Quick Guide to Madeira
Madeira is a group of islands that belong to Portugal but lie closer to the coast of Africa, near to the Canary Islands. Holidays in Madeira continue to be popular due to the ever increasing number of flights from the UK, the high standard of accommodation and great value for money.
Holidays to Madeira operate year round and tend to be more popular with couples rather than families. You will not find huge family based accommodation with kids clubs and activities in Funchal. There are instead some very well known and luxurious hotels concentrated in Funchal and hideaway hotels are available around the island. Deals can be found throughout the year but you will likely find that prices around Christmas and New Year come at a premium, when hotels host lavish dinners for the festive period.
Madeira is famed for its lush sub-tropical gardens, but if you want beaches look for hotels on the second largest island of the archipelago; Porto Santo, which boasts a beautiful nine-kilometre-long white-sand beach.
You will find that a number of cruises around the Canaries will stop in Funchal as part of their itinerary.
Fab holidays for:
Breathtaking Hikes, Delicious Food, Fragrant Wines
Did you know?
Only 500 or so monk seals are left in the world, and about 40 are found in Madeira. Head out on a boat trip to see some of them on the Desertas Islands, 12 miles south-east of Funchal.
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Top 5 Things to Do in Madeira
While not really a beach destination, which is unusual for Portugal, Madeira has plenty of other feathers in its cap.
- Visit Funchal
- Over on the east of the island is ideal if you're a nature lover, but if you want to explore the cultural side of the island the place to stay is Funchal, the largest city.
- Wander around Madeira's gardens
- You won't want to miss Madeira's gardens, such as the Botanical Gardens, the Orchid Gardens and the Gardens of the Monte Palace.
- Explore Sao Vincente Caves
- Head to the lava tubes in the Sao Vincente Caves to really make your holiday in Madeira memorable. There's so much to see and do here - with excellent surfing, great fishing and more as well, you'll want to come back again and again.
- Head out on a stunning hike
- Not only does Madeira have the largest laurel forest in the world, the levadas, 1,350 miles of water channels with adjoining footpaths, provide plenty of walking opportunities and dramatic mountain wanderings will take your breath away, particularly from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo.
- Take a ride in a cable car
- Not only do you get incredible views of the surrounding countryside but you get to tobaggan back down the mountains (it's fun, trust us). If you want to test our trustworthiness, take the 15-minute climb from Almirante Reis in old Funchal to Monte.
How to get to Madeira
Recent expansion at Madeira International Airport has meant capacity has increased and the number of flights to Madeira from the UK has gone up. Charter airlines fly to Funchal (mostly from the main British airports) to support their year round holiday programmes. Low cost flights can be found through easyjet. You can also fly to Madeira via Portugal, which may help reduce the price down. You might want to consider car hire from Madeira Airport.
Where to stay in Madeira
As mentioned above, Funchal has some of the best hotels in the world - some steeped with very traditional values. Medium rated hotels are also on offer with a range of board options available. Most accommodation is on a half board or bed and berakfast basis - you won't find many all inclusive deals.