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Holidays in Madeira

Madeira is famous for its breathtaking landscapes and botanical beauty, but this sun-drenched island is home to traditional villages, fresh seafood and plenty of adventure too. The bustling capital, Funchal, is where you'll find everything from cable car rides to boat trips around the island. Affectionately known as the ‘Pearl of the Atlantic’; on your holiday to Madeira, you can hike through the lush, emerald green mountains at the heart of the island or sunbathe on the golden sands of Porto Santo.

22 °C

Travel between May and September, when the climate is comfortably warm with little rainfall.

3.5 to 4 hours

The only airport on the island is Madeira Airport (FNC), around 16km northeast of the city of Funchal.

Book a Thomas Cook holiday to Madeira for lush, green scenery, remarkable black sand beaches and quaint little towns with cobbled streets.

 

Recommended offers in Madeira

The Cliff Bay Hotel

7 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
Hotel highlights
  • 2 Michelin-starred restaurant
  • Two pools with ocean views
  • Stunning location

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 2887 reviews

Thomas Cook Customer Rating
Based on 6 reviews

What is included ?

  • 20kgs Luggage Allowance
  • ATOL Protection
  • Resort service
  • Your Seat Choice*
  • Return Transfers

Porto Santa Maria

7 Nights, Half Board
Hotel highlights
  • In Funchal's Old Town
  • Set on the seafront promenade
  • Adults Only 16+

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 1832 reviews

Thomas Cook Customer Rating
Based on 15 reviews

What is included ?

  • 15kgs Standard Luggage Allowance
  • ATOL Protection
  • Resort service
  • Return Transfers

Four Views Monumental

7 Nights, Half Board
Hotel highlights
  • Close to Funchal's Lido
  • Pool sun terrace with great ocean views
  • Relaxing spa

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 1140 reviews

Thomas Cook Customer Rating
Based on 23 reviews

What is included ?

  • 15kgs Standard Luggage Allowance
  • ATOL Protection
  • Resort service
  • Return Transfers

Hotel Porto Mare

7 Nights, Bed & Breakfast
Hotel highlights
  • Seafront location
  • Spa/wellness centre
  • Tennis courts

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 2072 reviews

Thomas Cook Customer Rating
Based on 10 reviews

What is included ?

  • 20kgs Luggage Allowance
  • ATOL Protection
  • Resort service
  • Your Seat Choice*
  • Return Transfers

Enotel Lido Madeira

7 Nights, All Inclusive
Hotel highlights
  • Close to Funchal's Lido
  • Set on the seafront promenade
  • Outdoor pool overlooking the ocean

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 2465 reviews

Thomas Cook Customer Rating
Based on 10 reviews

What is included ?

  • 15kgs Standard Luggage Allowance
  • ATOL Protection
  • Resort service
  • Return Transfers

Madeira’s largest city, Funchal, is located on the south coast of the island. For a taste of Madeiran life, take a wander through its narrow streets. Sample authentic Madeiran dishes like sopa de tomate e cebola, a tomato and onion soup topped with a poached egg, in one of its many traditional restaurants. Quaint little art galleries, museums and markets can be found throughout the city. Just six kilometres east of Funchal is the quiet seaside village of Caniço de Baixo. An oasis of calm, the idyllic resort is perched upon a hill overlooking the sea. Take a stroll along the cliffs and admire the panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.

For unforgettable views of Madeira’s rich landscape, visit the tiny village of Curral das Freiras or the dramatic cliff face at Cabo Girão. Explore Funchal’s Gothic Sé Cathedral and travel by cable car up to the charming little village of Monte, which offers dazzling views over Funchal Bay. Take advantage of Madeira’s crystal clear waters and go scuba-diving in Garajau National Marine Park. For fun in the sun, take the kids to Aquaparque waterpark or the picturesque black sand beach at Praia de Laje.

