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New Year Fireworks in Funchal/Madeira: The World's Largest Spectacle

Updated: Jan 8

On December 31st, the largest New Year's Eve fireworks display in the world will be set off in Funchal. But where is the best place to see it? And what else can you do during Christmas time on the Portuguese island of Madeira? Here are my insider tips!

WibkesTravels Fireworks Funchal Madeira

The use of fireworks is debatable. Are they good for the environment? Aren't they torture for the animals? Couldn't the money be spent more wisely?

This is not an issue on the island of Madeira: exactly at midnight, the sky over Funchal lights up with colorful fireworks that are second to none. Even the famous Guinness Book of Records recognized the event as “the largest pyrotechnic show in the world” in 2006. The spectacle costs the Portuguese island around one million euros every year.

The New Year's Eve fireworks last around eight minutes and are spread over 59 fireworks stations around the capital Funchal, which is surrounded by the mountains of Madeira like an amphitheater in a six-kilometer-long bay. The perfect backdrop for a gigantic spectacle accompanied by concerts and DJs.

Program for December 31st 2023

Central pedestrian street Arriaga Avenue

14:00 performance by the group Borracheiros Folk area

11:00 performance by the folklore group of the Santa Cruz Municipal House

Concert stage

16:00 Concert of the string music group of Fajã da Ovelha

19:00 concert of the Catarina Melim project

Praça do Povo

10:30 p.m. – 11:30 p.m. Concert with the band Stardust Acoustic Project

23:30 – 00:00 DJ SIL

00:15 – 01:30 concert with AFROSON

01:30 – 02:30 DJ SIL

Largest fireworks display in the world Madeira New Year's Eve Funchal

Countdown to the New Year's Eve fireworks display

23:40 The last 20 minutes before midnight in 2024 will be enlivened by a great spectacle in the form of a countdown on the Funchal pier. This audiovisual fireworks show, in which the projection of figures from the ground alternates with lasers and innovative lighting elements, will, among other surprise effects, conjure up dances of lights in the sky and thus lead the spectators into the New Year.

Silvester fireworks Funchal | Porto Santo

00:00 Eight minutes of fireworks welcome the year 2024. This New Year's Eve there will be a total of 59 fire pits in the Bay of Funchal (27), between the Cais 8 pier and Praia Almirante Reis beach (25), by the sea (5) and on the island of Porto Santo (2).

The history of fireworks

The tradition of fireworks in Madeira dates back to the seventeenth century.

On New Year's Eve, bonfires were lit, illuminating the houses of Madeira and filling them with color and splendor. Later, in the 18th century, the English who lived on the island fired large fireworks to welcome the New Year. A century later, the Madeiran banker João José Rodrigues Leitão decided to revive this tradition. Back then, the island's wealthy families competed in firing rockets, promoting a fireworks spectacle that has survived to this day and has become a magnet for visitors. New Year's Eve is the biggest tourist attraction on the island, almost all hotels are fully booked that night.

Where can you see the fireworks best?

With this rush of visitors, the question naturally arises as to where you can best admire the fireworks in all their splendor.

Visitors have a good view of the spectacle right by the sea on the Avenida do Mar beach promenade. Not only tourists stroll here, but also locals who have dressed up in festive evening dresses for the New Year. In addition, there are a number of viewpoints in the city from which you can enjoy beautiful views, including the Santa Catarina Park, the Fortaleza do Pico (a fortress over the Bay of Funchal), the Miradouro da Quinta das Cruzes and the Monte ( from which you have a beautiful panoramic view when the weather is good). If the weather is clear, you can also enjoy partial views from Garajau in the east of the city or from the famous Skywalk in Cabo Girão.

The best view is probably from one of the many boats,

which are anchored in the bay with a view of the amphitheater on New Year's Eve. Whether private yacht, party catamaran or pirate ship - there is something for every taste.

Christmas spirit on Madeira
Christmas market Madeira palm trees traditional houses Funchal

But a trip to Madeira is not only worth it on New Year's Eve. Christmas is very important here. From December 1st, squares, streets, buildings and alleys will be atmospherically illuminated with sparkling lights. Oversized Christmas trees, light tunnels, traditional nativity scenes and light shows offer something for every taste and every age.

The central promenade of Avenida Arriaga serves as a stage for daily concerts and performances.

This is also where the Christmas market is located with a wide range of delicacies, from the traditional pork sandwiches (Carne Vinha D'alhos) to various liqueurs, beer and of course the obligatory Poncha (THE traditional drink made from sugar cane liquor, lemon juice and honey). In the Ethnographic Village at Largo da Restauração you can admire the traditional Madeiran nativity scenes, lovingly built from natural materials, while enjoying the island's typical wheat soup with bolo do caco (something similar to a flatbread with garlic).

If all this isn't enough to make you visit the island at the turn of the year, the mild, spring-like climate will convince you. While dreary gray is the predominant color (at least in Germany) in winter, on the island off Africa, emerald green mountains fall steeply into the azure sea. Colorfully painted houses, yellow fortifications and tropical flowers in all colors of the rainbow characterize the cityscape. But the island also has a lot to offer outside of Funchal: Evergreen rainforests and wild coasts also attract sporty tourists to the island with countless well-marked hiking trails. And anyone who doubts the usefulness of gigantic fireworks displays will certainly find enough peace and nature on Madeira to avoid the fireworks.

