Madeira in November: Things to do & full guide for 2023

Madeira island, Portugal. Beautiful view of the lookout point by the coast. Island of Spring with beautiful nature, laurel forests and levades.

Are you planning on visiting Portugal’s Madeira in November? Here are all of my best tips!

As autumn leaves blanket much of Europe and winter begins to creep in, Madeira is an alternative getaway!

Known as the “Pearl of the Atlantic,” this Portuguese archipelago stays lush and warm throughout the year, making it an epic destination for November!

The month brings mild temperatures and fewer tourists – it’s an intimate setting to explore the island’s dramatic landscapes, historical sights, and unique flora and fauna.

From meandering through the iconic levadas to indulging in a traditional British tea at Reid’s, November opens up a side of Madeira that’s both authentic and comfortably unhurried.

So, are you ready? Let’s explore Madeira in November! 

Reasons to visit Madeira in November

Breathtaking scenery of Madeira island, View of Machico town and beautiful bay with sandy beach. Eastern part of the island. Portugal travel

Madeira’s a year-round destination, with a mild climate and plenty of things to do. But why visit in November? Here are some top reasons! 

Ideal climate

November in Madeira brings daytime temperatures between 20-23°C (68-73°F) — perfect for outdoor activities!

Zip-line through the lush forest canopy or relax on a quiet beach; the weather is on your side.

It’s generally warmer than the rest of Portugal in winter, although it’s not a stranger to some rain too.

Beat the crowds

Tired of fighting for elbow room?

November sees fewer tourists, making it an ideal time for uninterrupted hikes and exploring the city.

You’ll be able to stroll through Funchal Old Town’s streets or along scenic trails, with fewer selfie sticks in sight!

Deep-dive into local culture

As November marks the build-up to Christmas, Madeira comes alive with local crafts and traditions.

Experience the intricate details of Madeiran embroidery, wickerwork, and other crafts at numerous local fairs; all this without the summer crowds stealing your focus.

Better value

Here’s a financial perk; everything from hotel rooms to experiential tours often comes at a discounted price in November.

Your money goes further, letting you enjoy the island’s offerings without emptying your pockets!

Madeira’s only a direct flight away from many European destinations, and often flights are cheaper too. 

Things to do in Madeira in November

From enjoying winter sun at the beach to checking out Madeira’s best museums, here’s what you can expect attraction-wise on the Portuguese island!

Levada Walks

tropical waterfall on hike trail Levada do Central da Ribeira da Janela, Madeira island

Madeira is quite famous for its hiking trails, most specifically the Levada Walks. 

There’s no better time than November to hit the iconic Levada trails, and one that stands out is the Levada do Caldeirão Verde.

With less foot traffic, you can relish the sound of your steps echoing off the path and the smell of the forest in the air.

This 6.5-km route takes you through tunnels and along water channels, all surrounded by lush laurel forests.

The grand finale? A breathtaking waterfall cascading into a green lagoon.

With November’s mild weather, you’ll find it’s neither too hot nor too cold, making for a hike that’s just right!

Don’t forget your hiking shoes, as these trails can be a little intense. 

Madeira Botanical Gardens

November may not scream “flower season,” but don’t let that deter you from visiting the Madeira Botanical Gardens.

It’s more intimate, with fewer crowds to obstruct your view of the exotic plant species!

The cooler weather highlights the vibrant hues of subtropical flora, as well as the array of resident and migratory birds that make pit stops here.

Whether it’s the vivid Orchid Garden or the intricate Topiary Garden, the natural artistry of the Botanical Gardens comes alive in a more subtle yet still impressive way.

Whale and dolphin watching

While there are sea mammals in Madeira throughout the year, November is especially serene. 

With fewer boats out and about, the experience feels more intimate and respectful toward these majestic sea creatures.

You’ll likely spot common dolphins and sperm whales, among others, on these boat trips. 

Madeira Story Centre

Immerse yourself in Madeira’s rich history at the Madeira Story Centre.

This interactive museum brings the island’s past to life, from its volcanic origin to contemporary culture.

It’s quieter in November, so you can enjoy with each exhibit at a relaxed space.

Explore sections dedicated to the Age of Exploration, the wine industry, and local crafts.

Here’s a tip: Visit in the morning to avoid even the minor crowds that gather during the day.

Cabo Girão Skywalk

For a blend of beautiful views and a dash of adrenaline, head to Cabo Girão Skywalk.

Suspended at an altitude of 580 meters, this glass-floored viewing platform offers panoramic vistas of the ocean, Funchal, and Câmara de Lobos.

November provides clear skies and visibility; however, be aware that the platform can get slippery when wet!

So, check the weather forecast before you go.

