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Weather Tenerife

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Last updated:

23 Nov

Local Time: 02:00 WET UK Time: 02:00 GMT
66°F
(19°C)
NNE 1mph
(2kmh)
  • Sunrise 07:33
  • Sunset 18:11
  • Moonrise 07:20
  • Moonset 18:29
Temp feels like: 66°F (19°C)
Length of Day: 10h 23m
Humidity: 78 %
Dew Point: 59°F (15°C)
Pressure: 29.83 " (1010 hpa)
Visiblity: 6 miles (10 km)

Average for November: 66°F (19°C)

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Weather Overview for Tenerife

Tenerife is one of Spain's Canary Islands that sit far south of the mainland, close to the west coast of Northern Africa. The islands are known as “The Islands of Eternal Spring” for their famously pleasant weather all year round.

A holiday in Tenerife can basically guarantee the perfect level of heat, little rain and plenty of sun. However, this does not apply to the whole of the island. The island is mountainous, sits in the cooling Canary Current of the North Atlantic Ocean, in the path of the northeast trade winds, and is very close to the west coast of Africa; these factors give rise to an exceptional level of regional climatic variation – so much so that you can generally choose what type of weather you would like to experience on any day. 

Transport links across the island are efficient and easy to find so wherever you stay you can always access a real contrast. For instance, you might visit in winter and hike up to the snow line on Mount Teide, then spend the next day sunbathing on the south coast.

This guide has split Tenerife into three areas; the south coast, the north coast and the central mountains. Scroll down to learn more about the weather specific to the area you are interested in.

Tenerife written in the sand

Golden sands at Los Cristianos, Playa de Las Americas and Playa Paraiso Tenerife, Canary Islands.

 

The South Coast

Tenerife South, where the majority of the tourist resorts are clustered, is warm year round with pleasantly hot summers. This includes resorts such as Los Cristianos, Playa de Las Americas and Playa Paraiso. This side of the island faces south and east and so is affected by hot, dry weather systems coming over from Western Sahara in Africa.

Summer, from June till September, sees average high temperatures rising through the mid twenties to a peak of around 27°C in August that lasts into September. June is only marginally cooler with an average high temperature of 24°C. Night time temperatures are cooler, but stay in the high teens to early twenties so air-conditioning is a good idea. The steady trade winds ensure that the heat rarely becomes uncomfortable, and you can always take a siesta or dive in the sea if it gets a bit too hot. As Tenerife is in the North Atlantic, the water temperature does not reach the highs seen around Mediterranean holiday resorts, but it is still plenty warm enough for swimming, sitting in the low 20s for the entire season.

Sunshine levels are good throughout the summer, rising from nine hours per day and peaking at ten hours per day in July before reducing to eight in September. Rainfall is minimal. Prolonged periods of drought have been known to result in forest fires that spread rapidly through the dry vegetation. Fuelling the spread of these fires is the strong wind. In 2007 a fire started by a disgruntled park ranger destroyed 35,000 hectares of forest and 900 homes across Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

On the odd occasion Tenerife is visited by the sirocco: a wind that originates in the Sahara. Considering its birthplace it is plain to see why any place under the influence of the sirocco experiences soaring temperatures, aridity and sometimes clouds of sand and dust. If the sirocco blows, south Tenerife can see temperatures in the mid 30s. 

Summer is one of Tenerife’s high seasons, the other being winter, and is when the island is visited mainly by young groups looking to party all night and sunbathe all day.

Autumn, in October and November, is still hot but does see an increase in rainfall. The average high temperature decreases to 26°C in October and to 24°C in November. The sea temperature stays about the same and sunshine levels remain good at around six or seven hours per day. While rainfall does increase, showers are usually short-lived. It should be noted that these weather conditions are vastly better than the peak of the British summer. Tenerife sees fewer visitors at this time of year so if you don’t like crowds this is a good time to come.

Winter, from December till February, is very warm but sometimes quite wet. January is the coolest month in the year but still sees an average high temperature of 21°C. Most people would consider this warm enough to lie on the beach, especially if you’re from northern Europe and have a tendency to be rather optimistic about these things. On some days it can get up into the mid 20s but this is not to be relied upon. Night times are cooler, getting down to an average low of 14°C, so a few extra layers are necessary. Rainfall is higher in this season. Light showers and the odd stormy day occur but are infrequent, and poor weather conditions rarely last for long. Sunshine levels remain good at around six hours per day for the entire season, and the sea is still warm enough for swimming.

Again, these weather conditions are actually on par with many locations in northern Europe in midsummer, so if you’re trying to escape the cold and grey of a northern European winter, Tenerife is clearly an option. It should be noted that the UK receives a single hour of sunshine per day in December. This has made Tenerife exceptionally popular as a Christmas getaway. Winter is Tenerife’s other high season and sees the island visited by family groups.

Spring, from March till May, sees the temperature creeping back up to 22°C with some sunny days reaching into the high twenties. However, cool winds can force the temperature back down into the teens. Night times remain mild, at around 16°C, so don’t forget to pack a jumper. Rainfall rapidly decreases and sunshine levels creep up, reaching an average of nine hours per day in May. This is a fantastic time to visit the island when the summer crowds are yet to arrive and the island is in full bloom following the winter rains.

 canary islands tenerife

Puerto de la Cruz Tenerife, Canary Islands.

