Holiday Weather

Canary Islands Weather Overview

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago located off the west coast of Africa. From west to east the main islands are La Palma, La Gomera, Tenerife, Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura and Lanzarote.  

The islands’ mild temperatures are why they have long been known as ‘the islands of eternal spring.’ The mild climate occurs largely because of the islands’ location in the path of the Canary current. The Canary current is a cool ocean current which flows toward the southwest. The islands lie blocking this current so they are directly affected by these cooler waters. Temperatures on the islands are usually a couple of degrees cooler than expected at their latitude.

The archipelago generally experiences mild winters and warm summers. Year round the Canary Islands receive warm, sunny weather with an average temperature that ranges from 17°C in the winter to 24°C in the summer. There are rarely major temperature extremes, though it is not uncommon for the mercury to rise above 30°C in the peak of summer, especially in eastern areas. The islands closer to Africa are hotter and drier than those to the west.

Across each island it is generally safe to say that the weather varies from the north to the south. The northwest coasts of the islands are often significantly cooler and wetter than the south coasts as the northeast is exposed to the predominant northeast trade winds but the west is exposed to hot, dry winds from the African continent. The difference in weather conditions from north to south is most pronounced in the winter when true beach weather can develop in the middle of winter in the south while it is rarely warm enough to be without a light sweater in the north. As a result, the flora and fauna can also vary from north to south. The north coasts are luscious while the southern slopes are usually sunny deserts.

In the summer months (from June to September) the daily highs in the Canaries generally sit around 27°C. At night time the mercury will fall to about 18°C. In the winter the daily highs are about 17°C and nightly lows are rarely cooler than 8°C. Daily sunshine hours range from an average of six per day in winter to as many as twelve in the summer months.

Occasionally, hot, dry air blows from the Sahara desert. This is when the warmest days in summer will occur. Once the wind reaches the islands it is significantly cooler than on the coast of Africa; it cools as it passes over the cold ocean water.

During winter there are occasional stormy wet periods as the weather is disturbed by the influence of an Atlantic depression, however these periods are not overly frequent. Fog and cloud may occur sporadically in the summer months, but as a whole summer is usually dry and sunny with no extreme highs.

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