Tenerife is experiencing heavy rain at the moment while France basks in sunshine and high temperatures.
There is currently great diversity in the weather conditions across south-western parts of Europe, with extremes of both high and low temperatures and large differences in rainfall being experienced across relatively short distances.
Some parts of the Canary Islands have experienced torrential downpours and flash flooding during the last 24 to 36 hours. Los Rodeos airport on Tenerife recorded 1.2in (31mm) of rain in 24 hours, much of which fell in less than six hours. Words: PA
Other more mountainous locations on the popular holiday island recorded between 2in (50mm) and 3in (75mm) of rain. The steeply-sided volcanic landscape channelled excess rainfall runoff into huge torrents which swept rapidly down river valleys and led to flash flooding.
Temperatures over the Canaries are currently between 5C and 8C below normal for late November.
The next few days will see some sunshine, but also further heavy showers.
If you are looking for a last-minute European holiday destination this weekend, you could do a lot worse than take a flight to the south of France.
Warm southerly wind flows from North Africa will bring unusually warm conditions here, with sunny spells and temperatures 5C-10C above normal quite widely across the region with maximums of 19C-22C (66.2F-71/6F).
The reason for these European weather extremes is down to a large southwards perturbation of low pressure over the north-eastern Atlantic, while a high pressure ridge builds north-eastwards across France and joins forces with the vast area of high pressure over Scandinavia. The jet stream (a narrow band of high level winds, around 5-7 miles/8-11km above the surface) is sculpting these high and low pressure areas into these elongated shapes today.
But why are weather systems taking this meandering pattern, rather than flowing in a direct route across the north Atlantic and bringing the UK a rapid-fire succession of wind storms?
Very cold and snowy weather over the eastern USA and Canada, contrasting with the balmy sea temperatures off the eastern seaboard of the USA is super-charging the jet stream above Newfoundland today, before it heads out over the north Atlantic. This is sometimes a recipe for deep low pressure systems to form and then come barrelling right across the UK.
However, a vast and stubborn high pressure area (or blocking high, as forecasters call them), over Scandinavia is getting in the way. It has been there for several weeks now and is refusing to give ground for the time being.
Each low-pressure system crossing the Atlantic towards northern Europe is coming up against a meteorological brick wall, slowing down and then stalling over south-western Europe instead.
For the time being at least, the UK will still receive spells of wind and rain at times, especially in the west, but not the full-blown destructive storms that we saw last winter.
MeteoGroup is Europe's largest independent weather forecast provider.
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Tenerife soaked and France sizzles: current weather patterns 'unfathomable'
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Tenerife soaked and France sizzles: current weather patterns 'unfathomable'
Looking for an affordable week in the sun? The Cape Verde islands are located 500km off the coast of West Africa and share African and Portuguese influences. They're not as touristy as the Canary Islands and have gorgeous beaches in Sal and Boa Vista. Cape Verde is also a paradise for surfers, hikers and divers. Sunshine.co.uk offers holidays to Cape Verde in Sal, Boa Vista, Santiago and Sao Vicente.
Spend your festive break exploring the wonderful colonial architecture of Havana and Trinidad, wandering the famed tobacco fields in Vinales, climbing the beautiful Cuban mountain ranges and lounging on Baracoa’s laid-back Caribbean beaches. Prices for a December Cuba holiday with Intrepid start at £689 (excluding flights) for accommodation, city tours and excursions and the services of a tour leader.
Think Canaries, think bring on the Full English? Think again. Lanzarote, an island of brooding volcanoes, has managed to contain its tourist development, allowing its natural beauty to break through. Black volcanic fields, deep green cacti, whitewashed cottages: it’s a landscape to gladden the cool designer’s eye. December may be the beginning of the rainy season but don't let that put you off! The island experiences less than 20 days of rain in an entire year. Stick to the south for warm sunny days on the beach. TravelSupermarket compares cheap holidays to Lanzarote with prices starting from £166 per person in December.
