Wondering what it’s like to visit Lanzarote in winter? Warm weather, off-season quietness and winter sale bargains… this time of year is ideal for a break in the Canary Islands!
The Canaries may be Spanish, but they’re actually much closer to Africa than the rest of Europe. Which means these beautiful volcanic islands enjoy much warmer weather than anywhere else on the continent.
After my recent winter sun getaway break in Lanzarote, I’m pretty well convinced that the off-season of November through February is the best time to go.
It’s still warm enough to swim, but not so hot that you need to spend all your time within diving-in-distance of a pool! The cooler weather is ideal for sightseeing, walking the coast path, and hiking amidst volcanoes in Timanfaya National Park.
I’ve expanded on the reasons why winter is such an awesome time to visit Lanzarote in the second section of this post. Right after I talk about the weather (I’m British – I can’t help it!) and what it’s like to visit Lanzarote in the colder months.
Lanzarote Winter Weather
Lanzarote is well known as a winter sun destination in Europe. The island is far enough south that it enjoys warm weather almost all year round. The following weather averages were all taken from the Met Office…
In winter, the average daily maximum temperature sits between 20°C and 24°C depending on the month. January is the coldest month, with an average max of 20.8°C and an average min of 14°C.
While the daytime temperatures are often mild to warm, after dark it can be chilly: the average minimum temperature from December through to March is between 14-15°C. That means you’ll want to pack a cardigan or light jacket to wear in the evenings.
Wind and rain
Winter is the rainiest time of year in Lanzarote, but it’s still much drier than the UK. The wettest months, December and January, have 23mm and 22mm average monthly rainfall respectively. Compare that to 127mm in the UK!
One thing to note is that Lanzarote is famously quite a windy destination, hit by strong trade winds pretty much all year round. However, winter is the least windy time of year. While July’s average wind speeds are 19.3mph, in November-Jan the wind speeds are around 10.5mph. That breeze can make it feel a little cooler at times, though, so definitely worth packing a few extra layers just in case!
Real-life experiences: Lanzarote weather in November and December
I was in Lanzarote for a week near the start of December and had lovely pool weather pretty much every day. It was around 22°C with clear skies on most days – a little breezy on the coast, but still very warm and pleasant. It was even warm enough to swim in the sea.
There were a couple of overcast mornings and one rainy morning, but the sun always came back in full force by the afternoon. On my last day, the temperature was only about 19°C so it felt a little cooler – but still nice enough to swim in the pool.
The week before my tip, though, Monica from The Travel Hack visited and said she had pretty poor weather. It was around 15°C for most of the week and frequently grey, cloudy, and windy – but she did get a bit of sunshine too. That sounds like a fluke based on weather averages, but just be aware that weather is – as always – unpredictable!
Lanzarote’s winter weather is unpredictable – but generally pleasant!
As you can see, winter weather in Lanzarote can be a bit of a mixed bag and there are no guarantees – but it’s still likely to be warmer and nicer than back in the UK!
Top tip: I was staying in Playa Blanca on the island’s southernmost tip. This area can often be a degree or two warmer than the rest of Lanzarote, so if you want to maximise your chances of good weather this is probably the best area to stay.
Why winter is a Good time to visit Lanzarote
Lanzarote is well known as a year-round beach holiday destination, and there are a lot of perks to travelling out of season! Here’s why I think winter is the ideal time to travel to Lanzarote…
1. Winter sun – and less wind
As mentioned above, the weather in Lanzarote remains pretty warm and clear throughout winter. At just over 4 hours flight time from London, this is one of the closest winter sun destinations to the UK
Winter is also the least windy time to visit the island in general (see the section above for more info).
2. It’s easier to watch the sunrise and sunset!
Winter’s shorter days mean that getting up for a magical island sunrise is much less painful than in summer! With 6 to 7 hours of daylight (vs 9 hours in summer), the sunrise is at a much more palatable time.
On my recent visit, the sun rose just after 7am each morning and set just before 6pm each night. I loved sitting outside with my morning coffee watching the sun creep over the horizon with the volcanoes in the distance! And it wouldn’t be at all difficult to walk down to the beach in time to watch the sun rising over the ocean (depending which part of the island you’re on).
