January Madeira Events
Cantar os Reis ‘Singing of the Kings’ – 5th to 6th
“Cantar os Reis or cantar as Janeiras” (Singing of the Kings) are traditional songs sung in January. This old Madeiran tradition is celebrated every year 5th to 6th January all over the Island, where family, neighbours and friends of all ages come out and sing door to door. Enjoy the last few days of the Christmas lights, music shows in the streets of Funchal and great traditional concerts performed at the Funchal’s Municipal Garden Auditorium.
“Santo Amaro” Festival – Santa Cruz – 10th to 15th
Christmas in Madeira continues until January 15 when ‘Santo Amaro’ is commemorated throughout the island. This religious holiday marks the end of the Christmas season, when families gather to share the final meal of the festive season, take down decorations and lapinhas (nativity scenes) and ‘sweep the larder clean’. The municipality of Santa Cruz honours its patron saint on the eve of Santo Amaro with a candle-lit procession to the Igreja Matriz. The streets are full of beautiful decorations, plenty of stalls, music and food.
“Panelo” Festival – Chão da Ribeira do Seixal – Jan 26th
Festa do Panelo is one of the oldest local traditions in Seixal, Madeira, held on the last Sunday of January in the municipality of Porto Moniz. Families and friends meet to prepare a communal lunch in the countryside around Chão da Ribeira, cooked in a huge panelo (pot) over a wood fire. This hearty meal is very similar to cozido à portuguesa (Portuguese stew) containing meat, sausages and sweet potato, traditionally served in cabbage leaves. Festivities include entertainment and stalls selling food and drinks.
February Madeira Events
II Festival of Wine, Embroidery & Handicrafts in Madeira – 21, 22 and 23 of February
The Madeira Wine Institute is proud to host the II Festival of Madeira Wine, Embroidery and Handicrafts. This festival features events for all ages including live entertainment, Madeira wine auctions, wine tasting, Madeira wine and chocolate, craft workshops (including embroidery, tapestry and ceramic tile painting), children’s workshops and an exhibition of delicate Madeiran embroidery. Visit the Madeira Wine Institute, Rua 5 de Outubro, Funchal.
Festa dos Compadres – Santana – 22nd and 23rd of February
Festa dos Compadres marks the opening of the Madeiran carnival, a tradition dating back more than 50 years, taking place in Santana. An event well known for its originality, fun gigantic figurines, which are paraded around the town by the enthusiastic local people, together with music, dancing and revelry. The festival consists basically of a fun public judgment demonstration of the Compadres and the Comadres, accused of many infidelities and other sins, ending up being burnt publicly in a grand ritual and effusive occasion, which cheer up hundreds of visitors. There will be a variety of gastronomic Regional specialties and lots of entertainment.
Happy Valentine’s Day – 14th February
Madeira Island is a romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day. Instead of chocolates and Roses this year again, do something wild and different, let that special someone know how much they are loved, surprise you’re loved one to a memorable romantic week in Madeira Island and enjoy wonderful scenery, romantic sunsets and a taste of the Madeira Wine.
Take advantage of some of the best hotels and coach tours all around the Island.
March Madeira Events
The Madeira Carnival – February 26th to 5th March (Main Parade March 1st and Fun Parade the 4th)
Madeira’s spectacular Carnival Celebration is fast approaching at full steam.
One of the most exciting celebrations; it’s all about fun, beautiful people, floats, outlandish costumes and sound of pounding drums. This year’s theme is ‘Zodiac signs’, as tradition the Carnival main parade begins Saturday, Funchal main streets fill with joy and colour, where thousands of participants all dressed in beautiful costumes dance to the sounds of the samba bands. On Tuesday enjoy the funniest parade ‘o Trapalhão’ filled with laughter, imaginative and humorous costume ideas and is open to anyone who wishes to participate. Dare to be different take part on the parade.
We recommend arriving early for the best available seating.
