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Weather on Madeira Month by Month - How to prepare for your trip to the island of Eternal Spring


Weather on Madeira Month by Month
Weather on Madeira Month by Month

Although Madeira is often referred to as the "Island of Eternal Spring," the island experiences distinct seasons. Generally, Madeira is pleasantly warm, as one might expect from an island in Africa - Yes! you read it correctly!. Surprisingly, many visitors may not realise that, despite its political connection to Europe, Madeira is geographically located on the African plate.

Madeira boasts a subtropical climate, which means it enjoys warm and agreeable weather all year long. However, due to its central mountain range, the weather can vary in different areas. This diversity is actually a significant advantage, as it means you can always find a spot on Madeira Island with pleasant weather for the day.

I've personally experienced all the seasons on Madeira, and each one offered a unique and enjoyable experience. There's truly no wrong time to visit Madeira. Let's explore how the weather changes throughout the year on this beautiful island.


A hidden waterfall on Madeira in January
A hidden waterfall on Madeira in January

Weather on Madeira in January


I mentioned that any time is good to visit Madeira, but if I had to pick the month with the least favorable weather, it would be January. It's the wettest month, and you can expect rain throughout Madeira, even in the normally drier areas. This is also the time when waterfalls are at their most impressive.

In Funchal, the average temperature is about 17°C, but it can exceed 20°C on a hot day. It's comfortable for strolling around the city in a sweater or shirt during the day, but evenings can get quite chilly, so a light jacket might come in handy. You might even see occasional snow in the mountains.

The northern part of the island tends to have gloomier weather, with more clouds and rain. But don't let that discourage you from exploring this side of the island because, from what I've observed, rain in Madeira often comes and goes. You might be amazed at how the weather can change in just 30 minutes. It's already rare to see people swimming in January as the beach season is soon to be over.


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Monte Gardens in February
Monte Gardens in February

The atmosphere on Madeira's Carnival in February can heat up even the coldest night.
The atmosphere on Madeira's Carnival in February can heat up even the coldest night.

Weather on Madeira in February


Similar weather continues into mid-February, but in the second half of the month, you can expect less rain and more sunny days. The average temperature in Funchal stays about the same as the previous month, but on a sunny day, it might feel like spring is just around the corner. However, on the warmest days, the temperature around Pico do Arieiro hovers around 8°C.

February isn't the ideal time for mountain hiking because the weather can be quite unpredictable. Nevertheless, it's a fantastic time to discover Madeira's "levadas" and seek out hidden waterfalls, providing a unique and enjoyable experience. February is the beginning of the Carnival season. The atmosphere of this event can warm you up, even on a cold day.


Read the Full Article: Madeira's Carnival 2023 with Photos


Sunrise on Ponta do São Lourenço in March
Sunrise on Ponta do São Lourenço in March

Weather on Madeira in March


In March, you'll sense that the gloomy weather is already a thing of the past. The weather becomes more pleasant and predictable, leaning towards the drier season. It's a wonderful time to visit Madeira as it's not too crowded, and you can find many opportunities to save your travel money in the shoulder season.

The average temperature in Funchal hovers around 17°C. While it's already quite warm and summer-like during the day, you might want an extra layer in the evening or before sunrise, especially in the mountains where it remains cold without direct sunlight. In March, you'll already start seeing people on the beaches and even swimming. The water may still feel cooler than in the summer, but I swam a lot in March, and if you can get used to it, you'll enjoy it too.


Gloomy morning in Porto da Cruz in April
Gloomy morning in Porto da Cruz in April

Weather on Madeira in April


This is probably my favorite month on Madeira. It's still before the busy season starts. Local people head to the beaches on weekends. Many folks are out hiking in the mountains and along the levadas. The waterfalls still look amazing, almost at their best. In April, the weather becomes more consistent. In Funchal, temperatures can go above 30C on a hot day. Up at Pico do Arieiro, the average high is around 10C, but there are days when it feels very summery, even in the mountains. The north also enjoys more sunny days, so you're more likely to catch beautiful orange sunrises in Santana and Faial. Sometimes, it does rain in the evenings and at night.


Fanal Forest in May
Fanal Forest in May

Flower Festival Parade on Madeira
Flower Festival Parade on Madeira

Weather on Madeira in May


The average temperature keeps rising as more sunny days come our way. It's no surprise that beaches get crowded with people on weekends. Hikers in the mountains often wear only t-shirts. May is just a step away from summer, and we can also see more tourists on Madeira. The temperature in Funchal can even hit 30°C on a hot sunny day. It's very warm in the mountains as well. With less rain, all the levadas are open and great for walking. This can sometimes be an issue when the canals fill up too much and flood the paths during the rainy season. May is also known as the month of flowers, which you can truly experience during Madeira's Flower Festival.


A big waterfall on Madeira in June
A big waterfall on Madeira in June

Weather on Madeira in June


June marks the official start of the dry season. While there are occasional cloudy days, the weather is generally warm and sunny. This is especially true in Funchal, where the daily average temperature hovers around 28°C. On Pico do Arieiro, the average high is about 15°C. This means that on clear days, it's already quite hot, and you'll definitely need a hat for sun protection while hiking the popular PR1 trail. The water is warm and clear, making it perfect for diving, as the diving season has begun!


Warm summer evening in Pico do Arieiro
Warm summer evening in Madeira highest mountains.

