Madeira’s climate and weather by month
Madeira lies in the middle of the ocean, a thousand kilometers west of the Portuguese province of which it is a part. For a long time the island has been fancied by tourists – in the nineteenth century it came here for recreation, in those years it was known as a place for aristocrats and politicians. And now Madeira has not lost in popularity – every year it is visited by a million visitors – not bad for a small island!
And the main reason for this is nature. Although the island and lies in the subtropics, but it almost never gets hot, all year round is the month of May – for this Madeira is dubbed “island of eternal spring. Its topography is complex – there are many mountains and deep gorges, most of the coastline is dotted with cliffs, and therefore there are few beaches. But there is a well-developed infrastructure and a lot of entertainment: you can go scuba diving and windsurfing, fishing and hunting, there are trails for trekking in a beautiful natural environment.
Climatic zones in Madeira
An interesting feature of the island’s climate is variety. Despite its size, which is only 57km long and 27 wide, the climatic conditions are very different throughout the island: The north of Madeira has a distinctly temperate climate while the south is tropical. Much of the island, on the other hand, lies in the subtropical, mild oceanic climate zone. Due to the rugged topography, there are also different regions with their own microclimates. In short, you will experience very different weather patterns on the same day depending on the place, where it is cool and rainy and where the sun is shining through all the elements, you only need to travel a kilometer or two to get from one zone to the other.
The average temperature along the coast is 20°C. In Madeira, while it’s rarely hot, it’s never cold and the sea is always warm, with year-round temperature variations of between 18 and 22 degrees Celsius. Here all year round flowers bloom, nature is fragrant and there is an endless late spring – you can distinguish the dry season, starting in May and ending in October, and wet, which occupies the remaining months. The latter should not be confused with the tropical rainy season, as it is not at all like it.
Touristic seasons in Madeira
Madeira’s climate allows you to relax all year round while enjoying nature, as the weather is always warm and pleasant. However, you can still enjoy the high and low seasons.
The high season includes the summer months when lots of tourists go to the beaches, and the Christmas holidays, during which the island is again filled with guests coming to spend the holidays in a magical place. As they arrive, the many festivals and carnivals begin. The only obstacle to holidaying in Madeira during high season is the price level, and it is particularly expensive because you need to travel to Lisbon before flying here.
In early August you can take part in a rally on the mountain roads: the rugged terrain, stunning scenery and competitive spirit are a perfect combination.
Therefore, if your heart aches for this island paradise lost in the ocean, but you do not have that much money for a vacation, it is worth to go to Madeira in the low season. Prices go down a lot and the weather is still beautiful – the seasons here are not primarily about the weather, but the summer and December-January are the most convenient time for tourists from Europe, who make up the bulk of vacationers to come here.
It is often said that you can swim in Madeira all year round. That’s not to say it’s not true, you can really do it and the water temperature is almost the same in summer as it is in winter, so you can really do it in winter. Still, if you are going to swim in the warm sea, you should choose summer, because the Atlantic Ocean near Madeira is not warm, and even in summer it feels some coolness. In winter it suits lovers of cool water, in addition, you should choose a day for swimming, because sometimes the wind blows and it gets pretty chilly.
Excursions in Madeira
The most remarkable thing in Madeira is its nature, so the weather will be an important factor when choosing the time to travel. Most often on the island to explore the old towns and villages, go up to the volcanic crater, do trekking. Clear weather is better for all this, and so the best time is the dry season – if you want to save money, you can choose the border months, such as March-April or September-October.
All the more reason to choose autumn, because with its arrival comes the wine season. This is where the famous Madeira is made. The harvest is accompanied by a major wine festival with parades, competitions and exhibitions, and there is no need to miss out on the wine tasting.
Notable sights in Madeira
Madeira is full of beautiful and varied landscapes, national parks, botanical gardens with very rare vegetation, and at the same time it is full of picturesque villages – similar to those in Portugal, but subtly different at the same time, as well as ancient towns. There’s plenty to see, so this is only a summary of what you’ll find on the island.
Funchal is a good place to start because the first thing you’ll see on arrival is the international airport, named after the hugely popular footballer and native of the island and located close to Funchal. The city itself is a wonderful place to explore with its quaint old town and colourful market, as well as its many tropical gardens. It is well worth the climb to the mountains nearby, to see the mesmerizing sight of Funchal and the bay in which it is nestled. There is a cable car from Funchal to the suburbs of Monte, which we recommend. Monte is a beautiful town, well known among tourists, and not for nothing it has the reputation of an “aristocratic” suburb, as this is where the mansions of the rich are concentrated. And next to it there are the old town and churches.
In general, the old towns on the island a lot, so you can make an extensive program of them: here and Machica, where you can see the observation point, which used to light a torch in case of danger of pirate attack, and Caleta, the first settlement on the island, Santana with an unusual triangular houses. There are also many beautiful villages, mostly fishing villages, by the ocean, but there are also hidden in the interior of the island, surrounded by mountains and vineyards – little Madeira is a hiker’s paradise! One of the peaks is also worth climbing and offers magnificent views.
