Madeira gets a lot of sun, and is quite a bit further south than Europe, its location in the Atlantic bringing with it sea breezes and cooler weather. Average daily summer temperatures in July and August are 77°F, with maximums in the upper 90’s. It is balmy in winter and despite inland flash floods, rainfall is rarely a problem in summer.
The island is mountainous and prone to microclimates, with Funchal (in the Bay of Funchal) seeing the best sunshine. Other areas, such as at Calheta, are more prone to hefty breezes, while places inland draw heavier rainfall. The most rain occurs in the fall and continues until spring, with the summer period (May to September) receiving far less. Mid-June to mid-August has the least rain and September has the lowest humidity.
Madeira is generally windy, with north-easterly trade winds bringing big swells and humidity. Caniçal and Caniço are often the recipients of such weather, while the west coast also receives wind and swells, providing good surf and windsurfing conditions and Jardim do Mar is a popular place for the latter. In addition, the easterly wind known as the leste comes from the Sahara to lift temperatures dramatically for a few days every summer.
Best Time to Visit Madeira
Madeira’s high season runs from July through to September. This summer period has the best temperatures and lowest rainfall, but also the steepest prices. Hotels book up fast, mostly by European travelers. Since Madeira is mild in the winter, the Christmas and New Year holidays are also popular.
Off-season hotel rates can be enjoyed at other times, namely, January through June and October until December. The latter offers more consistent weather, while the fall can be warmer but wetter.