Weather on Madeira in July


Madeira transforms its colors from green to orange, a change that's particularly evident at Ponta do São Lourenço and throughout the south. July is the height of the dry season, with the least amount of rainfall all year. Most waterfalls turn into wet walls or completely dry up, except for the biggest ones like Risco waterfall or Caldeirao Verde, although you can still notice a significant decrease in their strength.

Tropical nights have returned, and people enjoy evenings outdoors, especially in bustling Funchal. The nights are usually clear, offering a view of many stars and even the Milky Way if you look carefully. The tourism season is at its peak, so if you want to find a parking spot at the beach, it's best to go early, especially on weekends. The people of Madeira love spending their weekends in nature and by the beach.

Even though we're in the midst of summer, you'll still need some extra layers if you plan to watch the sunrise at Pico do Arieiro.


Madeira Bica da Cana
Warm summer morning in western Madeira

Weather on Madeira in August


The dry and warm weather carries on in August, with Madeira seeing its highest daily temperatures of the year. The days are hot and sunny, but the temperature remains quite comfortable, even for those who are sensitive to the heat. If you plan to sunbathe, be sure to use a strong sunscreen, as it can get very hot in direct sunlight. This applies to the mountains as well, where the highest temperatures can go beyond 20°C on a hot day.


The curvy road at Ponta do Rosto in September
The curvy road at Ponta do Rosto in September

Weather on Madeira in September


As September arrives, we can sense the easing of the summer heat. It's still quite warm, with temperatures in Funchal going over 30°C and an average high of 16°C at Pico do Arieiro. The beaches are still bustling, and although we see more clouds in the sky, it's still a great time for sunbathing and swimming.


Levada dos Balcoes viewpoint
Levada dos Balcoes viewpoint

Weather on Madeira in October


This is another one of my favorite times in Madeira. In October, the weather is still very much like summer throughout the day, with plenty of sunny days, though we may encounter occasional rainfall. Evenings remain warm, and it's not surprising to see people out in just t-shirts. The beaches are mainly busy only on weekends, but that doesn't mean the swimming season is over. I've found the ocean to be calm and warm, with clear water perfect for snorkeling and water temperatures exceeding 20°C. Tourists are still around, but in October, Madeira sees a significant decrease in visitors during the shoulder season.


Sunset at Pico do Arieiro in November
Sunset at Pico do Arieiro in November

Weather on Madeira in November


Apart from the areas of Funchal, Ribeira Brava, and Ponta do Sol, most of Madeira experiences quite cloudy weather. This leads to a drop in average temperatures to around 20°C in the south or even lower in the north and the mountains. It's not uncommon to have some rainfall in the evenings and occasionally throughout the year. This is still a good time for hiking and spending time outdoors, but it requires more careful planning because it's common to see Madeira's highest mountains completely covered in clouds in November. While hiking, you can still be comfortable wearing just a sweater during the day, but when the sunlight disappears, it quickly becomes quite cold.

In November, beaches are fairly empty, even on weekends. It's not due to the water temperature, as it remains quite pleasant and will stay that way until January, but because there's less sunshine, people tend to spend less time on the beaches in November. The island is becoming greener with each passing day.


The Cliffs in the west of Madeira on a sunny day in December.
The Cliffs in the west of Madeira on a sunny day in December.

Weather on Madeira in December


The rainy season is back. Even Funchal sees occasional rainfalls, and it often rains in the north. As we approach the festive season, the waterfalls are regaining their strength. The temperature in Funchal is hardly ever too cold, but you'll often see people wearing jackets throughout the day. The average high temperature in the city is around 20°C, but due to the humidity, it can feel a bit cooler. There are still some clear days, especially in the southwest. On a sunny day, don't hesitate to go swimming; the water is still very pleasant for a dip.

Despite December marking the onset of the wet season, Madeira experiences a significant increase in tourists who come to spend Christmas and New Year on the island.


New Years Eve Firework show over Funchal
New Years Eve Firework show over Funchal

What to pack on a trip to Madeira


Locals tend to say, that they often carry a jacket and a bathing suit in their car, a reflection of Madeira's changing weather. While the island has various microclimates that can lead to some regional differences, the weather on Madeira is generally predictable. So you can plan your day trips according to the forecast and Madeira WebCams.

While planning your trip effectively, consider your itinerary. For instance, if you're heading to the mountains in the summer, you still need to bring a windproof jacket. Madeira's mountains reach nearly 2000m, and you can experience alpine-like weather conditions there in the summer.

When friends visit for an active trip around Madeira, here's what we suggest they pack:

  1. Trousers and shorts

  2. Comfortable sports shoes (or hiking shoes if your focus is on hiking)

  3. Sandals for the summer/Closed shoes for the winter

  4. A jacket for the mountains

  5. Bathing suit and a towel

  6. T-shirts

  7. A shirt or sweater for cooler days

  8. A summer cap or a winter hat for winter hikes

  9. A water bottle (as tap water is safe to drink in Madeira)

  10. Opt for a backpack over a handbag.


Remember that hiking and levada walks can be challenging depending on the weather and difficulty level. Before embarking on your journey, ensure the location matches your skills and experience. If it doesn't, consider hiring a guided trip or a private guide to explore the places you want to visit. Madeira's motto is "Madeira belongs to everyone", emphasising that everyone has a duty to take care of this beautiful island.

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Madeira is such an amazing place to visit, and we still can't believe we've been able to call it home for the past two years. During our stay, we explored all the best spots on the island and tried all the most exciting activities, many of them more than once! This helped us create these comprehensive guides that will help you plan your own trip to Madeira.













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