It should not be forgotten that in addition to Madeira itself in the archipelago there is another inhabited island – Porto Santo. It is quite small – eleven by six kilometers, and will suit those who like peace and quiet. Its main trump card – untouched nature and people on the island very few.
Weather by month
The beginning of the year is considered the high season, but in fact here at this time is quite rainy and windy . This is not a bad thing, no, Madeira never has bad weather, but compared to the rest of the months, January and February are not as good, with higher prices. And the ocean often storms. So we would recommend to choose other months to visit the island.
March to May
In mid-April there is a massive Flower Festival all over the island, which is worth seeing! There are even more flowers around than usual – though one would think there would be more, and the Wall of Hope is made of them.
Madeira may be called the Island of Perpetual Spring, but it is still a unique spring. After the previous months of plentiful rain, in March the greenery begins to multiply and the scents of meadows and orchards reign supreme. The weather settles down, it gets sunny and the more it does. Already in April on the south coast rainfall becomes very rare and clear and mild weather sets in, but at dusk it is still cool. March and especially April are perfect for island excursions, a time to go hiking in the mountains and visit all the villages! But sunbathing and swimming is still a bit early, especially in March when the water is the coldest all year. In May the high season begins gradually, the number of tourists increases. It is quite possible to swim, the cloudy days are very few, usually dry and sunny.
The great advantage of summer in Madeira, which distinguishes it from most traditional tourist destinations, is that it never gets too hot. Even in the Mediterranean, during the hottest summer months it’s best not to leave your house during the day – but in Madeira there is no such problem. Thanks to the ocean and the refreshing winds from the northwest. The most comfortable temperature for swimming – 23 ° C, comes in July. The water is not as warm in June, but it is the sunniest month, while in July the weather can become changeable. August is almost no different from July.
You can enjoy Madeira’s fireworks not only on New Year’s Eve, but much better in June, when the Atlantic Festival is held, for which tonnes of fireworks are prepared.
The weather doesn’t change much, but the sea is getting colder – and by the end of September it might not be too comfortable to swim. But the temperatures are still fine and it’s a good time to travel around the island again – and an eventful one at that.
The weather becomes rainy, although the rains themselves are brief and warm. It’s still warm during the day and you can sunbathe on the beach, but not everyone should go swimming, but only those who are not afraid of a little bit cold water – but the water temperature here is about the same as in the rivers of temperate summer, excluding its highest peak, so it will be quite usual for many people. At sunset, on the other hand, the air cools quickly, and you may need warm clothes. December is a great time for surfing, because the sea is warm enough and yet calm.
When best to go to Madeira
Detailed weather overview of Madeira by month. Air and water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean, precipitation and climate features. When is the best time to go to the Island of eternal spring? Reviews of tourists about the weather.
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When best to go to Madeira
The Portuguese island has a mild and warm subtropical climate. The difference between summer and winter temperatures does not exceed 7°C. Most rain falls during the cold season, from November to February. From May to July, rainfall is rare.
When is the best time to vacation in Madeira? You can swim and sunbathe at any time of year. The high season starts in May and lasts until September. From June to September to Madeira by direct charter flights, and in the other months – with a change through Lisbon.
Madeira weather by month
Water and Air Temperature. Madeira is moderately warm in mid-winter. Daytime temperatures are +18°C and nighttime temperatures are +17°C. On some days, the thermometer rises to +21 ° C. Water in the Atlantic Ocean is warm up to +19 ° C.
Weather conditions. The weather is mostly overcast. The month may have 8-10 sunny days. The annual rainfall in January is 35 mm.
Tourist reviews. The island’s climate is influenced by two warm currents – the Canary Islands and the Gulf Stream. Madeira is at the latitude of Morocco, so even in winter is comfortable here. Although the water is not too warm, tourists enjoy swimming in the ocean.
Madeira’s rocky coastline (Photo: unsplash.com / @republica)
Water and air temperatures. February in Madeira is cooler than January. The air temperature is +16. +18°C and water +18°C.
Weather conditions. For most of the month, the sky over the island is covered with clouds. Moderate winds blow from the ocean. The air is fresh, but not damp. The amount of precipitation is small – only 18 mm.
Tourist feedback. In the low season, the weather in Madeira differs from continental Portugal. The island is full of greenery and flowers. Take a walk in the tropical garden of Monte Palace and the Madeira Botanical Garden.
Water and air temperature. In early spring, the air temperature is +17. +20°C and water +18°C.
Weather conditions. Compared to the winter months, the weather in March is warmer and more comfortable. Daylight hours increase to 11.5 hours and there is very little rain.
Feedback from tourists. In March, beach holidays are less popular. At this time, it is better to go to Madeira for hiking and excursions. Climb the peak of Monte by cable car, visit Areiro Peak and Cape San Lorenzo.
View from Areiro Peak (Photo: unsplash.com / @josefin)
Water and air temperatures. In April, the air temperature is +18. +21°C and water +18. +19°С.
