If you are planning a visit over the Summer you definetly need to put an Arraial on your must do list. And that shouldn´t be difficult as you will find them all over the Island during the Summer months.
The Arraiais are the traditional madeira parties and that take place at every town and small village. It´s a folk catholic celebration that has it´s centre at the local church and religious festivities to after come over to the streets with lot´s of food, drink and music.
Over the year it has become more and more popular among the youngest and it´s something you should try at least once in your life.
If you want to go unnoticed as a visitor you just need to participate in the whole party and that will include making you own espetada, drinking a poncho a dancing to the popular music on the stage.
Usually the arraiais take place for longer that one day so you can choose to go on a busier or on a quieter day. Some of the most popular are the Arraial do Monte or Arraial de São Vicente but one of our favorites is Arraial do Porto da Cruz (shown in photos).
The only thing you need to pay attention is to the sweet poncha if you need to drive back home. Otherwise plan to arrive with daylight and to leave at dawn.