This Indian Ocean island has a formidable reputation for great service wherever you go. Its white-sand beaches, sparkling in the heat in December, are hard to leave, yet there’s so much more to see. This island was an important trading post for merchants - and pirates - over the centuries and the influence of a league of nations lives on, from the bustling streets of Chinatown, in the capital Port Louis, to the serene shores of the sacred Hindu lake Grand Bassin. Turquoise Holidays is offering seven nights at Anahita Golf & Spa Resort, Mauritius from £1,650 per person.
The weather in the Cayman Islands from mid-December is hot and dry with cooling winds making it perfect for long days at the beach. An 80-minute flight from Miami, the Caymans encompass three beautiful islands in the western Caribbean. On Grand Cayman, stroll along coral-sand Seven Mile Beach and swim with yearling green sea turtles in the saltwater lagoon at Cayman Turtle Farm. For an all-in-one Cayman getaway, make family-owned Brac Reef Beach Resort your home base for beachfront lodging, diving, snorkelling, kayaking and birding.
For a Christmas family getaway in the sun, look no further than Portugal's sunny Algarve, where you can enjoy cultural festivals, sandy beaches and winter sunshine! Surrounded by the natural Costa Vicentina Park and a beach on its doorstep, the five-star Martinhal Hotel is perfect for families wanting all the Christmas trimmings as well as some sunshine. The resort will be transformed into a Christmas wonderland with fairy lights, Santa Claus, yuletide food and festive cheer. Take advantage of 27.5 per cent off seven-night half-board stays with Christmas dinner and Christmas day brunch included at just €113.50 (£90) per adult per night in a Hotel Room for a family of two adults, one child under 12 and one baby.
It's an old winter sun favourite and Barbados is the classic Caribbean island for a beach holiday. It's only eight hours away and temperatures reach up to 29 degrees in January with 10 hours of sunshine a day. The island is the culinary capital of the Caribbean and there are spectacular diving sites, as well as idyllic beaches. Virgin Holidays offers Barbados winter deals from £779 for seven nights.
Bali has been revealed as the top long-haul winter sun destination for a bargain by Post Office Travel, with 10 holiday items including an evening meal, suncream, a bottle of water and glass of wine, costing just £40. The spectacular Indonesian island of Bali boasts kilometres of powder soft sand, swathes of lush rice paddies and an engaging native culture. Travelbag offers holidays to Bali from £569 per person.
Cruise holidays are ideal for winter sun seekers who want to experience a variety of sandy beaches, characterful cities and historic harbours, and with its diverse islands, the Caribbean is perfect for a winter break. P&O Cruises offers 15-night Caribbean fly cruises starting from only £1,399 per person, including return flights, resort transfers and 14 nights in an inside cabin with full-board meals and entertainment on board. Departing from and returning to Barbados, the cruise itinerary includes visits to Grenada, St. Lucia, Dominica, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, Tortola, Curacao and Bonaire.
With temperatures nearing an unbearable 50 degrees in summer, the winter months are ideal for exploring Dubai, when you can escape the cold UK weather and enjoy sunnier climes. If you're a shopaholic, the annual Dubai Shopping Festival takes place from 5 January until 5 February. Around the city, there are great golf clubs, stunning beaches and a buzzing nightlife scene. British Airways offers seven nights in the Melia Dubai from £615 including flights.
The magnificent temples of Angkor have attracted visitors from all over the world for thousands of years. Built from the 9th to 14th centuries - when the Khmer regime was at its most creative - these sites are architectural wonders. Angkor Wat is the largest and most well-preserved monument, and the colonial-style Siem Reap is the nearest town... Stay in the capital, Phnom Penh, which has vibrant nightlife, beautiful pagodas, and the humbling Cheong Ek. Elsewhere, there's beautiful jungle, stunning beaches (try Sihanoukville) and national parks to soak up. Check out the range of holidays on offer from Kuoni, where you can choose from an array of package holidays or organise your own tailor-made trip.
