Madeira obviously has plenty of festivals throughout the year; in fact, these festivals are one of the many things which make Madeira should a vibrant place to be, and one of the many great reasons to take a trip here. One such festival is the Madeira Flower Festival which takes place either in April or May – four weeks after Easter – each year. Madeira is an island that has an impressive year-round flowering season due to its subtropical climate and rich volcanic soil, so it makes complete sense that the island should celebrate this gift. Held since 1979 and a popular attraction for locals and travelers alike, the Madeira Flower Festival gives visitors the chance to see Funchal in all its glory.
The Wall of Hope
The main purpose of the Madeira Flower Festival is to celebrate the season of spring, the time of year when the flowers of the island are at their most beautiful. There are a number of highlights the festival is well-known for, but possibly the most famous are the wonderful parades. The most popular of these is the Wall of Hope Parade, which involves thousands of local children making their way to Praca do Municipio, each one with a flower which they then place altogether to build a mural called the Wall of Hope. The parade has been a significant part of the Madeira Flower Festival for over three decades, combining childhood innocence with the intricate and delicate nature of flowers to call for world peace. The parade ends with the release of many beautiful doves and a children’s show.
The Flower Allegorical Parade
The day after the Wall of Hope Parade is when the Flower Allegorical Parade takes place. Once again, the people of Funchal take to the streets for one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the Madeira Flower Festival, in particular for its huge, colorful float parade. The floats really are one of the most brilliant sights you will ever see, decorated with numerous floral species, but you will also be impressed with the colorful and elaborate costumes the locals wear to the parade as well. The parade-goers make their way through the city along a planned route to the sound of festival music and perform a mixture of simple and complex choreographies. The Flower Allegorical Parade is the culmination of the spirit of the Madeira Flower Festival, so if you can only make it to one event during the entire duration, make sure it is this one.
The Flower Exhibition
As well as the parades, there are a number of other events you should add to your list of things to do at the Madeira Flower Festival. The Flower Exhibition takes place in the center of Funchal at Praca do Povo. Here you can see the best specimens of the most beautiful flowers which exist on Madeira presented in a variety of ways. You should also check out the floral carpets and decorations. The tradition of building floral carpets is a long one in Madeira. Originally conceived as a decoration for religious processions, the flower carpets now form an integral part of the festival. You can see these magnificent pieces of floral art on Avenida Arriaga. In addition to these flower carpets, the festival is also famous for its floral installations which combine the prettiness of the flowers with the characteristic elements of Madeira’s life and culture. These installations can be seen in various parts of Funchal, including the entrance to Funchal Quay, the Legislative Assembly of Madeira, and Avenida Sa Carneiro.
Where to stay in Funchal for the best viewing of the Madeira Flower Festival: Pestana CR7
Not just a floral event…
But the Madeira Flower Festival is not just a floral event. The festival is also an important cultural event with a variety of concerts and performances taking place throughout the festival and continuing in the month of May. Usually taking place a couple of weeks after the main festival, the Flower Concerts are four musical concerts held in emblematic gardens with the sole purpose of decentralizing the festival and offering both locals and visitors a different experience. As a visitor, it is a great chance for you to enjoy a concert while surrounded by the wonderful Madeira flora.
Flower and Regional Flavours Market
When visiting the Madeira Flower Festival, do not forget to visit the Flower and Regional Flavours Market. As well as being able to purchase some flowers in a traditional setting, you can also learn more about the floral and decorative species which exist on the island. The market is also a great chance to sample some of the delicious local food and drink Madeira is famous for.
The Madeira Auto Parade
At the end of the festival is an event that is enjoyed and appreciated by many on the island – the Madeira Auto Parade. Dating back to 1904 when Bernard Harvey drove the first car through Funchal, the locals’ appreciation of classic cars has not wavered since then. Bringing that little bit of extra elegance to the festival, the classic cars and motorbikes are on display at Avenida Sa Carneiro and are decorated with their own blooms.
In addition to everything you can see and do, the festival is free to enter for everyone, making it one of the most budget-friendly things to do in Madeira. As one of the most beautiful and fun festivals that takes place on the island during the year, the Madeira Flower Festival is something that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime.
Check out this page with the latest information on the festival.