Cantar os Reis (Singing of the Kings) – Funchal – 5
Cantar os Reis is a charming Madeiran festival filled with carols and songs, celebrated on the 12th night after Christmas. Traditionally, troupes roam the streets at night, singing and playing music from door to door. Outdoor concerts are held all over the island, including Ribeira Brava, Câmara de Lobos and the auditorium in the Jardim Municipal in Funchal. The lively traditional carols are performed by local musical groups.
'Santo Amaro' Festival – Santa Cruz – 15
To commemorate the end of the Christmas season, 'Santo Amaro' is celebrated throughout Madeira. Christmas delicacies are laid out on every table as families share a final festive meal and take down Christmas decorations, traditional lapinhas and nativity scenes. Festivities in Santa Cruz include stalls, music and food, as well as a candlelit procession to the Igreja Matriz to honour the patron saint.
Madeira Orienteering Meeting (MOM) – (dates to be announced)
Madeira Orienteering Meeting is an event that is part of the Foot Orienteering Portugal calendar and takes place in January, with three different types of courses: Sprint, Middle Distance and Long Distance. Orientation is a challenge full of adventure that allows you to discover new experiences. The MOM competition is open to all interested parties, individually or in groups. Entries can be made in Madeira Adventure Club.
Madeira Orienteering Festival (MOF) – (dates to be announced)
Several municipalities with great natural conditions join forces to promote this outdoor pedestrian event, in which each participant or group may choose a sprint or middle distance race, according to their own rhythm and level of expertise.
Funchal Marathon – (dates to be announced)
Consisting of three competitions (marathon, half marathon and mini marathon), this sporting event is organised by the Madeira Athletics Association. With trails of unique scenic beauty, this event brings together athletes of various nationalities.
Festa dos Compadres – Santana – (dates to be announced)
For about 50 years, Festa dos Compadres has symbolised the start of the Carnival festivities in Madeira, taking place on the weekend before the Carnival. Held in Santana, in the northeast of the island, the town celebrates the occasion with a parade of decorated floats, troupes in traditional costumes and musical entertainment. Actors perform comic sketches about social and political issues, while giant figurines are publicly ridiculed, judged and cheerfully burned. A variety of stalls offer some of the island’s most famous gastronomic specialities, including espetada and bolo do caco.
Madeira Carnival Festivities – 26th February to 10th March 2019 (Main Parade 2nd and Fun Parade 5th March)
One of the biggest street parties in Europe, Madeira’s Carnival, evokes the riotous spirit of Rio! The festivities begin on Saturday with an elaborate parade through Funchal featuring the island’s best samba bands and troupes dancing through the streets in dazzling costumes. The party continues throughout the weekend and concludes on Shrove Tuesday with the fantastic Trapalhão parade – when the streets are full of locals in outlandish costumes. The music is contagious… put on your dancing shoes and join the party!
Happy Valentine’s Day – 14th February
Valentine's Day is a special day celebrated by many people throughout the world. Escape on a romantic getaway to Madeira island, explore nature and enjoy some one-on-one time with your loved one.
Festival of Wine, Embroidery & Handicrafts of Madeira (Festival do Vinho do Bordado e do Artesanato da Madeira) (Biennial) – (dates to be announced)
The Festival of Wine, Embroidery & Handicrafts is a celebration of Madeira’s unique crafts and winemaking traditions. Learn more about Madeiran embroidery, tapestry and ceramic tile painting by participating in workshops, or simply enjoy wine tasting, wine auctions, exhibitions of beautiful embroidery and live entertainment for three days. This event is hosted by the Madeira Wine Institute on Rua 5 de Outubro, Funchal.
Festa da Anona (Cherimoya Fruit Festival) – Faial, Santana – (dates to be announced)
Cherimoya Fruit Festival is a traditional festival celebrated in Faial, Santana. This event celebrates one of the most popular and widely cultivated fruits of this region 'Anona' (also known as Custard-apple or Cherimoya). Visitors can enjoy great entertainment, traditional food and drink specialities.
Porto Santo Ultra Trail – (dates to be announced)
Ultra Trail of Porto Santo is organised by the Athletics Association of Madeira. This event has three races: 42 kilometres (the main), 21 kilometres (the second) and a shorter race of 7.5 kilometres.
