Weather in Madeira in January travel guide

Olga Sitnitsa

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 25.04.2024

January in Madeira welcomes the heart of winter with its uniquely mild climate, maintaining the island's reputation for warmth and comfort. A light Atlantic breeze continues to blanket the island, making the weather in Madeira in January both refreshing and inviting. Despite the winter, temperatures remain pleasantly mild, perfect for exploring the levadas, enjoying the rich variety of local cuisine and beaches with their serene atmosphere of perpetual warmth.

Highlights Madeira weather in January

Madeira in January features mild winter weather, making it a favorite destination for those seeking a warmer climate during the usually colder months. Here are the main highlights of the weather in Madeira in January:

  • Mild temperatures: Even at the height of winter, Madeira enjoys mild temperatures, much warmer than many other European countries. Daytime temperatures are comfortable, making for pleasant outdoor activities.
  • Soft Atlantic breeze: The soft and refreshing Atlantic breeze is constantly present, adding comfort to the mild temperatures and enriching the air of the island with freshness.
  • Moderate rainfall: January is one of the wettest months, but the rains are usually quick downpours interspersed with sunny periods. These rains contribute to the lush greenery for which Madeira is famous.
  • Sea temperature: The sea around Madeira is coolest in January, but remains relatively warm compared to Atlantic waters off mainland Europe, allowing for marine activities such as swimming or sailing for the adventurous.
  • A varied climate across the island: Madeira's diverse geography means that the weather can vary greatly from the coast to the mountainous regions. While coastal areas enjoy mild weather, higher altitudes can be cooler and fog and clouds are more common.

Keen to visit Madeira? Talk to our local Portugal experts to kick-start creating your dream trip. And to ensure you're well-equipped for your trip explore our list of tips for traveling in Portugal.


Toboggan wooden sledge, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal  © Shutterstock

Is January a good time to visit Madeira?

The weather in Madeira in December is characterized by a combination of sunny days and moderate rainfall. Pleasantly mild temperatures persist at this time of year, allowing for a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking through picturesque levadas, visiting botanical gardens, and exploring the island's rich cultural heritage.

However, you should be prepared for occasional rains that can temporarily disrupt vacation plans and transportation, especially on remote mountain roads. Despite this, rainfall contributes to the lush landscape for which Madeira is famous, and sunny periods are common, providing ample opportunities for outdoor recreation.

January falls during the low season for tourism in Madeira. The lower number of tourists means fewer crowds at popular attractions and potentially lower accommodation and flight prices. During this period, the island becomes quieter, which appeals to those looking for a relaxing vacation.

The average rainfall in January is one of the highest of the year, but it falls predominantly in the form of short, heavy showers followed by sunshine. These rains make the island's flora particularly vibrant, but it's worth bringing waterproof clothing and lighter items.

Overall, January can be a great time to visit Madeira if you prefer quieter travel and don't mind a little rain. The weather is mild enough to enjoy most of the island's facilities, from outdoor adventures to culinary delights, without the crowds of tourists during peak season.

Editor’s tip: for a bigger picture of the weather, read up on the best time to visit Portugal.

Portugal, Madeira, city of Funchal on landscape seen from Pico dos Barcelos

Portugal, Madeira, city of Funchal on landscape seen from Pico dos Barcelos  © Shutterstock

Average temperatures in Madeira in January

In January, Madeira enjoys a mild winter climate with average high temperatures of around 19°C (66°F) and average low temperatures generally around 13°C (55°F). These temperatures are quite warm, especially when compared to continental Europe, and provide comfortable day and nighttime conditions.

The day-night temperature swings in January are relatively mild, so evenings remain pleasant. While daytime temperatures are ideal for exploring the island's natural landscapes and outdoor attractions, nights are cool enough to enjoy without heavy winter clothing, a light jacket or sweater will suffice.

When comparing January to other cool months in Madeira, it is important to note that "cool" in Madeira still means relatively mild weather. The island has a temperate climate all year round, with average temperatures averaging around 25°C (77°F) during the summer months (June to August) and minimum temperatures around 18°C (64°F). January is cooler than the peak summer months, but still warmer and more inviting than winter in many other places.

Want even more inspiration for your Portugal adventure? Discover the best places to visit in Portugal.

What about the crowd & cost?

In January, Madeira experiences a significant decrease in tourist traffic, which allows it to be classified as a low season. This reduction in tourist numbers offers a number of advantages, particularly in terms of cost and overall travel experience.

Accommodation prices tend to be lower, allowing travelers to get great deals, and airfare can be more affordable compared to high season. The quieter nature of the island during this month means that popular sites and attractions are less crowded, allowing them to be explored at a more relaxed pace and with minimal waiting time.

