Ah, the Canary Islands — one of the most unique places to visit in Europe. Often called “the Mexico of Europe,” this group of islands comprise an archipelago just off the coast of northwest Africa, and Spain rules the area of over 2.2 million people.
The idyllic paradise is home to seven islands and many smaller islets. It’s long been a popular tourist destination, and visitors flock to the archipelago from Europe and elsewhere.
If you’re thinking about the Canary Islands for your next travel destination, we have everything you need to know about visiting the islands.
We’ll reveal the best time to go, the off-season, the cheapest time, and tips for going at the worst month. Read on to discover the best, worst, least busy, and cheapest times to visit on our complete guide below!
Overall Best Time to Visit the Canary Islands
The best time to visit the Canary Islands is from April to September. The weather is at its peak during this time, and there are many events and festivals.
Tourism in this season mainly consists of families looking for a summer holiday, but you can still find quiet if you want a more secluded vacation. The weather on the islands is temperate nearly the whole year round, but the late spring and summer are best of all.
The subtropical climate keeps the days mild, and the area rarely sees harsh storms. You might have a few rainy days, but for the most part, the weather on the Canary Islands is gorgeous.
There’s no shortage of things to do on the sunny islands. Siam Park is a hugely popular water park in Tenerife with pools, slides, and inner tubing. You can also hit the rum distillery if it rains one day.
Head to the town of Firgas for the Traída del Palo festival, a bustling event that honors the local patron saint.
You can check out the sandy beaches in the summer, like Tenerife’s Los Cristianos or the Playa de Las Canteras in Gran Canaria. And, of course, don’t forget to go hiking at scenic locations like Timanfaya National Park, Montana Roja, or Teide National Park.
Cheapest Time to Visit the Canary Islands
The cheapest time to visit the Canary Islands is in October and November. The summer tourist season is over, and rain storms increase, bringing down prices.
There isn’t as much to do in the fall, but the weather is still good enough for hiking and swimming. Temperatures hover in the 60s and 70s, and it’s warm enough to swim even as the rest of Europe experiences winter.
The water temperature is around 71 degrees Fahrenheit, and you’ll have the beaches to yourself with fewer tourists. Expect to see several rainy days, as October is the wettest month, with around half an inch of rain.
Flights are cheaper and easier to book during the least busy time. Reserve your tickets at least three weeks in advance for the best deal, and fly into Tenerife South Airport.
It’s among the biggest airports on the islands and can get you anywhere you need to go in the archipelago. Make the most of the cheapest time and find some free activities.
Head to the National Gallery in Georgetown, an art museum with free admission, or try cavern hiking at the Bluff in Cayman Brac. You can also check out the landscaped boardwalk at Camana Bay, an upscale area with a free splash pad and lots of fun places for window shopping.
Least Busy Time to Visit the Canary Islands
The least busy time in the Canary Islands is from January to March. It’s winter, and the weather isn’t super enjoyable. I’ve been here in February and can confirm that it’s extremely slow, with few shops actually open.
However, this time is after the winter holiday tourist rush, and the absence of travelers will make your vacation quiet and restful. Enjoy smaller crowds when you visit the Canary Islands in late winter.
You can take advantage of the slow tourism and experience quieter beaches and faster restaurant seating. There are still fun activities, like celebrating Carnival with the locals in February or tucking in at a nice restaurant like Duquesa Bistrò in Tenerife.
Score deals on flights and book during the middle of the week. Tuesday to Thursday is the least busy time for traveling, and flying midweek will help you save money and time.
Fly into a less popular island like El Hierro for extra quiet. The weather isn’t perfect during the offseason, but it’s still warm enough for a few beach days.
Expect temperatures around 64 degrees Fahrenheit in January. It doesn’t get much hotter as it gets closer to March, and January, February, and March all have a 30% chance of cloudy days.
Worst Time to Visit the Canary Islands
There are several reasons why December is the worst month to visit the Canary Islands. It may seem obvious that the weather isn’t great in the offseason, but did you know the islands also see a tourist spike in December?
Many travelers head here over winter break, especially in the last two weeks of December, making it not a great time to go overall. The weather during the worst time is around 62 to 71 degrees, so it’s still warm enough for a swim.
However, roughly 38% are cloudy, and there’s a 3mm average rainfall every December. Escape the dreary weather with an inside activity like a concert at the Tenerife Auditorium.
