Carnaval, February or March
San Juan June
Festival de Música de Canarias, January–February
International Jazz Festival, July
Gay Pride, May
A popular month to visit as the southern resorts are generally still warm enough for beach days. Northern and inland regions are cooler and often rainy, while Tenerife’s El Teide can be snow capped.
Spanish children get their gifts in January, brought not by Santa Claus but by the three kings. The day is celebrated with regal parades and traditional eats.
Festival de Música de Canarias
This month sees the launch of the annual classical music festival (www.festivaldecanarias.com), which has been waving the baton for over 30 years.
Southern resorts are generally sunny, while cooler weather in the islands’ interiors creates ideal conditions for walking. This is also carnival month, so book your bed early!
Second only to Rio in terms of sheer exuberance and party spirit, carnival here is at its biggest and best in Santa Cruz in Tenerife and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Santa Cruz de La Palma hosts a smaller but highly memorable party.
Enjoy springtime flowers, particularly on the hillsides of El Hierro, La Palma, La Gomera and Gran Canaria. During Easter week, expect tourist crowds.
Easter bunnies and chocolate eggs take a back basket here during Easter week, when there are evocative parades with religious floats throughout the islands’ towns and villages.
March sees the middle of the opera festival (www.operalaspalmas.org) in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, attracting world-class virtuosos from around the world.
The sun still shines brightest on the southern beaches, although evenings are cooler and there can be showers, particularly on Tenerife.
Celebrate the delicious Gran Canaria queso de flor at its source – in Santa María de Guía at the annual cheese festival (www.santamariadeguia.es).
Canarian Food Fair
Held over a weekend in Tenerife’s Los Cristianos; taste and buy traditional goodies from all the islands here.
International Film Festival
The annual Las Palmas de Gran Canaria film festival is a great place to get the lowdown on up-and-coming film-makers. See what’s screening on www.lpafilmfestival.com.
Another good month with plenty of towel space on the sand, plus warmer evenings, which make dining al fresco a delight.
Spain’s second-largest gay pride event (after Madrid). Held mid-month in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria (www.gaypridemaspalomas.com).
You’re still just ahead of the tourist onslaught, and the weather is perfect with an average of 10 hours of daily sunshine.
Barbecues and dusk-to-dawn partying on the beach, plus big-bang fireworks and concerts. San Juan (23–24 June) is celebrated throughout the islands, but with particular gusto in Lanzarote and Las Palmas (Gran Canaria).
For Folk-Music Fans
Get foot-tapping to traditional folk music and dancing by local and visiting groups during this month’s annual folk music festival in Las Palmas (www.grancanaria.com).
The mercury level is rising, with the average temperature in the southern resorts in the low 30s. Tourism numbers are up with the summer holiday crowd.
Cool Jazz for Hot Days
The Festival Internacional Canarias Jazz & Más Heineken attracts big names from the international jazz world. Check out www.canariasjazz.com for names and venues.
Windsurfing World Championship
Like flocks of colourful butterflies, kiteboarders and windsurfers descend on Fuerteventura’s Playa de Sotovento de Jandía early in the month to compete in this world-class competition.
Music, Dance & Theatre
Another world-class festival: Gran Canaria’s Festival Internacional de Teatro, Musica y Danza (www.teatroydanzalaspalmas.com) – recent performers include the New York City Ballet.
This is the month you use your umbrella…as a sunshade: the weather is at its hottest. But it still rarely hits the 40°C norm of the southern Spain costas.
The Fiesta de La Rama in Agaete is one of Gran Canaria's most important festivals. With origins in a pre-Hispanic rain dance, today it's part religious parade, part riotous night out.
The Dia San Ginés on the 25th of the month is a mega-celebration in Lanzarote, with week-long celebrations that include concerts, football matches and beauty contests.
There are still around seven hours of daily sunshine this month, while nights are growing a tad cooler, particularly at higher altitudes.
Canarian Wrestling (and more)
The Fiesta del Santísmo Cristo in La Laguna (Tenerife) is held throughout the month, and includes tournaments of lucha canaria, vintage car rallies and big-bang firework displays.
The average temperature is 23°C, with cooler nights. It’s perfect weather for hiking in the mountains – or sitting on the beach.
Jog to the Music
Or walk, skate, or spin those wheelchair wheels. The annual Music Marathon Festival (www.musicmarathon.com) in Puerto del Carmen, Lanzarote, is open to all, including four-year-old tots (½-mile race). Live music lines the route.
While evenings can be chilly, daytime temperatures are still conducive to beach visits and you're just before the tourist onslaught.
The skies above Corralejo, Fuerteventura, are streaked with multicoloured tails for a weekend of kite-flying and family fun.
Christmas sees more tourists, particularly from northern Europe, seeking winter sun. Temperatures drop considerably at night and the northernmost island resorts can be cloudy, though seldom wet.
El Hierro’s Fiesta de la Virgen de la Concepción on the 8th is full of religious revelry while, on the previous evening, Valverde’s streets are packed with jolly locals, eating, drinking and making merry.