Madeira Island Ultra Trail (MIUT 2019) – (dates to be announced)
MIUT (Madeira Island Ultra Trail) is a mountain race across the island, annually promoted by Clube de Montanha do Funchal. This event, which started in 2008 with only 141 adventurers, has now over 2,000 participants from more than 30 different nationalities, including some notorious names from the national and international trail scene. Along 115 km, from northwest to southeast, this unique and challenging experience starts at sea level, in Porto Moniz, crossing the island’s best tracks and highest peaks — Pico Ruivo (1861 m)/Pico do Areeiro — to end again at sea level, with the finish line in Machico. This event includes 3 other competitions: Ultra (around 85 km), Marathon (42 km) and Mini (16 km).
Festa do Limão (Lemon Festival) Ilha – Santana – 28-29
The annual Lemon Festival is celebrated in the town of Santana, in the parish of Ilha. Local farmers proudly exhibit their produce, and there are plenty of stalls selling cakes and traditional food containing this vital ingredient. The parish of Ilha produces about 90 tonnes of lemons per year, which represents about 25% of the island’s production. Festa do Despique is also part of the festivities – a type of improvised folk music accompanied by traditional instruments.
Madeira Flower Festival – Celebrations 2nd to 26th May 2019 (4th Parade 'Wall of Hope', 5th 'Flower Parade' and Auto Parade 12th) 2019
Every year, two weeks after Easter, Madeira Flower Festival fills the main streets of Funchal’s centre with floats displaying a myriad of flowers and colours. On the eve of the Sunday street parade, thousands of children gather on Avenida Arriaga (Children’s Parade) and go to Praça do Município where they build a ‘Wall of Hope’, made of thousands of flowers. Other activities during this time include the making of flower carpets in the streets, folklore performances, flower shows, classical music concerts and variety shows. Madeira Auto Parade is a parade of vintage motor vehicles, which is also included in the Flower Festival celebration programme, taking place at Avenida do Mar. This is a great opportunity to contemplate the best classic cars and motorcycles in Madeira.
Madeira Film Festival – 14-20
Madeira Film Festival is a non-competitive festival that awards filmmakers the ‘Laurissilva Ambassador’ prize not only for their work, but also to raise awareness of the ecological preservation of natural resources, namely the Laurissilva forest, which is endemic to Madeira and considered Natural World Heritage by UNESCO. Belmond Reid's Palace Hotel and Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias in Funchal, both synonymous with splendour, are the stages of this festival, created in 2012 by the Scottish director Aitken Pearson. It is currently the main annual film event on the island and already plays an important role on the national film festival scene. Besides the films, the diversified programme also includes lectures, musical concerts, workshops and fashion shows.
Festa da Cebola (Onion Festival) – Caniço – 18-20
Dedicated to the humble onion, Festa da Cebola is a charming tribute to local farmers and the agricultural produce of Caniço. Admire artistic arrangements and displays with local flowers and enjoy the parade of tractors and cars decoratively covered with onions. Traditional music, craft stalls and a selection of food and wine ensure this festival is a popular event for all ages. Don’t forget to take home a box of home-grown onions – direct from the farmer!
Book Fair (Feira do Livro) – Funchal – 25th May to 3rd June
Held under the beautiful jacaranda trees in Funchal’s Avenida Arriaga, the annual Funchal Book Fair is a week-long event. Visitors can browse through the stands representing local bookshops and Portuguese publishing houses, or take part in events including book launches for new releases, poetry sessions, literary seminars, entertainment for children as well as exhibitions and live music performances. A great selection of books are available for all ages.
Madeira Classic Car Revival – Praça do Povo – 26-27
Car-lovers rejoice! The annual Classic Auto Show is an outstanding exhibition of the finest vintage and classic cars on the island of Madeira. Stroll along Praça do Povo in Funchal to see a unique collection of rare and restored cars, motorbikes and scooters from another era, all in pristine condition. The day culminates with cocktails and an awards ceremony for the most original, best restored and ‘best of show’ vehicles.
