Canary Islands

Medical insurance is strongly advised, even though EU citizens who hold an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) are entitled to basic national healthcare as received by local residents. You can apply for this online:

The local chemists (farmacias), recognisable by a green cross sign, will have just about anything you may require and there is always one open after hours in each area.

There are two main hospitals in Las Palmas. You’ll find the older Hospital Insular on the Avenida Marítima del Sur, just as you leave Las Palmas heading in the direction of the airport and the south. There’s also the newer Hospital Doctor Negrin, located closer to the Canteras beach. Elsewhere, Calle León y Castillo 231 houses the main Red Cross centre.