Averages for Madeira in December
Winter comes gently to Madeira, with a mild December that is thoroughly enjoyable even if it is the second coldest month in terms of daytime and sea temperature, after January. During December, average daytime temperatures float around 18 degrees, with midday high peaks reaching up to 20 degrees and night time lows going down to 15 degrees (and sometimes a bit lower, especially towards the end of December). This mild climate enables people to enjoy the outdoors but relatively few tourists or locals are brave enough to take a dip in the north Atlantic during December as sea temperature drops down to 19 degrees Celsius.
December is another windy month and even though winds never reach October’s intensity, they can be quite strong at the northern side of the archipelago. Clouds are relatively scarce, resulting in 8 hours of full sunshine each day during December. Even though snow is virtually unknown here in Madeira, when it snows (about once in a decade) snowfall is expected during late December and early January.
Rainfall is moderately high this month, with a monthly total precipitation amounting to 90 mm and at least some form of rainfall expected over the archipelago during 16 days of the month. This makes December the month with the most frequent (but not the largest in volume) rainfall.
Dates for the diary
December is a truly magical time to spend Christmas in Madeira. Even though the temperatures may not make it feel like Christmas, the island decorations and local festive events sure do! Funchal, Madeira’s capital city, is a hub of activity during the festive season. Bright fairy lights bring a winter wonderland feel to the area and it is not unusual to find Christmas market stalls and traditional folk dancers lining the streets.
Those staying in Funchal for the New Year’s celebrations will never forget the experience. Madeira hosts the single most spectacular fireworks display in the world to celebrate the New Year and was even acknowledged by the Guinness Book of Records for having the largest fireworks display in the world.
Things to do
For extra special Christmas presents, visitors should explore the Forum Madeira shopping centre in Funchal. Family and friends back home will be sure to appreciate gifts of traditional Madeira wines and cakes. At the Forum, you will find every kind of tourist souvenir imaginable standing side by side with local handcrafts and various other unique items ideal as gifts for friends and family back home.
The Sacred Art Museum is located in a former bishop's palace and boasts the single largest collection of religious artefacts in Portugal along with an extensive collection of masterpieces by Flemish artists from the 15th and 16th centuries. This art collection is unique and uniquely beautiful, as local tradesmen amassed much of it through centuries of sugar trading and you can learn about the history behind how the art came to be there at this museum too.
Hit the beach
Quinta do Lorde is a lively beach that is located right in front of a sprawling 5 star tourist complex. The beach also has a marina, making it a great point to start or end a boating trip, and you can also find numerous companies offering excursions and boating adventures there too.
The Galo Mar is a beautiful blue flag beach in the Canico area. Fascinatingly beautiful and spotlessly clean, this beach is frequently listed as one of the best in the world. There are numerous tourist facilities including restaurants, bars, changing rooms, a medical centre and more, making this the ideal beach for families.
Where to eat & drink
The Casal Da Penha is a traditional tavern that has been renovated and re-imagined to be an ultra-modern eatery. This highly refined restaurant serves local dishes cooked with modern culinary techniques to create new and exciting gastronomic experiences for its patrons.
The Shu.aka is a unique sushi restaurant and one of the best Asian eateries in the Madeiran archipelago. With quirky decor and novel dishes, this restaurant is extremely popular. All dishes are prepared with local, fresh fish and are a true delight to sample.
The Madeira Orchestra plays every week in the Teatro Municipal de Baltazar Dias and is a must to hear for lovers of classical music. The orchestra plays well loved classical pieces as well as more obscure, Portuguese music sounds from contemporary artists.
The Madeira Mandolin Orchestra is the ultimate cords orchestra of Portugal and an absolute sensation for music lovers seeking new and exciting sounds. This impressive orchestra celebrates the local Mandolin with authentic Madeiran sounds and modern takes on classics played on the Mandolin.
Where to stay
Located amid the scenic Madeiran mountains, the Estalagem Eira do Serrado is a modern and comfortable 4 star hotel that specifically caters to families and couples seeking to enjoy the mountainous side of Madeira.
The Hotel do Carmo is an affordable yet luxurious hotel with modern design and amazing value for money. The hotel offers every convenience a modern tourist would wish for at bargain prices and without any unwanted frills. The hotel’s restaurant is also very welcoming and serves incredible food.
The Hotel Jardim Atlantico is the ultimate eco friendly hotel in Madeira. Perfect for eco conscious tourists or families with children who want to instil some ecological values in their young ones, this hotel is beautiful, tranquil and very eco-friendly. The food is also ethically-minded and the hotel’s amenities are in par with many other highlyy rated hotels in Madeira.
The Vila Gale Santa Cruz is a modern all inclusive hotel that is conveniently located just 5 minutes away from Madeira’s international airport. This all inclusive hotel is ideal for busy travellers and families with children alike, as its facilities are both accessible and of very high quality. There are 258 rooms and several suites, all equipped with fine furniture.
The Four Views Baia boasts 231 rooms and 30 apartments, offering tourists the chance to enjoy Funchal at its best. This urban resort gives impressive view over Funchal’s old harbour and invites tourists to relax with a glass of Madeira wine at its classy restaurant. The Four Views has earned a number of international awards as one of the best in-city hotels in the area.