Festival 'Festas da Sé' – Funchal – 26th May to 4th June
The streets surrounding Funchal city centre come alive at the end of May during the 'Festas da Sé' Festival – a typical Madeiran arraial (street party). Local restaurants in Largo do Chafariz, Rua da Carreira, Praça Colombo, Praça do Carmo and 'Zona Velha' (the old part of the city of Funchal) feature special traditional menus and offer a wide selection of local food and wine. The streets are beautifully decorated for the occasion and entertainment includes stand up comedy, music from singing groups and brass bands.
Atlantic Festival – Fireworks Contest – 9, 16, 23 and 30 June 2018
The Atlantic Festival is an exciting annual event that combines entertainment and culture. It has three components: the Madeira Music Festival, the International Fireworks Competition and performances by philharmonic bands in Funchal’s centre. Classical music performances are held in the Palácio de São Lourenço, Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias and several churches in Funchal, as well as in Casa das Mudas, in Calheta. Every Saturday night in June, contestants from different countries organise magnificent firework displays in harmony with accompanying music as part of the International Fireworks Competition.
Festa dos Santos Populares (Festival of the Popular Saints) – 12-29
Festa dos Santos Populares is one of the most beloved festivals in Madeira. Dedicated to three saints, traditional parades fill the brightly decorated streets of Funchal and there is plenty of music, bonfires and food stalls. Santo António is the saint of love and many marriages take place during this time. São João – the patron saint of Porto Santo – is honoured with candle-lit balloons. São Pedro is the protector of fishermen, and lively celebrations are held in the fishing port of Câmara de Lobos and in Ribeira Brava.
Festa da Cereja (Cherry Festival) – Câmara de Lobos, Jardim da Serra – 15-17
The sweet, ruby-coloured fruit of the cherry tree is the guest of honour at Festa da Cereja, an annual festival held in Câmara de Lobos. A number of varieties are harvested throughout early summer, including the large Norberto variety, which has been adapted to Madeira’s climate and soil. The festive parade, stalls and music offer plenty of entertainment. Don’t forget to sample a glass of ginjinha, a delicious liqueur made from Morello cherries.
Volta à Madeira – Classic Rally – 29th June to 1st of July
A fleet of beautifully restored classic and vintage cars is on display at the annual Classic Rally at the end of June. Visitors can admire the unique vintage vehicles along Avenida Arriaga before participants traverse the winding roads for over 400 km through the breathtaking landscapes of the island. The rally is held over a number of stages, from Funchal to Câmara de Lobos, beautiful Machico and Santana.
Madeira Day – 1 July
Madeira Day is a national holiday celebrating the anniversary of the archipelago’s independence from mainland Portugal, granted in 1976 in the Portuguese Constitution. Official ceremonies are held throughout the Autonomous Region of Madeira, while families and friends enjoy picnics and plenty of lively local events.
24 hours Dancing Folklore Festival – Santana – 7-8
Experience a taste of authentic Madeiran culture at ‘24 Horas a Bailar’, in the town of Santana. Local troupes perform traditional folk dances in colourful costumes, accompanied by musicians playing Portuguese instruments. Special groups from different parts of the island are invited to perform, while stalls selling local culinary specialities, drinks and crafts line the streets for this festival.
Funchal Jazz Festival – Parque de Santa Catarina – 12-14
Funchal Jazz Festival has grown into one of Madeira’s most popular cultural events. Visitors flock to the island to enjoy performances by renowned jazz artists from across the globe, as well as local bands and musicians. The festival is held annually in Santa Catarina Park, which offers splendid views of the city’s mountainous backdrop and Funchal Bay. Jam sessions, master classes and workshops for jazz aficionados are also popular events.
Festa da Lapa (Limpet festival) – Paul do Mar – (dates to be announced)
For three days in July, Festa da Lapa is a tribute to the limpets harvested in the rocky shores around Paul do Mar, which are an important part of the local economy. Visitors can admire picturesque ocean views while enjoying one of the favourite local dishes – grilled lapas with garlic butter and lemon. Simply delicious! Entertainment includes traditional dancing, DJs and live music.
Banana Exhibit – Madalena do Mar – 13-15
Festa da Banana is a tribute to one of Madeira’s most important local products, which flourishes in huge bunches thanks to Madeira’s pleasant subtropical climate. Held in the town of Madalena do Mar – home to the largest banana plantations on the island – visitors can enjoy the spectacular displays of fruit and flowers, as well as local food and entertainment.
