The floating garden
Holidays in Madeira are packed full of beautiful natural sights, from its rugged cliffs leading down to the sparkling ocean to manicured botanic gardens brimming with native trees and flowers. The mountains are perfect for those wanting to explore Portugal’s natural landscapes, while the cosmopolitan capital, Funchal, is home to upmarket bars, restaurants and shops. Children will love riding the cable car up to the top of the cliffs, while adults will be delighted to sample the local wines and fresh seafood on offer.
Spend your days taking in the architecture of the pretty fishing villages dotted around the island or exploring the ancient ruins and 18th Century churches. Visit the old town of Funchal for narrow streets and a vibrant marina showcasing yachts of the rich and famous. The buildings will take you through the fascinating history of the island, with Gothic, Victorian and modern architecture rubbing shoulders and housing luxury hotels, pretty bars and cafés, as well as some of Portugal’s best restaurants.
Take a boat trip around the island and stop off in crystal clear bays, where you can snorkel and discover golden sandy coves where you can enjoy a picnic packed full of locally sourced produce. Sunset cruises are the perfect way to enjoy a romantic evening over cocktails or delicious champagne.
Madeira is also known as the “Floating Garden” after its emerald landscapes, valleys filled with wildflowers and bougainvillea lined streets. Horse riding, hiking and mountain biking are a great way to see the interior landscapes, while the perfect way to fully relax is to spend a lazy day unwinding on the beach.
Flights from the UK to Madeira take approximately 3 hours 45 minutes.
Madeira has a pleasant mid-20s average throughout summer, with mild temperatures in the spring and autumn that are ideal for beach-going, sightseeing and golfing. Madeira tends to get most of its rain out of the way in November and December, leading to beautiful springs.
Currently visas are not required for UK citizens travelling to Portugal.
Many hotels and restaurants include a service charge, so check your bill carefully – if it hasn’t been included, you should leave around 10% tip. Taxi drivers, hotel staff and other tourism workers are normally tipped two or three euros and it’s common to tip taxi drivers 10% of the fare.
The official language of Portugal is Portuguese. English is widely spoken too, so getting by is easy.