The best part? The reduced crowds make it easier to snap that perfect photo without interference.

Funchal Market

Fresh exotic fruits in Mercado Dos Lavradores.  Funchal, Madeira island

A visit to Funchal Market is a feast for the senses.

Vibrant colours, diverse textures, and an array of smells fill the air!

In November, the holiday season’s onset means an uptick in unique offerings, from seasonal fruits to festive decorations.

Keep an eye out for passionfruit and cherimoya—these fruits are particularly delicious this time of year.

And don’t miss the fresh tuna and espada (black scabbard fish) at the fish market!

So, come with an empty tote bag; you’ll want to fill it.

Monte Palace Tropical Gardens

Meander through a world of exotic flora at Monte Palace Tropical Gardens.

The cooler November weather complements the stroll, as you encounter koi ponds, Oriental gardens, and terracotta statues.

Azaleas, heathers, and an impressive cycad collection thrive in the island’s subtropical climate. Birds such as peacocks and ducks add life to the landscape.

Pico do Arieiro

Landscape of Madeira island - Portugal

Elevate your Madeira adventure—literally—at Pico do Arieiro.

At 1,818 meters above sea level, it’s the island’s third-highest peak.

November offers clear skies for panoramic views that stretch as far as Porto Santo, Madeira’s sister island, on a good day.

Hiking up? Start early and pack layers, as temperatures can fluctuate.

Driving? The route is accessible but steep; make sure your vehicle can handle it.

Either way, reaching the top is a rewarding accomplishment!

Wine Tasting

Madeira wine steals the spotlight!

One renowned option is Blandy’s Wine Lodge in Funchal.

Their guided tours walk you through the intricate process of cask aging, blending, and even the history of wine on the island.

November is particularly good for this indoor activity, shielding you from the occasional rainy day while offering a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Cap off your tour with a tasting session and perhaps pick up a bottle of vintage Madeira as a keepsake!

Praia Formosa

Funchal city at night near Praia Formosa beach, Madeira - Portugal

Madeira’s largest public beach, Praia Formosa, is a mix of pebbles and black sand, a result of the island’s volcanic origin.

The Atlantic waves in November are moderate, making it suitable for both wading and a relaxed swim.

While you may find the water a bit cooler compared to the summer months, it’s well worth visiting for the smaller crowds!

Santa Maria de Colombo

Step back in time aboard Santa Maria de Colombo, a replica of Christopher Columbus’s flagship, and sail around the island!

In November, the sea conditions are still good enough to set sail for a unique tour around Madeira.

The ship departs from Funchal and offers stunning views of the island’s cliffs and coves from the water.

History buffs will appreciate the attention to detail on this vessel, right down to the hand-sewn sails and the wooden deck.

Tickets include a Madeira wine and honey cake tasting.

A trip on this ship is like walking into a living museum, complete with pirate actors for entertainment!

Scuba Diving

For underwater enthusiasts, Madeira’s clear Atlantic waters offer a memorable scuba diving experience.

One notable location is Ponta de São Lourenço.

This area’s biodiversity ranges from colorful wrasses and ornate wrasses to larger species like groupers.

In November, the water temperature is slightly cooler but visibility is often excellent, offering clearer views of the marine life and formations.

Diving centers like Azul Diving are available for both beginners and experienced divers, providing equipment and guided tours.

Tea at Reid’s

If you’re looking to bask in a bit of old-world luxury, don’t miss out on having tea at Belmond Reid’s Palace.

The experience is a nod to Madeira’s historical ties with the British, and it doesn’t disappoint. The tea service is elaborate, featuring a selection of scones, sandwiches, and a myriad of teas.

Even better, you get to enjoy this feast on a terrace overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The whole experience is heightened in November; fewer guests make for a more personalized service.

Spa Day

November’s cooler temperatures create the perfect backdrop for a spa day.

Consider spending time at the spa in Saccharum Hotel, known for its diverse range of treatments and therapies.

Opt for a seaweed wrap to revitalize your skin or a deep-tissue massage to relieve muscle tension.

The atmosphere is tranquil, and the panoramic ocean views add a layer of serenity to your wellness day.

Madeira Film Experience

While in Funchal, take 30 minutes to immerse yourself in the Madeira Film Experience.

This audiovisual journey is shown in a cozy theater and takes you through 600 years of the island’s history.

The film employs state-of-the-art technology, ensuring a rich visual and auditory experience.

Because November isn’t peak tourist season, you’re likely to have a more intimate viewing, making it easier to absorb all the intricacies of Madeira’s fascinating history.

Where to stay in Madeira in November

Cable ropeway cabin over the town of Funchal, Madeira island, Portugal

Most tourists stay in Funchal; where all the action is. Here are some suggested places: 

Residencial Pina

If you’re traveling on a budget, Residencial Pina offers a solid option that doesn’t compromise on quality.

Located within walking distance of Funchal’s city center, it provides easy access to local attractions.

The hotel is clean, comfortable, and staff are known for their hospitality.

Plus, many rooms offer balconies with city views, a great perk for the price point. In November, you’ll likely find room rates to be especially affordable.

Hotel Porto Mare

Situated within the Vila Porto Mare resort, Hotel Porto Mare offers an incredible array of amenities without breaking the bank.

Guests can access multiple swimming pools, restaurants, and even a spa.

The gardens surrounding the hotel are lush and well-maintained, a treat for anyone looking to experience Madeira’s botanical beauty.

The rooms are modern and spacious, complete with balconies for soaking in the ocean or garden views.

November visitors will find the hotel to be less crowded, allowing for a more relaxed atmosphere.

Belmond Reid’s Palace

For those who demand nothing but the best, Belmond Reid’s Palace is the epitome of luxury.

Overlooking the Bay of Funchal, this hotel offers exquisite rooms and top-tier services. From a world-class spa to Michelin-starred dining, your every need will be catered to.

Exclusive experiences, such as private cliffside dining, can be arranged by the hotel’s concierge service.

November brings fewer guests, so you’ll experience heightened personal attention, from poolside service to customized spa treatments.

Travel tips for Madeira in November

Peak Areeiro in Madeira (Portugal)

Here are my best travel tips for visiting this beautiful island in November, or throughout the cooler season!

Public Transport

Madeira’s public transport system, primarily comprised of buses, is reliable and efficient.

However, some routes may operate on reduced schedules in November.

Before setting off, check the latest timetables.

Car rentals

If you prefer the freedom to explore at your own pace, consider renting a car.

Companies like Sixt and Europcar offer competitive rates, especially in November when demand is lower.

Prices can range from €20 to €40 per day, depending on the type of car and the rental duration.

Booking in advance online could score you a better deal.

Warm Clothing for Evenings

Even though daytime temperatures are mild, evenings in November can be cool. Layering is key.

Consider packing a mix of light sweaters, a warm jacket, and perhaps a light scarf to ensure comfort during dinner on a terrace or a moonlit stroll along the beach!

Varied Openings

Before you make plans to visit specific attractions, note that there may be varied opening times or seasonal closures.

This is particularly true for outdoor activities and smaller, family-run businesses.

Always check operation hours in advance to avoid disappointment.

Weather in Madeira in November

In Madeira, November is fresh but still warm; it’s one of the warmest places in Europe this month!

Mixed weather is typically on the cards; there are plenty of hours of sunshine, although expect a fair amount of rain too. 

Here’s a table with the weather conditions that you can expect: 

High Temp14°C (57°F)
Low Temp9°C (48°F)
Days of Rain12 days
Sea Temp21°C (70°F)

Madeira in November FAQs

Madeira island, Portugal. Beautiful view of the lookout point by the coast. Island of Spring with beautiful nature, laurel forests and levades.

 Here are some frequently asked questions about visiting this Portuguese island in November!

Is November a good time to visit Madeira?

Yes, November can be a good time to visit Madeira, especially if you’re looking to avoid the crowds and high prices of peak season.

The weather is relatively mild, and while there might be some rain, the island’s natural beauty and plethora of indoor activities make it a worthy destination.

How hot is Madeira in November?

In November, Madeira experiences average temperatures ranging from 16-22°C (60-71°F).

It’s cooler than the summer months but generally still pleasant for outdoor activities. However, evening temperatures can drop, so packing some warm layers is advised.

What is Madeira like in early November?

Early November in Madeira tends to be less crowded and offers mild temperatures suitable for outdoor exploration.

You can expect less rainfall compared to the end of the month, making it a favorable time for activities like hiking and visiting gardens.

Can you sunbathe in Madeira in November?

While it may not be as warm as the summer months, sunbathing is still possible in November, especially around midday.

Just bear in mind that sea temperatures will be cooler, ranging around 20°C (68°F), and cloud cover may be more prevalent.

Is Funchal hot in November?

Funchal, the capital of Madeira, experiences similar temperatures to the rest of the island in November. Expect average temperatures between 16-22°C (60-71°F).

While not hot, the weather is usually mild and comfortable for exploring the city.

Are there flowers in Madeira in November?

Madeira is known as the “Island of Eternal Spring,” and you’ll find a variety of flowers blooming year-round.

November is no exception, although the types of flowers in bloom may vary compared to other seasons. Expect to see autumnal foliage and late-blooming species during this month.

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