In contrast, the high season, especially June through August, sees a surge in tourist numbers, resulting in higher airfare and hotel prices, as well as more crowding. The shoulder seasons - spring and fall - provide a balance, offering moderate weather, fewer tourists than summer, but more activity than January.

Walking route hiking trail Levada das 25 Fontes on Paul da Serra plain / Plateau Paul da Serra on sunny day Madeira island © Shutterstock

Paul da Serra plain / Plateau Paul da Serra on a sunny day Madeira island © Shutterstock

Unforgettable and customisable Portugal itineraries

Are you ready to plan your dream trip to Portugal? The local experts at Rough Guides can help you create a fully customized and unforgettable itinerary tailored to your preferences. Here are three tantalizing travel options you should consider:

  • Madeira and São Miguel - guided island adventures (9 days): Visit Portugal's two autonomous regions: Madeira, the island of eternal spring as it is known, and São Miguel, nicknamed the green island. Guided tours will introduce you to the highlights of both islands, with plenty of time to explore on your own or simply relax.
  • The best of Portugal: Lisbon, Porto and the Algarve (12 days): Portugal offers many attractions, but if you're short on time, this trip is perfect for covering all the highlights: the capital Lisbon, historic Porto, the luxurious Douro Valley and the stunning beaches of the Algarve are all included in this trip.
  • Discovering the coast of Portugal (11 days): Explore the beautiful cities along Portugal's coast. Start your journey by exploring historic sites and wineries in Porto, and from there head south to Lisbon. Along the way, you'll have the opportunity to visit charming coastal towns, spectacular cliffs and national parks.
  • Discover more of our Portugal itineraries.

What to do and see in Madeira in January?

January in Madeira combines natural beauty and cultural experiences with fewer tourists, making it a great time to explore and immerse yourself in the island's unique attractions.

  • Take a scenic drive: rent a car and explore Madeira's spectacular scenery. The island's compact size makes it easy to explore its breathtaking cliffs, mountainous interior and coastal villages in a day or two. Itineraries such as a trip to Pica do Areira, Madeira's third highest peak, offer unforgettable views.
  • Sample Madeira cuisine: the low season is the perfect time to visit local restaurants without the crowds. Try specialties such as espetada (beef skewers) and bolo do caco (garlic bread), paired with a glass of Madeira wine.
  • Enjoy a ride on the Monte cable car: take the cable car from Funchal to Monte for spectacular panoramic views of the island. Once at the top, you can visit the Monte Palace tropical garden or ride down on a traditional toboggan.
  • Explore the levadas: Madeira's famous levadas (irrigation canals) offer unique hiking trails through lush landscapes. The mild January weather is ideal for walking these trails, which showcase the island's natural beauty, including waterfalls and verdant valleys.
  • Visit Funchal Botanical Gardens: the Botanical Gardens in Funchal are a paradise of exotic plants, colorful flowers and stunning views of the city and ocean. The cool January temperatures make it a pleasant visit.

Madeira offers only a fraction of the unique experiences that Portugal has to offer. For even more ideas for your vacation, see our guide to the best things to do in Portugal.


Madeira, Portugal  © Shutterstock

Visit Madeira in different months

A year-round paradise, Madeira offers unique experiences every month to suit a variety of travelers' preferences. Whether you are looking for outdoor adventures, cultural events, or just a relaxing vacation in nature, Madeira's diverse climate and activities ensure that there is always something special to do here.

  • February: Take part in the vibrant festivities of the Madeira Carnival, one of the most colorful and lively events on the island.
  • March: Spring awakens with blooming flowers and ideal temperatures for hiking and outdoor activities.
  • April:  Delight in the Madeira Flower Festival, where the island explodes with color and fragrant displays.
  • May:  Enjoy comfortable temperatures and the start of the season of outdoor activities, including the Madeira Island Ultra Trail.
  • June:  Take part in the Atlantic Festival with fireworks and music, which marks the beginning of the summer festivities.
  • July: Enjoy the summer heat, ideal for beach walks and water sports in Madeira's crystal clear waters.
  • August: Experience the peak of summer with lively street festivals, including the popular Madeira Wine Festival.
  • September: Take advantage of warm seas and less crowded attractions as the high season comes to an end.
  • October: Watch the leaves change and enjoy the mild weather, ideal for exploring the island's natural landscapes.
  • November: Enjoy the quieter side of Madeira and the wine harvest festivities, ideal for food lovers.
  • December: Get into the festive spirit with Madeira's famous Christmas lights and New Year's Eve fireworks.
Olga Sitnitsa

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 25.04.2024

Online editor at Rough Guides, specialising in travel content. Passionate about creating compelling stories and inspiring others to explore the world.

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