Festa da Anona (Cherimoya Fruit Festival) – Faial, Santana – 8-9
The Cherimoya Fruit Festival (Festa da Anona) has been around since 1990 and takes place annually in the beautiful small village of Faial, located on the northern coast of the Island. The Cherimoya Fruit (anona) is most commonly grown in Faial and in order to promote this delicious fruit, local producers have created a festival with a fruit exhibition and great entertainment.
Madeira Forest and Tree Week – 21
Madeira is celebrating Forest and Tree week, an annual event taking place in the Ecological park of Funchal (Parque Ecológico do Funchal). Fnac Madeira at Madeira Shopping centre has a presentation of nature expositions, workshops, activities, contests and pleasant walks offering people an opportunity to get to know their forests and learn how important they are to all of us.
Together we can make the planet a better place for tomorrow. Take part and regenerate our planet by planting a tree.
April Madeira Events
Regional sugar cane fair (Feira Regional da Cana-de-Açúcar) – Ponta do Sol – 5-6
The Regional sugar cane fair is an annual event taking place in the farmers market in Canhas, Ponta do Sol. The festival features an exhibit of the sugar industry and a sugar cane presentation, where visitors get a chance to learn how honey molasses are produced, sample foods and also take part in the cutting of the sugar cane, followed by traditional entertainment, contests, food and drink.
The Madeira Film Festival – 21-27
The Madeira Film Festival will take place at Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias and at the prestigious Reid´s Palace Hotel. This is a project designed by the Scottish director Aitken Pearson, which aims to promote numerous initiatives in arts, education, ecotourism and solidarity. This years event will include several cultural events, with enthralling cinematic experiences, musical concerts, workshops, talks, master classes, fashion parades gala dinners, cocktails and parties.
Festa da Cultura do Funchal (Cultural Festival) – Funchal – 24th April to 4th May
The book Fair is an annual event held annually for one week in May in Funchal Avenida Arriaga, it involves the participation of the majority of Madeira’s bookshops and some Portuguese publishing houses including live entertainment. Here you may find stands of great selection of Books for all ages including antique photos of Madeira and much more.
May Madeira Events
São Tiago Menor Festival – May 1st
Every year on the 1st of May, the City of Funchal prays tribute to its patron saint São Tiago Menor. This typical Maderian Festival takes place throughout the old part of Town (zona velha), with a traditional procession, great entertainment and music lasting for several days.
Madeira Flower Festival – Funchal 1-7 of May – on the 3rd Children’s parade (Wall of Hope Ceremony) and Main parade on the 4th
Madeira Island welcomes in spring with its dazzling Flower Festival: a highlight of the year, the celebration runs over four days, with beautiful displays of tropical flowers, floral carpets and music. The best-known part of all is the Flower Festival Parade, which starts with the Children’s parade on the Saturday. The climax is the festival’s main parade day on Sunday, when hundreds of flower dancers accompanied by huge floral floats parade through the main streets of Funchal. This really is a sight not to miss and a photographer’s paradise!
Another highlight is the great creative display of tropical flowers by the local Flower growers on the Largo da Restauração.
This is the best time of year to discover the beauty of Madeira Island and experience one of the biggest tourist attractions held every year.
Festa do Limão (Lemon Festival) Ilha – Santana – 3-4
The Lemon Festival is one of the most important cultural events celebrated in the parish of Ilha in the city of Santana. As always, the Festival will feature its famous regional lemon exhibit, traditional entertainment, food, live music and once more, the famous “Festa do Despique”. The Festival of Despique is a traditional improvised singing challenge, fun and very creative. The idea of this event is to help keep the tradition going for these types of popular songs and others as the xaramba, mourisca, bailinho and the round songs. Some of these types of songs are still present in the Madeiran festivals, in many parts of Island.
Regional Brass Band Meeting – Ribeira Brava – 4
Ribeira Brava celebrates the Regional Meeting of Bands, an annual event created to preserve the important musical heritage of the Region and to give public recognition of the extraordinary collaboration offered by the Philharmonics. Its main attraction is the Band Parade throughout the mains streets of the town, each group presenting their own style of music and at the end all Bands gather at the Village church for a great performance to enliven the atmosphere.
