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Planning a vaca end of Nov/beg of Dec - Azores, Madeira or mainland Portugal?

I am planning a vacation for 10 or so days and can’t decide between São Miguel, Madeira or mainland Portugal.

This will be my first visit to Portugal and I am not sure where to start - I want adventure and relaxation and feel like any option will be great...but I want to make sure that SOME places will be open since it’s off season. Of course weather has to be taken into consideration - I’m not looking for perfect weather but not sure what to expect that time of year (I live on a beautiful beach with great summers back home so I have that covered).

Posted by
409 posts

I just sent you a private message with a link to my Azores guide. It may help you make a decision. You will enjoy any choice you make!

Posted by
17145 posts

I've been to Madeira twice. It is beautiful. There are many, many miles of level walks along the irrigation ditches with fabulous views. I imagine there are more adventurous options, but you'd need to check on that. What it doesn't have is sandy beaches, so if that's important to you, you need to look elsewhere or plan a day-trip to Porto Santo.

I've linked to the Wikipedia entry, where you'll find a weather summary chart. If you want to see actual historical day-by-day variation in temperatures (a good idea), you can probably find that info on wunderground going back 10 or more years. The temperature is normally moderate year-round, though I see that temperature spikes are possible mid-summer. The problem for you is that December is the wettest month of the year, with measurable rain on 13 days, on average. Madeira is rainier, in general, than one might expect for an island so near the equator. Of course, that's why it's so green and gorgeous.