Weather conditions. The weather on the island is warm and sunny. The daylight hours increase to 12.5 hours, and there are only 2 rainy days.
Tourist reviews . Although the high season in Madeira has not yet arrived, the island holds several colorful holidays. Vacationers enjoy the April sugarcane fair, the Lemon Festival, and the spectacular East-West cross-country race.
Water and air temperatures. It is getting warmer and the high season begins in Madeira. The air temperature is +20. +23°C, and the water in the Atlantic Ocean warms up to +20°C. Not bad for a short swim!
Weather conditions. The daylight hours rise to 14 hours in May. Tourists can expect 12 days of sunshine and a minimum rainfall. The sun is so hot during the day that it’s comfortable in shorts and a T-shirt.
Tourist feedback. In May in Madeira is better to rest elderly tourists and anyone who suffers from cardiovascular ailments. At the beginning of the season comes a lot of fans of eco-tourism, diving and surfing.
Surfer in Jardine do Mar (Photo: unsplash.com / @imagefactory)
Water and air temperature. In June, the air temperature is +22. +25°C and +20°C at night. Water in the Atlantic Ocean is warm to +20. +22°С.
Weather conditions. The weather in Madeira is warm. The sun shines almost all the time. Winds are weak – up to 4-5 m/s, and there is no rain.
Tourist reviews. If you do not know when it is better to rest in Madeira with a child, choose the beginning of summer. In addition to swimming in the sea, families with children have popular outdoor activities. Take a walk through the beautiful Levada and have fun at the rides at Madeira Theme Park.
Water and Air Temperature. It gets even warmer in July. The air temperature is +23. +24°C and the water in the ocean is +22. +24°С.
Weather conditions. At the height of summer, the weather on the island is mild and sunny, with little chance of rain. Refreshing breezes blow from the ocean. The wind speed reaches 6-11 meters per second. The nights are not suffocating at +20. +21°С. You can sleep without air conditioning!
Tourist reviews. July – the time when it is better to go to Madeira for lovers of colorful festivals. On the first day of the month, the island celebrates the anniversary of Madeira’s political autonomy. According to tourist reviews, it is interesting to visit the championship on big fish fishing, folklore festival, rally, bike race around the island and gastronomic week.
Water and air temperature. In August the air temperature is +25. +26°C and water +23. +24°C.
Weather conditions. The last month of summer is the warmest and driest month of the year. In August, Madeira has cloudless days. There are no strong winds and there is no need to worry about rain.
Tourist reviews. In August, it is better to go to Madeira for lovers of beach holidays, water sports, diving, sea fishing and active tourism. Admire the southern coast from the observation deck at Cape Cabo Girao. Swim in the seawater lava pools in the small town of Porto Moniz.
Waves in Porto Moniz (Photo: unsplash.com / @reiseuhu)
Water and air temperature. Early fall temperatures are +25°C during the day and +22°C at night. Water in the Atlantic Ocean warms to +24°C.
Weather conditions. Sunny days are becoming fewer – 12. Despite the onset of autumn, it is still dry and warm.
Feedback from tourists. September weather in Madeira is suitable for holidays with children, beach activities, trekking and boat trips. According to tourist reviews, the most colorful events of the month are the festival of Columbus, apple and wine festivals.
Water and air temperature. In autumn, the air temperature drops to +20. +22°C, and water in the ocean – to +22. +23°С.
Weather conditions. In October, the daylight hours decrease from 11.8 to 10.9 hours. There is still a lot of sunshine, but rainy days are more. The amount of precipitation increases to 77 mm.
Tourist reviews. Despite autumn, the beach season in Madeira does not end. In October, the Madeira Nature Festival takes place, a festival that is very popular with hikers, paragliders and sailing enthusiasts.
Water and air temperatures. In November, the air temperature is +19. +21 ° C and the water +18. +20°С.
Weather conditions. Autumn in Madeira is not at all like November in continental Portugal. Despite the increasing winds, it is still warm on the island. It rains more and more, so an umbrella and raincoat will come in handy.
Tourist reviews. The beach season in Madeira is coming to an end, but the comfortable temperature of the sea water attracts fans of water sports. The Festa da Castanha, held in early November in Curral das Freiras, is well-received by tourists.
Câmara de Lobos (Photo: unsplash.com / @robinoode)
Water and air temperature. With the onset of winter, it gets a little colder. The air temperature is +19. +20°C and the ocean water is +20°C.
Weather conditions. When it snows in the mountains of mainland Portugal, the Isle of Perpetual Spring has warm weather. At the beginning of winter, there are no strong winds and storms, and there is only 15 mm of rainfall.
Tourist reviews. In winter, Madeira is considered one of the best vacation destinations in Europe. Everyone who wants to swim in the sea, to see picturesque landscapes, beautiful waterfalls and parks come here. In the second half of December, Madeira welcomes tourists who want to warm and comfortable to celebrate Christmas and New Year.