Discover the Best Time to Visit the Enchanting Canary Islands

Cruise ships call on the Canary Islands year-round, as warm, sunny weather is almost guaranteed whatever time of year you decide to sail. Ocean temperatures remain stable in the archipelago off the northwestern coast of Africa throughout the year, and it never gets too cold, making it an excellent destination for beach and outdoor activities, even in the winter.

However, the Canary Islands’ weather is not exactly the same across the board. Depending on the time of the year, Lanzarote and La Palma, which are located on opposite ends of the archipelago, can feel quite different.

Weather variations between islands (and even between regions within islands) are common due to a number of atmospheric factors that converge in the Canaries and influence air temperature, cloud cover and wind speed.

To help you understand the myriad nuances of weather in the Canary Islands, Spain we have put together a guide so that you can pick the best time to go to the archipelago based on what you plan to do.

How Much Does the Canary Islands’ Weather Vary Between Islands?

The rolling dunes of Gran Canaria’s Maspalomas reserve

Although the archipelago is often described as having an eternal spring, the islands span over almost 3,000 square miles, making them slightly different from each other. These geographical differences, along with the influence of trade winds and each island’s topography and proximity to the Sahara Desert, impact the weather in the Canary Islands, Spain, especially during the winter months.

Generally, the islands closest to the African coast (Lanzarote and Fuerteventura) are warmer and drier than those in the west (El Hierro and La Palma). Those in the middle — including Tenerife and Gran Canaria — are somewhere in between when it comes to weather; they get some rain but also lots of sunny days and consistently warm temperatures.

In addition to differences between islands, there are also many microclimates within a single island, often defined by elevation. Flatter coastal areas are typically sunnier and drier, while the more rugged interior regions are often cooler. Due to the influence of the trade winds, the southern parts of each island are usually sunnier than the northern regions.

Nevertheless, these differences are not huge, especially in the summer months. No need to pack a swimsuit and a jacket if you are visiting multiple islands. Just make sure you have a couple of thin layers if you are visiting in the fall and winter.

Canary Islands Weather in the Spring: Mild and Sunny in the East, Slightly Rainier in the West

The weather in the Canary Islands in spring is pleasant, with warm days perfect for beach hopping, snorkeling and sightseeing. However, you can expect a day or two of rain in the western islands. La Gomera is the wettest island, with about 35 days of rain per year, mostly concentrated in the winter and spring months. La Palma and El Hierro may also get some rain until late spring.

Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are the warmest and driest islands due to their proximity to the African coast. Easterly winds often bring dust from the Sahara Desert, but disruptions are rare. Remember to use sunscreen and sun protection gear even if the sun appears to be eclipsed by desert sand as the harmful rays can still get through.

The spring is one of the best times to go to the Canary Islands if you want to swim, take part in outdoor activities, and avoid the crowds. Temperatures in all the islands reach the mid-70s in spring, with balmy nights and mostly sunny days. Bring a thin layer for the evening, as well as an umbrella or waterproof windbreaker if your itinerary includes the western islands.

Weather in Canary Islands, Spain in the Summer: Hot, Sunny and Dry

Watersports are popular on Canary Islands beaches, including in Tenerife

The Canaries’ subtropical climate brings dry, sunny days May through October, especially in the eastern islands. July to September are the hottest months in all the islands, with average temperatures in the high 80s.

During the summer and early fall, the north of Tenerife and Gran Canaria experience a phenomenon known among locals as ‘donkey’s belly’. Dark, heavy clouds cover the sun for hours at a time, but temperatures remain high and rain is not common, at least not for long periods. The rest of the islands remain sunny and dry.

These weather conditions in the Canary Islands make the summer ideal for swimming and watersports, but it’s easy to get sunburnt, especially in windy Fuerteventura. Pack a hat, a refillable water bottle and lots of sunscreen.