Reid’s Palace Classic Auto Show – 10-11
From vintage racers to modern classics, the annual Reid’s Palace Classic Auto Show is a glamorous showcase of automobile history before 1980, where enthusiasts can share their passion for vintage cars, motorbikes and scooters. Hundreds of beautifully restored vehicles are exhibited along Estrada Monumental, from Villa Cipriani Restaurant to Largo da Paz. Attracting visitors and spectators from all over the world, this Auto Show also includes an automobile fair and car restoration demonstrations. The most original and elegantly restored cars are awarded prizes at the end of the day.
Madeira Island Ultra Trail (MIUT 2014) – “East to west” – 10-13
Registrations are now open for the Madeira Island Ultra Trail – a long distance trail running event that spans the island of Madeira. There are four races Trail 20, Trail 42, UT 85 and UT 115 of 20 km, 42 km, 85 km and 115 km (with a time limit for completion) travelling east to west from sea level to the mountainous peaks of pico do Arieiro and pico do Ruivo (1861 m) and through the stunning Laurissilva forests. Challengers endure changes in temperature and visibility during this race and require self-sufficiency in the mountains.
Madeira Island Open – Santo da Serra – 15-18
Madeira Island Open is an annual event part of the PGA European Tour – a men’s professional golf tournament, taking place at Santo da Serra Golf Club in May, attracting many of the world’s best players. Madeira and Porto Santo Island offers excellent Golfing conditions all year round if you are a golfer and never been to Madeira, this is a good time to get to know and experience one of the best events and golf courses Madeira has to offer.
Festa da Cebola (Onion Festival) – 16-18
The Onion Festival takes place in the town of Caniço in Padre Lomelino Square (in front of the Church). This popular cultural event has a tradition going back a quite a few years; its principal attraction is the onion parade, with cars very well decorated and the allusive auction of the onion. Here visitors can appreciate the onion exhibit, several musical attractions and the opportunity to enjoy several traditional delicacies.
Festas da Sé – Funchal – 23-31 May
While visiting Madeira Island, take the opportunity and experience a typical Maderian Festival in the centre of Funchal.
The surrounding streets of the Cathedral are beautifully decorated and very crowded. Visitors can enjoy and taste traditional Madeiran drinks and delightful delicacies from restaurants and bars throughout streets of João Tavira, Rua do Bispo, Rua da Queimada de Cima, Rua da Queimada de Baixo and Rua dos Ferreiros.
There is great entertainment, live music, philharmonic bands, folklore dances and constant liveliness happening every day between 7:30 p.m. to 12 a.m.
June Madeira Events
Medieval Market – Machico – 6, 7 and 8
Held in the oldest settlement in Madeira, Machico’s Medieval Market is an entertaining festival celebrating the early days on the archipelago. For a weekend in June, the streets are decorated with colourful flags and tents, while locals are dressed in full medieval costumes – from knights and ladies to merchants and minstrels. Entertainment includes dramatic historical re-enactments, open-air theatre, music, fire-eaters and acrobats. Market stalls sell a wide selection of handicrafts and offer demonstrations of pottery, weaving and woodwork.
The Atlantic Festival (Festival do Atlântico) – Madeira Fireworks Competition 7, 14, 21 and 28
This important festival marks the beginning of the summer festivities on this island, numerous activities in the centre of Funchal with an international firework display competition every Saturday, Classical Music performance and street entertainment. This event certainly is a major breathtaking tourist attraction, visitors are treated to a glorious Firework show that lights up Funchal´s night sky spreading magic through its bay and sea.
Festival of the popular saints – Festa dos Santos Populares 12th – 29th
Festa dos Santos Populares are some of the biggest traditional festivals celebrated all over the Island and is still today the high social point of many regions. These festivities are dedicated to the three popular saints; Santo Antonio (St. Antony), São João (St. John) and São Pedro (St Peter).
