top of page
  • Writer's pictureJulia

Tenerife 2023: Ferry crossing from Spain mainland to Canary Islands with animals

Instead of writing about the energy of the island, today there is a practical post.

How to get from mainland Spain to the Canary Islands by car and animals!

Last year I searched the entire Internet for such a post as I write today. There was way too little information about ferry crossing with animals. I hope the post helps a few people to plan :)

There are 2 ports in Spain from where you can get to the Canary Islands:

Cadiz & Huelva.

The difference is the shipping company. From Cadiz Naviera Armas is sailing and from Huelva Fred Olsen.

Since the Naviera Armas website wasn't working when we tried to book and the reviews were VERY BAD ("The staff is racist and won't take foreigners" / "I lost my cat on board" / "There were fly eggs in my food" ) we decided to go with Fred Olsen. Afterwards we talked to people from Spain who came to the Canary Islands with Naviera Armas and they said that the crossing was not as luxurious as with Fred Olsen. The luxury wasn't the deciding factor for me either, but rather the desire not to lose my cat on board.

The Fred Olsen website worked perfectly. However, if you want telephone advice in English, you should allow at least 1 hour waiting time.

Who travels with cat and dog to the Canary Islands with Fred Olsen, should note the following:

- There are 2 possibilities for the pets: a pet owner cabin or animals deliver in cages.

With a cabin you pay in the low season (2023) between 600-700* euros. The advantages: the animals are with you, have less stress and more rest, the price includes 3 daily meals in the restaurant, the cabin has its own bathroom with shower. The disadvantages: if you book the cabin, you have to book the Comfort ticket, which is 3x more expensive than a seat. In the cages you can visit your animal 3 times a day and also take it outside and there is a camera that monitors your animal so you can watch your animal via mobile app.

- There is also the possibility to take animals up to 10 kg in a small box which fits under your seat (you can find the dimensions hier).

- During the booking process for a Comfort ticket, you can indicate the pet owner cabin and how many pets you have.

- For dogs there is an outdoor area with a pee mat (1mx2m) made of artificial grass (see photo). Most dogs just do their business on the floor. Therefore, there is a mop and water ready as well as dog bags.

- The animals MUST have all the necessary vaccinations (please look up at the spain government website what kind of vaccinations you need, in germany its only vaccination against rabies) and proof that they are healthy. This "proof" is an entry in the European passport (the passport costs 14 euros (in Germany) & you get it at your vet) The proof includes: Health check up of the animal & signature plus date. The certificate must not be older than 7 days. If you are driving from Huelva or Cadiz I recommend DIESEN Veterinarian. If you are looking for a vet in Gran Canaria who speaks good English and is inexpensive, I recommend DIESEN.

- The vets in Spain are very flexible about appointments and we looked on Google Maps beforehand to see which vet speaks English.

- The veterinary costs for this proof amount to 15-20 euros per animal. My cat was dewormed and got a spot-on against everything that crawls and flies. At a German vet I paid 17 Euro just for the consultation.

- you have the possibility to go to the car 3 times daily, if you forgot something for the animals or yourself

- you have to show the proof of the health condition with EVERY ferry crossing, i.e. also if an between the islands back and forth commutes. However, since this was NOT ONCE checked with us, we only did it on the outward and return journey (Huelva-Canaries-Huelva). I think it is important that my cat is dewormed regularly, but since we changed islands every 2-4 weeks, it was a bit too much chemistry for the little cat. Mica (my cat) was very much outside and had in the meantime also picked up a tapeworm, then I have of course also dewormed her.

- If you're interested in how to acclimate your cat to living in a van, check out this Post

- The main season for ferry prices starts at the end of May, from then on ferry tickets become more expensive by 300-500 euros. So it is worth to book your return trip early.


We booked a pet owner's cabin on both trips because we found that the most relaxing for all of us. Also, our dog Moana is from Romanian animal welfare and doesn't need another cage trauma. On the outward trip, Moana had some difficulty doing her business, in a small square full of dogs and people, because she was so distracted. We ended up going out either early in the morning or late at night when the area was quiet and empty. Mica, my cat, vomited a lot on the return trip at first because the ferry rocked a lot. Generally, before each trip, we checked the weather so we knew what was coming. If there is a strong swell, we have a calming spray for the animals that you spray into the room. You can get that in any pet store or at the vet. For yourself, you should also take precautions in case you get seasick easily. Our cabins were very clean, and the shower was a welcome change from van life with outdoor showers. There was a very good large selection of movies and series. However, with Fred Olsen, you can only use Whatsapp during the crossing, any other messenger app is blocked. The food was good, we eat vegan and were happy that there was always a vegan alternative. On the outbound trip we went on the Marie Curie Fred Olsen in Tenerife and on the return we went on the Balearia from Gran Canaria to Huelva. The cabins are slightly different but everything else is very similar. HERE you will find the best van parking in the Canary Islands if you travel with cat (and dog).

*1 person, pet owner cabin - comfort ticket, VW Crafter 7m long, 3m high without trailer (picture below).


About Me


I am a  psychologist and shamanic healer. I offer holistic psychological counseling online in german & english. You'll find my podcast "Inspiration to heal" on all podcast platforms.

bottom of page