Madeira: December Weather Averages
|Sunshine Hours||6 hrs|
|Chance of Sunny Day||31 %|
|Rainfall days||16 days|
|Chance of Rain||52 %|
|Chance of Cloudy Day||2 %|
|Chance of Windy Day||28 %|
Averages for Madeira in December
Despite December falling within the winter season in Madeira, the temperatures at this time of year are relatively mild when compared to much of the rest of northern and central Europe. At this time of year, the average temperature for the island falls as the month develops, dropping from 18°C on December 1st down to 17°C by December 31st. Daily highs and daily lows change in a similar way, dropping from 20°C to 19°C and from 16°C to 15°C, respectively, as the month progresses.
In December, Madeira is subject to an average rainfall of around 81mm (three inches) which is spread out amongst 16 rainy days. With rain falling on over half of the month, it’s almost certain that you’ll experience at least some kind of precipitation during your holiday. If you don’t want to risk the chance of rain spoiling your break, think about packing an umbrella or some water-proof clothing.
The probability of rainfall occurring on any given day in December in Madeira falls as the month progresses. The likelihood of rainfall making an appearance is at its peak around December 1st, when it falls on 56% of days. On the other hand, rainfall is least likely to occur around December 31st, when it only falls on 49% of days. The most common type of precipitation you can expect to see during your holiday in December is light rain, followed by moderate rain.
Across the month, Madeira enjoys around six hours of sunshine each day – that’s the same as the previous month. Even though six sunshine hours might not sound like much, it will still give you plenty of opportunities to hit the beach and soak up some rays during your holiday.
As the month progresses, the length of the day is essentially constant, with a tiny difference of seven minutes between the first and last day of the month. The shortest day of the month is December 31st, with ten hours and two minutes of daylight, whilst the longest day of the month is December 1st, with ten hours and nine minutes of daylight.
In December, the sky in Madeira is most accurately described as being partly cloudy, with the median cloud coverage being around 62%. This median figure is made up of highs of 64% around December 9th and lows of 61% around December 22nd.
During an average December in Madeira, normal wind speeds fluctuate between 1 m/s (light breeze) and 7 m/s (moderate breeze), almost never rising above 11 m/s (strong breeze). At this time of year, the highest average wind speed of 5 m/s (gentle breeze) usually happens around December 19th, when the average daily maximum is 7 m/s. On the other hand, the lowest average wind speed of 4 m/s tends to occur around December 3rd, when the average daily maximum is 6 m/s. During the month, the wind is most often coming from a north easterly direction.
The relative humidity for Madeira in December ranges between 57% (mildly humid) and 82% (humid), very rarely falling below 49% (comfortable) or rising above 92% (very humid). The air is most often at its driest around December 2nd, when the relative humidity levels fall below 62% three days out of every four. On the other hand, December 17th is when the air is usually at its most humid, when the relative humidity levels rise above 77% three days out of four.
At this time of the year, the average sea temperature for Madeira is 20°C – that’s slightly cooler than the previous months. Everyone feels sea water differently, so whilst some might find this perfectly pleasant enough for swimming, others might find it a bit too cold. If the sea does turn out to be too cold for you, stick to the indoor and heated swimming pools found throughout Madeira.
Porto Santo Beach in Madeira
Things to do
- The weather in Madeira can be a bit unreliable in December, but if you do experience a cloudy day, take advantage of the cool temperatures and go off on a hike. Eira do Serrado is one of the most popular places to hike on the island and can be reached by the local bus service. Here you’ll find a number of trails ranging in difficulty, providing an option for all ages and abilities. Don’t forget to stop by the local café before you head back to your hotel.
- If you want to indulge in some unique Christmas presents, head to the Forum Madeira Shopping Centre in Funchal. Here you’ll find a huge range of goodies which make perfect gifts for friends and family back home, such as hand-baked cakes, Madeiran wines and souvenirs, as well as clothes and accessories.
- One of the best ways to see the New Year’s Eve firework displays in Madeira is to take a Madeira Wind Birds midnight cruise. Although the cost of a ticket is quite pricey, it’s more than worth it for the opportunity to sail along the coast, sipping a glass of champagne whilst fireworks light up the sky. The boat leaves from Funchal at around 10pm and returns at around 1am.
Calheta Beach in Madeira
Where to eat and drink
- Seafood lovers won’t want to miss the chance to enjoy a meal at Vila do Peixe. This restaurant serves a huge range of fish and seafood, all of which is on display in a massive glass cabinet, so you can choose the exact one you want. If the weather is clear, you’ll be able to take advantage of the wonderful views which stretch down to the coast and out to sea.
- If you want to dine amongst locals, spend an evening at Restaurante Dos Combatentes. This small restaurant boasts an international menu with a few Portuguese specialities thrown in, too. Although small and large portions are available for most of the dishes, this restaurant is known for serving very generous portions, so the small size is normally more than enough.
- Bar 2 is a great place to go for a drink and some top quality music. This small bar is sometimes open during the daytime, but it’s usually busiest on an evening. Here you’ll find a wide variety of coffees, soft drinks, beers, wine and spirits, all of which you can enjoy alongside free WiFi.
- For a delicious, freshly-prepared cocktail, you can’t beat FX Bar. This venue is known for serving some of the best cocktails around and with such a huge number to choose from, you’re bound to find the ideal cocktail for you. If you’re not in the mood for a cocktail, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are many other drinks on offer, too.
Where to stay
- When it comes to affordable luxury, the three-star Hotel do Carmo is a wonderful choice. This hotel features twin and double rooms, each of which is decorated in a 60s style. Onsite services and amenities are numerous and include: restaurant with terrace, bar with garden, free WiFi access and swimming pool.
- Another top pick when it comes to low-cost luxury is the five-star Pestana Casino Park. Here you’ll find standard rooms, accessible rooms, junior suites, suites and presidential suites, providing something for all budgets. There are loads of facilities and services available onsite, including: bars, restaurants, casino, free internet access, swimming pools and Jacuzzi.
- Travellers on a budget should think about staying at Enotel Lido. This budget-friendly hotel provides standard rooms, superior rooms, junior suites and tower suites, guaranteeing something for all budgets and tastes. Onsite services and facilities include: bars, restaurants, fitness centre, swimming pools, kids’ clubs, WiFi access and evening entertainment.
December events in Madeira
Market Night Party
23rd December 2014
The Market Night Party takes place at the Mercado dos Lavradores in Funchal, with carol singing, music concerts and dancing. All the bars in the area stay open all night, serving traditional Christmas drinks and a speciality sandwich made with meat, garlic and wine. During the daytime, the area around the market is full of food stalls selling regional fruit and vegetables.
Missa do Galo
24th December 2014
Missa do Galo (Midnight Mass) is held at midnight on Christmas Eve in celebration of the birth of Jesus. Whilst Midnight Mass takes place in almost every church across Madeira, the one at Funchal's Sé Cathdral is considered to be the best and is usually televised.
São Silvestre Race
28th December 2014
São Silvestre Race is a long-distance race which takes place across Funchal. This race is one of the oldest in the whole of Europe and sees thousands of professional athletes of all ages take part each year.
New Year’s Eve
31st December 2014
Madeira celebrates New Year’s Eve with incredible firework displays which are let off from around 50 different locations across the island. The coast along Funchal is a great place to take in the firework displays and is also where you can sign up for a boat excursion to watch all the fireworks from sea.
Christmas Light Ceremony
8th December 2015
On this evening, the centre of Funchal hosts a huge switch on ceremony when the lights throughout the city are turned on for the very first time. The lights stay on from this date until January 6th, giving you plenty of chance to see them.