Madeira is a delightful garden island, a subtropical paradise formed from volcanoes, famous for wine, flowers and beautiful weather. Just 600km off the coast of Morocco and 1,000km from Lisbon, this Portuguese outpost basks in warm Atlantic water. The dramatic natural beauty of the island, rich in flowers and foliage, appeals to walkers, botanists and sun-seekers alike.
Year-round sunshine, great daytime temperatures and calm, clear waters make Madeira holidays perfect at any time of year. It's great for couples looking for a romantic getaway, families who want a fun-filled break and those who just need some time in the sun. Take advantage of the diverse landscape and take the bus up Pico do Arieiro, the third highest peak on the island and experience breathtaking views of the surrounding area. In the town of Monte, you can ride in a wicker basket down the traditional Monte Toboaggan ride.
The nightlife in Madeira is tranquil and sedate with many fine restaurants, cafes and bars to be enjoyed. Funchal is the hub of great places to eat and drink with the chic Cafe do Museu and the Apolo restaurant boasting an excellent seafood menu. For an idyllic holiday that promises a combination of breathtaking views and plenty of culture just waiting to be explored, Madeira is the place to go...
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Things to do
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Madeira boasts a beautiful climate with warm sun and mild temperatures throughout the year. Peak time is over New Year, and daytime temperatures during the winter months hover around 20° Celsius. Spring and autumn are pleasantly mild and a little moist, with rainfall feeding the island's rich vegetation.
Summer temperatures climb to around 24° Celsius; the south of the island gets warm and sunny particularly around the capital, Funchal. The 'Leste' is an east wind that blows from the Sahara for a few days each summer, pushing the barometer up to 33° Celsius.
Madeira is sometimes called a 'floating garden', and it is for its stunning natural beauty that many keep coming back on Madeira holidays. The mild semi-tropical climate promotes the island's rich vegetation. Many of the blossoms on display are of plants that were introduced from around the world by settlers, adding to the riotous colours of the Madeira's famous flowers and foliage. The island's ancient laurel forests are unique and as such are now protected by UNESCO.
Prainha is the island's only natural beach with soft black sands, whilst dramatic cliffs formed from volcanic rock dominate much of the rest of the coastline. At 580m the cliffs at Cabo Girao are some of the highest in the world, offering breathtaking views. A statue of Christ stands over the cliffs at Garajau, another great place to enjoy the Atlantic panoramas.
Holidays in Madeira are famous for walking and hiking, brilliant ways to take in the scenery. For those with a head for heights the path between Lorano and Michano snakes along the cliff tops of the north coast. The island's interior offers endless opportunities for trekking through rugged valleys, wild mountains and along the sides of the irrigation canals that pass through some of the best countryside.
At the centre of the island is Pico Ruivo, Madeira's highest peak at 1862m. It is possible to hike to the top, and it is also accessible by car, and once there you will often find yourself looking down onto clouds. On clear days the views across the island and out to sea are simply astounding.
Things To Do on Madeira Holidays
Madeira holidays boast a wealth of attractions from breathtaking scenery, historic towns and beautiful wildlife. Funchal is the island's historic capital and the only town of significant size, with many museums, shops, restaurants, botanical gardens and a cathedral among the sights to visit. To sample some of the Madeira's world famous wines head to Old Blandy's Wine Lodge in the town, the oldest lodge on the island. There's much more to keep you occupied in the Funchal, and it's a great base for Madeira holidays since from here most places are easy to reach. To the east of Funchal is the town of Canico with its impressive Baroque church and central square.
Monte is a hilltop town in the island's northeast with verdant gardens, a sacred church and astonishing views. Here you can ride in a wicker basket down the traditional Monte Toboggan ride. In the southeast, amongst banana plantations, is the historic town of Machico, which was the first place on the island to be colonised. There are many tranquil, unspoilt villages to explore on your holidays to Madeira such as the picturesque fishing community of Camara de Lobos, which was a favourite haunt of Winston Churchill.
Madeira has a busy cultural calendar with events and festivals throughout the year; some have become tourist attractions in their own right. There are many religious celebrations, mainly saints' days, which normally end in song and dance. Funchal Carnival takes place in February or March each year and has developed into one of Europe's biggest. Festivities cover an entire weekend with the highlight being the Rio-style parade on Saturday night. Also in Funchal, in April or May, is the Festa da Flor, a three-day flower festival that sees the town awash with beautiful blossoms.
The Madeira Wine Festival marks the grape harvest with events across the island including bare-foot wine treading and, of course, many delicious wines to sample. New Year celebrations in Funchal have gained a reputation as some of the best in the world, with an enormous firework display on the stroke of midnight, accompanied by a glass of fine champagne.
Madeira's nightlife is tranquil and sedate; while there are some clubs most people on Madeira holidays are happy to spend an evening in one of the many fine restaurants, cafes and bars. Funchal has plenty of good places to eat and drink including the hip Cafe do Museu, and the Apolo restaurant that has an excellent seafood menu.
The town of Canico has a choice of great restaurants such as the Atlantis that also serves amazing fish dishes. In almost every village you can find a bar a cafe where you can relax the laid-back atmosphere that characterises a holiday in Madeira.
Book a Madeira Holiday now!
A holiday in Madeira is a holiday in paradise, a green gem of an island with colourful vegetation, stunning mountains, beautiful climate and tranquil atmosphere. On The Beach has the best deals on Madeira holidays, and for convenience you can use our live online booking system to find flights and accommodation, so your stay will be customised to your requirements. All the island's beauty is waiting for you, so book now for a perfect holiday in Madeira.
On Madeira's sunny and prosperous south coast, 10km east of the capital Funchal is the affluent town of Canico. Before the island's unification the to …
Funchal is Madeira's capital, a fascinating town set in a stunning natural harbour with views out across the Atlantic. It's an idyllic destination, pe …
Garajau is a picturesque village and resort on Madeira's sunny southeastern coast. The warm Atlantic waters off the coast include a marine reserve, an …
According to legend Madeira's second town, Machico, takes its name from a 14th Century English merchant called Robert Machin. Machin and his aristocra …