Saint John is the most popular saint celebrated all over the island. Funchal with its St. John’s Altars 19th – 24th traditional celebration, where local shops prepare and show off their altar creativity, followed by a celebration of traditional “marchas populares”, entertainment and great food.
Porto Santo, 19th – 29th best-known tourist attraction during this big festivity with lots of interesting events including traditional parades, jumping over bonfires on the beach and balloon release.
Saint Peter, the protector of the fishermen, the biggest celebration is in the fishing ports of Câmara de Lobos and in Ribeira Brava.
Câmara de Lobos June 28th through July 2nd, combined with the big celebrations of Saint Peter there is also the black scabbard fish Festival (Festa da Espada Preta) with great entertainment, live music, traditional dancing, fireworks display and food stalls set around the port, where you can enjoy a taste of delicious Madeira’s specialties.
The black scabbard fish festival serves to promote one of the most typical gastronomic Madeiran specialties, also pay a tribute to the local fishermen, who for generations were the only ones in the island who devote themselves for the catch of this type of fish.
Ribeira Brava Jun 28th and 29th, great traditional celebrations that last trough the night, surrounded streets are decorated with colourful flowers, live entertainment, traditional dancing, music and food stalls set on the beach. As tradition, visitors who want to take part in the festival activity, popular night journeys are available between Funchal and Ribeira Brava. There will be a picturesque procession of boats held on the sea and at midnight a great firework display.
Cherry Festival (Festa da Cereja) – Câmara de Lobos, Jardim da Serra – 14 – 15
The Cherry Festival is one of the most important local activities held annually in Jardim da Serra since 1954. The dazzling beauty of the cherry blooming season takes place normally in April and May. The harvest begins at the end of May and usually lasts through to the end of June. There are a variety of cherry trees cultivated. The “regional ones”, of medium sizes and prodigious yield and the late picking, large size “Norberto”. This is a variety well adapted to the region’s climate and soil. This sweet celebration of the local cherry harvest promises a fun-filled weekend of Festivities, with great entertainment, food and drink. There is also a cherry parade of wicker baskets filled with cherries and many street shops where you can enjoy and sample some of the great home made cherry liqueurs and many other varieties.
July Madeira Events
Madeira Day – 1st July
Day of the Autonomous Region of Madeira and Madeiran Communities. On this day all of Madeira Island will celebrate its anniversary of the political Autonomy of Madeira, with various ceremonies in the centre of Funchal and throughout the region.
Madeira Big Game Fishing Championship – (date to be announced)
Big Game Fishing is one of the most exciting sports in Madeira, which is recognised as one of the world’s best hot-spots for this activity. Proud to be part of the Blue Marlin World Cup Championship, Madeira holds the world record and was the First Prize winner in 1995, 1996 and 1997.
This one-day event takes place in July in various locations across the Atlantic Ocean, each in their time zone between the hours of 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM and is described as ‘an extremely rewarding experience, a one-of-a-kind tournament with none other like it in the world’. According to the official rules of the World Cup Blue Marlin Championship Tournament, the winning catch is the largest Blue Marlin caught, weighing at least 500 pounds, backed up by photographic evidence and witness statements. Madeira’s marlin season lasts from May to October and at Funchal Marina you may find some of the best, fully equipped boats and experienced crews for hire, professionals and newcomers are welcome.
Funchal Jazz Festival – Parque Santa Catarina – 3, 4 and 5
Funchal presents a unique beauty, surrounded by privilege views of the mountains and deep blue sea. This year the beautiful Park of Santa Catarina will vibrate to the rhythms of Jazz, with great performances by famous artists from Madeira and international musicians.
Banana Exhibit (Mostra Regional de Banana) – Madalena do Mar – 5-6
Every year in July, Madalena do Mar celebrates one of the most important local products with the Regional Banana Exhibition. Owing to the fact that Madeira’s biggest banana plantations found here the Festival, which serves to promote the product and old traditional practices, is recognised as a major cultural event. Visitors can enjoy great entertainment, banana sampling and traditional delicacies.
