Tenerife, map

Index


Introduction


In Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, the climate is subtropical oceanic on the coast, that is, very mild and sunny most of the year, with little rainfall concentrated in the period from October to March. In inland areas, the climate varies with altitude and slope exposure: the slopes exposed to the northeast receive a moderate amount of rain and are green, while in the rest of the island the rainfall is scarce, usually below 250 millimeters (10 inches) per year on the coasts, and often even below 150 mm (6 in), which explains the aridity of the landscape on coasts and southern slopes.
In fact, the prevailing winds, the northeast trade winds, make the northern side more humid, while tempering the heat along the coast during the summer; the trade winds blow with greater intensity in the middle of the day and in the afternoon, and are often moderate or even quite strong.
The days of Calima, characterized by abnormal heat and light wind, caused by hot air masses from Africa, are relatively rare (although in recent years they have become more frequent), and are most common in spring and summer. In practice, these are the only days when the temperature exceeds 30 °C (86 °F) and the heat is unpleasant. The stifling heat is also felt on the hills, and often even more than in the plains, because warm air is lighter and tends to rise, while the coasts may remain tempered by the cool breeze coming from the sea. The highest records on the coasts are 34/35 °C (93/95 °F) in March, April and November, around 36/37 °C (97/99 °F) in May, June and October, and 42/44 °C (108/111 °F) in July, August and September.

The coasts


Santa Cruz

In the largest town, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, daytime temperatures are very mild in winter, with highs around 21 °C (70 °F) in January and February, and warm in summer, with highs around 28/29 °C (82/84 °F) from July to September. Here are the average temperatures.
Santa Cruz - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)151516161819212121201816
Max (°C)212122222426282928262422
Min (°F)595961616466707070686461
Max (°F)707072727579828482797572

The rain pattern is Mediterranean, which means that the bulk of the rain falls in autumn and winter, when the Canaries can be reached by some Atlantic depressions, while in summer it practically never rains. However, the total quantity of the rain that falls in Santa Cruz is low, just 270 mm (10.5 in) per year, so it's at semi-desert levels. In autumn and winter, weeks can pass without rain, but sometimes there may be heavier rains, which can cause flooding, as happened in March 2002, December 2013, and October 2014. Here is the average precipitation.
Santa Cruz - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)4035301551003305060269
Prec.(in)1,61,41,20,60,20000,11,222,410,6
Days54321100136632

Tenerife, sea and Teide in the background

Southern coast

On the southern coast, where there are towns like Playa de Los Cristianos, Playa de las Américas, and Costa del Silencio, there is the other airport of the island, called Tenerife Sur. Here, the temperatures are similar to those of Santa Cruz and the rest of the coasts of the Canary Islands. Here are the average temperatures.
Tenerife Sur - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)151516161719202121201816
Max (°C)222223232425282828272523
Min (°F)595961616366687070686461
Max (°F)727273737577828282817773

The rains are very scarce, at desert levels, in fact they amount to less than 150 mm (6 in) per year; however, they are concentrated, as usual, in the cold half of the year. Here is the average precipitation.
Tenerife Sur - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)152015710014122530133
Prec.(in)0,60,80,60,300000,20,511,25,2
Days22210000122415

The amount of sunshine in Tenerife is very good throughout the year, however, in addition to the low pressure systems that may pass over the island from October to March, cloud banks can form in summer on the Atlantic Ocean and reach the island. On the northern coast, and especially on the mountain slopes exposed to the north, local clouds and fogs can form. The south coast is therefore the sunniest.
Here are the average daily sunshine hours in Tenerife Sur.
Tenerife Sur - Sunshine
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Hours6777891097766

Tenerife south from above

Sea temperature


The sea in Tenerife is quite cold in winter, even though not prohibitively for swimming, and remains quite cool in summer. In fact, the island is located at a low latitude, almost to the Tropic, but in an area of the Atlantic Ocean where a cold current flows. Those who live on the island get accustomed to swimming in winter as well, which also Nordic tourists do, or those who do not suffer from the cold. However, the sea temperature ranges from 19 °C (66 °F) between January and April to 23 °C (73 °F) between August and October. Here are the average sea temperatures.
Tenerife - Sea temperature
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Temp (°C)191919192021222323232220
Temp (°F)666666666870727373737268

Inland areas


Santa Cruz overlooks the sea, but there are neighbourhoods that climb the inland slopes, and along the road to San Cristobal de La Laguna, you find progressively cooler and humid weather.

