Pools and sea
Madeira is famous for its lidos, or outdoor pools – you’ll find them at Funchal and Caniço. Calheta, meanwhile, offers two man-made golden-sand beaches with stunning mountain views to rival them all. And Machico has a new beach made from glorious grains imported all the way from the western Sahara.
Resorts with flavour
Calheta, on the south-west coast, has a beautiful marina and a clifftop arts centre, plus plenty of old churches to explore. Caniço has a traditional village square, and a modern area dotted with fancy villas and hotels. And if it’s malls, markets and restaurants you’re after, the capital, Funchal, really delivers.
The waters around the island are great for surfing, scuba diving and big-game fishing. If you’re searching for something majestic, take a boat out to watch the whales and dolphins – there are about 20 species swimming in these waters! On dry land, it’s all about mountain walks or even canyoning.