The Canary Islands in
January

The Canary Islands are found just off the coast of West Africa but are actually a Spanish archipelago that offers warm and sunny weather all year round. From classic tourist destinations like Lanzarote and Gran Canaria to more rural locations such as Fuerteventura, the landscapes across these islands are fascinating in their variety and offer plenty of opportunities for holiday adventures.

Many people dream of escaping to a sunny island paradise when the weather gets cold and miserable in January, and the Canary Islands offer just that. If you’re not too bothered about getting to spend days on the beach and in the sea, then these islands are the perfect place for your next winter holiday. 

Reasons to visit The Canary Islands in January

View of tenerife
  • January is part of the low season for tourism in the Canary Islands, meaning that not only will the islands be quieter, it will also be cheaper to visit them
  • The Canary Islands offer some of the warmest winter weather in all of Europe, so are perfect for a holiday to get some sunshine during the coldest part of the year
  • It might not be the ideal weather for relaxing on the beach, but it’s warm enough in the Canary Islands in January to enjoy numerous outdoor activities in the sunshine

Weather in the Canary Islands in January

Beach in Gran Canaria

The Canary Islands enjoy very mild weather all year round, and even in January, you’ll get quite a lot of sunshine and warmth during your stay. The weather across all of the islands is very similar so no destination promises significantly higher temperatures than the rest, although the south of Tenerife and Gran Canaria tend to experience the most sunshine. 

Temperature

Average high temperatures across all of the Canary Islands hover around 20-21°C in January, which is very pleasant during the day and can be enjoyed in summer clothing. At night, the average low temperature drops to around 14-15°C, although this can be cooler in the northern parts of the islands.  

Sea Temperature

The Canary Islands are surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, which means that the sea temperatures never get particularly high like they do in the Mediterranean. You can expect an average high water temperature of around 19°C in the Canaries in January, which some visitors will find to be a refreshing temperature whilst others will feel that the sea is far too cold for a swim.

Clouds and Rainfall

Because it is the winter season, January is one of the wettest months in the Canary Islands. Despite the risk of showers however, you will never get a full day of rain, and there is only an average of 3 days of rain a month in Gran Canaria and 5 in Tenerife. 

Sunshine Hours

There is an average of 6 hours of sunshine every day across the Canary Islands and almost 11 hours of daylight. The average time for sunrise is just before 8 am and sunset tends to be around 6.30 pm.

Where to go in the Canary Islands in January

Tenerife

Perhaps the best known and most popular of all the Canary Islands is Tenerife, which has a huge range of different activities on offer to travellers of all ages and interests. With beaches, forests, a volcano and a historic city centre, you could spend weeks on Tenerife and still not run out of things to do.

The mild and breezy weather in January offers ideal conditions for hiking, which you can do in the Teide National Park, the Teno Rural Park, or the Anaga Rural Park. If you’re more interested in sightseeing than outdoor activities, you can spend an afternoon exploring La Orotava old town which has been in Tenerife since the 16th century and has a range of both modern and historic architecture. 

Lanzarote

Lanzarote is another of the most popular of the Canary Islands, known in particular for its volcanic geography and unique ecosystem that makes it an incredibly important and special part of the world. Instead of the greenery you’ll find on many of the other islands, Lanzarote is primarily made up of warm-coloured lava formations which can be best appreciated in the Timanfaya National Park.

Lanzarote is also known for its famous wine region, and although January isn’t a significant month for vineyard owners, it’s still a brilliant time to sample some of their produce. As well as many beautiful golden sand beaches, those who are looking for something a bit different will also be amazed by a visit to the incredible black sand beach that is found beside the island’s Green Lagoon, named after the colour of the algae that lives in the water.

What to do in the Canary Islands in January

Go Stargazing

The Canaries are actually one of the best places in the entire northern hemisphere to enjoy stargazing, as there is very little light pollution coming from any of the islands or the vast expanse of ocean around them. Whether you’ve hiked to a particular spot, joined one of the islands’ special stargazing tours or are just looking up at the sky from your hotel balcony, you’ll discover the stars as you’ve never seen them before.  

Play a Round of Golf

Some of the Canary Islands are home to the highest-rated golf courses in all of Europe, so if you’ve any kind of a gold fan then you’ll need to play at least one game. Within incredible surrounding views, uniquely terrain and a brilliant range of nearby hotels and spas, the Canary Islands are a fantastic spot for a relaxing golf break. 

Visit the World’s Best Waterpark

Siam Park in Tenerife is not just a waterpark for children. This incredible tourist attraction is kitted out for families, thrill-seekers, and those who are just looking to relax, so it’s a location suitable for every traveller. There’s a reason it’s been voted the world’s best waterpark for 7 years in a row now – why don’t you come and find out why?

Crowds & costs

January is one of the coldest months in the Canary Islands, making it one of the quietest months for tourism as well. If you’re not too fussed about sunbathing however then this is brilliant news, as you can make the most of cheaper travel and accommodation costs and enjoy having many of the islands to yourself at this time of year.

The north of islands such as Gran Canaria and Tenerife will be colder and wetter than the south in January, so whilst tourism is low during the months you can expect to see less of other visitors in these parts of the Canary Islands. 

January festivals & events

Classical Music

King’s Day

El Dia de Reyes is a Spanish festival celebrated on the 6th of January every year to celebrate Epiphany, which marks the day that, in the Christian Christmas story, the Magi gave presents to the baby Jesus. Celebrations differ across the islands, but you may experience parades through the streets or bonfires being lit.

Canary Islands Music Festival 

The Canary Island International Music Festival has been held across the islands every year since 1985, celebrating classical music and bringing performers from across the world. It’s the only classic music event of its scale to happen in the winter in Europe, which makes it a very popular event for fans of the genre. 

San Antonio Abad

This is a festival celebrated in Arona on the island of Tenerife and dedicated to its patron saint, Antonio Abad. The town is filled with partying during the day and night, with performances, music and traditional dress worn by those in attendance. 

Gran Canaria

Frequently asked questions about The Canaries in January

Which Canary Island is warmest in January?

Tenerife is the warmest of all of the Canary Islands in January, with an average high temperature of 21°C. Gran Canaria comes in a close second to this, with an average high of 20°C in January

Is the sea warm in the Canary Islands?

There is a stretch of cool ocean current that runs by the Canary Islands, and this means that the sea isn’t actually that warm. The best time of year for swimming is the summer months when the water temperature is usually above 20°C, but this can still feel quite cool to those who are sensitive to colder temperatures.

Summary

For a winter European holiday with a difference, the Canary Islands offer a host of wonderful destinations that each has unique charm and character. Whether you’re travelling solo or bringing your family along, you’ll find more than enough activities and attractions to keep you occupied in the Canaries. Now all you have to do is decide which island to visit!

Want to find out more about the top destinations in Europe to visit in January? Read our guides to Belgium and Iceland, or take a look at our rundown of Where to Go in January.

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