If you have been following Epic, you might know that a majority of our staff including the founder of Epic are based here in Madeira Island.
So why did we choose to make this tiny Portuguese Island our HQ?
Well, it is pretty damn nice here year-round and for hiking or outdoor adventures; there is not a month of the year where hiking is not possible.
The nuanced question remains: when is the best time to visit Madeira?
Below we break down the subtle differences in seasons, what months are best for hiking in Madeira, and the different microclimates found in Madeira that might impact your trip.
Don’t forget to check out our Madeira Expedition trip page if you are keen on discovering a side of Madeira few get to see!
General Climate in Madeira
Madeira’s climate is characterized by its subtropical and Mediterranean influences, creating a pleasant year-round environment and some of the best conditions for hiking we have found anywhere.
The island experiences mild winters and warm summers, thanks to the moderating effect of the Atlantic Ocean. The average temperatures range from 19 to 24 degrees Celsius (66 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit) in summer and 15 to 20 degrees Celsius (59 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit) in winter.
For travelers, this translates into the feeling that there is no real “wrong time” to visit Madeira, though of course, the seasonal changes bring subtle differences.
Madeira Micro Clmates
We like to say “the sun is always shining somewhere in Madeira” because it is so true; if the weather is bad in the mountains, it is probably glorious on the south west coast or vice versa.
Madeira boasts a tapestry of microclimates that exemplify the island’s diversity. From the lush coastal plains to the verdant valleys and ascending slopes, Madeira is a testament to the remarkable interplay between altitude, farmland, laurisilva forests, ocean currents, and prevailing winds.
In the lower elevations, a mild and subtropical climate prevails, nurturing a myriad of exotic flora that thrives under the constant sun.
Ascending to higher altitudes and forests, one encounters a profound transition, as the air grows cooler, and the mist-laden atmosphere sometimes dominates the landscape. Here, among the undulating terrain, the climate transforms into a sanctuary for delicate orchids, charming hydrangeas, and the iconic Madeira laurel.
In the higher mountains and Central Peaks dramatic shifts in temperature and precipitation create an ethereal backdrop. Enveloped by a mantle of clouds, these elevated realms witness a more temperate climate, where moss-covered forests, mystical ferns, and hardy heather species thrive.
The below photo gallery shows the different micro climates one can expereince in Madeira in a single day:
Seasonal Breakdown of the Best Time to Visit Madeira
Spring in Madeira (March to May)
As “winter” (if you can call it that here in Madeira) bids farewell, spring welcomes you with pleasant weather and blooming landscapes. March to May is an excellent time to visit Madeira if you prefer milder temperatures and fewer crowds. The island comes into its full floral potential in spring as flowers blossom across its lush valleys and botanical gardens.
Summer in Madeira (June to August)
Summer in Madeira brings warmer temperatures and longer days, making it an ideal time for swimming in the sea and water sports enthusiasts. With temperatures ranging from the mid-20s to low 30s Celsius (mid-70s to low 90s Fahrenheit), you can bask in the sun on Madeira’s rocky beaches or take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Summer also marks the festive season, with traditional celebrations and lively events happening throughout the island.
Summer is also when most of Europe and the USA has its summer holidays, which means Madeira can feel very busy during these months. Also – with the summer you have cruise ships – many of them – and with the ships come cruise ship people by the thousands… Something to consider anyway!
Autumn in Madeira (September to November)
Autumn is a delightful time to visit Madeira, offering pleasant temperatures and overall less tourists visiting the island.
September to November is particularly appealing to those who enjoy a quieter atmosphere and want to explore the island’s natural wonders – which is actually why we tend to run our Epic Madeira Expedition during this time period.
Madeira can experience cooler weather, especially in the mountains. Historically speaking though, the past Epic trips we have run in November have been shorts-and-t-shirt weather of hiking.
Winter in Madeira (December to February)
While most parts of Europe experience harsh winters, Madeira enjoys a mild and pleasant climate during this time. Winter is an excellent choice for travelers seeking a warm escape and fewer tourists. With temperatures ranging from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius (59 to 68 degrees Fahrenheit), you can still enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and golfing. The island’s festive spirit comes alive during December, with colorful Christmas decorations and lively markets adding to the magical atmosphere.
So what is our pick for the best month to visit Madeira? November or May is our top choice!
Best Time to Visit Madeira for Hiking
While hiking in Madeira is possible all year, there are advantages to hiking during certain periods of the year.
Our favorite times to hike in Madeira are the spring and fall.
There are fewer people hiking in Madeira during these seasons versus in the peak summer, temperatures are not too hot (especially for coastal hikes), and the rain is less frequent than it can be during the winter months.
Madeira can be unpredictable sometimes though – even in summer. Rain, strong wind, heavy fog – all of this can be possible at any time of the year.
We plan our trips during the spring and autumn time as we have found it to be the best of both worlds; fewer tourists around and pleasant weather – but for sure a bit of luck for good sunrise conditions is always needed too!
Best Time to Visit Madeira for Flowers
If in addition to hiking, you want to check out some pretty plants – Madeira has got a different flower to marvel at for every day of the year!
Madeira is often referred to as the “Floating Garden of the Atlantic” due to its abundance of stunning flora. If you want to witness the island’s floral explosion, the best time to visit is in the spring months of March to May. During this period, Madeira is transformed into a paradise of blooming flowers, including exotic orchids, colorful azaleas, and the world-famous Madeira geranium.
The annual Madeira Flower Festival, held in April, showcases extravagant flower displays, parades, and live music, adding to charm of Funchal (Madeira’s largest city).
We have found that during the flower festival in Funchal, there are as many vendors selling Poncha (Madeira’s favorite rum cocktail) as there are selling flowers… classic Madeira vibes right there!
Wrap Up: Best Time to Visit Madeira
There you have it guys; now it is time to start planning your trip to Madeira!
With its pleasant climate, natural beauty, and endless hiking routes, the best time to visit Madeira depends on your preferences, interests, and of course, on your holiday schedule. Whether you seek challenging mountain hikes, a waterfall or two, chill coastal days, or a mix of all 3, Madeira has something to offer travelers in every season.
Plan your visit accordingly and immerse yourself in the wonders of this captivating island and the HQ of Epic Backpacker Tours staff!
Be sure to check out our trip calendar page for our next available Madeira Island Expedition!