In the following, I will inform you about the current situation regarding the coronavirus, safety and hygiene as well as the advice and precautions you should take during your stay.
*Mandatory negative corona test (PCR or rapid antigen test) on entry not older than 48-72 hours (depending on the origin) or proof of vaccination/health in English, Spanish, German or French (electronic or paper).
*Obligatory wearing of a mask in public and closed places, it may only be removed when drinking/eating
*Obligatory wearing of a mask on public transport and in the car, if you do not have the same residence
*1,5 meter distance
Quarantine status after the coronavirus
Compared to other countries or regions, starting from 22nd of June it will no longer be necessary in Spain to go into quarantine after arriving in Gran Canaria. The Canary Islands are one of the less affected coronavirus regions. This means that you will be completely free to explore the island and do as many activities as you like, but taking some precautions. In the following sections I will explain the current situation regarding safety and hygiene.
Slowly, the airlines come back to the island. Condor is currently one of the airlines that will fly from several German cities (Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Munich, Hanover, Leipzig, Stuttgart and Berlin) from June. The prices are a bit high compared to the pre-Corona times, but Condor is one of the airlines I would recommend at the moment, as they offer a lot of security during the flight. There are between two and four flights per week. Eurowings flies from Düsseldorf and Hamburg, but only once or twice a week. Ryanair flies once a week from Cologne. Easyjet will be flying from Berlin at the end of July. TUI has also announced flights from Düsseldorf (4 x weekly), Frankfurt, Stuttgart (3 x weekly), Hanover, Munich (2 x weekly), Cologne, Nuremberg, Paderborn and Hamburg (1 x weekly).
These are direct flights which I would definitely recommend, as risks are avoided by stopping over at airports such as Madrid or Barcelona. I recommend the use of masks during the flight and in the airport, if possible, with valves (type FFP1 or FFP2), which make it easier to breathe, as the flight takes about four and a half hours. A surgical mask may be sufficient, but it can be a little uncomfortable due to the long wearing period. Gloves are unnecessary and counterproductive, it’s better to use a hygienic hand spray. Remember that the container should be less than 100ml if you only have your hand luggage.
Means of transport on the island
From my own experience, I personally advise you to rent a car during your stay on the island, especially if you want to explore the island. Thanks to the bus lines, the most important places can be reached easily but most of the routes take a lot of time. Although the use of masks is obligatory in public transport I recommend using your own transport for safety and time reasons – they are not that expensive, approximately 30€ per day.
One car rental company on the island is CICAR. In my opinion it is the most reliable and it has the best price-performance-ratio. It includes fully comprehensive insurance, a second driver, no kilometer limits, etc. I always book with them.
Another recommendation would be AutoReisen, with the same criteria as CICAR but a little bit cheaper. There are some older cars also, but they are quite acceptable. Both are good options, it is a question of price and the type of car needed.
Please remember that the roads on the island are in very good condition. Although any car is good, I recommend renting a car with sufficient power if you want to go to the mountains or a small one, if you will use it only for the city. Oh, and something else about car rental – the gasoline in the Canarian Islands is cheaper, approximately 1€ per liter. The island has a lot to offer – nothing should stop you!
Public health in the Canary Islands
The Canary Islands are one of the least affected regions by the coronavirus. Despite the high number of visitors and at the time of writing, less than 600 people were infected (1.8% of the population). On the island you find the good hospital Dr. Negrín with over 700 hospital beds, which even has the seal of European Excellence 400+. If necessary, you will be attended very well and very fast.
In the pharmacies there is also a sufficient supply of the necessary medical aids (gloves, hygiene articles and masks), so that it is not necessary to bring them in your suitcase. The cost of the masks had been set by the government at 90 cents per unit as a maximum price. You can also find them in some supermarkets.
