In general, the Christmas season on Portugal’s flower island Madeira is celebrated with great enthusiasm, with many local traditions playing an important role. On 16 December, the birth masses (Missas do Parto) begin, which end on Christmas Eve with the midnight mass (Missa do Galo – Rooster’s mass). A total of nine masses take place at dawn until 24 December. A visit to one of these masses is worthwhile, even for non-church-goers; “singing competitions” (despiques) are held and afterwards there is mata-bicho, a kind of early morning drink with liqueur, corn bread and cake. Incidentally, spending New Year’s Eve in Funchal is absolutely recommended. One of the world’s most spectacular firework displays takes place here, and in 2006 it even received an entry in the Guinness Book of Records as the “world’s largest pyrotechnic spectacle”.
easyJet flies directly from Berlin-Tegel to Madeira-Funchal on Wednesdays and Saturdays.