Sea Week – Porto Moniz (date to be announced)
Sea week is one of the most important events in Porto Moniz, also as part of the regional calendar of events, it offers a vast program of activities that invites hundreds of participants and visitors to the district. Besides the music, there are several contests, sea trips, canoe regatta, cultural and athletic activities and of course the Sea Games, with team representatives of several districts of the Region competing.
Madeira Bike Festival – Ponta do Sol (date to be announced)
The annual Madeira Bike Festival is held on a sunny weekend in July. Organised by the Cycling Association of Madeira, this competition is a challenging sporting event for keen cyclists and mountain bikers. Exciting events include an urban downhill race as well as individual cross-country time trials. On the final day, locals and visitors can take part in a communal bike ride, which offers spectacular views of Madeira’s landscape. All cyclists are welcome, including children. Participants also enjoy a social dinner and prizes are awarded for different categories and experience levels.
Festival Raízes do Atlântico – Funchal – 17-19
The Festival Raízes do Atlântico (Atlantic Roots) is a free traditional event organised by DRAC, the Regional Board for Cultural Matters. This event is considered the oldest festival of world music of Portugal since 1994 and takes place in Funchal’s Municipal Garden. The program is filled by traditional music of several countries, national and international artists and bands, in the World of Music.
Festa da Lapa (Limpet festival) – Paul do Mar – 18-20
The Limpet festival is a popular annual event taking place in the picturesque harbour of Paul do Mar. This is one of the most famous local traditional festivals, it runs for 3 nights and is filled with lots of entertainment, concerts and traditional food and of course fresh grilled Lapas (limpets) and Beer.
48 hours Dancing Folklore Festival – Santana – 18-20
The 48 hours Dancing festival is a Regional Folklore event held in Santana, where groups from many regions of Madeira and other Countries are invited to perform during a 48-hour period. There are several food and drink stalls and exceptional entertainment throughout the night.
Gastronomic Week – Machico 25 July – 3 August
The city of Machico celebrates once again the 28th annual gastronomic week, with live concerts and impressive culinary traditions, including a cocktail festival and many other activities such as sports tournaments and great entertainment. Visitors can enjoy a week of different flavours and tastes right by sea.
August Madeira Events
Gastronomic Week in Machico still on until 3rd August – come and enjoy the different tastes and flavours of Madeira’s culinary traditions.
Rali Vinho da Madeira (Madeira Wine Rally) – 31th July to 2nd August
Rali Vinho da Madeira is one of the oldest and most important automobile events in Madeira Island, organized annually by the Club Sports da Madeira. This challenge race event takes place in the beautiful and very competitive routes and hills of Madeira, bringing in year after year many famous drivers and new competitors worldwide. The opening ceremony begins and ends in Funchal and will be commemorated with a toast of the famous Madeira Wine.
Art Festival Camachense – Camacha – 8-12
The Art Festival Camachense brings Camacha to the centre of attention in August, with great celebrations and two decades of traditional art, culture, entertainment and so much more. This Festival is dedicated to its local traditions; visitors can enjoy the quality and diversity of actions, basketry and embroidery making, exhibitions, plastic art, folklore dancing and traditional food.
Monte Festival – Monte 15th
Festa da Senhora do Monte is one of the biggest and famous religious festivals in Madeira Island, bringing in thousands of visitors from all over the world. Its beautiful church located on the hills of Monte is traditionally decorated, the Alter is filled with beautiful fresh flowers and a mass is celebrated then followed by a beautiful street procession. There is great entertainment, music, dancing and lots of food stalls serving traditional food and drinks lasting all weekend long.
Funchal Music Fest
Hailed as the biggest pop/rock festival on the island of Madeira, the Funchal Music Fest presents a crowd-pleasing line-up of major Portuguese and international musicians. The festival features concerts every evening for three days in downtown Funchal. Purchase a 3-day Fan Kit ticket which includes a voucher for food and drink at the festival and discounts at number of stores. Santa Catarina Park is a superb venue for this festival, boasting spectacular views of Funchal Bay and a diverse collection of unique plants and flowers.
