Madeira lives intensely on New Year’s Eve. The spectacular fireworks on December 31 and the music concerts in the main squares are some highlights of this tourist poster.
In 2006, the pyrotechnic show of New Year’s Eve in Madeira was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records, as the world’s largest fireworks show. Currently, it lasts about 8 minutes, and tons of rockets explode in thousands of lights and colours. You hear the whistles of ships anchored in Funchal bay, and the festive sounds of the delirium of the crowd that welcomes the new year. The view extends across the sea and the city of Funchal, specially illuminated and decorated by more than 1 million colourful lamps – a magical and unforgettable amphitheatre.
Traditions and superstitions of New Year’s Eve in Madeira
The traditional São Silvestre race takes place on December 28. Since 1958, it has been bringing together racing enthusiasts on a tour of funchal. In 2018, the record for registrationwas reached, with more than 3000 participants, of various ages and nationalities.
In Madeira, the traditional New Year’s Eve costume is formal, with gala dresses, tuxedo or dark suit. When they touch the 12 chimes, traditions are fulfilled – 12 raisins of grape are eaten (each is worth a desire for the new year), fireworks are launched on the balconies of Madeiran houses and watch the pyrotechnic spectacle.
Some are superstitious and wear a piece of blue underwear, keep the most valuable note of euros in your pocket and climb a step at midnight – they say to give you good luck!
The tradition of the first day of the year is to take a dip in the sea. Madeira has a subtropical climate and sea water temperature is around 19 ºC in January. The sun is often shining, to welcome swimmers.
Places to watch the fireworks in Madeira
There are several interesting places to spend the end of the year night in Madeira. Many hotels and restaurants celebrate New Year’s Eve, with a Gala dinner followed by the pyrotechnic spectacle. The animation is guaranteed by night inside in several bars and nightclubs. In the city of Funchal there are several points of interest to watch the pyro-technical spectacle. Here are some suggestions:
– Aboard a ship or catamaran
– Praça do Povo
– CR7 Square
– Funchal Pier
– Viewpoint of Nazaré
– Viewpoint of Pico dos Barcelos
– Viewpoint of São Gonçalo
– Viewpoint of Palheiro Ferreiro
– Viewpoint of Pináculo
– Viewpoint of Neves
– Viewpoint of Vila Guida
– Viewpoint of Achada
– Santa Catarina Park
– Pico Fortress
– Fortress of St. Tiago
If You prefer a quieter environment for New Year’s Eve, the island of Porto Santo is a great choice, and includes two fireworks stations on the Portela site and next to the pier of Vila Baleira.