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30.09.2022

Holidays in Madeira in December

by Sofia Vasconcelos

Deciding on the best time of year to visit Madeira is not an easy task. In fact, this Portuguese island is a great holiday destination all year round!

As Jill and Hugh Gage, regular guests at PortoBay hotels in Madeira say, the choice ‘‘depends on your goal, but October is usually a very good month. It's sunny but not too hot (if you want to walk or go on an excursion), so it's perfect. April or May is the same.”

As I live here all year round, I consider December one of my favourite times !!! There are many reasons: traditions, flavours, weather, sea and nature!!!

Click on the video and start dreaming about your next holidays in Madeira . ..

Tem que aceitar as cookies para ver este conteúdo

Traditions


In Madeira Christmas is very intense and starts right at the beginning of December, with decorations in the houses, nativity scenes and the switching on of the lights in the streets of Funchal. It's a favourite time for many emigrants and university students, who choose the month of December to return to their native land and find out how much they have missed the island, their family and friends.

The togetherness grows indoors and outdoors and people feel part of a special and unique atmosphere. People sing traditional carols at the Christmas Market, nativity scenes are admired in the town centre and children have fun at the amusement park by the marina. The cultural programme is intense, with a whole variety of shows and concerts which include classical music, folklore and local bands. There is an abundance of flowers on display such as slipper orchids, poinsettias and freesias, especially to decorate houses and churches.

Photo: Francisco Correia

Seasonal flavours


In Madeiran homes, families bake all kinds of broas (cornbread) and honey cake. They drink cocoa, poncha and liqueurs made from tangerine, passion fruit and other rich flavours. The markets fill up with fruit such as custard apples, avocado pears, tangerines, oranges and English tomatoes. There is also a typical delicacy of this season, which is usually eaten in cafés and markets - the delicious wine and garlic meat sandwich. Christmas dinners are very rich and offer the best of Portuguese cuisine.

Climate, nature and sea


With the arrival of the first rains, the valleys, mountains and forests return to their splendour, with the growth of lush green vegetation. Thanks to the mild climate, it is possible to go hiking, even in December, along the irrigation channels (levadas) in the Laurissilva Forest. You can also do extreme sports such as canyoning or mountain biking. To relax by the sea, there is nothing better than a boat trip to enjoy the magnificent winter sunset, with its typical reddish skies - a wonder!

Festivals and events


Christmas in Madeira is also known as 'the party' ! The childbirth masses are a good example, as these religious traditions are always accompanied by festive gatherings early in the morning. Market night on the 23rd of December starts at dusk, with singing in the Lavradores Market and entertainment in the surrounding streets - not to be missed!

Photo: Hugo Reis

One of the best New Year's Eve's in the world!


We end the month of December in the best possible way. The spectacular fireworks in Funchal bay enchant thousands of residents and tourists - with positive energies for the year to come.

Photo: Hugo Reis

The PortoBay in Funchal, Vila Porto Mare, Porto Santa Maria, The Cliff Bay and Les Suites at The Cliff Bay offer a calendar of events especially dedicated to the month of December.

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