3. The cooler winter weather is ideal for hiking
Lanzarote isn’t JUST a fantastic beach destination. This beautiful, rugged little island is the perfect place for outdoor adventures. There are several lovely coast paths to explore – stopping off at hidden beaches along the way. And in the island’s interior, you can go hiking amidst the volcanoes in Timanfaya National Park.
4. There are fewer tourists around
With the exception of the October half-term and the December holidays, autumn/winter is generally the low season in Lanzarote. Which means quieter resorts, fewer bodies on the beaches, and less busy restaurants. Perfect if you want a relaxing escape.
5. Flights and accommodation will most likely be cheaper
Travelling out of season tends to be more affordable than during peak times, anyway. But you also have some incredible offers around Black Friday and Cyber Monday in November, as well as the January sales. My Jet2 flight to Lanzarote in late November was just under £90 return with carry-on luggage – and there were some even lower prices with Ryanair (just not for any dates/times that suited me).
If you can book last minute and be as flexible as possible with your dates, you can pick up some great deals. I spotted some package holidays to Lanzarote for less than £300pp for a week!
Things to do in Lanzarote in Winter (No Matter the Weather)
I think it’s fair to say that Lanzarote is, first and foremost, a beach holiday destination. Most people come for the year-round good weather, warm seas, and beautiful beaches.
But if you’re visiting Lanzarote in winter, while the weather is certainly going to be better than the UK, it may not always be sea-swimming weather. Luckily, there’s plenty more to do on the island no matter the weather. Here are a few ideas…
1. Take a road trip (or bus tour) to explore Lanzarote’s highlights
Most of the “main” sights in Lanzarote can be explored regardless of the weather. If you’re hiring a car, why not spend a day or two road-tripping around the island’s various highlights?
Check out this guide to road-tripping in Lanzarote for some great tips. These are some of the best sights to add to your itinerary:
- Timanfaya National Park – get up close to Lanzarote’s volcanoes (more on this below).
- Mirador del Rio – a stunning clifftop viewpoint overlooking La Graciosa island.
- El Golfo and the Lago Verde – a bright green lagoon in the crater of a volcano.
- Cueva de los Verdes – an underground lava tube formed by the molten lava from volcanic explosions.
- Jameos del Agua – volcanic caverns formed when lava tunnels collapsed, which have been reimagined to house an underground concert hall and an outdoor swimming pool designed by local artist César Manrique.
- César Manrique Art – the island’s most famous artist has left his mark all over Lanzarote. Visit the César Manrique House Museum in Haria, or the César Manrique Foundation in Tahíche, to learn more about the artist and his works.
- Explore Lanzarote’s cute towns and villages – wander the sleepy streets between white houses for a slice of island life. I’d recommend Haría, Teguise, Arrieta or Famara to get started.
Alternative: Island Highlights Bus Tour
Don’t want to drive? I booked this Full Day Bus Tour of the island (9 hours, from £59.19pp). It takes in four of the island’s main attractions: Timanfaya, Cueva de los Verdes, Mirador del Rio, and Jameos del Agua. It felt a bit rushed at times, but was a good way to see the major sights without driving.
2. Volcano tour in Timanfaya National Park
Lanzarote is ALL about volcanoes. The island was formed by volcanic eruptions around 15 million years ago – and has a fascinating, otherworldly landscape dotted with cones and craters.
Only one of these many volcanoes is still active: Timanfaya, which stands in a National Park of the same name. The last eruption was in 1730 and lasted for 2055 days – but there are still many signs of volcanic activity.
If you head to Islote de Hilario in Timanfaya National Park, you can see demonstrations of this activity. The most exciting of these is the man-made geyser. There are a series of pipes running down to about 10m underground: the guide pours water in, and two seconds later it erupts back out in a huge steam geyser! There’s also a restaurant here where they serve meat cooked using the heat from the volcano!