Funchal City Day – 21th
The enchanting city of Funchal is over 500 years old. Dia da Cidade do Funchal celebrates Funchal’s official status as a Portuguese city, which was granted in 1508 by Royal Charter. Funchal was the first city built by Europeans outside the European continent and King D. Manuel I encouraged the development of the capital, beginning with the construction of a Town Hall, cathedral and hospital. The name Funchal dates back to the time of the island’s discovery, when the slopes were covered in wild fennel. A diverse programme of religious celebrations and official events for Funchal City Day are centred around the City Hall, Avenida do Mar and Avenida Arriaga.
Wine Harvest Festival – Porto Santo (date to be announced)
The wine harvest in Porto Santo takes place at the end of August, the varieties of grapes produced here grow along the south coast and are mainly for eating but a small part is used to produce Porto Santo wine, it’s taste is pleasant, sweet and powerful and can be sampled in local restaurants and bars.
The Festival includes a public wine making presentation, a chance to taste varieties of wines produced in the island, exhibitions and great entertainment.
Caniço Promenade Nights – Caniço de Baixo – 22 to 31
Spend balmy summer evenings along the oceanfront Promenade of Reis-Magos in Caniço de Baixo and savour delicious local gastronomy and the unique cultural traditions of Madeiran folk music. This festival attracts thousands of locals and visitors annually, as tents and stalls representing local restaurants, bars and hotels in Caniço serve a variety of typical local cuisine and tantalising sweets. Wonderful entertainment and dancing is provided every evening by folklore groups and local musicians.
Canoe Tour round Madeira – Funchal – (date to be announced)
Canoe race around Madeira Island is a popular International tour event from F.P.C. and I.C.F, organized each year by Centro Treino Mar of Madeira. This exhilarating and challenging sea race begins in Funchal and around the Island, with the participation of many local and international professional canoeists, who also get a chance to see a different perspective of the Island.
September Madeira Events
Madeira Wine Festival – 31th August to 7 September
Madeira wine festival begins in Estreito de Camara de Lobos in September with a live grape harvest, picking and processing then followed by a traditional parade. Funchal centre will be filled with great celebrations, exhibits, folklore groups and street stands serving the famous Madeira wine and traditional food.
Festival of Senhor Bom Jesus – Ponta Delgada 1st – 2nd
Ponta Delgada celebrates Festa do Senhor Bom Jesus; one of the largest pilgrimage festivities in Madeira. Impressive crowds fill the village of Ponta Delgada, many arriving on foot from all over the Island, transforming it into a lively party filled with lots of tradition, food and drink. The festival runs through the first week of September, a high season in which many emigrants visit their birthplace.
Madeira Round the Island by Bicycle (Grande Prémio da Madeira) – (date to be announced)
Round the Island Bicycle tour race is an annual event organized by the Madeira Sports Association (Associação de Desportos da Madeira) offering great routes and ideal conditions for young, amateur and professional cyclists.
Discover Madeira Island by Bicycle and enjoy its natural history and the most spectacular views during the autumn season.
Nossa Senhora da Piedade (Festival of Our Lady of Mercy) – Caniçal 15th to 16th
Festa da Nossa Senhora da Piedade is a festival dedicated to the fishermen. Caniçal is one of the oldest religious parishes in Madeira Island and here on the third weekend of September it celebrates the traditional Festival in honour of Our Lady of Mercy (protector of the fishermen). The fishermen with their colourfully decorated boats take part and sail in procession to the small chapel of the Nossa Senhora da Piedade, located on a hill top called Monte Gordo (Fat Mount) near Ponta de São Lorenço. This procession takes place on Saturday; the beautiful decorated boats depart from the port of Caniçal to the port of Quinta do Lorde, two weeks before the event a boat is raffled and chosen to transport the Saint. The boats stop at Quinta do Lorde and participants continue their procession on foot up to the chapel; the statue of Our Lady of Mercy is carried out to the boat and to the village of Caniçal for the celebration.