NOS Madeira Summer Opening – Parque de Santa Catarina – 20-22
NOS Madeira Summer Opening is a two-day music festival taking place at Parque de Santa Catarina, overlooking the stunning scenery of Funchal and the Atlantic.
Visit the following shops for tickets and more information:
Fnac (Madeira Shopping)
MMM Ticket Box Office (Fórum Madeira)
Viagens Abreu Travel Agencies
CTT Post Offices (Madeira and Porto Santo)
Madeira Island Open (PGA European Tour) – Santo da Serra – (dates to be announced)
Madeira Island Open is one of two Portuguese golfing events on the official PGA European Tour for men. All three golf courses in the archipelago have hosted the event since 1993, including Santo da Serra Golf Club and Porto Santo Golf Club in recent years. Each course is set in a serene natural landscape with spectacular ocean views and lush greens – perfect for championship golf!
Feira Gastronómica de Machico (Machico Gastronomic Fair) – 27th July – 5th August
Held in the summertime by the sea, Machico Food Festival Week showcases the unique flavours of Madeira’s wonderful cuisine for over 10 days. A wide range of restaurants and bars is set around a stage in Largo da Praça in Machico, where visitors can order a mouthwatering selection of traditional local delicacies, including fish, limpets, crabs and espetadas (a kind of kebab), accompanied by Madeira’s finest wines. Music and entertainment are provided throughout the week and the event includes a cocktail festival on the final day.
Madeira Wine Rally (Rali Vinho Madeira) – 2-4
Rally cars dominate Madeira’s picturesque landscape over three days during the annual Madeira Wine Rally. This top race attracts a number of European competitors, whose skilful driving is tested by the island’s mountainous routes, winding roads and unpredictable weather. Fans flock to watch the race, and there are plenty of places where visitors can gather to appreciate the speed and expertise of the drivers. The Madeira Wine Rally is one of the top events in the FIA European Rally Championships.
Monte Festival – 14-15
Monte Festival is one of the largest religious festivals on the island. Nossa Senhora do Monte Church, located in the hills of Monte, is beautifully decorated with flowers in honour of Our Lady of the Monte, the patron saint of Funchal city. Pilgrims take part in a procession to the church, with the streets covered in flowers. This picturesque place comes alive with entertainment and festivities, including music, dancing and stalls serving local food and drinks.
Funchal City Day – 21
Dia da Cidade do Funchal commemorates the anniversary of the Royal Charter signed by King D. Manuel I in 1508, which officially recognises Funchal as a city. Historically an important sea port for trade, Funchal was the first European city built in the Atlantic. Official ceremonies include a mass at the Colégio Church and an assembly at the Town Hall, as well as plenty of local events and festivities.
Wine Harvest Festival – Porto Santo – (dates to be announced)
Porto Santo’s Wine Harvest Festival is one of the biggest events in Porto Santo.
Held in Largo das Palmeiras, visitors enjoy the opportunity to get to know the grape varieties produced on the island. Activities include wine tasting, winemaking demonstrations and an exhibit of some of the tools and equipment used to cultivate and harvest the grapes, including a traditional wine press. Music and folklore groups provide plenty of entertainment.
Madeira Wine Festival – 26th August to 9th September
Recalling the social and economic importance of Madeira wine by reliving old wine-growing traditions, Madeira Wine Festival is held in September during the main period of grape harvesting. The festival begins in the village of Câmara de Lobos with the actual picking of the grapes, the pickers’ parade, the treading of the grapes and other related traditions that are enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. In the centre of Funchal, this Festival includes light, sound and folk shows, all related to wine-making traditions, and many stands serve typical Madeiran food and drink specialities. There is also a historical-ethnographic parade, where you can see how rich the wine culture in Madeira is.
Columbus Festival - Porto Santo Island – 13-15
This festival is dedicated to the great navigator Christopher Columbus and recalls the discoverer’s life in the Madeiran archipelago, his voyages to the Americas and the glorious times of the Portuguese Age of Discoveries. Held in Vila Baleira on Porto Santo Island, this week-long event features lots of music, exhibitions, parades and street parties. Columbus’ first visit to Madeira was in 1478, when Funchal was an important sugar trade centre. However, his closest ties to the archipelago result from his marriage to Filipa Moniz, daughter of the first captain-donee of Porto Santo. Columbus lived in the archipelago for a few years during the last quarter of the 15th century, and his first child, Diogo, was born in Porto Santo. The highlight of this week is the re-enactment of Columbus’ and his party’s arrival in Porto Santo’s harbour.
