The Truth about the Weather in Tenerife

Fri, October 8th, 2010 - By Jack Montgomery

Many travel agents describe the south of Tenerife as being warm and dry and the north as cooler and wetter. It’s not inaccurate, but it is misleading.

The problem with describing the weather on Tenerife like this, is that it’s comparing the north with the south of Tenerife rather than with other holiday destinations.

Lago Martianez, Puerto de la Cruz in February

Nearly everyone knows that Los Cristianos, Los Gigantes, Costa Adeje and Playa de las Américas etc in the south enjoy year round sunshine and warm weather. So let’s take them out of the equation and talk just about the weather in Puerto de la Cruz in the north of Tenerife.

In the coolest winter months, the day time temperatures are usually between 20-22C degrees – that’s better than an average Manchester summer and a lot higher than many other popular holiday destinations close to Europe at that time of year. The lowest average sunshine hours per day is 6 (Nov to Jan) rising to 10 hours in July. In summer months temperatures stick around the upper 20s and from June to October there is hardly any rain. Like many sub-tropical places, there are times when the rains arrive, normally November and February, and like many subtropical places they are usually short-lived, heavy and spectacular.

Playa Jardin, Puerto de la Cruz in January...

It’s common for people to point to the fact that the north is lush as being proof that it rains a lot. But think about this – Places like Jamaica, Thailand and Sri Lanka are also lush and lovely, but their greenness isn’t used as a negative; quite the opposite.

North Tenerife doesn’t help itself – there isn’t a weather station on the north coast, only in the hills where temperatures are substantially cooler in winter and it does rain more. So even weather records help perpetuate the myth. When you live here you can get defensive (well I can) about hearing how cool it is in the north from people who spend little, if any time there. One of the Tenerife mysteries is that people who don’t know Santa Cruz from Puerto de la Cruz are experts about the north’s weather and I find myself shouting at the computer screen on a disturbingly regular basis ‘I WOULDN’T BE LIVING HERE IF IT WAS LIKE THAT’ (that’s the censored version).

...And the town harbour in July

Here are some titbits that will hopefully put finishing touches to the reality of what the weather is like. I don’t own an umbrella. Between May and the end of December I wear T-shirt and shorts most of the time, changing to long trousers and T-shirt between Jan and April (we live out of town at 100 metres above sea level and even that makes quite a difference to temperatures in winter). In the space of a year I might wear a heavy-ish jacket twice…at night. And I’ve sunbathed and swam in the sea on Christmas Day; sea temperatures vary little throughout the year.

Is the north of Tenerife cooler and wetter then the south of Tenerife? Yes. But is it cool and wet? As I said before – I wouldn’t be living here if it was.

Posted : Friday, October 8th, 2010 at 8:15 am
Category : weather
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4 Responses to “The Truth about the Weather in Tenerife”

  1. Sandra H says:

    I have never been to Tenerife and was not sure about the differences in weather between the north and south of the island, visiting the north sounds just fine. Thanks for the info much appreciated.

  2. alex says:

    My friend says he visited the north of the island in august and 13 out of the 14 days were in the low 30’s but overcast. Is this typical or was he just extremely unlucky?

    • It sounds as though you’re friend might have been unlucky to be in the north (presumably Puerto de la Cruz) when the panza del burro (belly of the donkey) trotted in – it’s a weather phenomena in the summer when the cloud last for longer than usual. But even then that usually affects mainly the Orotava Valley which is only a part of the north. It doesn’t affect Santa Cruz for example.

  3. Olav says:

    I spent 10 days at Tenerife December 2012 and had good weather all the time. Most of the days in Santa Cruz, a nice green city. Not so many tourists either, good. Will go back for 14 days january 2014.
    Perhaps all places are warm for a Norwegian, but I have been in Malaysia, India, Thailand, Vietnam, etc, too…

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