Below are my notes for visiting Madeira. These travel tips, such as the best time to visit Madeira are obtained from a variety of sources including some of the following: my first hand observations, personal conversations, magazines, newspapers, websites, books and so forth. Whenever I hear something that interests me about Madeira, I jot it down here. Hope this comes in handy.
Best Time to Visit Madeira
Short Answer: Year-round is suitable but the best time very well could be April or May when the weather is great for exploring and flowers are blooming.
Longer Answer: First a disclaimer. There are many microclimates on this mountainous island and as such, you should prepare for varying weather if you explore the island. Secondly, I will explain the weather on the southern coast with the caveat that typically the northern coast is a bit cooler.
December to April you should have highs in the 60’s (15.5-20.5C). May to November, highs run typically in the 70s (21-26C). It will probably rain at some point but the most rain, which usually comes in the form of light rain, is in the winter, mostly falling between October through March, with a peak typically in November or December. June, July and August are typically the driest and hottest.
Summer (June through August) in Madeira can be much warmer temperatures than that noted above especially when winds shift and pull the hot air from Northern Africa. When that occurs, temperatures can end up in the 80s and 90s (35C).
The winter (December, January) experiences visitors as Europeans look to get away from the cold winter happening there. Further, the island is known for its New Years fireworks and Christmas displays. And, given the nice temperatures, some light rain shouldn’t hurt anything much. The downside is the potential for heavy rains which do come on occasion and have created damage.
Flowers are blooming nicely in the Spring timeframe (late March through mid-May) and the temperatures are great for exploring the island. Orchids are a common sight on the island.
Miscellaneous Travel Tips for Madeira
Madeira is part of Portugal but it runs autonomously
If you are looking for beaches, head to the nearby Porto Santo (similar weather to Madeira). To get there, you can either fly in (if in season from parts of Europe, or check the 15 minute flight from SATA airlines) or go via ferry out of Funchal, Madeira. Porto Santo Line <-Ferry You can get anywhere on Madeira within a day if you have a vehicle however, don't underestimate the crazy terrain that makes short drives much longer than you might think. Some of Madeira's runway is built on stilts in order to get a full runway on this mountainous island. Some pilots love landing here. Madeira is great for walking but not so great for nightlife or that type of energy. If you are looking more for tranquility and nature then it'll probably suit you better. Otherwise, expect everything to get quiet at night. On the walking topic you should search for the word levadas. They were built here for irrigation but also just so happen to form over 1300mi(2000km) of walking paths through the island. You can visit the Laurisilva of Madeira, a giant laurel forest in the center of the island as well as many other natural spots.