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Madeira, Portugal

Madeira

The floating garden of the Atlantic

Madeira was discovered in 1419 and is located approx 500 miles off the West African coast in the Atlantic Ocean. The island is just 35 miles long and 16 miles wide but has many places of historical interest and is well known for its natural beauty, traditional villages, mountains and lush plantations.

The island’s capital of Funchal has a very cosmopolitan atmosphere. There are excellent eateries where you can enjoy local fresh seafood and international cuisine accompanied with fine wine. Explore the narrow streets where you’ll find interesting architecture, a covered market, 15th Century cathedral, a wealth of shops and upmarket bars before heading down to watch the boats go by in the marina. Take the cable car to the top of the cliffs to enjoy sublime views over the island and sea beyond.

Madeira is known as the floating garden of the Atlantic and, although the coastal towns are very popular, there are many resorts located inland where you can stay and enjoy the verdant surroundings filled with frangipani, orchids and bougainvillea. Nature lovers and walkers love the Choupana Hills Resort which also has a spa so you’re in the right place for a spot of pampering after a day out exploring.

If you’re a beach lover, you would be best to stay at Porto Santo which lies 40 km north of Madeira. This tiny island has golden sandy beaches and is largely undeveloped so it’s just the place for a completely relaxing holiday.

Designer Travel have experts who have visited this lovely island and know Madeira well so they can tell you more about it and whether it’s going to be right choice for your next much-earned break away. We can assist you with finding exactly what you want – whether that’s a five-star hotel, a villa, boutique retreat or a walking or activity holiday, we can tailor-make an experience especially for you. Designer Travel are ABTA bonded and independent so we can search for the absolute best flights and accommodation that are out there to make you a perfect luxury holiday to Madeira. Let Designer Travel do the work of arranging your Madeiran stay so you don’t have to! Simply fill in the enquiry form or give us a call and we’ll be delighted to assist.

Key Highlights
  • Take a hop-on-hop-off tour as an easy way to see more of Funchal
  • Climb aboard a luxurious catamaran for a spot of dolphin and whale watching
  • Stroll along the Funchal Lido where you will find a wide choice of cafes, restaurants and bars
  • Cable cars can take you up to the small village of Monte and then you can take a toboggan sledge ride back down!
  • Snorkel or scuba dive to see some of the local aquatic life such as manta rays and barracudas
  • Nature lovers will see more of the island’s flora and fauna if they choose one of the excellent resorts located inland
  • Visit the Madeira Botanical Garden which has thousands of exotic plant species
  • The small island of Porto Santo has golden sandy beaches
  • Lots of the hotels also have excellent spas – perfect for complete relaxation
  • Madeira is a popular location with walkers and hikers and guided hikes are available
  • Car hire is recommended for ease of exploring but be aware that some of the roads can be mountainous and tricky to navigate. Parking can also be an issue in busy areas.
  • If you’re looking for an all-inclusive stay and you like to be near to a beach, consider the Pestana Porto Santo Beach Resort
  • The Cliff Bay has an amazing restaurant which has been awarded 2 Michelin Stars

Travel Information

Time Difference: GMT +1 hour

Currency: Euro

Climate Information

Summers (from May to the end of September) are hot and dry especially in the inland areas. Temperatures may be slightly lower in coastal areas.

Autumn months can often be mild with snow a possibility in some areas in winter.

Leisure & Activities

Funchal
The capital of Madeira, Funchal, is not a large city and you can probably see most of its highlights within a day, but it’s still well worth a visit. This picturesque city has some interesting architecture and a fantastic market. There’s also a brilliant (and cheap) cable car which can take you up to Monte Village where you will experience stunning views over Funchal.

Diving in Madeira Aquarium
This is definitely a unique opportunity! First of all, you are given instruction from an experienced diver on how to use the dive equipment. Next you will have the chance to plunge into the massive aquarium which is home to sharks, rays and hundreds of fish. Friends and family will be able to watch you and take photographs while you are inside the tank.

Whale and Dolphin Watching
The waters around Madeira are some of the best in the world to view whales and dolphins. There’s a 90 per cent chance you will see at least 1 or 2 species of dolphin. There are many companies on the island who can offer these fantastic boat trips.

Hotels in Madeira