This is also peak tourist season, so expect lots of people on beaches, and at restaurants and main attractions such as volcano tours.

Canary Islands Weather in the Fall: Mild Days with Little Chance of Rain — All During Wine Harvest Season

Little rain and sunny skies are standard Canary Islands weather between September and December. As the season progresses, though, chances of encountering brief storms and cloudy skies increase in the north of Tenerife, the eastern coast of La Palma and El Hierro.

Nevertheless, the temperatures remain stable and mild, with lows in the mid-60s and highs in the mid-70s. The coolest islands are those in the west, where temperatures can reach the low 50s at night and remain in the high 60s during the day.

The weather, along with fewer tourists, make fall one of the best times to go to the Canary Islands. Pack a waterproof jacket along with your swimming and hiking gear, though, just in case. You’ll be spending lots of time outdoors, be it sunning on the beach in Lanzarote, Tenerife or Fuerteventura, or hiking in the mountains of Gran Canaria, La Palma or La Gomera.

If you are a wine enthusiast, the weeks between early September and late October is the best time to go to the Canary Islands. Harvest season is in full swing, and the archipelago’s many vineyards are buzzing with activity. Most offer tours and tastings.

Canary Islands Weather in the Winter: Cooler Days and Some Rain in the Western Islands

February is a fantastic time to cruise to Tenerife, when the annual Carnival takes place in Santa Cruz

Though winter is not quite as warm, January and February are good times to visit, as the islands are at their lushest after the rain. December to March is generally a busy season for the Canaries, with visitors coming to lap up some sunshine.

Hiking and cycling are among the top winter activities here, though swimming is also pleasant. Water temperatures are stable year-round, ranging between 66 degrees Fahrenheit in the coldest months and 75 degrees in the summer.

The coolest islands are those that lie west of Tenerife, but temperatures rarely drop below 52 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Days there are mild, with highs in the mid-60s. The islands east of Tenerife are warmer and sunnier, with pleasant temperatures and little humidity. Although February is the coldest month, temperatures in the high 60s draw people to the beach.

Tenerife is often subject to Atlantic depressions in the winter, making rain storms more likely, especially in the northern regions. However, downpours are often short and sharp, with heavy clouds that often lead to partly sunny skies. Rain may also disrupt outdoor plans temporarily on the northern side of La Gomera and Gran Canaria, as well as in eastern La Palma.

If you’re in Tenerife in February, the Carnival of Santa Cruz de Tenerife is a pretty spectacular event, which attracts thousands of people from around the world, and cruisers are encouraged to take part.

The Takeaway: What Is the Best Time to Go to the Canary Islands?

A stable subtropical climate makes weather in the Canary Islands pleasant year-round. Dry, sunny conditions are the norm in most islands, even during the winter. Picking the best time to visit will depend on the type of activities you want to do, and the islands included in your itinerary.

Beachgoers will want to go in late spring, summer or early fall, while those looking to hike and enjoy outdoor activities may want to stick to the shoulder seasons of spring and fall, as temperatures will be more comfortable. Great cruise deals and fewer crowds make those months a great time to go to the Canary Islands, too.

If whale and dolphin watching is what you are after, the spring and winter are the best times of the year to visit the Canary Islands. The area between La Gomera and Tenerife is where most of the sightings occur. The weather will be slightly cooler than in the summer, but chances are the weather in the Canary Islands will be mild, mostly sunny, and dry.

In short, it’s never a bad time to cruise to the Canary Islands, but for the most comfortable and consistent weather, your best bets are the spring and the fall.

Set sail on a voyage of discovery with – your ultimate destination for all things cruising! Explore the latest news, insightful reviews, and thrilling cruising adventures from around the globe. Whether you’re a seasoned cruiser or a first-time traveler, is your go-to source for expert advice, insider tips, and inspiring stories to fuel your wanderlust. Embark on a journey like no other with – where every wave brings new excitement and endless possibilities on the high seas.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *