Madeira is a semi-tropical island rising from sea level to over 6,000 feet. Its steep pitch gives the island six distinct climate zones. The ancient Laurissilva cloud forest at the highest elevations is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In fact, 2/3rds of Madeira is conservation land. It has mountain plains, valleys, high peaks, streams, rocky coastlines, and tidal pools. The island has a unique landscape accessed by a modern roadway system of new tunnels, and the older mountain roads they replaced that wind along the hillsides.
May 2 to May 26 in Funchal: Flower Festival
Floral species originating in many parts of the world bloom in Madeira, as the island meets specific climatic conditions that allow species from both tropical and cold regions to flourish.
The Flower Festival is a tribute to spring and the celebration of metamorphosis and rebirth, fertility and the abundance of the flowers that color, perfume and inebriates the surrounding environment and gives value and takes the good name of this tourist destination across borders.
May 2 to May 26 Exhibits and Entertainment in downtown Funchal
May 4 The Wall of Hope Ceremony
May 5 Great Allegoric Flower Parade
May 12 Madeira Auto Parade-Historical Classic Car Parade
May 19 Concerts
May 24 Flower Installations
June 8 to June 29 in Funchal: Madeira Atlantic Festival
The Madeira Atlantic Festival, an event that sets the beginning of the summer season in Madeira, is one of the most recent tourist entertainment events.
This event consists of a diverse set of initiatives spread throughout the month of June, with emphasis on the pyromusical shows; the Atlantic Roots Festival and the Regional Arts Week.
All four Saturdays the unique experience of combining fireworks and music can be enjoyed at a pier outside of Pontinha.
June 8 to June 10 the Regional Bread Fair at the Avenida Arriga, central walkway will have entertainment by folk groups.
June 14 to June 16 the Atlantic Roots Festival celebrates different genres, sounds as well as new musical trends of artistic quality at Praca do Povo.
June 11 to June 17 is Regional Arts Week, an event intended to showcase the learning and artistic skills of Madeiran students and features performances of song, drama/theatre, instrumental music and dance.
The Popular Saints Festivities are celebrations that are held in several countries, historically related to the summer solstice pagan festival, which was celebrated on June 24th. The Autonomous Region of Madeira is no exception, and a bit throughout the Region, the month of June is synonymous with celebrations in praise of the three Popular Saints: Saint Anthony, Saint John and Saint Peter. The Saint John altars, which constitute a festivity based in a neighbourhood tradition, in addition to the traditional food of the Popular Saints, holds a public contest of the Altars to the patron Saint. It takes place every year during the week that includes Saint John’s Day, usually the last week of June. It is held in Rua da Figueira Preta, Travessa dos Reis, Rua da Conceição and Praça do Carmo.
August 26 to September 9 in Funchal: Madeira Wine Festival
The Madeira Wine Festival is one of the island´s main tourist attractions that pays tribute to this precious nectar and its undeniable socioeconomic significance.
Taking place during the grape harvest in late August, early September, this event aims to recreate the old traditions of Madeira, which were developed over centuries of labor in viticulture.
This event has been commemorated since the late seventies of the last century. It begins in Funchal and includes European Folklore Week, ornamentations, exhibitions and live portraits depicting wine and its crafts and light and traditional music performances.
This Festival culminates in Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, with the Wine Harvest Festival.
European Folklore Week
European Folklore Week, an event organized by the Boa Nova Ethnography and Folk Group, is a folklore festival that aims to promote an intercultural gathering and promote ethnographic realities, with the participation of national and foreign groups.
Live Wine Harvest
On Saturday morning all attention is focused on the Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, where the Wine Harvest Festival takes place. The harvest takes place on a Madeiran farm, followed by an ethnographic parade with the participation of a large number of folklore and ethnography groups. After the parade the treading of the grapes is re-enacted - participation is free - using a traditional press in a festive atmosphere with lots of musical entertainment and regional cuisine.
