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Tenerife and Canary Islands weather

Updated on February 20, 2016

Holiday weather on Tenerife

Most holiday-makers who come to Tenerife are hoping to get a good share of Canary Islands holiday weather with plenty of sunshine and soaring tropical temperatures, and usually in the south of the island that is what they will find. This is why the main resorts of Los Cristianos and Playa de las Américas are in the south.


Rainbow over Garachico
Rainbow over Garachico

The cooler north of Tenerife

However, whilst the south of Tenerife has semi-desert conditions in the countryside and is generally hot and dry, the north of the island is very different. Much more rainfall happens in the northern parts and consequently it is usually far greener with far more luxuriant vegetation in the north.

It is generally cooler in Tenerife North as well, and because of the change in climate a lot more varied agricultural produce comes from farms in this part of the island. Cabbage, lettuce, onions and carrots all grow well in the north and trees like apples, peaches and apricots all do much better here too.

Actually due to the high mountains of Tenerife, with Mt Teide being the highest mountain in all of Spain, the island offers several micro-climates. The mountainsides tend to be covered in pine and evergreen laurel forest known as "laurisilva." This latter type of woodland traps the moisture from the clouds that form around the higher ground, and are "cloud forests."

There is a layer that forms the well-known "sea of clouds." Above it though, and high on Teide, there is often no cloud and the clear skies let the powerful sunshine through. It is easy to get sunburnt on these higher mountain parts of Tenerife.

In winter, the peak of Mt Teide and its slopes get covered in snow and it is often like this for a couple of months. At this time of year it is possible to go from snow on Mt Teide and freezing temperatures, to sunbathing and swimming in the sea within an hour's drive.

Generally all of Tenerife has hotter and drier weather from around March until late autumn when the rains start and fall as snow on Mt Teide.

Whilst it is chillier at night in the north of Tenerife, in autumn and winter it never goes below zero in the coastal regions and is usually a lot warmer than that, with temperatures more like those in a UK summer.

When there are storms on Tenerife they can be very bad. The island can experience flooding, landslides and accompanying power cuts. Tropical Storm Delta in 2005 brought down electricity pylons and put the capital of Santa Cruz without power for nearly a week.

The gale-force winds that accompany the storms often break trees and cause damage to buildings.

Generally though, the climate and weather in Tenerife is really good, and this is why many British and other foreigners decide to move to the island permanently.

One weather phenomenon that everyone hates is called a calima. This is when dust clouds from the Sahara Desert are brought over to the Canary Islands by the winds. In a calima the visibility is low and the temperature is high. It is like being out in a hot and dry fog.

Everything can get coated in dust too, which people who are house-proud or like to keep their cars shiny really hate. Fortunately calimas only last a day or so and we only get a few each year.

In the mountainous areas of the north a thick fog comes down quickly and this is known as "bruma" in Spanish. The temperature drops fast and if you are out in it you need suitable clothes or you will get cold and damp.

Fortunately on Tenerife, because of the micro-climates and because it doesn't take long to get from end of the island to the other, if the weather isn't to your liking where you are, you can jump in your car or take a bus and go to another part where it is much better.

The weather can change very fast on the island and because of this, especially if you are going out trekking in the woods and mountains, it is always important to take appropriate clothes and to consult the weather forecast for the island.

The one that Tenerife Islander uses is given in the link section below.


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    • Tenerife Islander profile image

      Steve Andrews 7 years ago from Tenerife

      Thank you for your comments, Lorlie6, kcreery and ladyjane1!

    • ladyjane1 profile image

      ladyjane1 7 years ago from Texas

      You have a great way of describing this Island. I would love to go someday.

    • kcreery profile image

      Kevin 7 years ago from Whistler Canada

      Sounds like a great place. Amazing different weather patterns for an island paradise.

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 7 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Tenerife sounds like paradise to me.

      I adore storms, and would love to be there for some raging weather!

    • Tenerife Islander profile image

      Steve Andrews 7 years ago from Tenerife

      Thank you for posting, breakfastpop! I am sure you would love it here!

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      I have always had a yen to visit Tenerife. Thanks for the terrific hub.