Cobbled streets and colourful gardens
Funchal is Madeira's colourful hillside capital. The island's biggest draw, it’s an appealing mix of old and new that ticks the boxes for culture, nightlife and beaches.
The narrow cobbled streets are dotted with interesting shops, restaurants and cafes, and at the city's heart is a towering 16th-century cathedral (remember to look up – it’s got a beautiful ceiling carved from local wood). The old town is home to bustling farmers' markets and flower markets in spring, and is fringed with a mix of parks, galleries and museums, as well as pretty botanical gardens.
The marina is the best spot to spend the evenings, lined with bars that fuel a buzzing nightlife scene. If you're in need of some beach time, there are a couple of black-sand beaches that are a lovely spot for a swim.
Flight time from the UK to Madeira is around 3 hours 45 minutes.
Transfer time from Madeira airport is approximately 20-30 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.