I have recently published our picture weather report – Weather in Madeira in December / January – which I encourage you to check, especially if you are planning holidays in Madeira during the winter months:
Today, some general information about the climate and weather in Madeira, information about our favourite weather app, weather webcams, and a few words about the dangers of bad weather in Madeira. Enjoy!
The climate of Madeira is very pleasant. Winters are not cold, and the summers are not too hot, which is why it is referred to as the “island of eternal spring”.
Madeira is a mountainous island with many different microclimates and large temperature differences. The best conditions are in areas up to 200 meters above sea level, which are also referred to as the “banana line”, from the best area for growing bananas. Therefore, most hotels are located along the southern coastline, especially in the bay of Funchal, because this is additionally protected by the mountains.
When is the best time to visit Madeira?
That depends on what you like and what you are planning to do during your trip. In the summer (June-August), the average temperature is 24° C during the day, and the temperatures at night do not usually drop below 17° C. In case of long periods of wind blowing from the Sahara, temperatures may rise to over 30° C. In the summer season, it barely rains. In autumn (September-November) it is still warm and sunny, but the risk of rainfall is higher.
Winter (December-February) is a low season in Madeira, despite the fact that the weather is still very pleasant – around 20° C during the day.
As for the spring on Madeira, March [SEE: WEATHER IN MARCH] is the end of the low season. Temperatures improve in April and May [SEE POST: Weather on Madeira and Porto Santo in May], and the island begins to prepare for the Flower Festival celebrations…
Thus, usually, January is the rainiest and coldest month, while August has the lowest rainfall and the highest average temperatures. The months of August and September are best for swimming. The average seawater temperature is 24° C in September and 23° C in August and October.
So, this was the theory in a nutshell. And how is it in practice?
Madeira Weather forecasts
Regular weather forecasts and weather services are not flawless. Weather differences between cities, even in the same region can be large. That’s why regular weather applications (meaning: global websites with weather conditions from different places in the world) showing one icon per city or the whole island are of little use.
One icon and one average temperature isn’t enough to properly represent the weather of the entire island.
Recommended weather app: Madeira Weather
We would like to recommend one useful weather forecast app – Madeira Weather – created by Ciimar Madeira, creators of another useful app: MadeiraFish. Ciimar stands for the “Interdisciplinary Center for Marine and Environmental research of Madeira”.
We think that this app the most reliable source of weather information, because it specifies weather for multiple locations per region. That allows us to see, for example, how different can weather conditions be in just the area of Funchal:
It has a useful map function. You are able to save your favourite locations in Bookmarks to have much quicker access. You can also use the app to watch the live webcams located in some of the most popular tourist spots on Madeira:
If you see „Webcam indisponivel”, the chosen webcam isn’t available at that moment. Sometimes, there are temporary problems and some of the webcams do not work. Those problems are usually resolved pretty fast and it isn’t the app’s fault.
We also encountered some problems loading data when we tried using the mobile network, but after switching to WiFi the app worked perfectly.
A good idea is to download the app before booking the hotel you are considering, to observe for a while how the weather in that particular area compares to the rest of the island.
So in short – we highly recommend this app.
Weather webcams in Madeira
As I already mentioned, there are many live webcams on Madeira, where you can check the current weather conditions. You can access the webcams either using Madeira Weather or for example:
Which clothes to pack?
In the summer we need warmer clothes only if we intend to hike in the mountains or visit some of the windy places such as Ponta de São Lourenço.
During the off-season, you need to pack a lot of different clothes. Around noon, you are usually able to sunbathe, however, good weather is not always guaranteed. You will also need warm clothes for hiking. Layers are always a good idea, just as is the extra sweater in the backpack. This is just another reason for renting a car – having different clothes in the trunk you will be prepared for all weather conditions.
Shopping in Madeira
Packing clothes for Madeira Island can really give tourists a headache, but the truth is, even if we bring the wrong clothes, we can correct it easily. There are at least three main shopping malls in Funchal (Madeira Shopping, La Vie, Forum Madeira) and a lot of smaller stores, also chain stores. Those, who travel on a budget are advised to check budget stores such as Bazar do Povo. Clothes sold there are of poor quality, but can be a good emergency option.
Last but not least: In Madeira, you should pay attention to weather warnings. Bad weather increases the chances of accidents, also fatal ones. Levadas and ocean coasts are particularly dangerous places where you have to be the very careful. Of course, not all accidents are caused only by weather.
In some cases, bad health or recklessness play a part, and in some, it is simply a misfortune. Even so, once we are already discussing the weather, I wanted to take this opportunity to ask you to be careful as the number of accidents reported on the news is really alarming…
Here are some examples of 2018 headlines:
1 July 2018: ” Tourist dies on Levada das 25 Fontes” [LINK]
” A German tourist lost his life today on Levada das 25 Fontes, in Rabaçal. The circumstances in which the accident occurred are still unknown. “
14 April 2018: “Tourist dies after falling from a levada in Calheta, Madeira” [LINK]
“A 70-year-old tourist died on Levada das 25 Fontes. The tourist was a French national, and he was hiking together with his wife and children. On April 1, another deadly accident took place on the same levada.”
1 April 2018: “Tourist dies after falling from Levada das 25 Fontes” [LINK]
“A Spanish tourist died after falling from a height of 50m. He was walking the levada with an organized tour, and the rescue team was notified by the guide”
In 2018 only, three deaths have been reported on Levada das 25 Fontes. Fatal accidents,however, happen also on other routes:
Are levadas safe? No, unfortunately, your safety is not guaranteed. Avoid levada walks during difficult weather conditions, especially when they are wet. You also have to be properly prepared, be properly dressed and have the right shoes. When you do not feel confident, do not go there without an experienced guide. Assess well the level of difficulty and your health conditions. In 2018 there were several cases of deaths of elderly people and people with poor health while hiking.
Madeira’s coasts are also dangerous during a storm. Some tourists take a big risk when they come too close to the ocean to take pictures of high waves.
During Christmas 2018 in Paul do Mar, a man threw himself into the water to save a tourist who fell into the sea while taking photographs of waves. The tourist survived.. The man who rescued him.. not (!)
On the 1st of September 2018, a tourist’s body was found. A Chech tourist slipped on the seashore in São Jorge, and was swept by the waves.
Please be extra careful on slippery roads, hiking trails and seashores during strong winds. Please always wear good hiking shoes, avoid taking pictures when it is not safe and always check the weather warnings.
What are your tips when it comes to weather in Madeira?
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