A holiday in Tenerife can almost 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.
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 is affected by hot, dry weather systems coming over from Western Sahara in Africa.
Summer Weather in Tenerife: June – September
From June until September, sees average high temperatures rising through the mid-twenties to a peak of 28°C in July, August and September. Night time temperatures are cooler, but stay in the high teens to early twenties so air-conditioning is a good idea, though 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 twenties for the entire season.
Sunshine levels are good throughout the summer, with nine hours per day for the first three months of the season and eight hours 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. On the odd occasion Tenerife is visited by the sirocco: a wind that originates in the Sahara and can cause clouds of sand and dust. If the sirocco blows, south Tenerife can see temperatures in the mid-thirties.
In October and November, is still hot but does see an increase in rainfall. The average high temperature decreases to 27°C in October and to 25°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. Tenerife sees fewer visitors at this time of year so if you don’t like crowds this is a great time to come.
From December until February, is very warm but sometimes quite wet. January is the coolest month in the year but still sees an average high temperature of 20°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-twenties 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 between 6 and 7 hours per day for the 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.
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 eight 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.