The Madeira Carnival period is celebrated during February/March before Lent when locals indulge in sweets and traditional pastries like the delicious malassada topped with Madeira sugar-cane. It is a time comprised of a stream of entertaining shows and parades which involve plenty of creativity, fooling around, dressing up and dancing read more...
Madeira Flower Festival
If you want to discover why Madeira is designated the Ilha das Flores or "Island of Flowers" then don't miss its annual Flower Festival that takes place in its capital, Funchal. Known as one of the most colourful times to visit the island, the Madeira Flower Festival is a magnificent celebration of springtime and the island's exotic flowering season read more...
Madeira Island Ultra Trail (MIUT)
The Madeira Island Ultra Trail (MIUT) is a touristic-sporting event consisting in an ultramarathon or trail run across different parts of Madeira. It is held between 3-4 days in the spring period (April or May) and is an initiative of the Clube de Montanha do Funchal which relies on the help of over 400 volunteers. Increasingly popular over the years, this exclusive annual event, unique on a variety of levels, guides participants across some of the most mesmerizing and dramatic landscapes Madeira Island is most famous for. Sometimes you'll even find yourself high above the clouds! At the same time, runners are put through their paces and forced to face a series of challenges which include intense changes in climatic conditions and terrains; a recipe that will demand everything from your body plus a little bit more. It really is the ultimate test of mind over body! The most recent of events attracted close to 1000 participants of which 50% were nationals and the remaining 50% originating from 24 distinct countries with a majority of German, French, Spanish and Swiss nationalities. MIUT is made up of four different trails which can be ranked in order of difficulty: UT115 (116 km); UT85 (85 km); Trail 42: Downhill race (42 km); and Trail 20: Easiest race which passes through the Laurel Forest. Depending on your level of endurance and motivation you can select a trail from this list that most suits you.
The Madeira Island Ultra Trail 5th Edition: http://vimeo.com/71006489
48 hours Dancing Folklore Festival
The 48 Hours Dancing Folklore Festival is a fun annual event held each July in the municipality of Santana, one of the most picturesque areas of Madeira. Celebrating regional along with national folk dance, this 2 day event which literally goes on for 48 hours non-stop is an ethnographic festival showcasing folk dance from all regions of Madeira as well as hearty gastronomic specialties and distinct traditions belonging to the northern part of the island. Join in on all the fun by dancing, singing, drinking and eating to your heart's content!
Machico Gastronomic Week
Attended annually by locals and tourists alike, the Machico Gastronomic Week is an atmospheric and hearty festival held in the city of Machico during July/August. Starting normally after 6.00 pm, each evening of the Gastronomic Week offers you the chance to sample the different and exciting flavours of Madeiran cuisine and drink. Sample the famous Bolo do caco (Madeiran bread); Espetada (meat-on-a-stick); Carne de Vinho e Alhos (pork marinated in wine and garlic); Bife de atum (tuna steak); Lapas grelhadas (grilled limpets) as well as the grilled chicken. Including energetic live concerts, fun activities, intriguing culinary traditions and a cocktail festival, the Machico Gastronomic Week is held along a promenade right by the sea offering a splendid location to unwind whilst relishing in Madeiran delights.
Rali Vinho da Madeira
The Rali Vinho da Madeira which is part of the European Rally Championship is Madeira's largest event on its sporting calendar. Held during the first week of August, this exciting and dramatic rally runs across almost 400km of sinuous roads in the picturesque mountains of the island. Thousands of people gather in the mountains to watch and cheer on international names as they battle for first place whilst facing huge driving challenges at different stages such as Chão da Lagoa, Paul da Serra and Encumeada. Another highlight of the event is when cars are displayed in Funchal's city centre for everyone to get a close look. If you love cars and love hearing the sounds of roaring engines and skidding wheels, this is "the" event for you!
Madeira Wine Festival
The Madeira Wine Festival is an event that is not only centred on the production of Madeira's fine wine but is also filled with emblematic traditions of the island. Celebrated at the beginning of September, the Madeira Wine Festival is hosted within Funchal's city centre, Estreito de Camara de Lobos and Porto da Cruz which are important wine areas of the island, historically and presently. Explore wine lodgings and find out all about Vinho Madeira (Madeira Wine) or enjoy live grape harvesting which involves the picking of the grapes, the pickers parade, the treading of the grapes and other rituals revolved around this important season. Have fun watching folklore groups perform traditional folk songs and dance and interesting shows related to wine-making.
Madeira Nature Festival
The Madeira Nature Festival that takes place in September/October (dates vary) for 7-8 days is an entire celebration of Madeira's most dazzling natural features including the largest surviving Laurissilva or Laurel Forest recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Organised by the Madeira Tourism Board, this dynamic event will take you on an inspirational journey be it on land, by sea or in the air. Get to know the ins and outs of this hypnotizing island by participating in all kinds of outdoor activities, games and cultural events designed for all ages. There is no better way of exploring Madeira's natural habitat than getting deep in the mountains and to do this, get involved in a number of activities that include Levada walking, hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, jeep safaris and canyoning. If it's the ocean you prefer, then enjoy afternoons sailing or scubadiving or you can even spend several hours whale and dolphin-watching on exciting boat tours. If you're more extreme and prefer to get the adrenaline running, take to the skies and soak in a unique view of Madeira's diverse natural landscapes by paragliding around various locations. For those less daring, airplane trips around the island are also available. The event also hosts a photography contest for those with a talent for capturing timeless scenes - scenes you will most definitely encounter during your travels through the virbrant landscapes and seascapes of Madeira.
Chestnut Festival in Nun's Valley
The 1st and 2nd of November sees locals and tourists flood to the Chestnut Festival in the quaint city of Curral das Freiras otherwise known as Nun's Valley in the municipality of Câmara de Lobos. Nun's Valley is a small but scenic location set among dramatic mountains and slopes which completely surround this almost hidden gem famous among islanders for its tall chestnut trees. Its Chestnut Festival has been a popular event for decades and is piled with lots of entertainment in the form of traditional dance and song and like all other Madeiran festivals it could not go without plenty of regional food and drink! A highlight of the event is to sample the several specialties made using chestnuts as a main ingredient including liquors and appetizing cakes. The 1st of November is all saint's day on the island and a bank holiday so you should expect large crowds. Make this an obligatory visit during your holidays even if it's for outstanding 360º views of lusciously green mountains or the winding and memorable drive to this almost cut-off gem of Madeira Island.
New Year's Fireworks
New Year's in Madeira is the most anticipated time of the year on the island because of its extravagant midnight firework display. Having held the Guinness World Record for the world's best firework display in 2012, Madeira welcomes thousands of tourists from across the globe to marvel at what can only be described as Europe's greatest firework spectacle read more...