Hygiene and food
Unfortunately, many people do not respect the basic hygiene measures, even in enclosed spaces like restaurants. Unfortunately, there are many restaurants or bars where food is prepared without covering mouth and nose and even the waiters that serve you work without wearing a mask. In the next few days, laws will be passed to make the use of the mask compulsory in public places under penalty of a fine. To avoid risks, I advise you to order warm food, because the virus is destroyed at more than 60 degrees. Another very good decision is to visit open or ventilated places.
Further down I recommend some restaurants where hygiene is sufficiently guaranteed and which are by the way very tasty.
- Il Segreto di Pulcinella: One of the best Italians on the island – Napolitan cuisine. It is located near the beach of Las Canteras. Although without beach proximity, quality and hygiene are first class.
- Venecia II: Located on Melenara beach, in the municipality of Telde. It is one of my favorites regarding the price-performance-ratio. I recommend to order various starters to share and the ensalada templada (a salad with goat cheese, apple and other delicacies). The restaurant has a terrace, but it is important to know that it is always very crowded and you cannot always keep a safe distance.
- Bioloco: Vegan restaurant near the beach Las Canteras. The food is spectacular, especially the salads and burgers. Although they only serve vegan dishes, I recommend everyone to visit this restaurant and even if it does not have a terrace, the hygiene measures are applied and the table distance is given.
- Guachinche Viña Cantera (temporarily closed): Located in Valsequillo, halfway between the beach and the summit. I recommend it to get to know the concept of “guachinche”, a name given to homemade restaurants that produce their own wine. The prices are quite reasonable and the food is spectacular. I strongly recommend to make a reservation, as it is almost always full. The accompanying terrace is also beautiful, surrounded by banana plantations and other plants.
- The caves of Guayadeque: Located at the end of the Guayadeque gorge at the end of the road. There are several very special restaurants located in caves dug into the mountain. It is worth a visit and is undoubtedly a good place to eat typical canarian food or grilled meat. The most famous one, with the most impressive work, is also the most touristic and in my opinion not of such good quality. You have two restaurants in the back which are quite better. The restaurant Vega has tables in the cave, and the La Era grill, which looks simple, are both among my favorites. A plus: it is outside!
Unfortunately, most of the tourists, tour operators or travel guides in Gran Canaria sell the tourist area of Maspalomas with big beaches and big hotels. This area in the south of the island is pretty crowded and considering the coronavirus problem, I think it is better to avoid it now.
In my opinion, the island has much more to offer than the mass tourism that I prefer to avoid in my recommendations. There are exceptions, but generally the prices in the tourist area are high and the quality is low compared to other areas. If you landed on this page here, it is because you think that Maspalomas is not the right area for you.
There are other, much quieter areas if you want to stay near the coast. The best option if you also want to integrate yourself into the canarian culture is to take a rural house where you can feel the tradition at close range and where you can avoid any risk of infection.
The houses are often located in the interior of the island and permit a relaxing holiday away from the noise. Many of them also have a swimming pool, so on hot summer days one can cool down. If you are more a city person, there are old colonial houses, like the fincas, located in the historical center. Most of them have been restored but keep all their splendor of the past.
The mentioned area of Maspalomas and Playa del Inglés, both in the south, can provide the typical holiday feeling for some people, but it is very noisy, there is no trace of the canarian traditions and the food is expensive and not always of best quality. The type of tourists who visit this area are mixed. We find young people looking for party time and older people who book a cheap package holiday. Personally, I only recommend this place to those who only want to stay in this area and who don’t have real interest in visiting the island. Of course I recommend you to see the dunes there, but just passing by.
Gran Canaria is very special and each area has its advantages and disadvantages. My recommendation is to make a plan of what you want to see, which activities you want to do and to choose then your accommodation on that basis.
Recommended coronavirus free activities
Although at first sight it seems that the island only offers sun and beach, it has many facets and offers many possibilities to fill one’s leisure time well, in the following I would like to show you some leisure activities in Gran Canaria that are, by the way, completely free from the contact with the virus.