Food in Madeira is rustic and hearty, with its roots in traditional peasant cooking. Meat lovers will enjoy tucking into a plate of espetada; mouth-watering chunks of beef marinated in garlic, salt and bay leaves and then cooked on a skewer over a hot grill. Fish is fresh and plentiful across the island, with tuna and cod playing a big part in the local diet. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll want to try bolo de mel; a dark, sticky honey cake which dates back to the 15th century. A trip to Madeira isn’t complete without a glass of the local tipple, the famous Madeira wine.


If you’re looking for things to do in Madeira, why not try a day at the beach? Madeira beaches are known for their warm, clear blue waters and rich, black sand. Visit the tranquil beach at Calhau da Lapa or take in the rugged natural beauty of Porto Moniz, which is dotted with giant black lava rocks. One of the best places to visit near Madeira is the island of Porto Santo, with its long stretches of soft, golden sand and azure blue water. Porto Santo was once the home of Christopher Columbus and is popular for its peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.

Two-thirds of Madeira is classed as a nature reserve, so you’re never far from lush green scenery or a dramatic landscape. Some of the most awe-inspiring attractions in Madeira can be found in the mountains. One of the most beautiful places in Madeira is Cabo Girão, the second highest cliff face in the world, which offers dazzling views from the top. Venture off the beaten track to see Curral das Freiras (‘Nuns’ Valley’), a tiny village hidden between two mountains at the centre of the island. For something more explosive, visit the volcanic caves of São Vicente and learn about the volcanic eruption that gave birth to Madeira 400,000 years ago.

MADEIRA IS BEST FOR...

Adventurers: Madeira is great for walking, trekking or cycling. Discover the towering cliffs, beautiful views and tumbling waterfalls on the dramatic coast.

Culture lovers: Sample unlimited local food and wine, listen to a fado singer and watch dancers in traditional dress.

Beach lovers: Explore the golden sandy beach  and soak up the sun at Porto Santo.


FAST FACTS

Language: The language spoken in Madeira is Portuguese.

Currency: The currency used in Madeira is the Euro (€).

Local time: Madeira has the same time as GMT/UK time.

Fly to: The only airport on the island is Madeira Airport (FNC), around 16km northeast of the city of Funchal.

Flight time from UK: 3.5-4 hours

Tourist Information: Further Madeira tourist information can be found at www.visitmadeira.pt

Visa & Health:Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to Madeira.


WEATHER AND CLIMATE

Temperature: Between the mid-teens and early 20s (°C).

Best time to visit Madeira: Between May and September when the climate is comfortably warm with little rainfall.

Madeira weather is lovely and mild during the summer. Thanks to the Gulf Stream, the weather in Madeira stays warm throughout the year, with an average temperature of 17 °C during the winter. Remember to bring a brolly though; Madeira’s sub-tropical climate means that rain is likely.


GETTING AROUND

By taxi: With a number of ranks dotted around Funchal, taxis are an easy and convenient way of getting around the island. They’re easy to identify too; look out for the yellow cabs with blue stripes down the side.

By bus: Madeira has reliable and cheap buses that serve the whole island.

By hire car: If you fancy being adventurous, hire a car and explore the mountainous terrain outside of the city.


EVENTS

Wine Rally: Speed junkies won’t want to miss this annual car racing event in August. Check the race course beforehand so you can find a good spot along the roads to watch.  

Wine Festival: For a real taste of Madeiran culture, head to this local fiesta at the end of August. Traditional parades, regional food and live music are just some of the cultural activities that you can expect during the event.

Nature Festival: Held for one week in October, the Madeira Nature Festival is a fantastic chance for the whole family to enjoy a range of outdoor activities. From bird watching to horseback riding, there’s an outdoor pursuit for every taste.

Atlantic Festival: Enjoy this cultural and fun event; with music, fireworks and street performances every Saturday night throughout June.


Why choose Thomas Cook

With hotels available to suit every person and every budget look no further than Thomas Cook for your getaway this year!

  • Thousands of hotels to choose from
  • Dedicated online customer service
  • Over 175 years of travel experience
  • Award winning travel company
  • Thousands of destinations worldwide
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