February sees Cape Town in its quieter months, but still in the height of summer - so it's hot (average 27C) and crowd-free! Head to the beautiful V&A waterfront for mooching and shopping, and to get the boat over to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison. Take a cable car up to the top of Table Mountain, then, after dark, check out Long Street for great clubs and bars. For something a bit swish, check out the popular beach suburb of Camp's Bay - full of shi shi cocktail bars with a view. And don't leave without visiting one of the beautiful vineyards, like Stellenbosch, for a spot of wine-tasting. TripAdvisor features reviews of hotels, attractions and restaurants in Cape Town.
Tenerife soaked and France sizzles: current weather patterns 'unfathomable'
Genoa is one of Italy’s most elusive cities and has escaped the enormous price hikes of Rome, Venice and Florence, while offering the mildest winters of any other city in the country. A city of architectural and historic beauty, its key attractions are free to see. The historic centre is full of 16th and 17th century palaces. Wander the narrow, cobbled winding streets and see the ancient San Lorenzo Cathedral, ornate doorways and the Embriaci Tower. The best views in the city only cost €2 to see on the funicular from the city centre up into the hills surrounding the city. Alternatively, the Lanterna (lighthouse), which is the second tallest in the world, costs €6 to climb. Being a small city, everything is accessible on foot so travel costs are minimal. Eating out is affordable too. The small trattorias and hole in the wall focaccerias, which are mainly filled with locals, serve the most authentic and flavoursome food at cheap prices. British Airways Holidays offers a two-night stay in the five-star Melia Genova from £202 per person including return flights from Gatwick.
Named the Eurozone’s most affordable city break destination by Post Office, Lisbon also boasts mild winter weather due to its location near the sea and the air temperature in January is known to reach 17C. Just a two-hour flight from the UK, Lisbon is a great place to enjoy the festive season from now until New Year’s when the city is decorated with Christmas lights and it is cosier than ever. Until January, birdwatching enthusiasts can witness over 120,000 waders, waterfowl and other aquatic birds from northern Europe settle in Lisbon to spend a milder winter along the tranquil Mouth of the Tagus River. And if it's shopping you're into, there are malls, boutiques and quirky stores to browse. easyJet Holidays offers two-night city breaks in Lisbon at the beginning of January from £215 for return flights from Gatwick and accommodation.
Krakow offers good value any time of year, but visit during winter and you can see the Polish city covered in snow, visit the Christmas market in the main square and go ice skating in Blonia Park. Dining in Krakow is cheap, with a meal and a beer costing around £10 per person, and many attractions and events are either free or cost very little. Enjoy a coffee at Loch Camelot, marvel at the churches, such as St Mary’s Basilica and St Adalbert’s Church, and visit the impressive Wawel Royal Castle. Directline Holidays offers a three-night break at the four-star Galaxy Hotel with return flights from £139 per person. Nearby, you can discover Krakow’s fascinating Old Town, the Kazimierz Jewish District and the River Vistula - all for free!
Greece's buzzing second city Thessaloniki is just a little over three hours from London and a wonderful city to visit in winter, when the temperatures are more comfortable for sightseeing and you can savour long lunches and enjoy the bars and nightlife without feeling guilty about being inside. The cosmopolitan and cultural city, with a history spanning back 2300 years, boasts waterfront cafes, a burgeoning food scene and vibrant nightlife. Spend the winter days exploring sites, such as the White Tower, the Byzantine Walls and Kastro Castle. Don't miss a visit to the old quarter (Ano Poli) and a walk along the five-kilometre waterfront with its views of Mount Olympus. Another must-see is the Valaoritou area, which while caked in graffiti, has bags of energy and many of the city’s hippest bars and live music venues. easyJet flies from London and Manchester to Thessaloniki from £26 each way.
With flights from just £65 return from London in December, Tampere is a great short break destination for travellers wanting to soak up some traditional Nordic Christmas spirit without breaking the bank. In winter, visitors flock to the city to marvel at the Tampere Illuminations, which light up the sky thanks to some 165 light figures consisting of 23,000 led bulbs hung high above the streets. The Tampere Christmas market takes over the square in December, with traditional stalls selling typical Finnish crafts and seasonal treats. Many of Tampere's imposing red brick warehouses have been converted into quirky galleries and museums, while its café culture is not to be missed. With two universities and 40,000 plus students, it also means the entertainment, dining and nightlife is affordable. Stay at Finland's best hostel, Dream Hostel from 20€ per night. Ryanair offers flights to Tampere from Stansted from £42 return.
