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Christmas & New Year´s Eve on Madeira

 Christmas & New Year´s Eve on Madeira

During the month of December, the island of Madeira will be completely transformed into a decorated piece of art, and the Chrismas spirit on Madeira will be felt all over. As soon as the normal daily life ends and the moon takes place for the sun, almost everywhere you go, whether it is in Funchal or pretty much anywhere else on the island, you will find beautiful decorative lights that truly transform the streets into a cosy place to stay. Your whole body will be filled with warm feelings as soon as it gets dark and that feeling will not go away until you leave to go home again.

Traditional Madeiran Food & Drinks

Madeira is known worldwide not only for the Christmas lights that invade all the parishes of the island and especially the streets of the centre of Funchal but also for the traditions that remain from year to year. Taste our traditional delights like Honey cake, honey cookies, fennel candies, chicken soup, cherry sour in chocolate cups, liquors made with the exotic fruits grown on the island, Madeira Wine and the famous Poncha. You can find all of these in stalls all over the island during the festive month.

Many, many, many Christmas Lights

At night, Funchal is even more exciting due to the sound of music that comes from the free Christmas concerts adapted to all ages. As you take your time to watch the different luminous images that you find on each street, the multicoloured trees you will find everywhere, the large Illuminated Christmas Tree in the marina and even the finest details of the great crib, you will surely smell an odour of moss, the decorated natural Christmas pines and the roasted chestnuts that spreads through the air.

In the Municipal Park of Funchal, you will find decorations that will undoubtedly leave you with an enchanted feeling. Santa’s sleigh, giant reindeer, a Christmas train, little houses and giant candies are some of the figures and animations you will find in this place that looks like a real Christmas Village.


The true Madeiran Christmas spirit

All in all, we can say that the Christmas spirit on Madeira island is certainly all about lots of excitement, children jumping and playing on the streets, friends and family dining traditional meals and garlic bread and sipping the traditional drinks. These are some of the things what you will find as you stroll past each stall. This conviviality amid the lights, the colours, the background of Christmas music and the voices and shouts that can be heard from the carousels of the harbour amusement park is something that you must experience at least once in your life!

On December 24th it is usual for the Madeirans to organize a great Christmas dinner with the whole family, and soon after, at midnight, they all attend the Childbirth Mass before making the exchange of gifts. That night, most families also welcome Santa Claus who comes to give presents to the younger children.


Shortly after Christmas day, while every one that is on Madeira is still enchanted by a cosy and warm feeling, the new year is waiting! New Year’s Evening is something that is not celebrated lightly on Madeira. During the last day of the year, the population of the island slowly starts flowing towards the lower areas of Funchal to experience one of the biggest fireworks shows on earth during the change of years. 

World Record holding fireworks show

The Fireworks show of Funchal held the Guinness World Record for “Biggest Fireworks show” from 2006 to 2010. New Year’s Evening is certainly one of the best times to visit Madeira, whether you want to view the spectacular show from land, by boat or cruise ship. Many cruise ships have special routes that pass by Funchal during the change of years. This is such a special show because of the beautifully synchronized fireworks that will be shot from the Marina all the way to the highest parts of the city, and even on specially designed boats from the ocean near the marina.

This spectacle also marks the end of the Festive month. Shortly into the new year, the population of Madeira will restart their normal daily lives, and everything will remain to normal, as if nothing had ever happened. Therefore, a visit at the end of December and beginning of January will give you the experience two completely different sides of Madeira.

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