Madeira Bridge Festival

Madeira is a beautiful island, just north of the Canary Islands, that is famous for being one of the most visited ports for cruise ships. The reason most ships crossing the Atlantic stop in Madeira is not just the convenient location, but also the attractions and the romantic scene the Portuguese island offers.

IntoBridge attended the festival, offering special prizes for The Best Play and The Best Bidding.

With several hundred participants throughout more than a week of bridge events, the 25th Madeira Bridge Festival took place between the 3rd and 11th of November 2022.

Madeira and Funchal

Madeira is about 90 mins away by plane from mainland Portugal (3-4 hours from most European airports where direct flights are available). Quarter of a million citizens live on the island and about 40% of them are based in the capital Funchal where also the Madeira Bridge Festival takes place.

You can read more about Madeira and Funchal on Wikipedia.

Activities and Attractions

Before we tell you more about the events and who the winners were, we will dive into picturing the atmosphere and spirit of this wonderful festival.

The concept of the organizers, led by the president of the Portuguese Bridge Federation Miguel Texeira, is to combine the attraction of the beautiful island of Madeira with competitive bridge games run in a friendly manner. Throughout the festival, there is one session of bridge a day (apart from the Saturday of the Open Teams). During their free time participants are offered various activities like sightseeing, trail hiking, cataraman excursions with the possiblity to see whales! There is also a traditional dinner organized to feel the spirit of Madeira with folk dancers and a show program.

Apart from the organized activities, Funchal, the capital of Madeira has many attractions like the cable car lines connecting the downtown with the beautiful Botanical Garden and our favourite place for a relaxing walk the Monte Palace Tropical Garden. On the way back, if the cable car is not adventurous enough, you can experience the one of its kind local Toboggan, basket cars sliding 2 km down the road piloted by experienced (you hope) pilots!

Another places worth seeing are the local fruits and fish markets located next to each other in the city centre.

For the explorers, the island offers the so called Levada walks – a wide choice of hiking routes with professional guides available to accommodate not only the experienced hikers, but everyone who wants to see the natural beauty of the island. If your hiking route is near the West coast of the island you can visit the natural swimming pools in Porto Moniz.

The Bridge Festival

Despite the remote location and lack of direct flights from most European cities, The Madeira Bridge Festival is one of the biggest in Europe and, as usual, runs during the first half of November.

It gathers people from more than 20 nations with the most represented ones being Iceland, The Netherlands, The Scandinavian countries, also Germany and England.

The organizer is the Portuguese Bridge Federation, headed by Miguel Texeira, who started organizing the event 25 years ago with only a few foreigners. Miguel is helped by his daughter Carolina and a team of devoted bridge players including Jose Corrado, Carlos Luiz, Pedro Nunes, Betty Gois, Laura Woodruff, Eduardo Fernandes and others.

One of the best assets of the event is the high-profile list of directors who are plenty enough and coming from various countries, accommodating their countrymates in the cases where a language barrier arises.

Before the main part of the Festival starts, there are 3 warm-up events attracting less experienced players. It’s often the case that whole families come to Madeira and the less experienced players take part in the warm-up games and enjoy the island during the main events.

There is also a Cool down tournament the day after the main events finish.

As for the main events, the Open pairs event consists of 3 straightforward sessions played on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 4 pm local time. Almost 200 pairs entered the event and the winners this year were:


84 squads joined the Open Teams event. It was again played over 3 days in a delayed Swiss format. 3 rounds on Friday, starting at 8.30 pm, 6 rounds on Saturday and 3 more on Sunday, starting 2.30 pm. The teams that came in top 3 this year were:


For more information including bulletins and rankings, please visit the official website


Madeira Bridge Festival is clearly one of the best bridge festivals in the world and it’s worth the hassle of changing flights and losing a day in travelling. The Festival is perfect for a family holiday even if not all members of the family play bridge. There is a lot to see and do, and also there is plenty of time to spend together outside the bridge games.

The Festival has all the ingredients Zia mentions that is needed to save the game.

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