If you take a closer look at the Canary Islands weather, you'll certainly discover the expected guaranteed all year round sunshine and high temperatures averaging at 20 degrees centigrade around the coastal resorts making it an ideal winter sun holidays destination. However inland and often in the northern or elevated areas on each of the islands the weather and temperatures become a little more unpredictable as you reach heights of upto 3718m at the peak of El Teide on Tenerife (Spain's highest mountain incidently!). Most of the Canary Islands are actually mini micro-climates, cooler than you'd expect for the latitude so close to Africa and the Sahara due to the cooling Trade Winds coming down from the North. Not by accident are most of the bustling resorts on the islands of Tenerife and Gran Canaria located in the more arid southern regions. At Playa de Ingles on Gran Canaria and Playa de las Americas and Costa Adeje on Tenerife you can expect pretty much all year round sunshine with warm temperatures approximately between 19 and 25 degrees centigrade, pushing often well up into the 30s during the peak summer months.
In the interiors and to the north however be prepared for occasional cloud and much cooler temperatures up in the mountains. The picture is pretty much the same across the Canaries, including La Palma, El Hierro and La Gomera. Warm around the low lying coast, but cooler in the mountainous interiors. Essential to the ecosytems of the laurisilva forests in the centre of Tenerife and La Gomera, as well as in El Hierro and La Palma's Caldera are the mists and cloud which often encircle the heights. La Gomera's Garajonay national park has a perpetual mist. In contrast occasionally in the late summer months particularly the Canaries can be hit for several days by what is called 'African Weather'. This happens when hot winds from the Sahara descend on the Canaries carrying fine sand and high temperatures across the Canary Islands, particularly the eastern islands of Lanzarote and Fuerteventura. When it comes it usually lasts for three or four days and temperatures often push up as high as the early 40s!
Lanzarote, the nearest Canary Island to the African coast, hence the furthest east, has a climate which has been referred to as a perpetual spring and summer - perfect for winter sunshine and all year round holidays. The reason for this perpetual warm climate, distinct to the Canary Islands, is their position nearer to Africa in fact than Spain). Lanzarote's climate is particularly drier and hotter because this is one of the lowest lying islands. Lanzarote is without the high mountains of both Gran Canaria and Tenerife, so there's less variation within the island itself.
Another factor in Lanzarote's weather is the winds - perfect for windsurfing, kitesurfing and other watersports, the moist trade winds whisk down from the north making the northern coast of Lanzarote slightly wetter and cloudier than the south, but not dramatically so. Holidaymakers can expect about 2500 hours of sunny sunshine every year, with average temperatures between 18 to 24 degrees centigrade (64-75F) in the summer months (although it can creep much higher) and 16 to 20 degrees centigrade in Winter.
Gran Canaria, like all the Canary Islands, offers eternal Spring/Summer weather, with the southern main resorts getting the hottest and driest weather on the island (the north tends to be cloudier and wetter much like Tenerife!). Gran Canaria's variation in landscape, it's mountainous in the centre (the green pine forests of the interior are spectacular!), it's often referred to as a mini continent with a variation on weather. The north gets much more rain than the south - with the south getting pretty much eternal summer temperatures!
Moving around Gran Canaria though there's more variety in weather patterns. The trade winds blowing from the north bring more rain and cloud to the north of the island. The south on the other hand has upto 2500 hours of sunny sunshine annually. Watch out for the occasional really hot summer weather referred to as African weather - the sirocco winds are coming from the Sahara bringing this hot weather, often up into the 40s and bringing fine dust from the desert with it!
Fuerteventura means 'strong winds', and you certainly do get them all around the island - good news for windsurfing, surfing and kite surfing fans. The winds are refreshing too for beachcombers - although they blow hard throwing the sand against your legs and face at Sotavento - but nobody seems bothered. Winds on Fuerteventura blow predominently from the North North East. This is the direction of the Trade Winds, but as with Lanzarote occasionaly the African weather and warm winds carrying Sahara sands and high temperatures (usually up in the 40s) arrives in the summer months. Perpetual Spring/Summer temperatures are to be expected on Fuerteventura, with temperatures rarely falling below the low 20s.
There's less variation in Fuerteventura's weather across the island, compared to some of the other more mountainous Canary Islands. Fuerteventura's weather patterns are not too dissimilar to Lanzarote's, with average mild temperatures of 20.8 degrees centigrade. Fuerteventura's natural strong winds, combined with its selection of stunning white sandy beaches, warm year round temperatures, and indeed warm sea temperatures make for excellent windsurfing, kite surfing, surfing and diving conditions.
Tenerife and the Canary Islands' perpetual Spring/Summer weather has been attracting holidaymakers here since the late 1950s. The weather on Tenerife indeed has dictated to a large extent the development of both the southern and south west resorts - these areas of Tenerife, like Gran Canaria, get the best of the sunshine with the least cloud and rain. When holidaymakers from the UK first started to visit Tenerife, Puerto de la Cruz was the main resort location situated in the north near the only airport on the island Tenerife Norte (Los Rodeos) until Tenerife South (Reina Sofia) was opened in 1978. They'd often grumble on postcards home of the occasional clouds in the north of Tenerife delaying flights. If you're on an activity holiday or walking holiday in Tenerife today, and based in the north, the occasional clouds, which have formed over nearby mountains and indeed Tenerife's micro-climate are welcome.
Those looking for hot hot sunshine and Tenerife beach holidays usually head to the southern resorts. Tenerife's high temperatures, rarely dropping below 18 degrees centigrade, make for superb all year round Tenerife Golf Holidays and beach holidays. In Spring and Winter temperatures range from 18 degrees centigrade to the early 20s, whilst in peak summer they'll often climb upto the 30s, and higher during occasional African weather coming across from the Sahara. The Trade Winds, as with the other Canary Islands, bring cooler temperatures than would otherwise be experienced at this latitude. Tenerife and the Canaries remains the most popular destination for winter sun holidays for UK holidaymakers.
La Gomera's visitors generally prefer to visit between September to May rather than the peak summer months. Temperatures rarely drop below 18 degrees centigrade, with Spring temperatures between 18 and 22 degrees centigrade, and winter temperatures from 23 to 30 degrees centigrate. The peaks within Garajonay National Park are covered by almost a perpetual mist - it's crucial for the survival of the ecosystem providing important extra moisture (the Laurisilva are like absorbant sponges). Highland temperatures are obviously lower, with an average of 14 degress centigrade. Be prepared clothing wise for the temperature drop in the heights. The more misty zone in the north of La Gomera has an average 1800 hours of sunshine per year, whilst the sunnier south has 3200 hours. Quite a contrast!
There's a variety of climate types in La Gomera. annual rainfall ranges from 200mm in the more arid south to above 900mm in the rainy highland areas. Conditions year round are perfect for walking holidays. Temperatures and water temperatures do tend to be just a few degrees lower in the north than the south of La Gomera and obviously in winter the higher mountains in the centre are much cooler than the coast. Even when walking in the summer months it's worth taking waterproofs, and of course all year round good walking boots.
La Palma weather again is a microclimate mix, mostly sunny and hot near the coast and in low lying resorts such as Los Cancajos and Puerto Naos, but as you enter the interior the mists and clouds are frequent at higher altitudes, and temperatures are lower. Don't expect guaranteed hot weather all year round on La Palma - it's certainly mild as compared to Northern Europe, but the mountainous areas are cooler especially when the sun disappears behind clouds. You're looking at generally less sunshine on La Palma than in the Southern resorts of Tenerife for example. Walkers and activity holiday seekers heading for the Canaries will appreciate the milder temperatures on La Palma. Watch out for changeable weather up in the Caldera and be prepared with good waterproof clothing. Mean temperatures for La Palma are still mild though, at 20 degrees centigrade, getting upto the mid-20s frequently.
El Hierro weather again is mild all year round, with temperatures on the coast ranging between 19 to 23 degrees centigrade. At higher altitudes though expect lower temperatures, particularly around elevated Valverde the capital which does get the cloud and mist. The mists often descend on the heights of El Hierro - essential in the preservation of the ecosystem here, and not a particular problem for walkers. Sunseekers though might prefer the all year round guaranteed sunshine of the southern resorts on Gran Canaria and Tenerife, or indeed Fuerteventura and Lanzarote. Watch night time temperatures on El Hierro too. Clear skies at night here often mean cooler temperatures. Even in the summer months come prepared with jackets and waterproofs!