Are you looking for a guide to visiting Tenerife in winter? This blog post has all the information you’ll need!
Sitting in the Atlantic Ocean, just west of the coast of Southern Morocco, the Canary Islands are among the best European winter sun destinations.
Due to their southern island location, these Spanish islands don’t have much of a range of temperatures throughout the year – so it’s likely you’ll have temperatures in the 20s throughout the winter.
While it’s a little chillier than the summer, you can still enjoy beautiful beaches, incredible views from various miradores and the fascinating culture of the islands.
Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Tenerife in December, January, or February!
The largest Canary Island, punctuated by Mount Teide, Spain’s largest peak, in the middle, Tenerife is a popular year-round holiday destination.
South Tenerife is very dry, with sunshine and warm temperatures all year.
However, this means that the landscape of this part of Tenerife is also very dry, and besides the beaches – which are mainly black sand thanks to the volcanic ash – there isn’t much nature.
But the northern part of the island is a different story. It rains a lot more up here, resulting in lush green scenery.
Northern Tenerife also boasts charming Spanish villages and volcanic lava tubes. However, south Tenerife is great for a sunny holiday with a fun atmosphere – even in the winter months!
Like Lanzarote and the other Canary Islands, the summer and winter temperatures in Tenerife only have about 8 degrees celsius/ 14 Fahrenheit difference, making it a fantastic winter sun destination.
Where is Tenerife?
Tenerife is the largest island in the Canaries, a set of Spanish islands.
It’s the westernmost of the main Canary Islands, although smaller islands like La Gomera and El Hierro sit further to the west.
The Canary Islands are part of Spain, but they’re actually much closer to West Africa, sitting less than 100 km from the coast of Morocco/ Western Sahara.
How to get to Tenerife
The easiest way to reach Tenerife is air – by far.
The island has two airports, although most planes will arrive at Tenerife south airport.
There are direct flights from many European destinations, including mainland Spain, the UK and Germany.
It’s a four to five-hour flight from the UK or Germany, and a two to three-hour flight from mainland Spain.
If you want a cheap flight, EasyJet flies to Tenerife.
If you love long ferries, there are also boat connections from mainland Spain to Tenerife – but these take over 24 hours!
What is the weather like in Tenerife in January?
In the coastal regions, Tenerife virtually always has temperatures in the twenties – it’s known as an island of eternal spring.
In the winter months, the temperatures usually remain quite steady, with plenty of warm weather.
Generally, you’ll find temperatures of over 20 degrees Celcius/ 68 degrees Fahrenheit – this is only 8 degrees C/ 14 degrees F cooler than the temperatures in the summer months.
This fabulous weather and range of attractions make it possibly the best place to visit in Europe for winter sun!
Where to stay in Tenerife in winter
Playa de las Americas
If you’re after a traditional beach holiday, Playa de las Americas should have all you need.
It’s in the south of the island, so basks in glorious weather year-round.
Plus, there are some fantastic all-inclusive accommodation options here. I’d recommend choosing one with a heated pool to ensure that you can take a dip when it’s cooler!
Where to stay in Playa de las Americas
Mediterranean Palace is a huge resort hotel with a bright blue pool and palm trees towering high. Rooms are decorated in traditional Spanish style and have plenty of features to make your stay comfortable.
Costa Adeje is just a couple of miles from Playa de las Americas, and it’s also ideal for a beach holiday.
The accommodation options are generally a little more upmarket, with plenty of lovely hotels, some of which are five-star!
Most of the hotels on Costa Adeje have outdoor pools – but many of them are chilly in the winter!
Where to stay in Costa Adeje
Espacios Blanco Adeje Paradise is an aparthotel, with lots of different apartments for every group size.
The apartments have terraces and some boast impressive sea views.
Puerto de la Cruz
In the north of the island, Puerto de la Cruz is a charming town where the first tourists to Tenerife came.
It sits in glorious nature and is one of the best places on the island for day trips.
Where to stay in Puerto de la Cruz
Hotel Best Semiramis is a stunning property set on the edge of a cliff, with modern, comfortable rooms.
Sitting on the west coast of the island, Los Gigantes is a popular resort town, famous for the Los Gigantes cliff.
It’s a quiet area, with no late-night bars and restaurants, and is popular with families.
Where to stay in Los Gigantes
Ona el Marques is a great value aparthotel with a range of accommodations, each with its own kitchen. There’s also a pool in the aparthotel garden!
Things to do in Tenerife in winter
Road trip to the beaches
Tenerife has plenty of gorgeous beaches, but some of them are a little different to what you might be used to.
Because the island is volcanic, these beaches aren’t golden or white-sand, but in fact, are covered with black sand.
Take in beautiful vistas as you drive around, perhaps even stopping at some beaches around the island to soak in the sunshine.
You could also try a dip in the sea, but it might be a bit too chilly from December to around March!