For a warm winter city break, head for Malta's capital Valletta, a UNESCO World Heritage City filled with grand architecture and history. Temperatures are rarely below 15C and the city offers a relaxed atmosphere you won't find in the summer months. Explore the city's cobbled streets and sun dappled squares without the crowds, as well as the baroque cathedrals, fantastic shopping and café culture. If you are visiting around Christmas time, you can check out the Maltese Christmas pantomime, and the Christmas carol processions that take over the streets. For breathtaking views of the Grand Harbour, head for the Upper Barrakka Gardens. Malta Direct offers three-night stays in Valletta for £81 per adult at Osborne Hotel.
Hungary's capital city offers excellent value, stunning views and hot thermal waters to keep you warm on a winter break. Some of the top free things to do include a walk across Chain Bridge, a tour of the Parliament Building and a visit to St Stephen’s Basilica, the largest church in Budapest. Whether you like to spend time inside or outdoors, there are winter festivals, coffee houses and Christmas markets to enjoy in the affordable city. Recent research by Post Office found that a two-night city break for a couple, including accommodation, sightseeing and local transport fares costs just £117. Norwegian offers one-way flights from Gatwick to Budapest from £29.90.
Balearic capital Palma makes for an ideal winter city break in the sun (and on a budget). The vibrant capital in Mallorca has a mild climate with over 300 sunny days a year and new laws in place mean shops can now open seven days a week and outdoor terrazas can stay open 12 months of the year. Events take place all year round and include tapas fair TaPalma, which takes place from 4 to 6 December in restaurants around the capital allowing visitors to enjoy tapas and a drink for around €2.50. Visitors in February can witness the streets come alive with games and processions of decorated floats for the carnival. Winter is also the ideal time of year to explore Palma's best indoor attractions. The Palma Pass is available for 48 and 72 hours, allowing you to save up to 50 per cent on entry to museums and cultural sites across the city as well as on public transport. Fly to Palma with Ryanair from just £52 return from Stansted.
Dubrovnik gets extremely crowded in the summer months but during winter the Croatian city sees fewer tourists, cheaper accommodation and more relaxation. Sit in a charming café in Stradun, learn about the history and heritage in the museums and galleries, and savour the local cuisine at the heated restaurants and taverns. December is a delightful time to visit, when the Dubrovnik Christmas Fair takes over Sponza Palace offering lights, music and tastes of Dubrovnik. The open-air New Year’s Party offers spectacular entertainment, live music and fireworks by the city bell tower, and on New Year's Day, a concert in Stradun fills the street with classical and operatic music. Visit in February to don a mask for the four-day Dubrovnik Carnival. Enjoy sporchi macaroni, a local dish prepared by masked cooks, and witness the streets come alive with costumed parades and Harlequin-inspired masked balls. British Airways offers flights to Dubrovnik from £62 one-way throughout December, January and February.
Perfect if you're a spontaneous traveller, Lithuania's capital can be booked at the last minute for a cheap city break during the winter season. Once in Vilnius, hit the museums, relax in the warm restaurants and stop at the bars to sample the Lithuanian beer and heat your toes. Winter in Vilnius is generally cold and dark, but it is also the most magical time of year when the Christmas tree lights up Cathedral Square and New Year's Eve is as lively as you wish. Those who like to get out and about should hike to the Hill of Three Crosses or sled down the slopes of Vingis Park, while the UNESCO-protected Old Town is the largest in Europe, boasting the 14th-century Cathedral of Vilnius, impressive Roman architecture and the stunning Vilnius University. Wizz Air offers winter flights to Vilnius from Doncaster Sheffield and Luton from as little as £16.99 each way.