Events Calendar, what's on in Madeira
Check out the Calendar for all year round Festivities throughout the region
End of the Year Festivities – November to January
Christmas celebrations and the New Year are very popular with many tourists visiting Madeira at this time of year (and of course the benign climate helps). Preparations for the tradition celebrations begin in November with the switching on of the Christmas lights throughout the whole of December until January including a wide range of cultural events with music, shows and fun.
A ‘Christmas Spirit’ takes place at the market ‘Mercado dos Lavradores on the night of 23th December where many locals and tourists celebrate all night long, eating, drinking and singing Christmas Carols.
New Year’s Eve in Madeira? Funchal is where you’ll want to be! The stupendous firework display is considered to be one of the most spectacular in the world and has made it into the Guinness Book of records. With New Year being the high season in Madeira preparation in advance is a must. The harbour is filled with many Cruise ships and late arrivals have to stay out in the bay. Fireworks are stretched out around Funchal’s bay and as the clock strikes midnight on the 31st December, from the south, west, east and north the skies are lit with fireworks making this one of the most magnificent shows ever and a memorable moment for everyone.
Madeira Walking Festival takes place in January on the Islands of Madeira and Porto Santo. It’s a 5 day walk event consisting of 20 of the most popular trails with 4 walks per day a suitable exercise for all ages and levels guided by a professional, allowing participants a chance to get to know the Island’s history and experience the Laurissilva forest.
Madeira Orienteering Festival is a 3 day race competition in the mountains organised by the Funchal Mountain Club. Orienteering is a recent sport to Portugal and this one takes place every January. It’s a great way to enjoy the scenery, meet new people and explore nature.
Carnival; a traditional parade and one of the main events here in Madeira where people from all around the world come to see the superbly organised Samba Troupes that fill the streets of Funchal with music and dance. There are two carnival parades, the biggest parade taking place on the Saturday evening called the Allegoric Parade ‘Cortejo Alegórico’ with vibrant and colorful costumes. The final parade on Tuesday, the Fun Parade ‘o Trapalhão’, known for its humour and social satire is the funniest parade and the one everyone’s been waiting for. Anyone can take part and dress up with costumes of their own creation, which makes for great entertainment.
The Flower Festival is one of the most colorful traditional events organised in Madeira and takes place every spring. Many activities and celebrations take place around Funchal starting with the making of a pavement flower carpet, concerts and folklore groups dancing the open air. There are also many superb flower displays and the exciting children’s parade where a procession of children, each holding a flower file into the Municipal Square ‘Praça do Município’ where the flower is placed on a vertical surface called the ‘Wall of Hope’. The following day (Sunday) is the great main parade. Many different groups line up and dance on the streets of Funchal, dressed in their beautifully colourful Madeira embroidery costumes, ‘floats’ are decorated and filled with a wide variety of flowers from Madeira.
Festas da Sé; a traditional annual event taking place in the old streets of Funchal centre, commencing mid-May and running through early June. This is the liveliest place on the island, many typical folklore bands fill the decorated streets and esplanades of restaurants and cafés with traditional Madeiran music and dance.
Atlantic Festival; an annual event-taking place in the centre of Funchal organized by the Regional Secretariat of Tourism of Madeira. This important cultural and entertainment event starts June 1st and runs throughout June until 30th with live classical music performance and an international firework display competition taking place every Saturday on the Breakwater.
St. John's Altars in Funchal is a traditional celebration dedicated to St. John, St. Anthony and St. Peter. It takes place in early June on the streets of Figueira Preta, Conceição, Travessa dos Reis and Praça do Carmo in Funchal. This creative contest is hosted by the local commercial community, showing off their altar creativity, followed by a celebration of traditional folklore, food and drink.
Madeira World Classic Rally is one of the most interesting historical rallies of antique and classic cars, famously known worldwide. The Classic Rally - Volta à Madeira is part of the FIA and the international FIVA calendar a special event organized by the Clube Automóveis Clássicos da Madeira.
This is a four-day tour event, which takes place in the month of June around the winding roads of Madeira Island, allowing competitors to enjoy and experience Madeira’s beautiful landscapes.
Funchal Jazz Festival has become a big event in Madeira Island taking place in the beautiful Parque of Santa Catarina. Featuring many famous international artists, it first took place in 2000 and has significantly grown since then. Organized by the Municipal Council of Funchal, this Festival is an annual event hosted in the first week of July and complemented by different events spread thought out the City.
Machico Gastronomy; an event taking place in the town of Machico, hosted late July early August as a way of promoting Madeira´s cuisine, where visitors can enjoy delicious food, followed by a cocktail festival, music, football for veterans and other activities.
Madeira Wine Rally is an international motor sport competition and a major annual event, which attracts famous drivers from all over the world.
This event takes place in August starting with an opening ceremony in Funchal’s Avenida Arriaga. The drivers then begin their course around the island returning on Sunday for the prize-giving ceremony. One of the best aspects of this Rally is the unpredictable mountain weather; it might be wet and foggy one moment and sunny the next! Spectators should bear this in mind as the rain can make it very slippery for drivers.
There are designated camping parks available around the island specifically for those who come to watch the rally.
Monte Festival, considered the biggest religious festival in the Island is a huge celebration of The Senhora do Monte. Taking place during August 14 to 15th around the famous Church of Monte, where families and friends gather around singing, dance, eat and drink all through the night; a Madeiran tradition. Also it’s a great place to encounter many Madeiran immigrants.
The next day being a national holiday, a mass is celebrated following a procession in which pilgrims of "Senhora do Monte" participate and are grateful for all the blessings.