Isle of Tenerife

Vacation in Climate Tenerife

Climate and Weather on the canary islands

Probably the best climate in the world...

Though Tenerife has a climate that can't be matched anywhere in the world for its benign nature, the weather can change as quickly and dramatically as it does in the British Isles.

The warmest weather is found on the south and west of the island, while the east is generally windier and the north wetter.

What cannot be denied, however, is that Tenerife has the lowest temperature difference between summer and winter of anywhere in the world, with averages of around 15C in winter and 24C in summer.

Tenerife owes its good fortune to its convenient location just north of the Tropic of Cancer - making the climate sub-tropical - and the unusual typography of steep-sided mountains rising to its crowning glory, Mount Teide.

At 12,195ft Teide is the highest mountain in Spain and it effectively divides the island into two climate zones.

The south is hot and dry, desert-like in appearance with little more than low scrub by the way of vegetation.

The north is altogether softer and greener thanks to higher rainfall and greater cloud cover.

The unique quality of the climate of the Canarian archipelago is determined by the high-pressure anti-cyclone systems that develop around the Azores to the north west.

These weather systems trigger the trade winds that flow through the Canaries, bringing moist air with them and generating the meteorological phenomenon known as 'horizontal rain' - not rain at all in the true sense but mist that provides a constant source of moisture for the thickly-wooded forests that dominate Tenerife at altitudes between 500 and 1,200 metres.

Air conditioning is rarely needed on Tenerife because nature has its own cooling system, the ocean currents that draw cool waters from the Southern Ocean, which ensure that daytime temperatures remain comfortable despite the proximity of the Western Sahara desert a few hundred miles to the east.

Snow is possible on Teide at any time between October and May. It's one of the wonders of the island that sun seekers can be sprawled out on the beach enjoying temperatures in the mid-20s while glancing up at Teide's peak hidden under a blanket covering of snow.

Tenerife has no rainy season as such, though what rainfall there is largely occurs between November and February. Rarely does it rain for more than an hour or two.

Anyone arriving at Reina Sofia airport in the south of the island, travelling up the motorway to the capital of Santa Cruz and on up to Puerto de la Cruz and the Orotava Valley will appreciate the diversity Tenerife offers.

From one side of Santa Cruz to the other, the landscape changes dramatically. Gone is the hot and dry, desert-like terrain, replaced by an altogether greener and gentler atmosphere as the motorway speeds traffic onwards and upwards towards La Laguna, where green fields predominate.

Further on is the Orotava Valley, the market garden of Tenerife, where banana plantations, vineyards and a host of other crops flourish. The town of La Orotava is so often cloaked by cloud that the locals refer to is 'la panza del burro' - the belly of the donkey.

Further on still, in the north west corner of the island around the little town of Icod de los Vinos, the terrain changes yet again, taking on an appearance not unlike that of the Lizard peninsular in Cornwall, the southernmost tip of the British Isles.

Here broom, gorse and heather can be seen growing alongside the native Canarian pine and palm trees.

Teide exerts its considerable influence on this north west corner, looming large on the skyline. It was here that the first Spanish invaders settled, deciding that growing conditions would be perfect for their sugar cane and vines.

And so it proved until Teide took a hand, the lava flow from a volcanic eruption in 1706 all but destroying the port of Garachico and the changing the course of the development of the island.