The paradise Island of Madeira is the main island of a group of islands lying 310 miles from the African coast. the perfect spot for a Madeira holiday just 620 miles from the European continent. The archipelago, discovered by the Portuguese in 1418, is made up of the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo and the uninhabited islands of Selvagens and Desertas.
The islands are hilly and of volcanic origin and the coast of Madeira is steep and rocky with deep eroded lava gorges running down to the sea. Porto Santo is an island of unique beauty and quite different from Madeira. It is located 40 km north-east of Madeira and its 9 km of coastline is covered in fine golden sand leading to a clear and deep blue sea. Traditional Portuguese culture and the overwhelming beauty of these natural resources make Madeira an ideal holiday destination.
Weather in Madeira
These islands, because of their privileged geographical position and mountainous relief, have a surprisingly mild climate. Very mild average temperatures, 22ºC in the summer and 16ºC in the winter, and a moderate level of humidity, confer upon these islands exceptional subtropical features. The seawater temperature is also very mild, because of the influence of the warm Gulf current, presenting averages of 22ºC in the summer and 18º in the winter. The beautiful climate of Madeira is one of its most appealing aspects. All year round, the island has spring-like temperatures with plenty of sunshine.
Events in Madeira
There are a huge variety of festivals and events in Madeira. As well as exploring the island, there is a wealth of cultural, sporting or leisure activities. For a current program of events please go to the Madeira Tourism Board
Why Choose Madeira as a holiday destination
Madeira is the perfect choice for walking holidays, once an ingenious method for irrigating the entire island, the 2000km network of levada routes lead to the most picturesque viewpoints on the island.
The island’s capital is flourished with 16th-century buildings such as Sao Lourenco Palace and Funchal Cathedral. Take a trip on a cable car to Monte which reveals the city’s ornate Monte Palace Tropical Gardens.
If you love food then Madeiran cuisine is mightily original. Dishes like garlic basted espetada skewers grilled over hot coals, bolo de mel honey cake and sweet malmsey wine are some of the best local dishes to consider.
Madeira For Families
Madeira is popular with the 55 plus as it is more low key with little structured entertainment for children, so don’t expect hotels to offer kids clubs with entertainment for your kids.
There are things for families to do on this island and its more about getting out and about and enjoying the nature on Madeira.
The Levada walks are very popular where you follow the pipes (water channels built centuries ago to distribute the water from the mountains around the islands) around the hills above Funchal. There are over 2100km of routes to walk and can be experienced with a guide.
You can take the bubble lift to the village of Monte, just above Funchal, which has great views below if you are not frightened of heights.
Then come back down the fun way taking tourist option of skidded down polished streets in wicker toboggans, beneath wrought-iron balconies spilling with flowers.
You can take a trip out to the western side of the island and swim in the sea in volcanic pools which is a little different from your normal beach holiday.
Madeira is all about the flora and vistas and is a cross between the highlands of Scotland and the New Forest with the blue sea as a backdrop.
Other things to do are jeep rides out into the island, Kayak tours, surfing lessons, Paddle Boarding, Day trip to Porto Santo Island, Porto Moniz is worth a visit to the natural pools and finally the aqua park at Santa Cruz.
Dinner in the hotels can be quite formal (they are well known for their afternoon tea!) so eating out you have the option to find some nice small restaurants in the back streets of Funchal.
Its more an outdoorsy place with little or no kids clubs on the islands so it depends on what type of family holiday you are looking for this time?
For more information see the official tourist board for Madeira
Languages Spoken: Portuguese, English
Visa requirements Visitors coming from the European Union, members of the Shengen Treaty, are granted unrestricted entry. Visitors from member states that are not signatories to this treaty need an identification document. International visitors should have a valid passport, and in some cases, a visa to visit Portugal might be requested. Please check with your local tourist authority.