The Best time to Visit the Canaries

When is the best time to visit the Canaries?

The best time to visit the Canaries is from April until October. The two eastern islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are warm all year round. The mountainous islands to the west, La Palma, El Hierro, La Gomera, Tenerife and Gran Canaria, are best visited in spring, summer and autumn. During the winter in the Canary Islands, you can expect mild temperatures of around 20 – 23°C. The winter months are some of the best months to go, especially if you’re desperate to escape to the cold climates at home. The main touristic season is actually during the summer, but if you want to save money when booking a holiday, you’re best to go during the low season between autumn and spring.

Depending on the activities you want to do in the Canaries, the best time to visit can vary. The following table will present you with the best time to visit the Canary Islands depending on your chosen activity. You’ll also get an overview of the weather, climate and temperatures in the Canary Islands across the year. You’ll be able to see what weather to expect each month and see which activities are best suited for those times. Keep reading and get planning!

 

The best time to visit the Canaries
Beach holiday Lanzarote & Fuerteventura: all year; Tenerife, Gran Canaria, La Palma, El Hierro & La Gomera: April-October
Island-hopping & cruises All year, optimum weather conditions with little rain: April – October
Trekking tours Spring and autumn
Aktive holidays March – May & end of October -November
Surfing in Fuerteventura & Lanzarote Beginners: July-November; advanced surfers: October – mid-December; kite-surfing in Lanzarote: end of March – end of October
Surfing in Gran Canaria & Tenerife Beginners: all year; advanced surfers: October – March

Geographic location of the Canary Islands

Yes, – politically speaking, the Canary Islands are indeed part of Europe. But geographically speaking, the Canaries are actually part of Africa. The islands are situated to the east of the Central Atlantic Ocean and the nearest neighbouring country is Morocco, located roughly 112km from the easternmost island, Fuerteventura (Puerto del Rosario – Tarfaya, Morocco). There is no ferry between the Canaries and Morocco, meaning that you would have to travel via mainland Spain first, where there are frequent ferry services to the Canary Islands. The distance between Tenerife and Huelva comes to around 1,380 kilometres. You can check out the geographical location on the handy map below.

What is the climate like in the Canary Islands?

The climate in the Canary Islands in subtropical, influenced by the trade winds that blow in the region. They bring a fresh breeze to the warm islands, and the proximity to the Equator and Gulf Stream means that climates are mild and warm all year round. On Fuerteventura and parts of Lanzarote, climates can also be arid with very limited rain.

The Canaries are known as having “eternal spring” with over 300 days of guaranteed sunshine. The interaction between the dry air from the Sahara Desert and the refreshing trade winds results in a climate that was just made for holidays. The average temperature on Tenerife is around 25°C, and the average sea temperature is 18°C. The warmest month is August with 11 sunshine hours and temperatures of up to 29°C. The coldest month in the Canaries is January, with around 6 sunshine hours per day and temperatures of up to 20°C. During the winter, temperatures cool off to around 13°C during the night, whereas summer nights hover at around 20°C.

Climate table – the Canary Islands (Tenerife)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max. temperature in °C 20 21 22 23 24 26 28 29 28 27 23 21
Min. temperature in °C 14 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 20 19 17 16
Sunshine hours per day 6 7 7 8 9 10 11 11 8 7 6 5
Water temperature in °C 19 18 18 18 19 20 21 22 23 22 21 20
Rainy days per month 7 6 4 2 1 0 0 0 0 3 5 7

What is the weather like in the Canaries?

Throughout the entire year, the weather in the Canaries is mild to hot. Between the highs of summer and the lows of winter, the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn feature comfortable temperatures with plenty of sun as well. There are minor variations between islands too. The mainly flat islands of Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are warmer on average and the winds from the Sahara Desert bring reddish-yellow sands with them. Another effect that the flat landscapes have is that clouds will just fly on by – this is especially true of Fuerteventura where there’s barely any rain. In the higher-lying mountains in the north and north-east, clouds form more easily and bring more rain with them, especially in the winter. On Tenerife’s Pico del Teide, Spain’s highest mountain at a height of 3,718 metres, temperatures are cooler than in low-lying parts of the island. You’ll even find snow up here during the winter and it can even be possible to go skiing. I’ll be explaining to you what you can expect during summer and winter in the Canaries.

Summer in the Canary Islands

The summer is the most popular time to visit the Canary Islands, making it the high season. The weather is constantly warm with temperatures above 25°C. The warm and dry air from the Sahara Desert, combined with the refreshingly cool trade winds, means that the summer weather is perfect for a beach holiday. For trekking tours and sightseeing, summer isn’t really the best choice, as it can be very hot. For this, you’re best visiting during the shoulder seasons when it’s somewhat milder.

