May is here, and I couldn’t be happier. Madeira is lush with spring blossoms and new leaves at the moment.

If you’ve been on Jacaranda watch, you’ll be rewarded this month as Funchal’s purple trees come into full bloom. Head over to Elda Sousa post about these trees. The flowers make great photos.

Speaking of flowers, don’t miss the annual Flower Festival that will end in May, 13th.   For more detailed information go to: Flower Festival or download the full programme here, also available in: Portuguese, Deutch, French and Spanish.

Read on for Madeira events this month on these planners: Cultural planner, Baltazar Dias Theatre and/or the “Happens Today” webpage.

Here are our May 2018 highlights:


1st to 3rd – Feast of Saint James Minor | Funchal

On the 1st May the city of Funchal pays hommage to its patron saint, São Tiago Menor. The festivities on Funchal’s Old Town last for a few days.

Curiosity: In 1521 the plague struck Funchal and Saint James, the Minor, was chosen as the intercessor of the city. As a result, that year saw a religious devotion start and even today, local politicians take part on the procession starting at Corpo Santo Square and finishing at the Church of Socorro.

2nd to 9th – ‘Fica na Cidade’ Stay in Town Festival | Funchal

The third edition of the music Festival ‘Fica na Cidade’ will host a total of 40 concerts, featuring 150 national, international and regional artists. Various musical styles such as Rock, Pop, Jazz will be performed combined with street entertainment shows. The stages are located at Funchal downtown (Praça de Colombo, Largo do Chafariz, Rua da Carreira and the Old Town.

The full programme here:

fica na cidade

4th to 6th – Sugarcane Harvest Festival | Porto da Cruz

The 3rd edition of the Festival ‘Apanha da Cana’, will bring activities such us the harvest of the sugar cane and tourists will be invited to discover the beautiful landscapes of  Porto da Cruz throughout the hiking trails.


5th – Maktub Soundsgood | Paúl do Mar

This reggae music festival sets the beginning of the bathing season in Paul do Mar. This is for those who enjoy to hear music in a relaxed and sunny seaside environment.

Click for more info.

6th – Mother’s day| Portugal

The gifts I recommend for this day are experiences. Not objects.

Go for a walk throught Funchal’s gardens, offer yourself and your mum a tea experience at the Reids or a Spa experience with a chocolate bath or celebrate this day enjoying a lunch in a nice restaurant.

10th and 11th – “Aqui Acolá” Festival | Ponta de Sol

The 4th edition of the Festival “Aqui Acolá” in the historical center of Ponta do Sol includes musical performances, dance, painting, sculpture, theatre, poetry and photography exhibitions, among other entertainment activities.

Click for more details.

14th to 20th – Madeira Film Festival | Funchal

Madeira Film Festival programme includes cinematography, music concerts, lectures, workshops and solidarity fashion shows. Celebrities from the film and music industry participate and the several categories in which the films are divided are submitted for evaluation by an international jury.

Curiosity: The Madeira Film Festival is based on an international project developed by Scottish Aitken Pearson, aiming to promote the islands natural heritage and the Laurel Forest in particular – a UNESCO World Heritage Site , through the cinematic arts.

Click for more information.

18th – International Museum Day

Museums are free to visit and the opening hours are extended. Some even adhere to the “European Museums Night”.

18th to 20th – Onion Festival | Caniço (Largo Padre Lomelino)

The onion festival is one of the most emblematic festivities of Caniço, whose main attraction is the onion parade, exhibitions and musical entertainment.

23rd to 27th – Trout Festival and Cider Route | Ribeiro Frio aquaculture station |São Roque do Faial

Savour the local Cider and trout during this festival!  The programme includes fishing contests, presentations and food tastings based on these products and exhibitions that demonstrate the handmade cider production process.

Cider is an alcoholic drink which is made from fermented apple juice.

25th 19h free – Music in the Museums | Museum ‘A Cidade do Açúcar’ (Funchal)

Performance of Rodrigo Serrão.

25th to June,3rd – Book Fair| Funchal (Avenida Arriaga)

Most of Madeira’s bookshops and some Portuguese publishing houses are involved on this fair. This also includes a diverse range of activities, from conferences, book launches, concerts and exhibitions, which will take place in the Auditorium of the Municipal Garden and Baltazar Dias Municipal Theatre.

26th – Festival Aleste | Ponta Gorda Bathing Complex (Funchal)

Aleste Festival is one of the latest cultural events dedicated specially to alternative music.

Artists: Surma, Bitchin Bajas, Bruno Pernadas, Bispo and Celeste Mariposa.

Click for more info.


26th and 27th – Madeira Classic Car Revival | Praça do Povo (Funchal)

The Madeira Classic Car Revival is an annual automobile exhibition of the most representative types of old classic and vintage vehicles, such as automobiles, motorbikes and bicycles manufactured prior to 1980. The most beautiful and representative old vehicles with be awarded with the “Best of Show” award.

On Sunday, May 27th will be taking place the “Rampa dos Barreiros” a sports car race, in tribute to the historical car race held in 1935.

Click for more details.

27th – Regional Philharmonic Bands Meeting | Ribeira Brava

This event takes place on Sunday with a parade of all the regional bands throughout the main streets of this village. Then all bands get together at the coastal avenue and each one presents its individual musical repertoire. It ends with a combined anthem composed specially for the occasion.

Marla Castro (Official Tourist Guide)

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