On the next day, Sunday another procession is carried out where Our Lady of Mercy is then returned to the chapel once again by boat. The procession is accompanied by traditional hymns of the devotees and by the music of the home band. Like all other festivals in Madeira Island, there is also great entertainment; traditional Espetada (meat on a spit) and Bolo do caco.
Columbus Festival – Porto Santo Island – 18th to 20th
Vila Baleira on Porto Santo Island celebrates Christopher Columbus day, with great festivities, exhibits, music and most importantly the great historical parade based on his life’s discoveries and a theatrical recreation of his arrival to Porto Santo.
Apple Festival (Festa do Pero) – Ponta do Pargo – 20th to 21st
Festa do Pêro is a rural event, which takes place in the charming village of Ponta do Pargo, where farmers of several nearby regions get together and successfully transform the Apple harvest into a very lively party.
The aromatic quality of the famous apples in this region was so great that some ancient writers have referred it to; ships on the high sea bound for Madeira were able to detect the perfume.
This festival consists of a traditional street parade, exhibition, shops, cider tasting and great entertainment.
World Tourism Day – Funchal 27th
Madeira Island, a tourist region of excellence, celebrates world Tourism Day; an annual event organized by the Board of Tourism, providing an ideal opportunity to recognize the importance of tourism to the island’s economy, social, cultural and political life. World Tourism Day is celebrated on the 27th September with various events, madeira activities, cultural entertainment and also free admission to many Museums and Gardens.
Mostra da Sidra (Apple Cider Festival) – Santo da Serra – 27th to 28th
Santo da Serra celebrates the Apple Cider Festival; the event includes an exhibition of Apple varieties and other related products. There will be a small parade and great entertainment. Visitors also get a chance to enjoy Cider sampling, press demonstrations, music and traditional food.
October Madeira Events
Madeira Nature Festival (Madeira World Games) – 6th to 12th October
Organised by the Madeira Tourism Board, the Madeira Nature Festival is the latest event on the annual Tourist Entertainment calendar. Aiming to inspire active visitors to explore nature in all its aspects – land, air and sea – there are plenty of activities for all ages, including trekking, paragliding, sailing and much more.
Lord of Miracles Festival (Festa do Senhor dos Milagres) – Machico – 9th
Festa do Senhor dos Milagres is one of the most important religious festivities in the city of Machico, celebrated in the Chapel of “Senhor dos Milagres” one of the oldest chapels of Madeira and possibly the site where the two runaway lovers from Bristol, Anne d’Arfet and Robert Machin were buried. A flood destroyed the chapel in 1803, but miraculously the statue of the Lord having been washed out to sea was found 3 days later by an American galley that handed it over to the Cathedral of Funchal. Later it was returned to its respective chapel, reconstructed 15 April 1813. The miraculous day is still celebrated every year 9th October with a night candle procession; on this same day the Municipality of Machico also celebrates with the usual traditional entertainment, food and drink.
Festa da Maçã – Camacha
Camacha celebrates its traditional Apple festival, with great entertainment, folklore singing and dancing. There is also an Apple Cider press demonstration throughout the day, where locals and visitors get a chance to watch this time-honoured process and taste the delicious freshly made Apple Cider, known as “Cidra”.
Madeira Organ Festival – 17th to 27th
One of Madeira’s newest festivals, the Madeira Organ Festival celebrates the history and music of the organ in Madeiran culture. First held in 2010, this 10-day festival offers a classical music repertoire featuring the new organ in the Church of the Colégio as well as a number of restored 18th and 19th century Portuguese, Italian and English organs. Audiences fill the churches for unique recitals, accompanied by various performers including children’s choirs, percussion groups and soloists. For the duration of the festival, a musical performance is held every evening in one of Madeira’s churches, including Funchal Cathedral, the Hospice of Bom Jesus, the Church of São Pedro, Church of Nossa Senhora de Guadalupe, Church of São João Evangelista (Colégio), Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição and the Convent of Santa Clara.
