Madeira Holidays - Portugal
Before he began his second stint as Prime Minister in 1951, Winston Churchill wanted to escape somewhere 'warm, paintable, comfortable and flowery' and ended up in Madeira. Sixty-odd years later, this semi-tropical speck in the Atlantic, 700 kilometres off the west coast of Africa, still ticks all those boxes.
The capital, Funchal, is a highlight and features flower-filled gardens and historic churches. Inland, the soaring mountains are criss-crossed with walking trails and hide tiny, traditional villages. Head for the coastline, and you'll find ocean-side lidos and dramatic cliffs plunging into the Atlantic.
There are plenty of excursions to help you make the most of Madeira. Tour the island's mountainous interior, stopping at Pico do Ariero, the second-highest point, and Santana, famous for its A-shaped thatched cottages. You could also take a trip to the natural bathing pools of Porto Moniz, visit Cabo Girao, one of the world's highest sea cliffs, or head off to one of the wine lodges for a tasting of sweet Madeira wine.
Things to do in Madeira
Walk the island's levadas
Levadas - irrigation channels carved into the hillside - weave across the mountains and provide walkers with a network of trails. Follow the paths and you'll be rewarded with fantastic views of Madeira's jagged volcanic peaks and steep basalt cliffs.
Explore Nun's Valley
Nun's Valley is a tiny village nestled deep in the mountains in the heart of the island. It was founded back in the 16th century by nuns from the Santa Clara convent who were fleeing from invading pirates. The village is famous for its chestnuts, which are used in everything from liqueurs to soup - make sure you sample some before you leave.
Visit Camara de Lobos
Spend an afternoon exploring this little fishing village, one of Churchill's favourite painting spots. Tuck in to a lunch of black scabbard fish (a Madeiran speciality), washed down with poncha, a traditional drink made from a blend of lemon juice, honey and sugarcane spirit.
Hotels in Madeira
You've got an impressive selection of high-end hotels to choose from in Madeira, from grand properties to charming quintas - intimate hillside retreats with easy access to the island's levadas. The Cliff Bay and Pestana Carlton Madeira Hotel both offer panoramic views and easy access to Funchal, while the VIDAMAR Resorts Madeira combines contemporary interiors with a highly rated Thalassotherapy centre. Then there's the elegant Belmond Reid's Palace, where Winston Churchill once stayed.
See our full range of hotels in Madeira.
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The Sovereign Standard
To help you choose your perfect holiday we have rated all of our hotels using our own system.
Classical Sovereign hotels are more modest hotels offering charm and character, or an exceptional location. Many of these hotels have been firm favourites with Sovereign customers for countless years and offer great value for money.
Luxury Collection hotels offer everything you would expect to go hand in hand with a luxury holiday. They offer high standards of service and attention to all those important little details.
Exclusive Collection hotels provide the ultimate luxury; they are the finest, most opulent hotels offering superlative service and excellent facilities, which will satisfy the needs of even the most discerning traveller.
Family Collection hotels are some of the finest family-friendly resorts and offer a wide range of facilities for both children and parents. Families can enjoy a whole host of amenities including fun kid's clubs, a dedicated children's pool and spacious accommodation.