Some of the must-visit beaches on the south coast of Tenerife include:
- Playa del Duque on Costa Adeje is a hidden white-sand beach with beautiful striped beach huts.
- Playa las Vistas which is unsurprisingly known as “beach of the views” – you can take in incredible lookouts over the coastline from here!
- Playa del Medano is the largest beach on the island.
- Playa del Camison is situated on a peninsula, with stunning golden sands.
A great Tenerife road trip itinerary includes all of the main beaches of the south and heads up to the north, where you’ll find beaches like Playa Jardin and Playa de las Teristas.
Visit Bodegas Ferreras winery
If the weather’s a little chillier while you’re in Tenerife, don’t worry – there are plenty of attractions that you can enjoy away from the beautiful beaches!
The Bodegas Ferraras winery is located high in the Arafo region, with stunning views over the Tenerife coastline.
The winery offers three-hour experiences, which include an English-speaking guide who will take you around the whole vineyard, describing how they make high-altitude wines as you go.
Then, you’ll have the chance to taste their delicious wines and appetizers, including some local cheese.
It’s easiest to reach the winery by car, but there are also buses that ply the route.
Catamaran trip to see dolphins and whales
Where else in Europe can you take catamaran trips in the winter?
That’s right, you can take a boat from Playa de las Americas into a strait where you have a 95% chance of seeing dolphins, whales and maybe even other marine life!
Some boat trips will stop for a swim, which you can try if you’re feeling brave – but know that in December, January and Februrary, the waters may be chilly!
The catamaran has a fully stocked bar and plenty of space to look out for marine life – it’s an incredible trip with epic views of Tenerife’s coastline!
Tenerife’s southern location means that it offers excellent year-round diving.
Although the SCUBA sites are more popular in the warmer seasons, there’s plenty of marine life to see during the wintertime. In particular, look for rays, morays, angel sharks and barracuda.
You’ll need a thicker wetsuit during the winter months; this will keep you warm when you’re submerged in the water!
But if you want somewhere to dive in Europe in the winter, the Canary Islands are definitely the best place to visit.
Dive and see tonnes of marine life including octopus, cuttlefish and angel sharks. Or, check out El Catedral, which is lava that’s sunk to the bottom of the ocean floor.
Whether you want to cycle a normal bike, an e-bike or a mountain bike, there are plenty that you can rent out in Tenerife!
Take to some of the trails that ascend the many mountains of the island or ride around the streets of the charming coastal towns.
There are bike rental shops available throughout Tenerife, in virtually every town!
Stargazing at Mount Teide National Park
Mount Teide National Park is one of the most incredible places to visit in Tenerife.
The highest peak in Spain, Mount Teide is a huge volcano that looms over the island.
Its height and lack of light pollution make it a popular destination for stargazing.
You can see so many constellations from this vantage point!
I’d recommend doing a stargazing tour. They’ll provide you with all the equipment that you need and expert instruction.
Hiking around Mount Teide
Mount Teide National Park is also a prime location for hiking. There are numerous hikes that traverse the area, many with sweeping views of the island.
One of the best hikes in the national park is Parador Nacional to Montaña Guajara. This is actually a loop trail, as you can turn back around and walk back to Parador Nacional a different way. It’s 10 km in total.
If you fancy a shorter walk, the Roques de García Loop Trail is about 3.5 km and takes in spectacular rock formations as well as the Mirador de la Ruleta.
Of course, you can summit Mount Teide and head up to the highest point in Spain!
From the top, enjoy outstanding views of Mount Teide National Park and the surroundings.
But do bear in mind that this is a tough hike if you walk from Montaña Blanca (it’ll take you about 5-6 hours).
You do need a permit to hike up to the top of Mount Teide, and you can find more about it here.
If you don’t fancy the hike, there’s a cable car that you can take most of the way! The car stops in La Rambleta – from here it’s about a 40-minute hike to the summit of Mount Teide.
Do bear in mind that if you’re visiting at the coldest time of year, there will likely be snow at the top of the mountain, and some roads could even be closed.
So if you’re visiting Tenerife in January or February, you might want to try some other Tenerife hikes!
Other hikes in Tenerife
If the weather’s too cold for Mount Teide National Park, there are other hiking trails that you can enjoy as well.
Many of these are in the Anaga and Teno Mountains, with stunning viewpoints over the island. For starters, try out this 15km loop trail near Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Try some typical Canarian food
Tenerife is a hub for food, with lots of delicious dishes to try while you’re on the island.
Canary food typically consists of unique tapas, creamy cheese, chickpea stew, vegetable soup and mojo sauce.
Whether you’re visiting banana plantations or trying wrinkly potatoes in local restaurants, there’s so much food to enjoy throughout Tenerife and the entire Canary Islands!
Trek through a lava tube
One of the most fascinating attractions to visit in Tenerife is Cueva del Viento.
Europe’s largest lava tube, this cave was formed thanks to a volcanic eruption causing lava to run down the mountainside.