Winter in the Canary Islands

Winter in the Canary Islands is lovely and mild. Average temperatures in winter come to around 20°C, with the sea at around °C. There are just seven days a month when rain falls. Winter is still suited for a beach holiday, yet no matter what you get up to here, it’s still a fantastic way to escape the frosty days back at home. The Canaries at this time of year are fantastic for proper sightseeing and hiking. Active holidaymakers can even go skiing in Tenerife, and advanced surfers will find the best waves during the winter.

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Annual temperatures in the Canary Islands

Canaries in January

January is the coldest month in the Canaries. With 6 sunshine hours a day, temperatures during the day are at around 20°C, and 13°C during the night. There are an average of 7 rainy days in the Canaries during January. There may be up to 9 rainy days on La Palma, whereas Lanzarote may have just 4.

Best time to go for:

Advanced surfers, skiing

Canaries in February

Somewhat warmer is February, though there’s not that much of a difference from January. Average temperatures of 21°C and 7 sunshine hours await you. Nights cool down to around 13°C. The number of rainy days in February is around 5 on average.

Best time to go for

Advanced surfers, skiing

Canaries in March

Temperatures start to get noticeably warmer in March. The sun will shine for 7 hours a day (even up to 8 in Lanzarote), bringing with it beautiful, warm sunshine. The number of rainy days sinks to just 4 on average.

Best time to go for:

Active holidays, trekking, surfing

Canaries in April

The Canaries in April are a fantastic time to go if you’d like to catch the local vegetation and nature in full bloom. Lovers of the outdoors and active holidaymakers will find this an optimum time to go. Daily temperatures hover at around 23°C.

Best time to go for:

Active holidays, trekking, island hopping

Canaries in May

The summer season is now beginning, though the temperatures in this month are more bearable than later on in high summer. If you’d like to relax in mild temperatures of around 24°C, then you should visit the Canaries in may. There’s barely any rain at all this month – perfect for kicking back by the beach!

Best time to go for:

Active holidays, cruises, beach holidays

Canaries in June

The Canaries in June are fantastic if you want to avoid the very highest of prices yet still soak up those summer temperatures. During the day it’ll reach up to 26°C and the Atlantic will be at around 20°C. Perfect for activities of all kinds.

Best time to go for:

Beach holidays, cruises, island-hopping

Canaries in July

July marks the beginning of the high season in the Canaries, with the largest crowds now descending upon the islands. Temperatures of 25 – 30°C are perfect for beach holidays, with the sun shining for up to 10 hours. The possibility of rain is next to none. A great time to go for beginner surfers.

Best time to go for:

Beach holidays, beginner surfers, cruises

Canaries in August

The sun really starts to bear down now in the Canaries, with temperatures of around 30°C in full effect. This is mainly the month for beach holidays – if you can handle the heat! It’s also a great time for beginner surfers to hit the waves too.

Best time to go for:

Beach holidays, beginner surfers, cruises

Canaries in September

September is the start of the shoulder season in the Canaries, since most people will be back to school/work in Europe. A great time to go for those of you looking to save! Prices of accommodation and flights will start to decrease, yet temperatures are still at a delightful 25 – 30°C.

Best time to go for:

Beach holiday, island-hopping, surfing

Canaries in October

The weather in October in the Canary Islands is still more than warm enough with highs of up to 28°C. It’s only at the end of the month that the climate starts to get a little milder – well-suited for hikes and treks. And if you fancy going for a swim in the Atlantic, October’s a great choice too.

Best time to go for

Activity holidays, trekking, beach holidays

Canaries in November

The Canaries in November are the perfect retreat for anyone looking to escape the colder autumn weather. In November you can expect temperatures between 23 – 26°C and 6 hours of sunshine. The perfect conditions for a holiday to the Canaries.

The best time to go for:

Active holiday, trekking, surfing

Canaries in December

December is a perfect time to go if you’re looking for a warm winter holiday with the family. With temperaturers of 22°C during the day, you can head off on some wonderful adventures, and the Atlantic is still warm enough should you fancy a bit of swimming! Skiing is possible on Pico del Teide too.

Best time to go for:

Advanced surfers, skiing

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The best time to visit the Canary Islands – my verdict

The Canary Islands are perfect for a holiday no matter what time of year. However the best time to go would be the months from April until October. The weather is always warm and there’s next to no rainfall at all. This time of year is especially good for those of you looking to do a serious bit of sunbathing. The summer months from July to August are the peak season, so you’ll find loads of tourists coming here at this time – and the prices will increase too. If you’re looking to save a bit of money when going to the Canary Islands, then I recommend going in the shoulder seasons of spring and autumn. Autumn in particular still has a hint of those summer temperatures, so beach holidays are still possible. If you want to be trekking or hiking, then you’re best going during the shoulder seasons as summer will be way too hot, and winter will be too cold. The largest mountain in Spain, Pico del Teide, is even possible to ski on once snow falls! No matter what time of year you go though, you’ll be captivated by the place. There’s good reason why the Canary Islands are perhaps the most popular sun destination for us Irish!

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