Madeira is an autonomous Portuguese region consisting of four islands, two of which are inhabited (Madeira and Porto Santo). Dubbed ‘the land of eternal Spring’, it boasts an incredible climate.
Since it’s located off Africa’s northwest coast, Madeira has a sub-tropical climate, meaning that the summers are hot and dry and the winters relatively mild with some sunshine. This makes it a great destination all year round. Here we explore the best times to visit Madeira Island by season.
Spring (March to May)
Spring is a brilliant time to visit Madeira if you want to experience sunshine without the sizzling summer heat. During Spring, you’ll get at least 7 hours of sunshine each day, making it a perfect time to scour the island, appreciate nature, and hit the beach.
The island is also ablaze with stunning flora at this time, thanks to its fertile volcanic soil and lush microclimate. During these months, you’ll also see many a Bird of Paradise flower (the national symbol of the island.)
Best time for: Experiencing the bright and vibrant wildflowers and attending the famous Madeira flower festival.
Summer (June – August)
Summer is an excellent time to visit Madeira, especially if you’re a sun worshipper. The climate is hot and dry at this time, with average temperatures of around 24°C. However, if the hot winds from the Sahara are blowing, they can reach up to 33 °C. This is the ideal time for swimming and catching a tan. The island is also brimming with whales and dolphins at this time, making it perfect for nature lovers.
Best time for: Spotting pods of whales and catching a tan!
Autumn (September to November)
Autumn in Madeira is quieter than the other months, making it a fantastic time if you want to skip the crowds. Temperatures are around 22 °C so it’s ideal for those who love hiking or trekking through the mountains. Autumn also boasts lots of delicious fresh produce (like the island’s famous small bananas) and scrumptious seafood, including scabbardfish.
Best time for: Fewer crowds and cooler temperatures
Winter (December to February)
Visiting Madeira in winter is a grand plan if you want to escape the cold. Daily temperatures are around 18 – 20 °C in the lower parts, and you can still experience about 5 hours of sunshine each day. However, from the capital of Funchal, you might see some snow glistening on top of the mountains, which adds to the magical festive charm. This is the most joyous time to visit the island, with locals partaking in ‘A festa’ celebrations and carnivals in the lead-up to Christmas.
Experience festive delight as Christmas cheer illuminates the island and visit night markets, nativity scenes, and religious gatherings.
Best time for: Festival celebrations and cultural events. It’s also a great time for those who enjoy surfing!
Madeira is a great option all year long, thanks to its gorgeous Mediterranean climate. The hotter summer months are ideal if you’re a sun follower and you want to spend hours sojourning on the beach. Winter and Autumn, however, are great if you want to relish slightly cooler weather and celebrate festive shenanigans.
Whenever you decide to visit this magical island, you are bound to fall in love! If you are planning on visiting Portugal soon, also be sure to check out our 2 week Portugal itinerary!