The Carnival of Madeira
is known as one of the best in Europe. There are two main parades - the allegoric parade features thousands of participants in magnificent colourful costumes dancing to electrifying Samba music through the streets of the capital, Funchal. The second, called Trapalhao, features carnival goers in daring costumes and local caricatures. Included excursions take in the best of the island including Camara da Lobos, where Winston Churchill painted and the amazing glass platform at Cabo Girau with breathtaking views over the highest sea cliffs in Europe. We stay near Funchal centre with all meals and drinks included at the hotel.
is lapped by the waters of the Gulf Stream and blessed with mild winters. When you arrive take a good look around, the pleasant, soothing colours invade the senses with countless shades of green set against an azure sea - the hallmark of the subtropics.
, Europe’s most picturesque and cleanest capital, is a modern, cosmopolitan city, well known for its subtropical climate, exotic plants and of course its most famous export, Nestled in a great natural amphitheatre, facing the blue Atlantic with a backdrop of dramatic mountains, Funchal is located in the stunning south of Madeira, on its sunniest coast amidst banana plantations and wonderful gardens where flowers bloom all year round in the shelter of the verdant mountains.
Colourful carnival costumes
Plenty of ‘bling‘ at the carnival
Held every year, forty days before Easter ending on Shrove Tuesday (known locally as Fat Tuesday or Terca-feira Gorda in Portuguese), the day before Ash Wednesday or first day of Lent. One of the island’s first major festivals of the year, the Madeira carnival is known as one of the best in Europe. Traditionally there are two main parades which are very different from each other. The allegoric parade, which always takes place on Saturday, is the more sophisticated of the two. Numerous Samba groups with thousands of participants in magnificent and colourful costumes dance to electrifying Samba music through the streets of the capital Funchal, spreading an ambience evoking that of the Rio Carnival.
The second parade, called trapalhao, is older and used to occur all over the island. Now it floods the streets of the city centre with thrilling joy on Terca-feira Gorda, ending the carnival period. Anybody can take part in this parade and the - sometimes quite daring - costumes and depicted caricatures are left to the participants’ own imagination.