Madeira  » home : festivals : general guide    



Main Festivities. «Whatever time of the year you visit Madeira you'll be welcomed by fun and festivity», as explains the Director of theTourism Region Office.

Using the links below you will be able to see a quick synopsis of the festivities across the year by City to Village, and their respective parish counties. A municipal area is usually designated as a "Concelho" in Madeira. The "Concelhos" are divided into smaller "suburbs" called "frequesias". Oftentimes, old travel guides refer to these smaller areas in a municipality as "parish counties" - as the area that celebrated its festivities and events usually followed the calendar established by the church or parish council in the vicinity. Hence the old division of Madeira, and Portugal for that matter, into "frequesias". Today, however, the division of a city, town or village into "frequesias" follows governmental/bureacratic boundaries. But the traditional celebrations of the parish community still remain strong and tradition is kept in compliance with generations of memory by the folk of Madeira.

As the site develops we hope to build and piece each of the festivals, bit by bit, into a tapestry of folkloric wealth for lovers of the island to recourse to for planning holidays, or revisiting memories.

Porto Moniz - The northernmost concelho. Still one of the most picturesque in Madeira. The most important economic activities are fishing, agriculture and dairy produce. One of the safest harbours on the north coast can be found here.

Câmara de Lobos - Câmara de Lobos was the first place in Madeira to be inhabited by the recent discoverers of the island in 1492 onwards. Since old times the the village has been dedicated to fishing. The famous black "Espada" fish is mostly caught here., This town is divided into four freguesias, of which the most important is Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, known as «the orchard of the island» for the abundance and excellence of its fruit. The most famous Madeiran wines are produced here.

Machico - Upon the early discovery of Madeira Island, Machico beach was found to be the most appropriate where portuguese navigators could safely approach and harbour their boats. It was the first area of Madeira to be explored. And is also the source for the Legend of Machim. It has recently been promulgated into City status and is perhaps the second most important concelho of the island.

Calheta - The village town of Calheta was first inhabited in 1502 and soon flourished to economic success due to the excellent agricultural possibilities in what was probably the most fertile land on the island. Sugarcane, cereal agriculture, wine and vegetables were soon the basis for the development of one of the "Noble" villages of Madeira.

São Vicente - Situated by the sea, on the north of the island, São Vicente was founded in the mid-fifteenth century and saw rapid development largely due to its successful sugar plantation. Agriculture and cattle rearing are still the main economic activities, as well as industries involving dairy products, wood, distillation and ceramics.

Ribeira Brava - Established in the mid fifteenth century, Ribeira Brava is one of the oldest towns in Madeira. It is situated on the southeast coast near the mouth of the river with the same name. Agriculture is the main occupation. Industry and tourism are rapidly developing.

Santana - This is one of the most pituresque and caracteristic places, principaly for his variety of colmo houses (made from straw) and for its enormous amount of local flowers.

Santa Cruz - This district integrates the international airport and a most important wicker handicraft centre in Camacha. Its rich folk music has contributed to the development of tourism and the promotion of Madeira.

Ponta do Sol - Situated on the south of the island colonization started here in 1440. The economic growth generated by the sugar manufacture led king Manuel I to make it a town by royal charter dating as far as 2 December 1501.

  See pictures from other festivals: Carnival - Christmas and New Year