Weather and Climate in Madeira
The archipelago of Madeira; made up of Madeira Island, Porto Santo and the Desertas; is well-known for its mild to hot weather conditions with a small temperate range between seasons. Actually located closer to Africa than it is to Europe or mainland Portugal, Madeira's climate is strongly influenced by its geographical features as well as the Atlantic Ocean that entirely surrounds it. Although in close proximity to one another, the three islands have slightly varied climates: the Desertas a Desert-like climate; Porto Santo a semi-arid climate; and Madeira Island a subtropical climate.
The Climate in Madeira Island
Weather conditions in Madeira Island can many times be unpredictable and it's even possible to experience all four seasons around different parts of the island on one day. This is greatly true during the changing of seasons so be prepared! In general, however, it is safe to say that Madeira Island experiences mild to warm temperatures during spring (Mar-May) and autumn (Sept-Nov), hot and humid temperatures in summer (June-Aug) and cool to mild temperatures during winter (Dec-Feb). Rainfall is at its most during late winter/early spring and early autumn months in any given part of the island but is more so in the northern parts where Machico, Santana, São Vicente and Porto Moniz are located. These municipalities consequently contain some of the most verdant landscapes of the island meaning conditions are perfect for agriculture.
At the centre of Madeira Island is a stunning mountain range which plays a vital role in climatic conditions. This huge range filled with high-altitude peaks acts as a barrier and prevents the drifting of rain and wind to certain parts of the island. This leads to differences in temperatures and conditions which are most predominant between the north and south sides of the island. During autumn, winter and early spring, whilst the north side of the island experiences cooler temperatures, occasional fog, higher winds, and greater dampness; the south side on the other hand enjoys warmer temperatures, low winds and lower precipitation levels. It is along Madeira Island's long southern coast where you'll find its capital, Funchal, followed by the municipalities of Câmara de Lobos, Ribeira Brava, Calheta and Ponta do Sol which are greatly known for their beaches and colourful sunsets.
In terms of temperatures, summer averages tend to range between 19ºC and the mid-20s in the north and low 20s to 30ºC in the south with high levels of humidity both day and night. For the remainder of the year, temperatures generally sit around 15ºC to 18ºC with the occasional increases in the south. Sudden heat waves which drift up from northern Africa are also a common characteristic. October to February is marked as the coldest and wettest months. During winter it is even possible to see snow in the highest peaks of the island, although the sight of snow-capped mountains in Madeira is always short-lived.