Antigua is one of the most beautiful Caribbean Islands and has such a friendly, laid back feel. The beaches are white with lovely fine sand. The sea is the most amazing turquoise - truly stunning! I went to Antigua with my Daughter a few years ago and had such a fun...
Madeira is a small volcanic Island which is very lush producing some amazing flowers and fruit which it is renowned . Madeira is described as an exotic floating garden ! The island is 35 miles long and 13 miles wide but because it is so mountainous the distances are magnified. There are many places of historical interest and natural beauty from undiscovered villages , churches and museums. The main roads were only constructed in 1997 and one of the more picturesque ways of seeing the island is really by the cable cars . The well capital is Funchal which is a major harbour where some of the very large cruise ships come into port. Funchal is a very pretty capital with its white houses and tiled roofs clustered on the hillside sloping down to the pretty harbour. It is a very quaint place to stay with beautiful cobbled streets and plenty of shops selling gifts, tapestries and local crafts , also wine cellars to visit and to sample the famous Madeira wines.
The standard of hotels in Madeira are very high and they do pride themselves on repeat guests. There are various options but a popular choice is to stay in a Quinta which is an original manor house converted into a hotel. The quintas have such a grand charm and are steeped in history dating back to 18th century. Then there are the popular chain of Porto Bay Group hotels and also the very famous Reids Palace which is somewhere to visit for its renowned for a traditional afternoon English Tea experience .
Madeira is generally warm all year round but can be cooler in the north and in the mountains, so walkers are advised to take some warmer clothing.
There has always been a stigma about Madeira being for the older generation but I have to disagree. It caters for the 30+ and is fine for families but for those who are in search of a fine sandy beach then this is one thing that Madeira cannot offer.
I had a lovely stay there and would certainly recommend it for a chilled out relaxing holiday.
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