On my Blog Posts you will find a lot of inspiration for what else you can do in Madeira.

Here are some other events you can attend around New Year's Eve:

Celebratory lighting in the city center and the bay of Funchal

From the first of December, the city of Funchal is decorated for Christmas. The streets, squares and rivers of the city are decorated with Christmas motifs. Real light and color spectacles arise in the form of tunnels and dances that evoke the Christmas spirit in children and adults alike.


Largo do Phelps | North wall of the São Lourenço Palace | Praca do Colombo | Rua Câmara Pestana.

Opening hours

Daily 6:00 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.

except:25. and December 30th 6:00 p.m. – 4:00 a.m.

December 23rd, 24th and 31st 6:00 p.m. – 6:00 a.m.

Various performances - Avenida Arriaga

From December 1st, 2021 to January 9th, 2022, Funchal city center will be filled with light, colors and melodies. During this time, daily performances by various groups take place on the Avenida Arriaga, enlivening this square with philharmonic bands, folk groups and concerts.

Christmas Market - Avenida Arriaga

The Christmas market consists of several small houses decorated for Christmas and offers a large selection of regional products, such as: B. typical island Christmas gastronomy, plants, fruit, Madeira wine and sugar cane honey and its derivatives.


Sunday to Thursday

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.

Friday to Saturday

10:00 a.m. - 2:00 a.m.

25. Closed December and January 1st

Ethnographic Village - Largo da Restauração

Funchal Madeira tropical fruit market

Located at Largo da Restauração, the Ethnographic Village presents various traditions, arts, crafts, gastronomy, folklore and two traditional nativity scenes.

Opening hours

From December 1st to 17th and from January 1st to 7th

Sunday to Thursday 10:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Friday and Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.

From December 18th to 31st

Monday to Sunday 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.

24. December10:00 – 18:0025. DecemberClosed

Pavilion of Madeira Embroidery and Regional Crafts

An exhibition organized by the Instituto do Vinho, do Bordado e do Artesanato da Madeira (IVBAM), where regional embroidery and handicrafts are sold on certain days. You can also try Christmas delicacies with Madeira wine.

Opening hours

1. until December 19, 2023 | Madeira embroidery

20. December to January 7, 2024 | Madeiran handicrafts 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Song of the Magi - Municipal Garden - January 5th (7:00 p.m.)

On January 5th at 7 p.m. the star singers will give a public concert in the auditorium of the city park and thus revive this Madeiran tradition. The arrival of the Three Wise Men is celebrated on January 6th, and tradition dictates that this is celebrated with the famous Bolo Rei (King's Cake), which contains a bean and a toast. It is popularly said that the person who receives the lucky piece with the bean must buy the cake next year. At the same time, the person receiving the toast must pay for the drinks. This tradition continues year after year.

You can read more blog bosts about Madeira HERE

North coast Madeira tropical flowers Portuguese island waterfall


The program of events for Christmas and New Year's Eve can be downloaded from the Visit Madeira website.


Both Lufthansa and Condor offer direct flights from Frankfurt. The flight lasts 4 hours. If you have always wanted to go to Lisbon - a city that is definitely worth a trip - you can also book a flight with TAP, including a stopover in Lisbon.

Depending on the season, flights start at around €250.


Madeira has a good public transport network that works well from Funchal ( To be a little more flexible, we recommend a rental car (


The self-catering cabins of the Fajã dos Padres are only 20 minutes from Funchal city center. The accommodations are located 300 meters below the cliffs in a garden and can only be reached by gondola or boat. The Jesuits used the area to grow fruit and vegetables more than 500 years ago. Bananas, mangoes, avocados and wine are still grown here today.

The seaside restaurant of the same name is a popular excursion destination.

Self-catering hut including breakfast from €80,

The Quinta do Furão is located on the north coast directly on a cliff above the sea - with a gigantic view over the cliffs. The hotel has an indoor and outdoor pool and a sauna.

Double room with breakfast approx. 200 €,


In the Restaurant Santo Antonio there are the espetadas (meat skewers) typical of Madeira, which are traditionally skewered on a laurel branch, grilled and served. There is also fish.

Estrada João Gonçalves Zarco 656, Câmara de Lobos, Tel +351 291 910 360,

The Santiago Beach Bar at the eastern end of the bay below the Forte de São Tiago is a cool café right by the sea, where you can watch the last fishermen of Funchal mending their nets.

The Restaurant Cidade Velha in the old town of Funchal is not the cheapest, but the food is first-class and the terrace with a view of the sea is a welcome oasis of calm while strolling through the city. Rua Portao de Sao Tiago 21, Funchal, Tel: +351 291 232 021,

The Design Center Nini Andrade Silva at the western end of the bay is perfect for a sundowner. The showroom (with restaurant and rooftop bar) of the hip Portuguese designer is built on a historic fortress. Estrada da Pontinha Forte de Nossa Senhora da Conceição, Funchal, Tel. +351 291 648 780, http: //

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