This verdant island is known for its spectacular gardens, while the mountain scenery makes it ideal for walking holidays. And for chic bars and boutiques, there’s the capital, Funchal.
Madeira is famous for its lidos, or outdoor pools – you’ll find them at Funchal and Canico. Calheta, meanwhile, offers two man-made golden-sand beaches with stunning mountain views. And Machico has a new beach made from sand imported from the Western Sahara.
Calheta, on the southwest coast, has a beautiful marina and a clifftop arts centre, plus plenty of old churches to explore. Canico, meanwhile, has a traditional village square, and a modern part dotted with fancy villas and hotels. And if it’s malls, markets and restaurants you’re after, there’s the capital, Funchal.
The waters around the island are great for surfing, scuba diving or big-game fishing. Or take a boat and watch the whales and dolphins – there are some 20 species swimming in these waters. On land, meanwhile, it’s all about mountain walks or even canyoning.
Madeira is dotted with small, secluded beaches made from natural volcanic sand. Try Prainha, a peaceful spot 25 minutes’ drive from Funchal. And Machico, the island’s second-biggest town, has a man-made golden-sand beach that’s great for kids.
The island is famous for its flowers. You’ll find out why at the Botanical Gardens in Funchal. These are on a hillside, so you’ll also get some unbeatable views of the city.
The natural lava pools in Porto Moniz are a natural phenomenon you won’t find elsewhere. Take a swim and enjoy the beautiful mountain scenery.
You’ll find bolo do caco, a type of bread served warm with garlic butter and parsley, on pretty much every menu. And you can’t go home without trying some of the world-famous Madeira wine.
Funchal has plenty of charming boutiques selling local handicrafts, as well as major malls like the Forum Madeira. Here you’ll find familiar names like Zara and H&M, as well as a five-screen cinema.
Madeira’s nightlife is mainly centred in Funchal. Head down to the marina for tapas and cocktails, or go downtown and check out one of the clubs.
Madeira is a Portuguese island in the north Atlantic. It’s about 400km north of Tenerife and the Canary Islands.
Beerfrom €1 a bottle
3 course mealfrom €16 upwards