When to plan a holiday full of sun and how to prepare for trekking so you don’t lose yourself in the fog? Where is the best weather in Madeira, why Google lies, and Saint Patryk kicks himself? Jacket or T-shirt, softshell or dress, sun or rain, and other dilemmas. I will explain everything to you and tell you how to pack wisely for your trip. So sit comfortably with a cup of coffee (preferably Portuguese wine) and enjoy the flavors I’m gonna serve.
Choose the best weather in Madeira paradise.
The weather in Madeira is like a kaleidoscope.
Driving through Madeira, you have the feeling of watching some Meteo TV station at an accelerated pace. Even better, you’re in the heart of the action following the weather spectacle with bated breath. Dashing through the serpentines you admire galloping clouds, flowing down the highway like the milky way. After a while you enter the tunnel, and at its end blinding sun is greeting you. You cover the next kilometers and again a surprise. Behind the mountains, like a Groke from the Moomins, emerges a (equally) terrifying graphite cloud, as heavy as if it was about to fall. Instead, it starts to rain and your wipers can barely keep up with the downpour.
Your heart beats faster and faster because the scenery is overwhelming and the road conditions require focus. Suddenly, as if someone pressed “pause”, the rain stops, and the sky shines with a spectacular double rainbow. The view bowls over, and you want to shout with delight because you are entering the gates of Paradise!
The only thing missing is a leprechaun with a pot of gold (shamrock is easy to find on the island). Unfortunate Saint Patrick… If only he knew about the existence of Madeira, he would change his place of residence, certainly. As a result, instead of being the Irish Patron Saint, he would have been the Saint of Madeira.
Why is Madeira the Island of Eternal Spring?
According to the Portuguese Institute of the Sea and the atmosphere (beautiful name, isn’t it?), the island is located in the Mediterranean subtropical climate zone. That’s why Madeira has such a mild climate and delights with its lush greenery and vegetation throughout the year. The average annual coastal temperatures are 22.6 °C per day and 16.5 °C per night. Admittedly, it sounds extremely inviting, and the promise of eternal spring attracts tourists every month. Yet, remember that the seasons in Madeira vary greatly, so the statistics can be put into your pocket. Above all, get to know the weather anomaly and the fascinating atmosphere of the island governed by its own untamed laws: mountains, wind, and ocean.
The best weather in Madeira – Vivaldi’s tropical seasons.
The best time to go to Madeira? Whenever you want, because the floating Atlantic Garden is blooming and tempting with greenery all year round. However, it is worth tailoring your current needs to the season. Undoubtedly, Madeira’s weather can change from minute to minute and you have to take that into account. You will find the best weather guarantee on the south coast, much warmer and milder than the moody north. Choose the capital of the island – Funchal or the towns of Canico de Baixo, Calheta or Ponta do Sol. They will offer you the sunniest days at any time of the year.
Spring in Madeira will blow your mind. Get ready for the ubiquitous rainbows and flashy creations of Mother Nature. At this time of the year, Madeira is dressed in elaborate flowery fabrics and the fullness of its greenery spills out of the gardens. After the winter rains and the temperature falls, it delights with lush vegetation reborn after a dry summer. The flowering culminates in April and May, crowned with the famous flower festival. But what captivates me the most is the view of the mountains flecked with a brightly yellow broom. Purple, heavy cobs of Madeira’s endemic flowers are interwoven here and there. This is the only time of the year when you see the “pride of Madeira”, the botanical symbol of the island.
If you want to bask, aim for the warmest months of July, August, and September. However, remember that it can get really unbearable if an old friend from the Sahara, the dry wind “Leste”, visits Madeira. June, although pleasant, is so cloudy that it is called “capacete”, which in Portuguese means a helmet. Why so? Then clouds can cover the island tightly for a month! In general, summer is relatively predictable and free from weather anomalies. Bear in mind, that it can be really hot, so always have a cream with a high filter and a bottle of water with you.
Madeira is the best medicine to break free from the clutches of autumn gray. Even though the risk of precipitation is higher, I think it is worth taking it, because the natural stimuli will keep your batteries recharged for a long time. Yes, it will be fresh, but not cold, which is ideal for long walks or trekking. It happens that summer temperatures remain on the island even in October. For me, the autumn in Madeira has a taste of roasted chestnuts and sweet Madeira wine. This is the ideal time to discover a different face of the island because when the peak season passes, there are much fewer tourists there.
In winter, expect the largest temperature variations. I felt the temperature range from 6 to 30 degrees during one day. In December, it happened that I shivered in the morning with a few degrees of coolness, only to drink coffee in the heat in a few hours. A moment was enough when the sun hid behind the cloud again, and I hurriedly looked for a thick sweater (we were basically inseparable). Once you plan to visit Madeira in winter, choose southern regions where it will be warmer and sunny. Still, do not expect sunbathing or heat. Yes for short sleeves, but bundled with a jacket or fleece.
Where to check the best weather in Madeira?
Firstly, no one will answer the question of the weather in Madeira. Asked about it dozens of times, I used to answer evasively: “it depends…”. After all, how to embrace the combination of 33 microclimates, several climatic zones, and the influence of the Atlantic? Add mountains, capricious Mother Nature, and voila! Here you have the element show coming! So how to organize yourself well and where to look for reliable information about the weather forecast?
