Christmas 2018 & New Year’s Eve 2018/2019 in Madeira

Christmas in Funchal - Boże Narodzenie na Maderze

Madeira during the Christmas season 2018

It was my second Christmas and NYE spent in Madeira. This year was slightly different from the previous visit, described [HERE]. It was the first visit since I started this blog, so also the first trip when I always carried my camera with me.
We also travelled much more, we visited many new interesting places, including several new wedding venues in Madeira, which I will present soon. We were able to see hundreds of Christmas cribs and Christmas trees in various styles. For the first time, I could also experience the Funchal Market Night celebrations.

Christmas atmosphere in Funchal

The atmosphere in the city was completely different. Porto Santo and Madeira Island are celebrating its 600th anniversary, so I had the impression that the city looked even prettier than usual. All over the city, we were reminded of the big anniversaries.

Holidays in Madeira in December? Christmas lights in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Wakacje na Maderze w grudniu - ozdoby świąteczne w Funchal
Holidays in Madeira in December? Christmas lights in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Wakacje na Maderze w grudniu - ozdoby świąteczne w Funchal
Christmas in Europe - Christmas lights in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Co zobaczyć na Maderze w Boże Narodzenie? Funchal nocą
Christmas in Europe - Christmas lights in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Co zobaczyć na Maderze w Boże Narodzenie? Funchal nocą
Christmas in Europe - Christmas light in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Boże Narodzenie na Maderze, Portugalia

Photo gallery: Christmas season in Madeira Island (2018)

1. Funchal Marina / Avenida do Mar area

Christmas in Europe - Christmas light in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Boże Narodzenie na Maderze, Portugalia
Holidays in Madeira in December? Christmas light in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Wakacje na Maderze w grudniu
Christmas in Europe - Christmas lights in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Co zobaczyć na Maderze w Boże Narodzenie? Funchal nocą
Holidays in Madeira in December? Christmas lights in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Wakacje na Maderze w grudniu - ozdoby świąteczne w Funchal
Holidays in Madeira in December? Christmas lights in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Wakacje na Maderze w grudniu - ozdoby świąteczne w Funchal
Cruise ship holidays in Madeira in December? Christmas light in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Wakacje na Maderze w grudniu
Volta à Cidade do Funchal / São Silvestre Race Funchal / Bieg miejski w Funchal na Maderze
Christmas in Europe - Christmas light in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Gdzie na Boże Narodzenie w Europie - Ozdoby świąteczne w Funchal na Maderze
Christmas in Europe - Christmas light in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Gdzie na Boże Narodzenie w Europie - Ozdoby świąteczne w Funchal na Maderze
Christmas in Europe - Christmas light in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Co zobaczyć na Maderze w Boże Narodzenie?

2. Avenida Arriaga / Christmas market 

 
Christmas in Europe - Christmas light in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Co zobaczyć na Maderze w Boże Narodzenie?
Christmas in Europe - Christmas light in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Boże Narodzenie na Maderze, Portugalia
Christmas in Europe - Christmas light in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Co zobaczyć na Maderze w Boże Narodzenie?
Madeira's drinks: Poncha | Drinki na Maderze: Poncha
Christmas Nativity Scene in Funchal - Boże Narodzenie na Maderze: Szopka Bożonarodzeniowa - skansen w Funchal na Maderze
Christmas Nativity Scene in Funchal - Boże Narodzenie na Maderze: Szopka Bożonarodzeniowa - skansen w Funchal na Maderze

3. Christmas village in Jardim Municipal do Funchal 

Christmas attractions for kids in Madeira: Santa's Village in Funchal | Świąteczne atrakcje dla dzieci na Maderze: Wioseczka Bożonarodzeniowa w Funchal
Christmas attractions for kids in Madeira: Santa's Village in Funchal | Świąteczne atrakcje dla dzieci na Maderze: Wioseczka Bożonarodzeniowa w Funchal
Christmas attractions in Madeira: Santa's Village in Funchal | Świąteczne atrakcje na Maderze: Wioseczka Bożonarodzeniowa w Funchal
Christmas attractions in Madeira: Santa's Village in Funchal | Świąteczne atrakcje na Maderze: Wioseczka Bożonarodzeniowa w Funchal