Access to Timanfaya National Park is restricted in order to protect the landscape. You can drive to the visitor centre and Islote de Hilario, but you can’t drive around the park or enter on foot. If you want to explore the landscape, you’ll need to book a tour, such as one of the ones below:
3. Go hiking
I’ve already mentioned that Lanzarote is a fantastic hiking destination, and the cooler winter months are the best time to do it. Check out some of these great hiking tours…
4. Explore the island by bike
Lanzarote is incredibly popular with cyclists. The island’s quiet roads, volcanic hills, and sweeping vistas make for a brilliant bike ride.
There are bike rental shops in most towns on the island, or you can pre-book bike rental from YOTOMU in Playa Honda (very close to the airport) – click here to check prices and reserve online. Alternatively, there are several great biking tours for a guided cycle ride:
5. Wine tasting
Did you know that wine is grown in Lanzarote? Despite its arid landscapes and year-round winds, Lanzarote is a surprisingly good wine destination.
The wine is grown in an unusual way here: rather than the traditional rows of vines, wineries plant individual grape vines in circular depressions surrounded by semi-circular stone walls, which provide shelter from the wind. It looks very surreal – and makes the experience of visiting a winery in Lanzarote even more exciting.
El Grifo Bodega is the oldest and most iconic winery on the island, so this is a great place to start. There are many others, though, mostly dotted around the areas of La Geria, Masdache and Tinajo. A wine-tasting tour at El Grifo starts from £38.60pp – click here to check availability.
6. Discover the Art of César Manrique
Artist César Manrique (1919-1992) was born in Arrecife, Lanzarote and left an incredible mark on the island. Not only can you see his artworks, sculptures, and architecture all over the island – but as a nature activist, he also had a big influence on the way Lanzarote looks today.
Manrique lobbied successfully to encourage a more sustainable development of the tourism industry – including the ban of high-rise hotels which is still in place today, and which is a big part of what makes Lanzarote such a special place to visit.
You can see examples of the artist’s work and learn more about him at these places:
- César Manrique House Museum in Haria – Manrique’s former home and studio, conserved just as he left it.
- César Manrique Foundation in Tahíche – a spectacular “volcano house” designed by César Manrique himself, built within a lava coulee.
- Jardín de Cactus in Guatiza – Manrique’s final project, a stunning cactus garden with some 450 species of cactus and succulents.
- Jameos del Agua – a cavern system created by the flow of molten lava, which Manrique transformed into a centre of art, culture and tourism with a concert hall, museum, restaurant, and outdoor swimming pool.
7. Head to a spa
If the weather turns particularly nasty, why not see it as the perfect excuse to head to a spa for a pamper session? There are plenty of spas dotted around Lanzarote, from spa hotels to simple salons. A quick Google Map search should help you find the nearest ones, or check out these popular spots:
Lanzarote at Christmas
Considering visiting Lanzarote over Christmas? This is a great time to visit the island – especially if you want to escape the bad weather! Here’s what you need to know:
Take into account that there may be some closures over the festive period. Christmas Eve, known as Nochebuena, is a huge deal in Spain, so you may find that many businesses are closed, especially locally-owned bars and restaurants.
On Christmas Day, some bars and restaurants stay open to cater to holidaymakers – but I’d recommend researching and reserving these in advance if possible.
Look out for nativity scenes called Beléns
The traditional nativity scenes, known as Beléns, are a huge highlight of the Christmas period in Lanzarote. You can see these elaborate, often hand-crafted nativity scenes in churches and town squares all over the island.
Christmas markets in Lanzarote
Many towns across Lanzarote host Christmas markets in December. Shop for local wines, cheeses and other goodies – or pick up some great handmade gifts. The main one is the Arrecife Christmas market in the island’s capital.
Los Reyes Magos (6th Jan)
Throughout Spain, the 6th of January is a significant festival. This is the day that the the Three Wise Men (Los Reyes Magos) are said to have arrived at the stable to give Jesus his gifts.
As such, many families exchange gifts on the 6th. The day is marked with parades and the traditional Roscón de Reyes fruit cake. In Lanzarote, there are usually parades in Arrecife and Teguise.
