As the daffodils and crocuses in the UK force their way through the last of the winter frosts and stretch their heads towards an increasingly warm sun, there is already spring in the air at home. If you love this time of year, with its promise of renewal and warmth to come, then why not celebrate it in style with a ‘Madeira flower holiday’.
On the Portuguese island of Madeira the locals are so excited by the spring that, since 1954, they have celebrated its arrival every year with a festival of flowers. Inspired by local gardeners who always planted splendid blooms which burst into colour in the spring, the local government created a festival to make the very most of this season’s colourful splendour.
Today the festival has gone from strength to strength, drawing locals from across the island as well as visitors from around the world who come to enjoy this unique ‘Madeira flower holiday’ experience.
Whether you are a keen horticulturalist or just someone who loves the blooms of spring, book your holiday to Madeira between 19 April and 6 May and immerse yourself in this wonderful festival of flowers.
Here’s what to expect from festival this year.
The first Saturday is dedicated to the children. The Children’s Parade is a vibrant, colourful procession though the town to Praça do Municipio where each child places a flower on the ‘Wall of Hope’ to create a fantastic display by the end of the day. At the day’s finale all the children come together and there is a release of doves to represent the hopes of all for a peaceful year ahead.
The Float Parade
On the Sunday after the Children’s Day is the main event: the float parade through the town. The bright, colourful floats, decorated with blooms, are accompanied by lively music, the wonderful smell of fresh flowers, and dancers. The spectacular floats are accompanied by troupes of dancers who make their way through the streets along with the celebrations throughout the city.
Other Floral Highlights
Don’t be disappointed if you miss the two parade days as there is still plenty left of the festival to make your stay a unique ‘Madeira flower holiday’. Horticulturalists will love the exhibition of various blooms which is held in the centre of Funchal throughout the festival. If you have been inspired by all the wonderful floral displays then you should definitely attend one of the many flower workshops where you can make your own display. Take some floral tributes home with you after a visit to the flower market where souvenirs of the festival are made and sold.
The Madeira Auto Parade is another event worth attending, combining the beauty of old classic vehicles with this season’s most spectacular blooms.
There is no better way to welcome in the warmth of spring than with a sunshine break in Madeira where you can bask in the sunshine and enjoy the very best the season has to offer.
John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing luxury holidays all over the Mediterranean, as well as holidays in Bermuda, Croatia and many other destinations around the globe. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and as a result is an expert on niche travel interests such as a Madeira flower holiday or a Croatian dolphin watching trip. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts and history.