Happy Halloween – 31st
Halloween is celebrated on October 31st in England, United States and Canada, but not commonly celebrated in all countries of the world, however in Madeira most clubs, bars throughout the city and all over the region join in the Halloween celebration.
November Madeira Events
Chestnut Festival (Festa da Castanha) – Curral das Freiras – 2-3 November
Curral das Freiras celebrates the Annual Chestnut Festival a very popular event with lots of entertainment, traditional food and drink. Visitors can sample various specialties made of chestnut, roasted chestnuts, liquors and delicious cake. There is also a gastronomic contest by the local restaurants where traditional food is served. On November the 1st Portugal celebrates All Saints day “Dia de Todos os Santos” also a typical Madeiran custom, dia de Pão-por-deus a Children’s Celebration, similar to the American style Halloween, but instead of just getting sweets, children go door to door with their pretty home made bags filled with chestnuts, bread, fruit and sweets where they sing and share with other children.
Chestnut Festival (Festa da Castanha da Serra) – Serra do Campanário Ribeira Brava – 10th November
Funchal International Film Festival – Funchal – (date to be announced)
The Funchal International Film Festival is sponsored by the Regional Government of Madeira, an annual event held at the Baltazar Dias Municipal Theatre, aims to promote independent filmmaking and Madeira Island as a tourism destination, followed by various events.
December Madeira Events
Christmas Lights – 1st December – 6th January
December 8th is the official day of the switching on the Christmas lights (that stay on until mid January), followed by great celebrations, cultural events, concerts and exhibitions happening all over town all the way through Christmas. Madeira Island is truly magical and unforgettable at this time of year.
Christmas Celebrations – 16th – 24th December
Through out the month of December religious mass celebrations take place in most churches on the Island. Missa do parto “Childbirth Mass” is one of the most principal devotions of the Madeiran Christmas tradition; it’s the celebration of the nine months of pregnancy of the Virgin Mary, beginning for that very reason nine days before Christmas early 6am 16th December and ending about sunrise 24th December accompanied by old traditional songs.
Market Night – 23rd December
The Market Night Party is a traditional celebration lasting all night long. The famous Funchal market (Mercado dos Lavradores) and surrounding streets are crowded with joyful people creating a real festive spirit, singing Christmas carols, dancing, drinking (responsibly) and having fun. All bars in the area are opened all night, serving traditional drinks and the special delicious sandwich “carne vinho alhos” meat with wine and garlic, which is traditionally served during Christmas. During the day surrounding the market, there is a quite remarkable display of regional fruit and vegetable shops, where you can do your last minute shopping.
Christmas Midnight Mass (Missa do Galo) – 24th December
Missa do Galo “Rooster’s Mass” is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, a traditional midnight mass celebrated in every Church in the island.
The Midnight mass at Funchal’s Sé Cathedral is specially celebrated by the Bishop of Funchal and which is also televised. The church fills up quickly just make sure to get there early so you get a good seat up front
Madeira Island Winter Fest – Madeira Tecnopolo
Puppetry Productions presents “the Madeira Winter Fest” a two-day concert event held in Madeira Tecnopolo, featuring famous musicians such as Amor Electro, Carminho, Moonspell, Karnak Seti, Joana Machado and Calamity Islet. Winterfest is non-stop action and fun, come and hear from a range of talented musicians.
São Silvestre Race – 28th December
São Silvestre Race is a traditional long-distance race round the city of Funchal held annually 28th December. The Race of São Silvestre is one of the oldest races in Portugal and Europe, organised by the Association of Athletics of the Autonomous Region of the Madeira in which thousands of athletes of all ages participate.
Grand Firework Display – 31st December
Besides all the great celebrations through out the month of December the best part of it all is getting ready for the New Year. New Years Eve is celebrated all over the Island and the most spectacular event is at midnight in Funchal Centre. Once the clock strikes 12 the sky marvellously lit up, an unforgettable non-stop Fireworks display lights up all of Madeira Island. The grand finale is just amazing and you just have to be here to believe it.