10 Reasons to Visit the Canary Islands in Winter

reasons visit canary islands winter
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is one of our favourite places to spend winter in the Canary Islands

If you're thinking of visiting the Canary Islands in winter and you're still having doubts and wondering if it's a good idea, take a look at our list to understand why the Canaries are the best destination for winter sun in Europe.

If you're tired of all the darkness, rain and low temperatures at home during the winter months, then you've chosen the perfect destination for a bit of winter sunshine close to home.

1. The Canary Islands have the best winter weather 

The Canary Islands are enjoying what is often referred to as "the eternal spring", with mild temperatures during the winter months, that allow visitors to spend the days at the beach.

If you're visiting the Canary Islands in winter you can expect temperatures around 20 - 25 during the daytime.

If you're visiting Tenerife and Gran Canaria, the most popular islands in the archipelago, then we recommend staying in the south of the islands, where most of the resorts are located anyway. Gran Canaria and Tenerife are mountainous islands in comparison to Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, so the weather will be much warmer on the southern coast of each island, compared to the north.

2. Enjoy the winter sun in the Canary Islands

wintering tenerife canary islands
Enjoying the winter sun in Los Cristianos, Tenerife

Not only is it warm in winter in the Canaries, but it is sunny as well ... most of the time, especially when staying in the south as we mentioned before.

If you're visiting Lanzarote or Fuerteventura during the winter season you should know that the climate is very similar between the resorts, with less noticeable differences when compared to Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

The Canary Islands enjoy around 200 hours of sunshine even during the winter months, so if you want to get some of that vitamin D, then you should book a flight right away.

3. Swimming is possible even in winter

One of the questions we often get sounds something like: "I'm coming to Tenerife in January, will I be able to swim in the ocean?"...

The short answer is... YES.

You can swim in the ocean all year round in the Canary Islands. We usually go swimming even during the winter months and it's a great feeling to be swimming in the middle of January.

What you should keep in mind is that the Atlantic Ocean that surrounds the Canary Islands isn't as warm as the Mediterranean Sea for example even in the summer months.

The temperature of the ocean around the Canary Islands usually varies from a maximum of 24°C in September - October to a minimum of 18 - 19°C in February - March.

So yes, in winter the ocean will be cool for many people, so it may be nice to have the option of swimming in a heated pool. Unless it's a heated pool, you'll be better off swimming in the ocean, as it will be warmer than unheated pools in winter. 

4. Go hiking even in winter

The good thing about winter in the Canary Islands is that it allows you to continue doing what you love, even when back home it's too cold or wet for some of your hobbies like hiking.

Unless you want to hike in winter boots and several layers of warm clothes, the Canary Islands are your best bet in Europe for going on hikes in pleasant temperatures.

Visit islands like Tenerife, La Palma, La Gomera, or Gran Canaria to find the best hiking trails that you can do in winter. 

5. Enjoy the Fiesta season - spend a sunny Christmas and New Year's Eve

christmas decorations tenerife siam mall
Christmas decorations in Tenerife, Canary Islands

The winter season comes along with the winter holidays like Christmas and New Year's, so everything in the Canary Islands will be decorated and in a festive atmosphere especially during the month of December.

There are usually lots of activities organized for children, Christmas lights and decorations put up by the Councils and the local businesses, plus various events planned, as well as concerts and fireworks on New Year's Eve.

6. Carnival season

In case you did not know, the Canary Islands celebrate some of the largest carnivals in Spain, especially those in Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

The dates are different each year, but the carnivals usually start around January - February and end around March.

Celebrating carnival in the Canary Islands is so much fun and you can bring your own costume or buy one here and simply forget about the winter back home for a bit.

7. Winter means cruise season in the Canary Islands

cruise canary islands las palmas gran canaria
AIDA Cruise ship in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in December

Another way of visiting the Canary Islands in winter is on a cruise, with stops on several islands to experience a bit of all the diversity in the archipelago.

Cruise season in the Canary Islands starts around November and ends in April, so it takes place right during the winter season when other cruise routes like the Mediterranean cruises end for the year.

 If you don't know which Canary Island to visit, then maybe look for a cruise and visit them all for a day each.

8. In the Canary Islands you can continue sports training even in winter

The mild climate of the Canary Islands allows many professionals to continue with their training outdoors even during the winter months.

The Canary Islands attract a lot of cyclists who come here to continue their training when it's no longer possible back where they live.

9. Enjoy wine season in the Canary Islands

Did you know that the Canary Islands produce some amazing wines due to their volcanic soil?

Starting in November, there will be a lot of events dedicated to wine like the wine month in La Laguna, Tenerife. Of course, you can find local wine all year long, but if you come in winter you'll get to taste the new wine first and if you're in Tenerife you can spend some time in the north in municipalities like Tacoronte, La Matanza, Tegueste or Santa Ursula, where a lot of the island's wines are produced, and you can do a tour of the Guachinches, to sample both local food and wines.

10. Winter has a different vibe in the Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are an all-year-round tourist destination, due to their great climate which makes them an amazing place to visit during all the seasons.

We often get questions like: "Will restaurants, bars, and hotels be open in Lanzarote / Fuerteventura / Tenerife / Gran Canaria when I come in January or February?". 

Especially first-time visitors are worried that places will be closed and there will be nothing to be or that the atmosphere will be boring.

Well, although the Canary Islands are not a clubbing destination like Ibiza is, all places are open year-round, so all the hotels, all the bars, and all the restaurants will be open from January until December since the resorts don't close down for winter. On the contrary, winter is the busiest season for the Canary Islands, since most visitors are looking to escape the harsh winter back home.

Wintering in the Canary Islands - who is it for?

wintering gran canaria puerto mogan
Sunbathing in under the warm winter sun in Puerto de Mogan, Gran Canaria

 Well, it is true that there is a difference between the sort of visitors that come in summer versus the visitors that come in winter. 

During the summer months, you'll a lot of Spanish families from the Peninsula visiting and a lot more Spanish nationals in general compared to the winter months.

In winter the Canary Islands are a huge destination for pensioners from all over Europe who come here to stay for several months at a time, escaping the winter back home and enjoying the sunny winter of the Canaries, which is the best type of winter in the world in our opinion.

Recently, mostly since the pandemic, the Canary Islands have started to attract another type of demographic, which is made up of young professionals who work remotely and visit the Canary Islands in winter to combine working with surfing or simply enjoying the sun for a few hours after their work day is done.

We are one of those remote workers who come to the Canary Islands in winter to combine sunbathing and hiking with days of working remotely, but when we first came here we had normal jobs that required our presence in the office, so we only came for maybe two weeks at a time. Then we were in our late 20s, and now we're closer to our 40s, and we still keep coming to the Canary Islands in winter, still discovering new places to visit, and new trails to explore, even though our preferences and interests have changed in some aspects, we still find these islands as fascinating and interesting as when we first arrived. 

So although some people like to say that the Canary Islands are not a suitable destination for young people, we would argue that the islands are for everyone, as everyone of any age can find something interesting to do here, since there is so much diversity - in Tenerife, you have so many beaches as well as Mount Teide, which is the highest peak in Spain.

So if you want to spend winter in the Canary Islands, we highly encourage you to do it, you can choose one island to stay and explore, or you can hop around the archipelago using the local ferries or inter-island planes. It's up to you.

But we absolutely love our winters in the Canary Islands and this year we'll be back to our favorite place in the world once again!

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