On our vacation in Tenerife we have found some very nice lavastones from the Teide Volcano and want to take them on our flight home (all within EU).

The problem is that our friends went to Egypt once, found some nice stones there and tried to take them home. But it turned out that this was illegal. Airport Security didn't just tell them that they couldn't take the stones home, they were also charged a fee of 2000$.

Is there a law prohibiting us from exporting lava rocks from Tenerife?

  • 6
    If everybody who visited Tenerife took a rock home with them, there wouldn't be as many nice rocks left. The point of your friends' experience in Egypt is to try to ensure that places with nice rocks still have nice rocks for future visitors. Sep 13, 2015 at 20:58
  • @GregHewgill That depends on how numerous those rocks are. In Jeju, Korea I've seen them sold at souvenir stands. Would be odd if souvenir's couldn't be taken home. I don't have numbers for Tenerife, but there are certainly places where there the number of rocks so vastly outnumbers the number of visitors (with the Earth churning out new rocks on a regular basis) that "there won't be any rocks left" is not really an issue in practice.
    – gerrit
    Sep 13, 2015 at 22:43
  • 4
    5 million annual visitors to Tenerife every year (quick google). Even if taking one rock each, at say 500g, that's 2500 metric tons a year of rock leaving the country. Now of course not everyone is taking them, but like the question on taking sand, and others who take 'a tiny bit of a pyramid' or 'one small plant' - it adds up faster than you'd think. Please don't take stuff like that, whether they're sold as souvenirs or not.
    – Mark Mayo
    Sep 14, 2015 at 11:43
  • 1
    ACtually, looks like I'm wrong and it is in the customs area, but not the VAT area. The EU is confusing, many-tentacled beast.
    – CMaster
    Sep 14, 2015 at 13:27
  • 1
    We're not removing the whole volcano. Sometimes some of the appeal is loose rock, the 'shrapnel' as described in the article I linked. It would take a lot less time to dramatically reduce the shrapnel from the highly frequented paths, changing the appearance and experience for future visitors. Take only photos, leave only footprints, I believe is the usual quote.
    – Mark Mayo
    Sep 14, 2015 at 23:28

2 Answers 2


There's at least one article online saying it's illegal in protected areas around it, from the Independent:

Rock star: The volcanic attraction of Tenerife

Then, after a brief stop to allow the children to examine some lava shrapnel (it turned out that it was illegal to remove stones from these protected areas), we reached the vast caldera of Teide itself: a bleak, alien landscape, the soil too poor to support much more than bright-green moss.

  • So taking stones from the non-national park areas is allowed?
    – this.foo
    Sep 15, 2015 at 11:18
  • 3
    The laws are there to protect those places already at threat. Don't make them have to protect even more areas.
    – Mark Mayo
    Sep 15, 2015 at 13:20

You cannot collect rocks, use a geological hammer, collect plants or wildlife anywhere in the National Park. About two years ago some Germans decided that the rules didn't apply to them, so they went to board a flight back to Munich with 500 grammes of rocks. They didn't leave Tenerife as they were stopped at the boarding gate, their bags opened and they were fined if I recall over 2000 euros EACH for removing rocks without a permit! You make the work of professional geologists who do need to collect specimens so much harder. Leave the rocks where they are. Tenerife IS NOT in the EU - it is an autonomous region and you are subject to the same restrictions when entering the EU as someone from say Australia.

  • 4
    That's incorrect, Tenerife and the rest of the Canary Islands are an “outermost region” and as such part of the EU. They do have special derogations, e.g. for VAT, but that's not quite the same status as overseas countries and territories, let alone unrelated third countries.
    – Relaxed
    Sep 14, 2015 at 16:57
  • 1
    How did the flight attendants know the rocks were collected inside the national park? It covers less than 10% of Tenerife, and there's plenty of fresher volcanic material on unprotected beaches of La Palma (and probably Tenerife as well).
    – gerrit
    Sep 14, 2015 at 17:30

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .