Canary Islands Weather in December - How is Christmas in the Canaries?
A white Christmas has its charm, no doubt about it, but after a few years of enduring the cold and maybe even the snow, you may wish for something different...
The Canaries can definitely offer a differ winter experience for Europeans who want to escape the cold back home. The islands are located only 4 or 5 hours away from the continent, which means that for most it's the closest destination where you can sunbathe comfortably even in winter.
It's true that there are other destinations in Europe which also enjoy a mild winter climate, but the Canary Islands are the only ones where you can also swim and sunbathe almost every day (depending on which island you choose, and also depending on which part of the island you decide to look for accommodation).
Weather in the Canary Islands in December
Although in December many parts of Europe have already had their first snow, the warm weather in the Canaries stays on course and most of the days are still sunny and warm, with temperatures during the day reaching mid 20s°C.
The Canary Islands do no have a tropical climate, so they don't have the high temperatures specific for that type of climate, but they also don't suffer from high humidity, nor do they get hit by hurricanes, which makes them a safe destination for tourists.
You can expect a few days of rain in December, as it's usually the month with the largest amount of rain throughout the year, but even so you shouldn't see more than 3 or 4 wet days (especially if you are based in the south of the islands, which is usually warmer and more arid than the north).
Temperatures in the Canary Islands in December
Below you can see the average temperatures for the islands during the month of December. But do keep in mind that especially in Tenerife and Gran Canaria the weather in the south is warmer than in the north during the colder months.
- Average high temperature: 22.7 °C
- Average low temperature: 16.5 °C
- Daily mean: 19.6 °C
Gran Canaria (Airport)
- Average high temperature: 22.2 °C
- Average low temperature: 16.2 °C
- Daily mean: 19.2 °C
- Average high temperature: 21.8 °C
- Average low temperature: 15.4 °C
- Daily mean: 18.6 °C
- Average high temperature: 22 °C
- Average low temperature: 15.9 °C
- Daily mean: 19 °C
As you can see, the values for temperatures in the Canary Islands in December are relatively similar between the largest and most visited islands in the archipelago.
The temperature in Tenerife varies more between its different areas and this is partly due to the volcano Mount Teide, located in the heart of the island. While the south of the island can be warm and sunny, the north can see far more rain, so it's safer to stay in the south during the winter months if you are visiting Tenerife.
If you want more info about the weather conditions, temperatures & sunshine hours, you can read the dedicated article for each island:
Rain in the Canary Islands in December
- Tenerife - Average rainfall (mm): 31 mm
- Gran Canaria - Average rainfall (mm): 31 mm
- Lanzarote - Average rainfall (mm): 29 mm
- Fuerteventura - Average rainfall (mm): 26 mm
Although Tenerife seems to get the largest amount of rain in December, this usually happens in the north of the island, and less often in the south, where most of the resorts are located (with the exception of Puerto de la Cruz).
Sea temperature in December in the Canary Islands
- Tenerife - Average sea temperature: 21°C
- Gran Canaria - Average sea temperature: 20.8°C
- Lanzarote - Average sea temperature: 19.8°C
- Fuerteventura - Average sea temperature: 19.8°C
The water temperature drops by about 1°C from November until December, so if you want a warmer water for swimming, you may want to look at some other month for visiting.
Can you swim in the Canary Islands in December?
This depends on how each person perceives the water temperatures, as for many people a water temperature below 20°C can be too cold to enjoy swimming. This also depends on which beach you choose, since beaches that are more sheltered will have a warmer sea temperature.
We've been able to swim in December in the Canaries several times, as well as all the other winter months, although there can be significant differences from year to year.
Should you travel to the Canary Islands in December?
Our answer is a big and clear YES.
Spending Christmas or/and New Year's Eve in the Canary Islands is lovely experience, different from what you usually do at home.
We loved watching the New Year's fireworks from the beach, while enjoying a bottle of Cava on the sand. It's lovely to be able to sit outside at night with only a light jacket on you, which is usually possible if you stay in the south of the islands.
During the daytime the weather in December is still usually warm enough for sunbathing, but if you travel to the mountain regions in Gran Canaria and Tenerife, you may encounter rain and even cold wind, so a jacket might be needed even during the day.
One thing to keep in mind is that December is considered as high season in the Canary Islands, as many people look for a warm destination for their winter holiday. This is why it's good to book ahead of time, especially if you want to book flights and accommodation separately. Flights can get really expensive during the holiday season, so it's never too early to start planning your December holiday to the Canaries.
Read also: Which Canary Island to visit?