Funchal: December Weather AveragesDaily averages for December
|Sunshine Hours||8 hrs|
|Chance of Sunny Day||31 %|
|Rainfall days||16 days|
|Chance of Rain||52 %|
|Chance of Cloudy Day||2 %|
|Chance of Windy Day||28 %|
Daily averages for December
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Averages for Funchal in December
December marks the start of winter in Funchal, Madeira, and is one of the coldest months of the year – though it still remains very mild with high temperatures and lots of sunshine for this time of year. There’s slightly less rainfall than November, making it the perfect time to visit if you’re looking to soak up some winter sun.
Daily average temperatures in December hover around 18°C, often rising to 20°C and above in the afternoons, making Funchal one of the warmest places in Europe at this time of year. Even the nights are mild, with temperatures rarely falling below 15°C. Packing layers is essential if you’re visiting the town at this time of year. You’ll likely need a thin cardigan or jumper for the daytime, but you’ll also want something slightly thicker for when the sun goes down and the evening chill arrives. It’s a good idea to pack suncream as well, though, as when it’s hot the sun can still be strong in December.
Winter is also the rainy season in Funchal and, though there may be less rain in December than in November, it spreads across more days than the previous month. You can expect around 90mm of rainfall throughout the month that covers an average of 16 days. It’s highly likely you’ll see a shower or two, so slip an umbrella and waterproof into your suitcase to be on the safe side. Because of its Mediterranean climate, the rains in Funchal are short and pass quickly, usually leaving blue skies in their wake.
Its location so close to North Africa means that Funchal sees only a small amount of variation in sunshine hours throughout the year. In December, you can expect around 8 hours of sunshine per day, which is plenty of time to get out and explore all that the town has to offer.
December is very mild in Funchal, making it the perfect winter getaway. The temperatures are warm, there’s lots of sunshine, and there’s plenty of cultural attractions to keep you busy.
Where to Stay
The Terrace Mar Suite Hotel is a stylish accommodation option just moments from the beachfront. Its elevated position means there are spectacular views across the surrounding areas from the roof terrace, as well as the private balconies. There’s a heated outdoor swimming pool and spa facilities, too, with Jacuzzis, saunas, and an extensive range of massage treatments. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with their own kitchenettes and lounge areas, plus there’s a Mediterranean restaurant and bar for guests to enjoy.
The Hotel Imperatriz is a quirky, modern hotel surrounded by beautifully manicured gardens. Rooms are spacious and cosy, with thick carpets and dark-wood, and each one has its own private balcony which enjoys views across the town. There’s a terrace-based outdoor swimming pool and a delicious Portuguese restaurant, too, with a charming balcony filled with greenery and peace and quiet. Many of the rooms have their own kitchenettes and lounge areas and there’s a games room with pool tables and chess boards – perfect for lazy December days.
Rooftop Pool at Hotel Imperatriz, Funchal.
Avenue Park Madeira boasts a collection of stylish, modern flats right in the centre of Funchal, close to the beachfront lido complexes. Each apartment is decorated with bright bursts of colour and white-washed walls, and features a lounge area and kitchen space as well as bedrooms and bathrooms. There is everything you need to make a home away from home, including cooking facilities, coffee machines, televisions, and private parking. Avenue Park is a great accommodation option for immersing yourself in the lifestyle of Funchal.
Things to do
If you’re feeling lucky, visit the Casino do Madeira for a lively evening of slot machines, cocktails, and three-course meals. There are often live bands that provide entertainment in the restaurant and casino areas, and you can get a set three-course meal complete with sparkling wine to accompany your evening. Throughout the building, there are several areas of arcade games as well as a selection of roulette tables for you to get stuck into.
The Natural History Museum offers a quirky, educational day out for all the family. There are a number of exhibits that showcase local animals that inhabited the area, as well as a small aquarium featuring a selection of local fish species. Here, you can wander through the often quiet corridors learning about the natural world in Madeira and coming face to face with some of the fascinating fauna.
Hit the Beach
The beaches are a popular tourist attraction in Funchal, though they don’t boast white-sand shores. Instead, they feature black volcanic sand or pebbly outcrops. December isn’t the best time to visit for the beaches, as the sea can be quite nippy, but the hidden coves and unusual rock formations are a great backdrop for taking a winter stroll or for kicking back and relaxing with a book whilst you soak up the winter sun.
Just ten minutes from Funchal there is a small, secluded black sand beach complete with a sheltered pier in Canico de Baixo. The beach is great for children, with high cliffs to protect the sands from any stray winter winds, and there are a huge selection of eateries along the coast for all of your refreshment needs.
Where to Drink & Eat
Mariqueira O Barqueiro is a lively Portuguese restaurant decorated in bright colours with a laidback atmosphere. Huge colourful murals adorn the walls and there is a wall-to-wall wine display shelf in one area. The menu is filled with traditional Portuguese recipes including grilled fresh fish, juicy seasonal salads, and tender steaks. As well as the a la carte menu, diners can opt to eat off the very reasonable three-course set menu.
Mariqueira O Barqueiro, Funchal.
Funcho Gourmet is a quirky café restaurant boasting bursts of bright colour and unusual ornaments. The outdoor terrace is covered in greenery and, inside, the furniture is white-washed and vintage. You can opt for a coffee and one of the homemade sweet treats or, if you’re feeling really hungry, choose one of the main course dishes like grilled steak, seafood platters, and fresh salads. There’s also a gift shop inside, so you can browse for some souvenirs whilst you wait!
December events in Funchal
Restoration of Independence
1st December 2015
On 1st December 1640, the country regained its independence once again by expelling the Spanish during the Portuguese Restoration of Independence War.
12th December 2015 to 6th January 2016
Christmas and New Year celebrations in Madeira offer a varied programme of cultural, folk and artistic events. The festive season starts in December when Funchal’s streets are magnificently decorated and the colourful lights are switched on in the city’s main streets until early January.
16th December 2015 to 24th December 2015
It is the celebration of the nine months of pregnancy of the Virgin Mary. There are church services all over the city to celebrate this event.
23rd December 2015
Going to the Farmers Market on the night of the 23rd December is already a tradition. Early in the night, groups gather by the fish square and the humming of the traditional Christmas songs begins. Folk groups start dancing everywhere and music bands spread throughout the streets, together with the locals.
Grand Firework Display
31st December 2015
New Years Eve is celebrated in Funchal with a grand fireworks display on the beach. These fireworks can be seen from across the city but if you wanted to see them up close then standing on the promenade or the pier is best.