As a result, the weather in Madeira checked on the random website is like reading the tea leaves. Uncle Googe, with all respect to your algorithms, you do not grasp the climatic realities of the island. Therefore, ignore the content that the phone tells you and entrust your holiday fate to more reliable sources. I trust two positions the most:
Madeira Webcams– shows the weather in Madeira in real-time. This page will allow you to keep an eye on the island with dozens of cameras located at strategic points on the island. If the sky above you is covered with dense clouds, nothing is lost! You launch the site and check the best weather in Madeira zones. Remember, there is always sun somewhere on the island!
Windguru– water sports fans are friendly with Windguru! This is a page that shows specific parameters and is able to evaluate in real terms what weather (and on what basis) you can expect. Less guesswork, more specific info. It is worth understanding Windguru because it is an invaluable help in planning your vacation days in Madeira and elsewhere.
Mountain weather in Madeira.
If you are planning a trip to the mountains, never, ever take for granted what you see in the sky. Even though there was no cloud in sight, prepare for everything and pack well. The weather in the mountains changes so dynamically that it is difficult to keep up. Sunny trekking can turn into a rainy expedition in the blink of an eye, and the fairy-tale picture changes instantly when the climbers are surprised by the fog. At that time, visibility limited to one meter, combined with solid cooling, greatly increases the difficulty of the route and… the level of adrenaline in the blood.
Cinderella, don’t forget your umbrella!
I will never forget how during the levada Rabacal it started to drizzle slightly at the beginning of the trip. I didn’t have a rain jacket (yet), so I timidly unfolded the umbrella, which I threw into my backpack at the last moment. How I was ridiculed by members of the expedition! Not for long. After one hour of walking in the heavy rain, my trekking companions fell silent, soaked, and I walked the entire trail dry-shod, like a perky lady. Of course, I do not encourage you to walk in the mountains with an umbrella (because it is embarrassing and dangerous), but to thoroughly prepare for the trail.
How to prepare for trekking in Madeira?
If you are planning an active day in the field, expect bad weather and be ready for a fashion show. Pack clothes for different weather variants, with a rain jacket and trekking shoes at the front. Also, do not venture into the forest on your own. No matter what mountain badass you are or how many summits you reached, climb in Madeira with respect.
The island is governed by its own laws of nature, which can surprise the most experienced climbers. That’s why always think carefully about the trail and report to someone where you are going. Madeira offers such a wide variety of routes that there is plenty to choose from and it’s not worth looking for wild, dangerous roads.
What clothes should you take to Madera?
As the symbol of Paris is a beret, Madeira stands with trekking shoes, because such shoes dominate the island. The athletic German calf shod in brown trekking shoes is an image of a typical tourist being in their element! Madeira is called the island of active recreation because it attracts lovers of all sports. Here you will meet lovers of spending time in the bosom of nature. From hikers, cyclists, and ending with surfers and paragliders. That’s why their suitcases (or rather backpacks) are dominated by all kinds of sportswear, sneakers, and sweatshirts, for instance. I recommend that you pack the same: comfortable, practical and universal clothes. Make your car a wardrobe on wheels (or a partner, a sweet porter). Believe it’s worth it because comfort on such a trip is invaluable! Therefore, frequently changing clothes on the island is normal.
An appeal to all ladies.
I regret to inform you that the idea of taking heels does not make sense, as they can only be worn for a hotel dinner. The island is a demanding mountain terrain, in addition, paved with cobblestones and stone mosaics popular all over Portugal. They are undoubtedly beautiful, but so slippery that you can tip over on them in flat shoes, not to mention high heels!
For instance, outside of work, I wore high heels in Madeira only once! To this day I admire my determination. The fact is, that I was so bored with mountain-sports styling that I wanted a bit of elegance. The occasion was dinner with Diogo, a local resident of Ponta do Sol, where the sun shines almost every day. In fact, this extremely charming town is cleverly hidden at the foot of the cliffs, right by the ocean.
In addition, of course: stone on stone, cobblestones, and of course uphill (and against the wind). Obviously, uncomfortably, but joyfully too, because thanks to these unfortunate heels, I felt like an Atlantic Queen. In other words, my savior, full of understanding and apparently fond of weightlifting, bravely carried me on the promenade. In short, it was worth it!
Even the best weather in Madeira requires preparation.
To sum up, if you’re going to Madeira, be comfortable and practical. So leave your elegant footwear and outfits for another stationary holiday. Madeira is a sports camp in the wild rather than a fashion show. So invest in good shoes that will take you far on unusual routes. Take care of your comfort and convenience and consider when the island has the most to offer you. In my opinion, Madeira is worth the sin at any time of the year. Each month there is a new flower and a different flavor, the colors change shades, and the air smells of different fruit. Certainly, whoever has visited Madeira at least once, will definitely come back to this island of eternal spring.
Find out more about fascinating Madeira:
Living in Madeira and its mountain realities.
The Island of Eternal Spring and extremes, Madeira.