Embassies and consulates
The Canary Islands are part of Spain and hence of the European Union. All EU rules and regulations, such as on health care, legal and police assistance to EU nationals, equally apply here. It is, however, important to know the address of your home country's embassy or consulate in Spain and vice versa. GOABROAD is an excellent reference site.
What to wear
Both in summer and winter you can get by wearing airy summer clothes; only in the evening or in windy weather you will feel like putting on warmer clothes or a jacket. Even at lower temperatures, you should not underestimate the power of the sun rays - wearing an effective sun screen formula is a must on the Canary Islands.
Upmarket hotels make a point of dining etiquette. Especially in the evening, understated, elegant clothing is recommended. The same is true of posh restaurants or various cultural events.
It goes without saying that at high altitudes (500 to over 1,500 m above sea level) it may well rain and temperatures will be 10°C less than on the coast. There you might need a slicker and a thin sweater.
On Tenerife and throughout Spain the euro (EUR) is the legal tender. Traveller's cheques can be exchanged at any bank. Credit cards are taken almost anywhere.
Banks are open on Mon-Fri from 9 a.m to 2 p.m. In the winter and during the carnival banking hours are longer.
Credit cards are taken everywhere, ATMs can be found in almost all communities.
If you lose your cheque or credit card, get them immediately blocked.
The time zone on Tenerife is Western Europe Time, which is CET minus one hour or GMT +0.
In tourist centres European sockets are commonly used, the voltage is 220V. In some remote areas one can come across AC voltage from 110V to 125V.
In all tourist centres and larger communities photography-related merchandise is widely available at prices slightly lower than in Central Europe.
Swimming in deserted bays can be very dangerous because of strong currents and very sharp rocks. You should remember that beaches on the north and west part of the island are typically more treacherous than those in the south and south-east.
Supervised beaches rely on flags to indicate whether swimming is prohibited (a red flag), recommended to only experienced swimmers (a yellow flag) or unlimited for everyone (a green flag). Very clean beaches are marked with a blue flag, on loan from the European Union. It is a good idea to wear water shoes when on black sand, which can get quite hot under the sun, or when entering the sea over a rocky surface. Sun protection is absolutely essential!
The Canary Islands are considered to be relatively safe. Violent crime is fairly rare, but small-time crime is by far more common. You should by no means put anything on display in a car parked at an isolated location; it might even be a good idea to leave the glove compartment open to indicate there is nothing there to be taken away. Particularly in recreation areas you should store all valuables in the hotel safe.
Free trips targeting bargain-price shopping centres are a separate story. Before taking the bait, you should carefully check the quality of the goods offered and thoroughly consider how much you would pay for the same merchandise at home. At best any such "bargain" may prove a fly in your holiday ointment.
If you choose to go ahead and take up a bargain offer, you should become alert if the dealer urges you to buy the goodies as quickly as possible. Reputable merchants would allow customers adequate time to think the offer over, or to consult with a trusted expert well versed in the local market conditions.
Health care on the island is good and local hospitals are up to European standards. Hotel reception staff, tour supervisors and consulates will be pleased to provide information about the nearest first aid facility or surgery (centro medico). Some municipalities (including fairly small ones) operate first aid facilities of the Red Cross (Cruz Roja).
Pharmacies (farmacias, displaying a green or red Maltese Cross outside) are open Mon-Fri 9 p.m.-1 p.m. and 4-8 p.m. as well as 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sat. In every city or a larger town there is always a pharmacy open at night (Farmacia de Guardia). Relevant addresses are displayed in every pharmacy. Thanks to good sanitation visitors only seldom fall ill on arrival. Every visitor should allow their body some time to adapt to the new conditions. In the early days it is better to minimise strain, have light meals and take in enough fluids, while drinking alcoholic beverages in moderation or, better still, not at all. You should avoid excessive exposure to the sun without applying a sunscreen with a high protection factor. Tap water is certainly good enough for cleaning the teeth, but not for direct consumption because of a high fluoride content.
Opening hours in the shops are not uniform, but most are open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m to 1 p.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m, and Sat from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Recreation centres have no fixed opening hours, some shops are open on Sundays.