La Laguna

When looking for meteorological data of Tenerife, you often find those of the airport of La Laguna, which is the airport of the northern part of the island (called Tenerife Norte) and is sometimes presented generically as "Tenerife", but being located at 600 meters (2,000 feet), it has significantly cooler temperatures. In fact, highs are on average around 16 °C (61 °F) in winter and 25/26 °C (77/79 °F) in summer. Here are the average temperatures.
La Laguna - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)101011111214161716151312
Max (°C)161718182022252625222017
Min (°F)505052525457616361595554
Max (°F)616364646872777977726863

Lying on the northern slope, La Laguna is also more humid and rainy: rainfall amounts to 605 mm (24 in) per year, with a maximum from November to January of 90/110 mm (3.5/4.3 in) per month, distributed in 8/9 days per month, but also in March and October it's about 60/65 mm (2.4/2.6 in) per month. It is a very cool and moist microclimate, for a town of the Canaries. In summer, however, here too there is little rain. Here is the average precipitation.
La Laguna - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)8070604020105515458080515
Prec.(in)3,12,82,41,60,80,40,20,20,61,83,13,120,3
Days87764221368964

La Laguna, moist area of Tenerife

To the south of La Laguna, the northern slopes of the island of Tenerife above 1,000 meters (3,300 feet) are even wetter and are covered by forests. Green areas are also found in the municipality of La Orotava, on the north side of Mount Teide, between 1,000 and 1,800 meters (3,300 and 5,900 ft), where the trade winds are felt most. Above this altitude, however, the rainfall becomes scarcer and the vegetation becomes sparser.

Teide

The Teide observatory of Izaña is located at 2,400 meters (7,900 ft) above sea level. At this altitude, winter, from December to February, is quite cold, with average temperatures about 4/5 °C (39/41 °F); already at this altitude, sometimes it can snow. Summer is mild, so the temperatures not so high, but the (almost) tropical sun at high altitudes is very strong. Unlike on the coasts, here, in September the temperature already begins to decrease. Here are the average temperatures.
Teide observ. - Average temperatures
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Min (°C)1134610141410742
Max (°C)881012141923231914119
Min (°F)343437394350575750453936
Max (°F)464650545766737366575248

At the observatory, 435 mm (17 in) of rain or snow fall, concentrated from November to March, while in summer the rains are sporadic. Here is the average precipitation.
Teide observ. - Average precipitation
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Prec.(mm)856565251510215355075435
Prec.(in)3,32,62,610,6000,10,61,42317,1
Days54431000234632

At higher altitudes, we find a montane dry vegetation, in addition to lunar landscapes and rocky deserts. Mount Teide is a volcano, 3,718 meters (12,198 feet) high. There is a cable car, the Mount Teide Cable Car, which leads up to 3,550 meters (11,600 ft): if you want to take it, you must book in advance.

Teide Observatory of Izana

Best Time


The best period for a beach holiday in Tenerife is from May to mid-October. In the first period (May-June), the air temperature is a bit lower and the sea is a bit colder, but the days are slightly longer. In the Canaries, the summer days are shorter than in Europe (while they are longer in winter), but the sun sets late enough anyway because of the time zone adopted.
If you want to visit cities or to go on excursions to the interior, you can choose April, May and the first half of October.
In winter, you will appreciate the mild temperatures and you can often sunbathe, although we can not exclude a few days of bad weather. If you want, you can combine a morning excursion on Mount Teide, maybe looking for of snow, with an afternoon on the beach.

What to pack


In winter: bring light clothes for the day, a sweater and a jacket for the evening, and possibly a raincoat or umbrella. To climb Mount Teide, a down jacket, a hat, gloves, hiking boots.
In summer: bring summer clothes, but also a scarf for the wind, a light sweatshirt, a light jacket for the evening and windy afternoons; comfortable shoes for hiking. To climb Mount Teide, hiking shoes, a sweatshirt and a jacket for the highest altitudes.

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