It might suit tour operators to promote Tenerife as the island of perpetual spring. Actually I’ve always thought that undersold it – most of the time the temps are much better than what UK visitors would consider as spring. Some might also claim there are 365 days of glorious sunshine on Tenerife. There aren’t.
But the weather is about as close to perfect as most people would want – it is warm and dry for most of the year. And that is on any coast despite popular misconceptions.
But, despite other popular misconceptions, there are seasons on Tenerife. The island does enjoy spring, summer, autumn and winter. The differences may be more noticeable in some parts than others; if all you’re doing is lying on a beach that might amount to being less hot in spring, autumn and winter months than in summer.
If you’re planning on walking on Tenerife, being aware of the differences in seasons and how they affects the weather is essential, especially at this time of year as we move into the winter season.
Whilst the winter months are in many ways perfect for walking, with the temperatures not as demanding and the scenery more vibrant and lush than in summer months, there’s a reason for this. Rain.
Rain on Tenerife isn’t frequent but sometimes when it falls it does so with monsoon-like force, especially on higher ground. Flash flooding happens most years with the most likely months being November and February.
Only a couple of weeks ago a group of walkers in the Caldera de Taburiente on La Palma had to be rescued during heavy rainfall. The Spanish press often runs reports of walkers being rescued because of adverse weather conditions. Yet often this need never happen.
The Spanish Meteorological Office AEMET have an excellent website that has a detailed weather forecast for each municipality on Tenerife. It also warns in advance of extremes of weather. They issue weather alerts ranging from yellow (low risk) to red (things are going to get serious).
Anyone planning on walking on Tenerife should make sure they are aware what weather forecast is before they set off. If there’s even a yellow alert for rain in the location you’re planning on walking – don’t go. It’s as simple as that. A yellow alert can easily become orange and anyone caught on the slopes of the Anaga Mountains in monsoon rains could find themselves in a lot of trouble.
Similarly, if the alert is for high winds, we’d advise against walking. It’s just not worth the risk. Check out the damage caused by the wind to the forest in the upper La Orotava Valley in the picture below and you can see why. These pines were snapped in half as easily as if they were matchsticks.
For anyone staying in a hotel, receptionists often have information about the weather but usually it is just for the area around the hotel. It’s essential to find out the weather forecast for the walking location you’re heading for. Tenerife has a number of micro-climates, so whilst it might be sunny in the resort, the weather in the hills in a different location may be positively apocalyptic.
For that very reason weather alerts don’t necessarily mean that plans for walking on Tenerife have to be scuppered. Simply be flexible and head to a different area where there isn’t an alert in place.
Most of the time, the weather will be perfect for walking on Tenerife, but in winter months especially it’s always worth taking a few minutes to check out the weather situation before heading into the hills.