The most upmarket department store, EL CORTE INGLÉS, is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
All post offices are open Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-1 p.m. In the cities general post offices are also open in the afternoon, some are even open 24 hours.
In bars and restaurants a service fee is already included in the price, but it is customary to add a tip of about 10% for good service. In hotels, it is common to tip the receptionist and chambermaid as a sign of appreciation; tips to people who go out of their way to serve you are also customary. Taxi drivers, too, expect to be tipped approximately 10% of the fare. Outside tourist centres people still tend to offer assistance without waiting for a consideration.
1 January (New Year Day/Ano Nuevo),
6 January (Epiphany/Los Reyes),
19 March (St. Joseph/San José),
1 May (Labour Day/Día del Trabajo),
30 May (Canary Islands Day/Día de Canarias),
25 July (St. James/Santiago),
15 August (Assumption Day/Asunción),
12 October (Hispanic Day/Día de la Hispanidad),
1 November (All Saints' Day/Todos los Santos),
6 December (Constitution Day/Día de la Constitución),
8 December (Immaculate Conception/Immaculada Concepción),
25 December (Christmas/Navidad).
International calls can be made directly (without going through an operator) from payphones designated internacional or interurbana, which tend to accept coins or phone cards. Tarjetas telefónicas (phone cards) are sold at post offices, news agents or souvenir shops. In tourist centres calls can be made using public telephone exchanges without coins or phone cards; but the caller must then pay the amount shown on the metre.
To make an international call in Spain, please dial (00). When you hear a dial tone, enter the country code, followed by the national area code without the initial zero and, finally, the phone number of the called subscriber.
When you call a phone number on Tenerife, you need not dial an area code (922), as it is is already included in each number on the island. For national telephone information, please dial 003, for international information, dial 025.
In an emergency, you can dual the emergency number 112 or call 061 for emergency medical aid, 092 for police and 080 for firefighters.
The majority of accommodation facilities on the island cater to the needs of mass tourism. During the high season and holidays tourists arriving without prior reservations may find it difficult to lease suitable inexpensive accommodation. Local tourism offices generally publish lists of accommodation facilities, complete with descriptions and prices.
The Spanish authorities categorise hotels, boarding houses and flats into several categories based exclusively on the amenities they offer. This is why the number of stars associated with hotels or of keys displayed for for flats may not always fully reflect their overall atmosphere and the level of service provided.
The government-approved categorisation of hotels ranges from luxury (*****) to simple (*); flats may be rated from good middle class (***) to simple (*) and boarding houses fall into categories starting from a respectable family businesses (**) to very simple hostels (*) without an ensuite bathroom and toilet. Tourists who do not travel with travel agencies, those who fly and drive, can easily find accommodation through relevant search engines. We recommend BOOKING .
Camping is not very popular on the island. Even though some people tend to put up tents on unauthorised sites on some remote beaches; this is more of a quietly tolerated exception which confirms the general rule. Municipal or private camping sites outside designated sites are rare and in most cases not very attractive. In protected natural areas, unauthorised camping is completely forbidden.
In principle, the same traffic rules apply as in Central Europe. Spain is a right-hand traffic country, and safety seat belts must be worn within built-up areas as well.
The maximum permitted blood alcohol level is 0.3 pro mille. Especially during the holidays one should expect police checks, including at night. At roundabouts, the vehicle already there has the right of way. If, because of an obstacle on the road, you have to slow down or stop, alert drivers behind you to the fact by operating your left turn light or extending your arm from the left-hand window. While driving along meandering mountain roads, it is recommended that you toot your car horn before making a turn.
The speed limit in built-up areas is 60 km/h, 90 km/h outside such areas, 100 km/h on first-class roads and 120 km/h on motorways. On weekends you may come across quite a few aggressive or inexperienced drivers; however, the vast majority of drivers can generally be described as considerate.
There are many car rental companies on the island, starting from internationally recognised brands all the way to small local ones. With a view to pricing and the size of their network, we recommend CICAR present on all of the Canary Islands. The daily rate begins at 35 euros, but if you rent a car for three days, the price will be close to 22 euros per day.
Information about investing on Teneriffe
General information about live on Tenerife
Air tickets, transport
Overview of the prices on the island
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