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Madeira - A Jewel in the Atlantic

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

Situated in the Atlantic Ocean off of the coast of Africa, Madeira is just four hours from the UK. The island’s capital is Funchal situated in the south and hosts a wealth of tourist resorts.

The climate has been described as the best in the world. Although obviously subjective, it is still a prized accolade; it’s hot, but never too hot. It can get chilly during the winter months, but hardly ever very cold. Rain is mainly winter season and the summer enjoys a mostly dry climate.

Madeira appears to be less famous than its neighbours to the south, the Canary Islands. However, it is not an inferior holiday destination in any way, shape or form. To call Madeira a little known resort would be untrue; however I think it fair to say it is perhaps sometimes overlooked as a primary holiday destination.

Madeira attracts approximately 1.19 million foreign tourists per year; predominately from the UK, Germany and France. The Brits were the first recognise the island as a favourable holiday destination during the nineteenth century.

Boasting a volcanic mountainous landscape there is some fantastic scenery to enjoy. Well worth visiting are Ponta de Sao Lourenco a nature reserve to the east with stunning rock formations and tremendous views, the Sao Vicente Caves, the Levada Walks which is a system of aqueducts with more than two dozen waterfalls along the way and Cabo Girao which is one of the highest ocean cliffs in the world, offering unbelievable views (complete with Glass Skywalk if you’re tough enough). With the tag “the floating garden” its reputation for spectacular plant life and vegetation is fully justified. A visit to one of its Nature Reserves or Parks is a must. There are also plenty of high standard beaches mainly featuring black volcanic sand with crystal clear waters. Beaches in the North and North West are also popular with Surfers, whilst waters off the island can offer some good Diving.

There are many tourist attractions, tours, experiences and places of interest to enjoy. Arguably Madeira’s most famous of these being the Monte Toboggan Run. If you have not heard of this, then basically it involves being sat in a wicker basket at the top of the city of Funchal and then pushed and guided by two “drivers” you glide down the hilly streets. The Madeira Botanical Garden is also well worth a visit; home to more than two thousand plants and laid out on hillside settings it also offers some spectacular views. For a comprehensive listing of things to do, places to see etc. visit TripAdvisor

Meat dishes are very popular in Madeira and consequently figure highly on restaurant menus. As you would expect being an island, fish also plays a significant part in the region’s cuisine with Tuna steaks being a favourite. As for drink, there is of course the one and only Madeira Wine produced in a number of varieties (said to be Churchill’s favourite tipple when visiting the island) and it doesn’t disappoint. A popular drink with the locals is Poncha made with aguardente de cana (alcohol from produced from sugar cane) mixed with honey, lemon, orange and a variety of other fruit juices. Well worth trying, we’ve heard.

For Shopping, Funchal offers all the modern high street shops along with its traditional independent boutique style shops. Souvenir shops can be found all over and you would be hard pressed not find wicker products. Embroidery and related craft shops are also in abundance.

As mentioned above Madeira is somewhat understated on the holiday map and as such we think will pleasantly surprise many. It will undoubtedly become more popular over the next few years, so maybe now would be an ideal time to visit. We are currently running a feature on the island providing a gateway to our Partners listings of hundreds of holidays of all types View. Alternatively visit our Homepage for specific Short Break Deals and Holidays of every kind