4. Madeira’s flag 

5. Volta à Cidade do Funchal / São Silvestre City Run Funchal

Volta à Cidade do Funchal / São Silvestre Race Funchal / Bieg miejski w Funchal na Maderze
Volta à Cidade do Funchal / São Silvestre Race Funchal / Bieg miejski w Funchal na Maderze

6. Christmas Lights TukTuk Tour 

Best TukTuk Tours in Funchal | Najlepsze wycieczki TukTukiem w Funchal na Maderze
Best TukTuk Tours in Funchal | Najlepsze wycieczki TukTukiem w Funchal na Maderze

Long evening walks through the beautifully decorated streets of Funchal have become a tradition for many families. Most of the decorations are located around the port area, but there are many more adorable streets and squares spread all over the city, so especially among tourists with limited time, Christmas Lights TukTuk Tours are becoming more and more popular. Drivers are able to show tourist all the prettiest areas of Funchal in a short time. 

We chose Atlantis Tours with its adorable giant Christmas hat on top. The trip was so much fun!

Please forgive my lack of editing skills, but here is a short video with some of the Funchal Christmas decorations:

Nativity scenes

“I am so surprised- In Madeira there are more nativity scenes than Christmas trees” said Agnieszka, whom I met thanks to Instagram. It was her first visit in Madeira. 

It is hard not to agree. It did not strike me last time, but there are, indeed, hundreds of Christmas Cribs in Madeira. Cribs of all sizes and all types; indoor, outdoor, modern, traditional.. You will see them in many town squares, churches, museums, hotel lobbies and private houses. It would be impossible to show them all, so here are some, which I found most interesting or beautiful: 

1. Mega Presepio in Curral das Freiras

Mega Presepio Nativity Scene in Nun's Valley, Madeira - biggest nativity scene in Madeira || Największa na Maderze szopka bożonarodzeniowa w Dolinie Zakonnic na Maderze
Mega Presepio Nativity Scene in Nun's Valley, Madeira - biggest nativity scene in Madeira || Największa na Maderze szopka bożonarodzeniowa w Dolinie Zakonnic na Maderze
Mega Presepio Nativity Scene in Nun's Valley, Madeira - biggest nativity scene in Madeira || Największa na Maderze szopka bożonarodzeniowa w Dolinie Zakonnic na Maderze
Mega Presepio Nativity Scene in Nun's Valley, Madeira - biggest nativity scene in Madeira || Największa na Maderze szopka bożonarodzeniowa w Dolinie Zakonnic na Maderze

Indoor Christmas Crib (Mega Presepio) in Curral das Freiras is considered to be the biggest on the island. Once you enter the building and follow the paths, you are able to see different scenes presenting the life in Madeira’s villages. You will see the famous Santana houses and even a waterfall. In the very centre, you will find the traditional Nativity Scene presenting the Holy Family in Belem- Bethlehem.

Entry to Mega Presepio is free of charge, but you are requested to leave a voluntary tip. 

It is open daily, between 15 December to 15 January.  

[ CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OPENING HOURS OF THE CURRAL DAS FREIRAS CHRISTMAS CRIB]

Beautiful view on the Nun’s Valley – View from Eira do Serrado:

2. Christmas Crib close to Marina do Funchal

Christmas attractions for kids in Madeira: Nativity Scene with an aquarium in the Funchal Marina | Świąteczne atrakcje dla dzieci na Maderze: Szopka z akwarium przy porcie w Funchal
Christmas attractions for kids in Madeira: Nativity Scene with an aquarium in the Funchal Marina | Świąteczne atrakcje dla dzieci na Maderze: Szopka z akwarium przy porcie w Funchal
Christmas attractions for kids in Madeira: Nativity Scene with an aquarium in the Funchal Marina | Świąteczne atrakcje dla dzieci na Maderze: Szopka z akwarium przy porcie w Funchal
Christmas attractions for kids in Madeira: Nativity Scene with an aquarium in the Funchal Marina | Świąteczne atrakcje dla dzieci na Maderze: Szopka z akwarium przy porcie w Funchal

 