The city center of Funchal, especially the central walkway of Avenida Arriaga, will be filled with various adornments comprising several viticulture tools (presses, casks, barrels, grape picking baskets, traditional means of transportation), living portraits and actors who re-enact the winemaking process in Madeira (grape pressing, re-enactment of the regional craftsmen traditional customs), food, Madeira wine tastings and exhibitions and regional handicrafts apart from local folklore groups performances.
September 12 to 14 in Porto Santo Island: Columbus Festival
The Columbus Festival is based on the historical re-enactment of the time when this famous merchant lived in Porto Santo Island, recalling his stay in the Madeira Islands.
The festival takes place during the month of September, between the 12th and the 14th, in the city of Vila Baleira, and features a set of activities that seek to recall the epic Portuguese Discoveries.
The event includes the disembarking of Columbus, a sixteenth-century market with food, crafts, street performances, circus arts, theatrical representations and staging of peace and war ordeals common at the time, games of skill, weapons training, acrobatics and juggling, lots of music and exotic dances, ensuring permanent entertainment and a constant uproar among the various typical characters of this period.
October 1 to 6 in Madeira: Madeira Nature Festival
The Madeira Nature Festival aims to promote nature tourism, encouraging the practice of activities that allow direct contact with the rich natural heritage of the archipelago of Madeira. Whether in the mountains, in the air or at sea, the choices are more than many, sign up for free!
It’s the newest event of the official tourist entertainment calendar, held for the first time in October 2011.
Whether on the land, in the air or in the sea, the choices are multiple and visitors can experience a wide range of different activities suitable for all ages. In addition to these activities there are many more as part of this festival celebrating sport, entertainment, culture and Madeiran traditions, taking place between October, 1st to 6th.
December 1, 2019 to January 6, 2020 in Funchal: Christmas and New Year’s Eve Festivities
The arrival of the decorative lights in the streets of the city center of Funchal, during the month of December, sets the beginning of the Madeira Christmas and End of the Year Festivities program.These festivities culminate with the famous fireworks show, officially recognized in 2006 by the Guinness Book of Records, as the largest fireworks show in the world.
These commemorations consist of a rich and extensive program of cultural, religious, ethnographic and artistic manifestations that take place throughout the entire month of December, an event that culminates on January 6th.
Market Night is held on December 23rd, when Madeirans do their last-minute Christmas shopping and it is in this hustle and bustle that the spirit of the “Festivity” can best be felt, the nickname given by the Madeirans to identify Christmas. The inhabitants move towards the Farmers' Market where the surrounding streets, which are closed to traffic, are occupied by various points of sale opened throughout the night. They have varied local products such as flowers, shrubs, fruits, vegetables, sweets, wine-and-garlic meat sandwiches and typical drinks, such as poncha.
At nightfall the biggest attraction of the day begins, a traditional Christmas carols show, where locals take on the role of true artists. Also the participation of bands and folklore groups helps to maintain the atmosphere of celebration and fun until dawn.
Organized by the Madeira Athletics Association, the Funchal Road Race is one of the oldest sports events of its kind in Portugal and Europe. This race that has attracted innumerable national and international athletes to the island brings lots of adrenaline and excitement to the Madeiran capital.
The fireworks show lasts for about eight minutes and is distributed by several fireworks points in the Funchal Amphitheatre, the waterfront, the city center, the sea and one station on Porto Santo Island.
This grand spectacle that is one of Madeira’s most important tourist events was internationally recognized in 2006 by the Guinness Book of Records as "The largest fireworks show in the World".
On the evening of January 5th to 6th the Twelfth Night songs are sung in the neighbors’ houses, a little throughout the region. It is this spirit that seeks to recreate the popular tradition of the Madeira traditional songs that were made on this day, door to door, in various localities.
From the United States, direct (1-stop) flights are available out of cities including Boston, New York, Newark, Providence, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Miami, San Francisco and Chicago. Azores Airlines and TAP are the main Portuguese operators flying directly and at the best rates. United, American, Delta, Norwegian or British Airways also fly to the island via connections.