Weather in Madeira in May travel guide

Olga Sitnitsa

written by
Olga Sitnitsa

updated 25.04.2024

May in Madeira is a captivating showcase of early summer bliss, characterized by the pleasant warmth and gentle caress of Atlantic breezes. As the rainy season recedes into the past, the days are flooded with abundant sunshine, making May the perfect time to explore the island's magnificent mountains, magical gardens, and quaint villages. Whether enjoying an adventure through the levadas, savoring the local gastronomy or taking in the peaceful coastal scenery, the weather in Madeira in May offers the perfect combination of natural beauty and a mild, welcoming climate.

Highlights Madeira weather in May

Madeira in May is famous for its fantastic weather, which makes the island a top destination for tourists looking for a combination of adventure and relaxation amidst natural beauty. Here are the main characteristics of the weather in Madeira in May:

  • Pleasant temperature: May in Madeira is characterized by moderate to warm temperatures, ideal for all kinds of outdoor activities without the discomfort of excessive heat. Days are comfortably warm, which is equally conducive to exploration and relaxation.
  • Lots of sunshine: May sees more sunny days on the island, allowing you to enjoy the beaches, gardens, and outdoor attractions. The longer daylight hours contribute to a more fulfilling travel experience.
  • Decreased rainfall: In May, away from the rainy season, there is a significant decrease in rainfall. This drier period allows you to enjoy uninterrupted adventures and fully appreciate the island's lush landscapes.
  • Atlantic breezes: Light breezes from the Atlantic Ocean are a hallmark of Madeira's climate, offering a refreshing counterbalance to the heat of the day. These breezes make boat trips and evenings particularly pleasant.
  • Blossoming nature: May is the time when Madeira's natural beauty is particularly vibrant, with flowers and greenery in full bloom. The island's gardens and wild landscapes are a spectacular display of colors and fragrances.

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.


Madeira  © Shutterstock

Is May a good time to visit Madeira?

May is a truly fantastic time to visit Madeira, thanks to its favorable climate, which combines perfectly with the many activities the island has to offer. The weather in Madeira in May is predominantly sunny and rainfall is significantly reduced compared to previous months, ensuring that unfavorable weather conditions will have little impact on your plans. The presence of refreshing Atlantic breezes further enhances the comfort level, making outdoor activities and traveling around the island enjoyable and exciting.

In terms of rainfall, May is a period when the average rainfall is significantly less than during the winter months, increasing the overall appeal of visiting the island at this time. The drier conditions allow for unhindered exploration and enjoyment of the island's natural beauty.

May falls during Madeira's shoulder tourism season. This means that while the weather is favorable, the island is not as crowded as during the peak summer months, providing a balance between pleasant weather and fewer tourists. This seasonality can provide a more relaxing vacation with less competition for accommodations and attractions.

Overall, May is a great time to visit Madeira, as it combines pleasant weather conducive to outdoor activities and the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the island without the crowds of tourists during peak season. Reduced rainfall and mild temperatures create ideal conditions for a variety of activities, making May an attractive option if you want to explore Madeira's natural and cultural attractions.

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 May

In May, Madeira enjoys a mild and pleasant climate, signaling the transition of spring into early summer. The average high temperature this month hovers around 22°C (72°F), while the average low temperature is usually 16°C (61°F). These temperatures make May one of the most temperate months, ideal for those looking for comfortable weather without the extreme heat that characterizes the peak summer months.

Daytime and nighttime temperature fluctuations are generally moderate in May, so evenings are pleasantly cool - perfect for enjoying the island's nightlife or taking a quiet stroll under the stars. Daytime temperature fluctuations are comfortable enough that you can explore the island's attractions during the day without feeling too hot, and relax in the evenings without wearing heavy layers of clothing.

When compared to other months, temperatures in May are much milder than the peak summer months of July and August, when temperatures can climb higher. Conversely, May is warmer than the winter months of December through February, when the weather is cooler and more changeable. This makes the weather in Madeira in May extremely favorable for outdoor activities such as hiking, sightseeing and exploring Madeira's beautiful gardens, without the discomfort of colder temperatures or the heat and crowds of tourists during peak season.

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


Madeira, Portuga © Shutterstock

What about the crowd & cost?

May in Madeira strikes the perfect balance between the number of tourists and their cost, as it falls in the shoulder season. This means that, despite the attractive weather, the island has not yet reached its peak of tourist activity, which usually occurs during the summer months from June to August. As a result, arriving in May offers the dual benefits of fewer tourists and more competitive prices for accommodation, food and entertainment compared to the peak season.

The reduced number of tourists also allows you to experience Madeira's natural and cultural attractions more intimately, offering easy access to popular destinations without long waits or overcrowding. In addition, the costs associated with travel and stays tend to be lower, providing better value for money. You'll be able to take advantage of offers and discounts that aren't as easy to get during the busier summer months.

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:

  • Azores Adventure (6 days): Discover the traditions and natural beauty that San Miguel Island has to offer you - exciting activities such as swimming with dolphins in their natural habitat in the Atlantic Ocean, hiking through picturesque hills and valleys, the thrill of canyoning and much more.
  • Fascinating Azores - Terceira and São Miguel (10 days): Two magical Azores islands await you on this itinerary: take a rental car ride around Terceira and São Miguel and join one of the many adventurous activities these islands have to offer: whale watching, canyoning or simply enjoying the scenery on leisurely walks.
  • 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.
  • Discover more of our Portugal itineraries.
Turquoise waters at Machico bay, Madeira © Balate Dorin/Shutterstock

Turquoise waters at Machico bay, Madeira © Balate Dorin/Shutterstock

What to do and see in Madeira in May?

May is a splendid time to visit Madeira, offering a blend of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and outdoor adventures. Here's a list of the best things to do and see that capture the essence of Madeira in May:

  • Levada walks: Take a guided walk along Madeira's famous levadas (irrigation canals) that crisscross the island. On these paths, you can enjoy serene scenery and see the island's diverse ecosystems up close. In May, these paths are filled with vibrant greenery and blooming flowers.
  • Cabo Girão skywalk: Enjoy breathtaking views from one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe. The glass skyscraper offers a breathtaking perspective of the ocean and terraced hillsides below, especially spectacular on a clear May day.
  • Nighttime stargazing: Take advantage of the clear May skies to stargaze. Madeira's minimal light pollution allows you to observe the Milky Way and other celestial wonders, and excursions are available for a more colorful experience.
  • Visit the traditional markets in Funchal: Check out the lively Mercado dos Lavradores market in Funchal. Here you can immerse yourself in the local culture, taste exotic fruits, and buy local handicrafts and flowers while enjoying the lively atmosphere, which is especially vibrant in spring.
  • Diving and snorkeling: In May, the waters of the Atlantic Ocean begin to warm up and it's the perfect time to explore Madeira's underwater landscapes. In the island's clear blue waters, you'll see a variety of marine life, from colorful fish to intriguing shipwrecks.

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.

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

Plateau Paul da Serra on a sunny day, Madeira island © 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.

  • 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.
  • January:  Experience the tranquility of post-holiday Madeira, ideal for enjoying its natural beauty without the crowds of tourists.
  • 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.
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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