The Weather in January in the Canary Islands

So what’s the weather really like in the Canaries in January?

Although the Canary Islands are a very popular winter sun destination for Northern Europeans, it’s important to temper expectations when it comes to the weather in January. The islands are mostly sub-tropical, rather than tropical, so there is a cooler winter season, and there can be mixed weather at this time of year.

We are talking about the weather though, and during more than 20 years living in the Canaries, I have seen some cool and wet winters, and other years where it has remained summer-like year round.

The El Hierro countryside with Tenerife in the background
The El Hierro countryside with Tenerife in the background

Where has the best weather?

The short answer is in the south of all of the islands, as the northern slopes generally get the wettest and cloudiest weather. However, some islands have sunnier and warmer weather than others, and the locations with the best weather change according to the season.

In January, Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are generally cooler than the southern parts of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. Since both Lanzarote and Fuerteventura are low lying, the southern parts of these islands do not benefit as much from the rain shadow effect that the high mountains generate in the south of Tenerife and Gran Canaria. The exception to this is Morro Jable, in the south of Fuerteventura, that benefits from a limited rain shadow thanks to the effects of that island’s highest mountain.

Since Fuerteventura lies to the south-west of Lanzarote, the prevailing wind (and clouds) must pass over Lanzarote first which makes Fuerteventura sunnier than Lanzarote.

So, in terms of sunshine, the resorts in the south of Gran Canaria and Tenerife have the best weather in January, followed by Fuerteventura, then Lanzarote and the worst weather is in the north of Tenerife and Gran Canaria.

Where is it warmest at night?

Nighttime temperatures at sea level in January are generally cooler in the eastern islands and warmer in the western ones. This is because the sea is warmer around the western islands, and because of the proximity of the eastern islands to the Sahara (which is cold at night at this time of year). Urban heat islands are also a factor, with cities such as Las Palmas and the bigger resort towns benefiting from this.

So, in January, Lanzarote is the coldest at night around the coast (13 or 14°C), followed by Fuerteventura (14°C or 15°C), and the coastal cities in Tenerife (16°C) and Gran Canaria (15°C) are the mildest.

Cloud and Rain

On average, the absolute sunniest and driest place to be in the Canary Islands in January is in the south of Tenerife (Playa de las Americas, Costa Adeje etc.). There is still a chance of mixed weather, but the south of Tenerife offers the best chance of dry sunny weather. The south of Gran Canaria – Playa del Ingles to Puerto de Mogan, also offers mostly sunny and dry weather.

Fuerteventura and Lanzarote are less sunny and dry than the south of Tenerife and Gran Canaria in January, though the south coasts of those islands are generally sunnier than the north coasts.
Eastern Playa Blanca is probably the best bet for sunny weather in Lanzarote in January, while Morro Jable is probably the best bet in Fuerteventura. El Cotillo can be a little exposed to stormy weather from the Atlantic, reducing the number of beach days there.

The north coasts and north-facing slopes of Gran Canaria, Tenerife, El Hierro and La Palma are often cloudy and wet at this time of year.

Sea Temperatures

Median sea temperatures in January range from about 18°C around Lanzarote to about 20°C around El Hierro. This is fairly cool, especially in Lanzarote, but it may be warm enough for a quick dip if you are used to colder climes.


The prevailing Trade Winds are not as constant in the Canary Islands in January, meaning that it is not a particularly windy time of year. That said, there can sometimes be some unsettled stormy weather from the Atlantic with blustery conditions.


Aemet – Canary Islands Weather forecast from the Spanish State Meteorological Service.
Weather in Lanzarote in January
Weather in Tenerife in January
Weather in Fuerteventura in January
Weather in Gran Canaria in January
Which Canary Island has the best Weather?

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