Apple Festival – Ponta do Pargo – 15-16
Taking place in the rural village of Ponta do Pargo, in the municipality of Calheta, this event transforms apple production into a very lively and popular feast, bringing together many people from neighbouring regions. The apples of this region are even mentioned by renowned writers, who refer to their delicious aroma. This is a very popular festival with the usual outdoor stands selling food and drinks.
Mostra da Sidra (Apple Cider Festival) – Santo da Serra – 22-23
The Apple Cider Festival promotes the popular Madeiran tradition of making delicious apple cider from the apples grown in the parish of Santo da Serra. This festival comprises a small procession, which includes the pressing of the apples, as well as much music and lively activities connected to an agricultural theme.
World Tourism Day – Funchal – 27
Madeira celebrates World Tourism Day with activities and entertainment that recognise the importance of tourism on the island. Downtown Funchal is beautifully decorated with flowers for the occasion, and visitors enjoy free entry to a number of gardens and museums in Madeira. Music and folk dancing groups provide plenty of cultural entertainment throughout the day, while visitors will also be greeted with flowers, gifts and entertainment at Madeira Airport.
Madeira Nature Festival – 2-7
Discover the natural beauty of Madeira with the Madeira Nature Festival, a new addition to the island’s annual events calendar. The dynamic programme offers insights into Madeira’s natural and cultural heritage, as well as a wide range of adventurous activities for all ages, from paragliding over the mountains to sailing the deep blue Atlantic.
Madeira Organ Festival – (dates to be announced)
Part of the cultural festivals of the island, Madeira Organ Festival is a celebration of the enduring music of the Portuguese organ. Recitals in some of Madeira’s most beautiful churches are held every evening for 10 days in October, featuring beautifully restored organs (dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries) from Portugal, Italy and England. These dramatic recitals are accompanied by chamber groups, classical musicians and solo performers.
Festa da Maçã - Camacha – (dates to be announced)
This Apple Festival takes place in the rural parish of Camacha and consists of an exhibition and street parade, which is very pleasant for both participants and visitors, due to the variety of colours and aromas perfuming the air. Don’t forget to sample some of the freshly-squeezed apple cider.
Happy Halloween – 31
Being a popular holiday in the UK and North America, Halloween is also celebrated on the island of Madeira. At few shopping centres in Madeira, kids dress up in costumes, get their faces painted and then go trick or treating from store to store. Madeira Magic Park also organises a Halloween party for kids with a programme of exciting events. Bars and nightclubs throughout the city also host Halloween parties.
Chestnut Festival (Festa da Castanha) – Curral das Freiras – 1 November
On the first day of November in the rural parish of Curral das Freiras, homage is paid to the chestnut, which grows in abundance in this area. The local population makes the most of the chestnuts, using them as a main ingredient in many local recipes, including baked goods, soups and liqueur. This feast reflects the numerous cultural and traditional aspects of this rural area.
Funchal International Film Festival – Funchal – 14-20
Film buffs gather for the annual Funchal International Film Festival, which presents a wide selection of independent films in a variety of genres. Held in Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias, this week-long festival comprises an international competition for feature and short films, as well as animation, documentaries and a local competition for films produced in Madeira. Every year there is also a retrospective of the best Portuguese filmmakers.
December - January
Christmas & New Year’s Festivities – 1 December 2018 to 6th January 2019
Christmas lights in Madeira – 1st December to January 6th
Christmas and New Year celebrations in Madeira offer a varied programme of cultural, folk and artistic events. The festive season starts in December when Funchal streets are magnificently decorated, and the colourful lights are switched on in the city’s main streets until early January.
Madeira New Year’s Eve – Funchal – 31st December to January 1st
New Year’s Eve is celebrated everywhere on the island, in hotels, restaurants, bars, and even in the streets. The highlight of the New Year’s Eve festivities is the spectacular fireworks display – set off from approximately 50 posts – that illuminates the skies over Funchal. This is a truly unforgettable event, which brings back a multitude of visitors to the island every year.