As the lava cooled, hollowed-out caves formed, creating the caves that you’ll find today.
You can do a tour of the cave itself, learning about its history and the flora and fauna in the cave.
Plus, you’ll walk around the surrounding area, with a guide telling you about some of the plants and animals that are native to the Canary Islands.
Explore the other Canary Islands
From Tenerife, it’s easy to reach the other islands.
You can take a day trip to La Gomera; a nearby lovely island, with beautiful views and a unique whistling language. It’s possible to do this tour independently or to book a tour with Get Your Guide.
La Palma is also close by. This island sadly made the news recently due to a volcano eruption. But the island is gradually rebuilding and tourism is coming back.
Santa Cruz de la Palma is a gorgeous harbour town and there are stunning viewpoints from virtually every angle.
Another possibility is Gran Canaria. The fastest ferries take around an hour and a half and leave from Santa Cruz de Tenerife. It connects with Agaete, part of Las Palmas (the capital of Gran Canaria).
You won’t be able to see all that much of the island on a day trip, but if you’re curious it might be worth seeing another Canary Island while you’re in the region!
The Canary Islands are ideal for a surf trip!
There are two main surfing regions of Tenerife – one in the south and one in the north.
In the north, find popular beaches like Almáciga, Playa del Socorro, El Arenal and La Caleta.
In the south, take the waves at El Conquistador, La Izquierda, Derecha del Cartel or La Tejita.
You can also do half-day surf classes.
In the winter, there’s a big swell across the North West, which is great for western-facing beaches (like La Izquierda).
The waters are chilly during this time, so make sure you have a thick wetsuit! If you go with a surf school, they’ll include wetsuit rental in the cost.
Visit Siam Park
Located near the South Coast of Tenerife, Siam Park is widely known as one of the best water parks in the world.
Waterslides are intertwined with beautiful botanical garden-style plants, and the entire park is Thailand-themed.
Whether you fancy the lazy river or shooting down on the tower of power, this vast water park has something for everybody.
It’s open 365 days per year, so you can enjoy it throughout the winter months!
One thing that’s worth noting is that Siam Park has the same owners as the zoo Parque Loco. Parque Loco isn’t just a zoo – it does dolphin shows and keeps captive orcas.
If you visit Siam Park, you’re ultimately supporting the same business.
Everyone has a different tolerance to this kind of thing, but it’s worth drawing people’s attention to before they visit.
Are there any festivals in Tenerife in winter?
Yes! The Tenerife Carnival usually takes place in February. Second only to Rio de Janeiro, this is a fiesta of colours, light and dancing.
There’s also the Fiesta de San Andres in Icod de los Vinos, where people visit the family wineries in the area and hurtle down the steep streets on greased up boards!
Of course, there are always lots of celebrations around the festive period too.
Christmas in Tenerife
If you want a warmer festive period, why not celebrate Christmas in Tenerife?
Spain is a religious country, which means that there are always celebrations going on throughout the nation – including in the Canary Islands.
If you want to be somewhere a little warmer for Christmas, but still need some festive spirit, the Canary Islands are among the best destinations.
What to pack for Tenerife in winter
You definitely won’t be needing any winter woollies in Tenerife in the winter, but I’d recommend a range of clothes to ensure that you stay warm throughout the cooler months.
In the daytime, you might be ok wearing summer clothes like shorts, a t-shirt and sandals or flip flops. Of course, take some trainers if you fancy hiking!
Bring a light jumper or even a lightweight puffer jacket for cooler days, especially if you’re spending some time outside.
Rain is always a possibility in the winter, although South Tenerife is generally a very dry area. However, if you’re spending time outdoors or heading into the north, a rain jacket is generally advised.
Bring a light jacket for the evenings to stay warm!
Tenerife in winter FAQs
Can I sunbathe in Tenerife in December?
Yes, you should have weather that’s warm enough to sunbathe in the winter month of December!
In December, temperatures sit between 20-25 degrees C, or 68-77 degrees F.
So, if you’re from a warmer country that generally sees hot weather, you might find the winter in Tenerife a little chilly.
However, if you’re from northern Europe, you’ll probably be happy to sunbathe in December!
Are things open in Tenerife in December?
Yes, Tenerife is a fantastic holiday destination in the winter, and pretty much everything remains open.
From SCUBA diving to stargazing, you can enjoy virtually all of the island’s attractions in the winter months.
Can I swim in Tenerife in winter?
You can still swim in Tenerife in November, but by December it might get a bit too chilly!
January and February typically have cold waters – although, if you’re used to cold weather swimming, you might find the seas milder here.
For most surfers, March is still quite chilly, but by April you should find swimming comfortable enough.
Are you ready for Tenerife in winter?
With plenty of hikes, cultural attractions and beaches that still entice sunbathing, Tenerife could be the ultimate place to visit in Europe during the winter months!
So if you’re planning a winter sun holiday, I highly recommend heading south to the Canary Islands and visiting Tenerife!