At the stroke of midnight on Dec 31st 2006 a set of loud explosions boomed out across the island of Madeira. The pyrotechnic extravaganza that followed earned the island a highly prized entry in the Guinness Book of Records for holding the Largest Ever Firework Display, with over 65,000 individual fireworks being let off in a 15 minute period after midnight. This video gives us some idea of how it looked (the sound must have been something else!)

Since that time others have tried without success to break the record, including a recent attempt in Abu Dhabi. Madeira’s show meanwhile continues to grow larger and larger, with the New Year 2010 show involving just under 100,000 fireworks and the 2011 event involving almost 20 tonnes of different fireworks.

Thanks in no small part to the international recognitiion of the fireworks display, Madeira gets very busy over the New Year period and accommodation can be booked up well in advance. It’s worth making your booking in good time if you’re planning to come and enjoy the festivities.

Getting a good vantage point is critical. There are over 40 launch sites for the fireworks so it’s best not to be too close to ground level. There are several good high spots around Funchal where you can stand and watch the display in all its glory. Perhaps however to experience the event in true style it’s best to splash out and take a cruise out into the harbour. Here at midnight, champagne in hand, you can watch in comfort as the multi-coloured decibel-busting performace unfolds.

For more ideas about what to do on a holiday to Madeira take a look at our special site.