3. Christmas Crib in Camara de Lobos

Christmas in Camara de Lobos, Madeira || Boże Narodzenie w Camara de Lobos na Maderze
Christmas in Camara de Lobos, Madeira || Boże Narodzenie w Camara de Lobos na Maderze

4. Christmas Crib in Porto Moniz

Szopka bożonarodzeniowa w Porto Moniz na Maderze - Porto Moniz w grudniu | Natvity scene in Porto Moniz, Madeira. Porto Moniz in December

5. Christmas Crib inside a sugar cane factory – Sociedade dos Engenhos da Calheta

Calheta attractions: Sugar Cane Factory Museum in Calheta during Christmas season || Atrakcje w Calheta - Muzeum fabryka trzciny cukrowej Sociedade dos Engenhos da Calheta #madeira #calheta #sugarcane

And last but not least, a beautiful crib at our wonderful hosts’ home: 

Portuguese Christmas

6. As well as two very creative Christmas trees…

Christmas tree made of.. fish in Madeira, Portugal | Choinka z Dorsza w wystawie sklepowej w Funchal na Maderze
Christmas tree in Universo de Memórias in Funchal || Christmas tree in Universo de Memórias - Wszechświat wspomnień w Funchal

Cod (Bacalhau) Christmas tree as well as… a Christmas tree decorated with ties… Those who visited Universo de Memórias Museum will know… 

Have you also spotted some interesting Christmas trees in Madeira Island? Send them to us if you would like to have them published in this post.

Market Night – “Noite do Mercado”  – in Funchal 

First in my life Market Night in Funchal – a big success. After staying for a couple of nights in Calheta and Eira do Serrado, on the 23rd of December we came back to the Old Town of Funchal. We stayed a minute away from the Mercado dos Lavoradores – the very heart of the entire event. 

Those who have never heard of the Market Night – it is an important event during the Christmas season in Madeira. It is sort of an open-air event; a fair with street concerts and different attractions. It takes place the night before Christmas Eve and it causes the entire centre of Funchal to transform into a big party. 

On the morning of December 23, a big fruit stand was built in front of the Farmer’s Market. It was the first sign of the upcoming celebrations. 

Closed roads during the Market Night in Funchal

In the afternoon, all roads in the city centre were closed. Immediately, streets were filled with people trying to set up street food and drink stands. Local news company began preparing the stages and installing cameras. I am astonished by the tempo in which the locals were able to set up their stand and prepare the centre for the crowd of party people. 

After sunset, the city started to become very crowded, very fast. People were coming in big groups from all parts of Funchal. It was impossible to park a car anywhere close. 

The best tip for those attending the Market Night – leave your car in the garage or come to Funchal very, very early. Public bus lines are adjusted, there are many detours, so the easiest way to get to the centre will always be on foot. 

Zaknięte drogi w centrum Funchal podczas Nocy Targowej (Noite de Mercado) 2018. || Roads closed in the centre of Funchal during Market Night on the 23rd of December
Closed roads in Funchal during the Market Night (Noite de Mercado) 2018 acc. to Google Maps..

The weather was good and the party was a success. The entire city centre was full of people, bars in the Old Town played music the entire night long and people were dancing on the streets. We went home around 3 in the morning, while the party was still busy and did not show any signs of the upcoming end. 

After just a couple of hours of sleep, when we walking to a cafe, the city seemed like we were in a different dimension. The roads were open, there were no stands, no concerts, no trash and plastic cups on the floor… 

According to the local TV news, we all owe this miracle to 123 employees who,  in 22 vehicles, cleared the streets from 24 tons of rubbish…

Funfair 

Last time there was no funfair between the port and the Old Town in Funchal. The funfair, along with the food trucks, roasted chestnut stands and beautifully decorated palm trees, really enlivened the Marina area.

FFair in Funchal, Portugal | Atrakcje w wesołym miasteczku w Funchal na Maderze

As a big fan of roller coasters, I tried one of the best attractions. The view from the top was amazing, but I sincerely think that that attraction wasn’t even half as exciting or scary as simply riding a public Horarios do Funchal bus from the Nun’s Valley to Funchal… 

Restaurant/cafe opening hours during Christmas 2018 and New Year 2019 in Madeira

We stayed in the Old Town, so we could see firsthand how many and which restaurants were open. On New Year’s Eve and the First Day of Christmas, surprisingly many restaurants were open. The Second Day of Christmas almost did not feel like a holiday. Most of the restaurants and stores were open. Tour operators offered levada walks and other tours, just like on any other day. Also on New Year, restaurants in the Old Town opened around noon. Most of the galleries, Poncha bars and tourist shops were also open. 

