The seven islands that form the Canary Islands experience a Mediterranean climate typified by extremely dry summer months with warm temperatures and mild winters with more rainfall, particularly to the north of the region.
In terms of temperature alone, the Canary Islands experience a subtropical climate which means that temperatures and mild and stable throughout the year within the range 18 - 24 °C.
Summer in the Canary Islands sees consistently high temperatures in the high 20's with only traces of rainfall on any of the islands.
Despite their southerly location, temperatures do not become unbearably high due to the cooling influence of the surrounding waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
The consistent temperatures and sunshine hours averaging between 9 and 10 hours a day through June, July and August, which for many make the summer months the best time to go the Canary Islands.
The hottest days occur when easterly winds cause hot dry air from the Sahara desert to sweep across the islands, often laden with dust.
Winters in the Canaries are mild, Tenerife for example still sees average maximum temperatures of 21 °C in January despite being the coldest month.
In winter Atlantic depressions can cause infrequent stormy periods with disturbed weather and higher rainfall.
Winter rainfall varies between islands and is higher in the northern parts of the archipelago which are more exposed to the northeast trade winds. Las Palmas on the exposed northern side of Gran Canaria sees 46 mm rainfall during February while the sheltered Arrecife on Lanzarote sees just 14 mm.
It is believed that the exotic climate of the islands gave its indigenous animals some unusual traits; for example, giant lizards were one of the original species on the islands! The name for the Canary Islands is derived from their original meaning - Islands of Dogs.
At one point, the famous British military figure Nelson tried to take the capital of Santa Cruz de Tenerife; it was this battle during the French Revolutionary Wars in which he famously lost his arm. The islands originally prospered from growing exotic crops, though today much of the Canaries' economy is based on tourism as holidaymaker take up trips to the more popular destinations; Tenerife and Gran Canaria are the two most visited and contain the group's two capital cities.
Las Palmas de Gran Canaria accounts for almost a fifth of all the Canary Islands' population, and features by far the most cultural and commercial hotspots. Its nightlife is very popular among both residents and tourists, while the city also plays host to an annual edition of the WOMAD festival which is held elsewhere throughout the world; the World of Music, Arts and Dance Festival was founded by Peter Gabriel.
Santa Cruz de Tenerife is the other capital of the Canary Islands, and boasts a great many architectural sights. The Tenerife Auditorium is the venue for many classical and popular music concerts which attract fans from all over Europe, while the urban sculptures created by the likes of Edgar Neget and Oscar Dominguez also prove very popular sights.
Lanzarote is another notable destination for its unique architectural sights designed by César Manrique, as well as for its volcanic activity which gave rise to a National Park whose rough and rocky landscapes give it an out-of-this-world look.
Aside from its own style of wrestling known as lucha canaria, sporting pursuits in the Canary Islands include football - where two notable teams currently ply their trade in Spain's second division - and has previously hosted rally car racing.
Last updated: 2 March 2016