The North Coast

Tenerife North is much quieter largely because of its cooler, wetter weather, especially in the winter months. Summers on the north coast are still hot but are a bit more overcast with slightly higher rainfall levels. Tourism is still a high earner for the north but thinner crowds mean that many areas remain unspoilt. Resorts on the north coast include Puerto de la Cruz, El Sauzal, and Garachico. The area is popular with walkers and golfers. The wetter weather has resulted in a more verdant landscape where palm trees and banana plantations thrive. The beaches on this side of the island are mostly black, volcanic sand.

Summer, from June till September, is very similar to that in the south but a few degrees cooler. It sees average high temperatures in the low 20s, peaking in July and August at 24°C. Sunshine levels are also at their highest in July with ten hours per day. As in the south, rainfall is almost non-existent as it tends to fall in the higher, central mountains of Tenerife. The region can be quite windy so conditions are changeable from moment to moment. This keeps temperatures in check and also gives rise to great water sport conditions. Windsurfers and sailors seek out the strong trade winds. The north is generally safe from the sirocco wind.

Autumn, in October and November, is pleasantly warm, much like winter in the south. 18°C can be expected in the day but night times are cool around 12°C. The sea remains warm enough for swimming and sunshine levels are reasonable at six hours per day. A few storms may blow in but infrequently. October sees rain on around five days and showers are usually heavy but short, and followed by clear weather.

Winter, from December till February, is mild but much cooler and a wetter than on the south coast. The average high gets down to 15°C in January when the average low gets down to 9°C. This is hardly cold and many like to visit the area for walking holidays during this season. The sea generally does not fall below 19°C which can make an interesting contrast to the cooler air temperature. The sea is bound to be warmer than any unheated outdoor swimming pools which cool down quickly due to their small volume. Sunshine levels remain good at around six hours per day throughout the season. Rain is still not frequent at all but when it falls it can be heavy. If you’re lucky you’ll miss the rain altogether.

Spring, from March till May, is very mild and gets warm by the end of the season. The average high rises slightly to a pleasant 17°C in March and April and up to 18°C in May. Night times remain cold but sunshine levels increase and the rain practically disappears again. The sea heats up very slightly to 20°C in May. Again, this is a popular time to visit for a more active holiday. Spring is a good time to visit if you don’t want to spend all of your time on the beach and you don’t like competing with crowds.

 

The Central Mountains

Tenerife is a volcanic island. Mount Teide is technically the third largest volcano in the world and is the highest point in Spain, though clearly Spain is cheating a little as geographically the Canary Islands are much closer to Africa than Spain. It is 3718m above sea level at its peak.

Higher altitudes always mean cooler temperatures. The mountains of Tenerife provide cool respite from summer heat and Mount Teide, the highest in Tenerife, is snow-capped during winter months. Rainfall is always higher in this region, especially on the northeast faces due to the northeast direction of the trade winds. Mist and fog can also develop in any season. The mountains provide many routes for walkers, trekkers, cyclists and climbers but not, as some have been lead to believe, skiers. While snow is a regular winter feature it has not so far proved reliably thick enough for the development of a ski resort. However, with climate change: who knows?

Mount Teide Tenerife

Mount Teide is the third largest volcano in the world and classed as the highest point in Spain.

 

It is not just the rugged mountain itself that attracts hikers and the like, but the diverse plant life that thrives on the mineral-rich soil created by the ancient lava flows. Pine forests and more exotic plants, such as the bizarrely named Teide Bugloss with its red-flowered tower reaching up to 3m tall, thrive there. A wide variety of animal life, many species of which are unique to the island, also make Mount Teide their home. As such, Mount Teide and its surrounding areas are part of a protected national park. It was named a world heritage site by UNESCO in 2007.

It is the mountains that create the great variation in weather conditions experienced across Tenerife. The prevailing winds on Tenerife are from the northeast and the mountains are a barrier to them. They force the majority of the rain to fall in the northeast, but mostly on the mountains themselves, before the wind continues to the south side. This has helped the entire cost to be famed for its lack of wet weather. Even in the wettest part of the year, coastal locations north or south generally receive an average of around five or six days with rain per month – in the UK it rains on around half of the days in each month. The cooling effect of the trade winds is also kept on the northeast side which is why it is always a few degrees cooler there. Hot, dry weather travelling over from Africa are also stopped by the mountains, keeping these conditions on the southeast side.

The Canary Current is a stream of cool water in the Atlantic that keeps the temperature of the Canaries lower than might be expected at this latitude. It draws up cool, nutrient-rich water from deep down in the Atlantic Ocean. The nutrient-rich water has led to a great diversity of aquatic life including impressive reefs, and this, along with seismic activity creating exciting underwater topography, has led to Tenerife becoming a well-known dive destination. Remember, different seasons see different visitors to the reefs, for instance angel sharks can only be seen in the winter.

Weather Hazards

While it is more than likely that you will enjoy fantastic weather throughout your stay there, depending on what time of the year you are visiting Tenerife, you may experience some adverse weather conditions during your time there.

Dust storms caused by strong winds blowing across the Sahara occur at different months throughout the year and vary in severity.

In June to August they remain above sea level, but will affect you if you’re in the mountains.

October through to November sees storms that can last between two and five days, at sea level.

The most severe dust storms occur in February and March though, when visibility can be severely reduced. These can last anywhere between two and 22 days.

Low pressure systems can also cause anything from severe thunderstorms, to torrential rain that can result in flooding and landslides, to hurricanes.

The summer can also see bush fires in Tenerife. However, while these can be common, they’re usually not very severe. If you are a regular bush walker though, do take the possibility of fire into consideration.

The summer also brings with it the possibility of ozone pollution. This will usually become an issue between the hours of 12 and 5 am. If you suffer from asthma, you may find you’re affected by this more, so bring your medicine with you.

 


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