- Diving: Although it is a risky sport, you don’t have to be afraid because we are safe in the hands of a well-trained instructor. All we have to do is to breathe and enjoy – my diving experiences were absolutely amazing! We recommend the diving club “Buceo Norte” because they speak English and because of their professionalism and the wonderful dive area they have. They comply all safety requirements for the coronavirus.
- Hiking: There are many routes, but if I had to choose, I would definitely recommend to the route of Roque Nublo and the not so well known Barranco de Los Cernícalos, a gorge located in the municipality of Telde. Both are routes that can be mastered by almost everybody, even children. It should be borne in mind that many locals are on the road at weekends, so it is better to go there during the week. No special equipment is required. The route over Roque Nublo takes about 1 hour and you only need water and possibly sturdy shoes. The route via Los Cernícalos takes about 4 hours and I recommend waterproof shoes.
- SUP in Las Canteras: The beach of Las Canteras has a reef that turns it into a huge swimming pool at low tide. Paddle surfing is one of the different activities we can do during our holidays. Although it’s difficult to keep your balance at the beginning, after a few minutes you’ll be able to get up and row all along the beach. It is definitely something very fun and a slightly different experience. We recommend the club “Mojo Surf” because of its great experience and professionalism.
- Paragliding: Due to the topography of the island and the trade winds, paragliding is possible practically all year round. The best way is the “tandem” flight, where you hook up with an experienced instructor! Although it may feel strange, the flight is very calm and not dangerous at all. My favorite pilot is called Armando and you can contact him through the Siroco Paragliding Club (phone: +34696860216). The view and the experience are worth it. Although it is a close contact activity, there is no risk outdoors if you take basic hygiene measures. It is necessary to make an appointment and I recommend visiting Facebook to see the spectacular photos of the flights.
- Harley Riding: Looking for pure adrenaline? Then I recommend you Touring Ride: driving a Harley on the most beautiful roads of the island and getting your mind free from the daily stress. Many years of experience and great bikes are waiting for you 365 days a year.
- Walking in Vegueta: Outdoor Walking is always good and always possible in the warm climate of Gran Canaria. At the first sight, the city seems to be big, but if you want to see some nice places, I would recommend in any case the promenade of the beach Las Canteras. With a length of 3 kilometres, I personally recommend to walk alongside in the mornings and at sunset to avoid the heat. My additional advice: do not come at the weekend, as a lot of inhabitants also go to this beach. The same can be done on the other side of the highway, on the Paseo Marítimo, where you can walk along the promenade to the old town (about 1 hour). Once arrived there, you recognize at first sight the difference in the architecture. First, you cross the highway in San Telmo through the underpass and take the Avenida Triana in direction to Vegueta (old town). The buildings remind us of the 19th century architecture and the modernism of that time. Then, once arrived in Vegueta, the best way is to walk through the small streets. You cannot get lost as there are arrows everywhere that lead to the cathedral Santa Ana and to the big plaza in front of it. The Casa de Colón (it is worth to have a close look to the facade), the Canarian Museum, the Calle de los Balcones, the Calle Pelota, the Plaza del Pilar Nuevo or the Plaza Espíritu Santo are all places that you have to see. In the famous Calle Mendizábal you can finish the walk with a coffee.
Going back to the question of whether it is safe to visit the Canary Islands in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, yes, I firmly believe that it is possible and recommendable. The island has a good health system with an european guarantee, there are many activities you can do and a lot of places to visit where it is possible to keep distance, safety and hygiene. If you follow the recommendations I have given you, you won’t have any problems.
We have to change the way we visited in the past and avoid crowded tourist areas. The best recommendation is to enjoy the island as a local and get to know the special canarian lifestyle, relaxed and satisfied. This does not appear in the tourist guides nor is it communicated by the tour operators so I hope that my website will be useful for your next visit to this wonderful island where I live.
I know that these are complicated and very changing times to plan your trip, so the best information is right there. If you want you can read another article of mine about advices for your trip to prepare your visit to Gran Canaria.