Only breakfasts turned out to be a bit of a problem. There were a couple of local cafe’s open during the holidays, but the choice was limited. They offered drinks, sweet pastries and old sandwiches. As we were told, due to the closed bakeries, they run out of bread very fast. 

Christmas dishes and drinks

As usual, we ate tons of Lapas, great seafood dishes and delicious Portuguese pastries: Queijada & Pastel de Nata.

We also ate traditional Portuguese Christmas cake called Bolo do Rei and a nut cake. On New Year’s Eve, our hosts served us traditional Portugues Canja (Portuguese chicken soup). I wasn’t however very tempted to try the traditional Madeira Carne Vinha-d’alhos (Wine and garlic meat) Sandwiches, sold all over the island. 

Portuguese Christmas cake - Bolo Rei || Portugalskie ciasto bożonarodzeniowe Bolo Rei
Madeira's cousine: Carne Vinha-d'alhos | Kuchnia Madery - Carne Vinha-d'alhos - czyli bożonarodzeniowe kanapki z mięsem w winie i czosnku
Madeira's cousine: Carne Vinha-d'alhos | Kuchnia Madery - Carne Vinha-d'alhos - czyli bożonarodzeniowe kanapki z mięsem w winie i czosnku

New Year’s Eve 2018/2019 in Madeira

I was looking forward to the fireworks show, I was counting down the days… The weather, unfortunately, ruined the magic of that night. The entire New Year’s Eve was very rainy, to the dismay of many tourists who came to the island especially for the fireworks show.

Here is the movie from the fireworks show on New Year’s Eve 2018/2019 in Madeira:

New Year's Eve fireworks in Funchal, Madeira | Pokaz fajerwerków w Sylwestra na Maderze
New Year's Eve fireworks in Funchal, Madeira | Pokaz fajerwerków w Sylwestra na Maderze

Weather in Madeira during the Christmas season

The weather, unfortunately, disappointed Madera this year. The worst weather was, sadly, on the most important days – Christmas Eve, the first day of Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

The remaining days were mainly sunny and pleasant, some very. We had enough time to sunbathe or go hiking. 

Here is our Madeira weather report in a nutshell:

Looking at the bright side – at least we have enough knowledge and experience to publish a new article “What to do in Madeira in bad weather”…

What did we see and do? What will you be able to read about on my blog soon?

First of all, for those interested in the wedding part of my blog, I visited several spectacular wedding venues.  You will soon be able to read about a spectacular and romantic wedding venue in Savoy Saccharum and a wedding ceremony in the clouds in the Eira do Serrado hotel. We were also given the opportunity to visit the Savoy Palace (still under construction) and see how this spectacular venue will look like in just a few months when the hotel opens its doors.

We also visited the town of Calheta… discovered a great spot in Camara de Lobos… we made an unforgettable and thrilling trip to the Valley of Nuns with a public bus… We took a TukTuk tour through the illuminated streets of Funchal and a convertible tour in the south-west the coast of Madeira… We walked Lewada to Furado – PR 10 – from Ribeiro Frio to Portela. We sunbathed and observed the beautiful sunset at the surfers’ bar in Paul do Mar… We supported the runners during the City Run in Funchal… We visited the north of Madeira, from Seixal to Porto Moniz, and we were almost rammed by a cow on the Paul da Serra plateau on the way back to Funchal…

During bad weather, we visited indoor attractions: the Blandy’s Wine Lodge, Madeira Film Experience, Madeira Story Center, and a jaw-dropping Universo de Memórias… We bought handmade souvenirs from local artists in the Old Town and truly enjoyed the Armazém do Mercado gallery, which still remains a bit of a hidden gem of Funchal…

I was also honoured to meet an important person in Madeira and interview him for my blog…

Who am I talking about? You will read about it all soon…

 

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Christmas in Europe - Christmas light in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | Boże Narodzenie na Maderze, Portugalia

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