You can still get a good deal if you go in December. Scale down your vacation by getting a cheaper hotel, or choose a less expensive island like Gran Canaria or Lanzarote.
Tenerife, the top-visited island, even offers package travel deals in December and other months. Find a unique thing to do in December and make the most of the month.
You can check out sand sculptures of the nativity scene, do some holiday shopping, or take advantage of the cool weather and go hiking. Don’t forget to pick up some local festive food like Alfajor biscuits, macaroons, and, of course, wine!
Things to Consider
Consider these tips before heading to the Canary Islands:
- Bring sunscreen and a hat. No matter the time of year, you’ll see some sun, and it’s important not to let sunburns ruin your trip.
- Consider learning some Spanish phrases. Just a few weeks of practice can make travel easier.
- You don’t have to stay on one island for the whole trip! Ferries run between all major islands, so you can hop around and see all the top sights.
- Be aware of tourist theft, like pickpocketing. Playa la Arena is a notorious area where petty theft is common.
- Hop on the buses for transportation. It’s the locals’ favorite way to get around, and the bus system can make traveling a breeze.
- Go stargazing. The Canary Islands have some of the clearest skies in Spain, and there are multiple observation decks in places like Tenerife and La Gomera.
- Stroll through the streets and admire the architecture. The area features old Spanish buildings, 17th-century cathedrals, and a historic fortress, San José Castle.
Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more tips for visiting the Canary Islands with these frequently asked questions:
Which Canary Island has the best weather?
Tenerife and Gran Canaria have the best weather among the seven major islands. Days are temperate pretty much year-round. Choose these islands if you want sunny days that aren’t too hot.
Also, consider visiting Lanzarote, the hottest Canary Island. It’s one of the northernmost islands, near Morocco, and has many sunny days. Fuerteventura is the driest, and the arid climate means extra sun on this island.
Do the Canary Islands have a rainy season?
Yes, the Canary Islands have a short rainy season from October to February. However, the rain is rarely significant, and it probably won’t disrupt your trip. The Canary Islands get less than two inches of rain, even in the wettest months.
Be aware that the rainy season brings clouds, and about a third of the days are cloudy in the winter. You might want to plan indoor activities to prepare for a dreary day.
What are the hottest months in the Canary Islands?
August is the hottest month in the Canary Islands. Temperatures range from 73 to 92 degrees Fahrenheit with little cloud cover. The second hottest month is July, with an average temperature of 75 degrees.
What is the best month to go to Tenerife?
The best month to visit Tenerife depends on your preferences, but we have to go with September. Temperatures are still pleasant, but tourism has quieted down. There are also many events like the Lagoon Pool Party or the Gran Fiesta de Los Vinos, a sustainable wine festival.
What is the prettiest Canary Island?
Tenerife is the top Canary Island with the prettiest sights. It has an active volcano, El Teide, that you can hike to, and countless trails and stunning beaches. Head to the Los Gigantes cliffs to see some unique geological formations, or snap a photo at the lush mountains of De Anaga.
The island is home to Teide National Park, one of the prettiest places in the Canary Islands. You can book a guided tour or take a group of friends for a picnic.
Do they speak English in the Canary Islands?
Yes, many people speak English in the Canary Islands. Moreover, since the UK and US make up a significant portion of travelers, you can expect to meet plenty of staff who can help you in English.
What is the coldest month in the Canary Islands?
January is the coldest month on the islands. However, the temperature doesn’t exceed 70 degrees, which is still quite warm. You can still enjoy the Canary Islands if you go in January. Pack comfortable, layered clothing, and be prepared for some cloudy afternoons.
Is the ocean warm in the Canary Islands?
Yes, the ocean is warm in the Canary Islands. The average water temperature is 68 degrees Fahrenheit, perfect for a comfortable swim. Temperatures increase in summer to as much as 75 degrees.
So, What’s the Best Time to Visit the Canary Islands?
Between April and September is the best time to visit the Canary Islands, as the weather is best and there are many things to do. The Spanish archipelago is an ideal destination for any traveler, and you can see beaches, mountains, volcanos, and lighthouses or enjoy museums and top cuisine.
So what are you waiting for — book your trip and experience the gorgeous scenery and endless activities that the Canary Islands have to offer today!