Where to stay in Lanzarote in Winter
As mentioned earlier, the area around the southwestern tip of Lanzarote enjoys marginally warmer weather than the rest of the island. Playa Blanca is the main resort here – it’s one of the more popular areas to stay in Lanzarote and has a lot of amenities, but still has a chilled-out, small-town feel. There are plenty of bars and restaurants, but it’s not really a party area. Check out my guide to the best areas to stay in Lanzarote for more information.
There are plenty of nice hotels on the island to suit all budgets, ranging from backpacker-friendly hostel dorms to luxurious 5-star resorts. It really depends on what you’re looking for.
Villas are a good option, as you don’t have to go out if the weather is bad. Having that self-catering option means you can stay home and eat if needed. You’ll generally have a bit more space than staying in a hotel, too.
If you opt for a villa a little way back from the coast, it will be more sheltered from Lanzarote’s winds and can give you a bit of a suntrap – ideal if you want to soak up some vitamin D! Plus, some villas have washing machines so you can wash any clothes that get dirty or rained on etc – and have plenty of space to hang up any wet things.
I stayed at one of the Playa Blanca Villas on my last trip – a lovely, family-run company with several beautifully appointed villas dotted around the town. My review is coming very soon, stay tuned!
What to Pack & Wear in Lazarote in Winter
Wondering what to wear in Lanzarote during winter? In general, you just need to pack as you normally would for a warm-weather beach holiday.
During the day, I was lazing in the sun in a bikini, or wandering around in a dress with no outer layer.
But in winter, Lanzarote can be chilly in the early mornings and after dark (remember, the sun sets around 6pm). So you’ll want leggings or long trousers and a cardi or light jacket. Opt for lightweight layers so you can easily adjust your outfit as it gets warmer or colder.
20-odd degrees doesn’t sound like much, but that sun can still be pretty fierce. Be sure to pack sun cream, a sun hat, and sunglasses. Also, if you plan on snorkelling (or just burn easily) I recommend a rash-vest like this one to protect you from sunburn whilst swimming. If you have combination or oily skin like I do, then I highly recommend a non-greasy facial suncream. I swear by La Roche Posay’s SPF50+ Invisible Fluid – it’s a total game-changer.
Lanzarote 4-Day Packing List
Here’s what I packed (travelling hand luggage only) for my 4-day December trip to Lanzarote:
- 1 pair Converse
- 1 pair flip flops
- 2x maxi dresses
- 2x short dresses
- I also packed a long skirt and top combo which I never wore!
- 2x short leggings (I use Snag tights as they’re super thin and lightweight) for underneath dresses during the day. Helps with “chub-rub” and accidental flashing – Lanzarote is very windy!
- 1x long pair of leggings for evenings.
- Long, thin cotton trousers and a black t-shirt for the evenings
- Underwear (the usual)
- Large scarf/sarong for wearing at the beach
- This doubled as a beach towel for me – but I’d highly recommend taking a microfiber travel towel if you’re short on space and plan on swimming in the sea.
- Waterproof jacket (I didn’t end up needing this as I stayed in when it rained, but a lightweight jacket or small umbrella may come in handy if you do get bad weather)
If you’re not a “dress person” you can obviously trade for skirts or shorts and t-shirts, whatever works for you. I was trying to maximise packing with only a cabin bag, and dresses easily go from day to night by adding an extra layer so that was my preference.
Also, if you plan on hiking it’s a good idea to pack:
- A sweat-wicking sports t-shirt (I love the Columbia Zero Rules T-Shirt)
- Shorts or adjustable-length hiking pants (these lightweight, zip-off Tresspass ones are my personal faves)
- Alternatively, yoga/running leggings might work – although I felt mine were too hot.
- Trainers, walking shoes, or Birkenstocks (depending on what level of hiking you have in mind)
More in and Around Lanzarote
Got a question about visiting Lanzarote during winter? Scroll down to leave me a comment and I’ll try to help!
I hope you found this guide useful – and have an amazing time exploring Lanzarote. Below you can find links to a few of my other posts about Spain, in case you have more time to explore…
Best Areas to Stay in Lanzarote
Best Areas for Diving in Lanzarote
11 of the Best Places to Visit in Costa Brava
8 of the Best National Parks in Spain
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