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Madeira holidays will take you to a land of breathtaking landscapes and botanical beauty. This sun-drenched island is known as ‘the Floating Garden’, so you can expect lots of colour, from the turquoise coastline to the scarlet poinsettias that cover the landscape. Walkers will love trekking through the lush scenery. Or you can head for a beautiful beach at Porto Santo for an afternoon in the sunshine with the kids. Explore Madeira’s traditional villages and enjoy fresh seafood in a local taverna. Or head for the bustling capital for Funchal for a cosmopolitan affair. It’s up to you to make holidays in Madeira your own.
Enjoy hot and sunny summer highs
Fly from many UK departure points to Madeira Airport (FNC)
Book a Thomas Cook holiday to Madeira for lush, green scenery, remarkable black sand beaches and quaint little towns with cobbled streets.
What is included ?
What is included ?
What is included ?
What is included ?
What is included ?
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.
It’s no wonder Madeira is called the ‘Pearl of the Atlantic’: you can experience the true beauty of the island’s rich landscape from the tiny village of Curral das Freiras. Or soak up the unspoilt views from the dramatic cliff face at Cabo Girão. Looking for history? Explore Funchal’s Gothic Sé Cathedral, or travel by cable car up to the charming little village of Monte. Water spots enthusiasts will love the crystal-clear waters. Head to Garajau National Marine Park for spectacular scuba-diving. If you have the kids with you then there are plenty of family-friendly attractions to try out in Madeira, and top of the list has to be the Aquaparque waterpark. This popular attraction is the perfect place for family fun.
Holidays in Madeira aren’t complete without tucking into some classic Madeiran fare. Rooted in peasant cooking, you can expect hearty dishes with rustic flavours like juicy espetada; that’s tender beef marinated in garlic, salt and bay leaves and then cooked on a skewer over a hot grill. Fresh fish dishes come with the territory. Tuna and cod are firm favourites among locals. When it comes to dessert, those with a sweet tooth will adore bolo de mel; a dark, sticky honey cake that dates back to the 15th century. And you can’t leave without trying a glass, or two, of famous Madeira wine.
Madeira’s beaches are known for their warm, clear blue waters and deep, black sand. There are lots of sandy resorts dotted along the coastline, including Calhau da Lapa, which is a haven of tranquillity. If you’re seeking rugged beauty, head for Porto Moniz; the natural salt-water swimming pools are a highlight here. Porto Santo Island, which was once the home of Christopher Columbus, is an absolute must for any beach lover; it boasts endless stretches of soft, golden sand running alongside azure blue waters. It’s ideal if you want to get away from it all.
Did you know that two thirds of Madeira is classed as a nature reserve? Whenever you go on your Madeira, you’ll never been too far from lush green scenery and dramatic landscapes. One of the most stunning destinations is Cabo Girão, the second highest cliff face in the world. Expect awe-inspiring views from the top, but don’t get too close to the edge, as it’s a long way down! Venture off the beaten track to see Curral das Freiras (‘Nuns’ Valley’); it’s a tiny village tucked between two towering mountains at the centre of the island. Over at São Vicente you’ll discover volcanic caves. It’s a great place to learn about the volcanic eruption that gave birth to Madeira 400,000 years ago.
Being home to lush green landscapes, Madeira’s a great place to holiday if you’re passionate about golf. With two courses to choose from, you’ll be able to stretch your legs and get in a game. Here you can aim for a hole in one while looking out at some of the most breathtaking views of the island and the Atlantic Ocean. Santo da Serra has made it on the golfing map by hosting the Madeira Open, which has seen some of the best talent the PGA European Tour has to offer.
If you love trying something new, go canyoning on your next getaway to Madeira. It’s considered one of the best places in the world to do it, and you can enjoy the beautiful weather while you’re at it. Whether you’re walking, climbing, jumping, abseiling or swimming in the canyon, you’ll be in the best place to experience all its beauty. It’s important to do your research before booking any trip, and make sure you’re aware of all safety gear needed, like helmets and wetsuits.
Uncover a different side to Madeira when you take a jeep expedition. Whether you’re looking to discover the vast landscape or explore the seashore, there'll be a tour that suits you. Travel deep into the wilderness, where you can spot wildlife in their natural habitat as well as look out at panoramic views from some of the most awe-inspiring vantage points. There’s no valley, mountain or highland you can’t reach. Just make sure you pack your camera, plenty of water and snacks to keep you going for the day ahead.
Madeira is a mountain biking paradise for those who love exploring an offbeat path. No matter your skill level, there’s a trail just for you. There isn’t very much flat terrain on the island, which is why it’s such a fantastic place for riders. Take your bike on the open road and ride cross country, by the sea, in the mountains and amongst the dirt. It’s no surprise that with such varied and beautiful scenery that Madeira has become popular with mountain bikers from around the world.
Are you looking for a festive break over Christmas or the New Year? Well, Madeira is a fantastic place to get into the spirit of things. Not only will you be able to make the most of the sunny weather, but one thing you might not know about this Portuguese island is that you can find traditional Christmas markets here. Walk around and enjoy everything from Christmas carols to exotic flowers and souvenirs. If you’re staying beyond the Christmas period, Funchal is the best place to ring in the New Year with its extraordinary fireworks display.
Originally toboggan rides were used as a fast way to travel from Monte down the steep hill to Funchal; today people from all over the world come here to experience this unique attraction. It’s one of Madeira’s oldest forms of transport and gives you a chance to soak up the sights while feeling the wind in your hair. It’s also a great photo opportunity to get snaps with the Carreiros, who dress traditionally in white, paired with straw hats. But, be prepared for a thrill ride as these wicker toboggans can reach up to speeds of 30mph!
Adventurers: Trek or cycle through Madeira’s stunning landscape, which is one of the finest anywhere in Europe. Discover towering cliffs, tumbling waterfalls, and a dramatic coastline.
Culture lovers: Experience local food and wine; listen to a soulful fado singer; and watch folk dancers in traditional dress.
Beach lovers: Explore golden sandy shoes and soak up the sun on Porto Santo Island; Madeira’s little sister lives 50km offshore.
Language: The language spoken in Madeira is Portuguese.
Currency: The currency used in Madeira is the Euro (€).
Local time: Madeira is the same time as GMT/UK time.
Fly to: Madeira Airport. The transfer time to Funchal is about 1 hour.
Flight time from UK: The flight time to Madeira is 4 hours.
Tourist information: Find more tourist information at www.visitmadeira.pt before your Madeira holidays.
Visa & health: Visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal ahead of your holidays to Madeira for visa and health recommendations and advice.
Temperature: Expect summer highs of 30°C
Best time to visit Madeira: Between May and September, when the climate is warm and sunny, but not too hot, with little rainfall.
Madeira weather is lovely and mild during the summer. The Gulf Stream means ensures the island stays warm all year long. The average temperature is 17°C even during winter. You’ll want to bring a brolly, though, as Madeira’s sub-tropical climate means that rain is likely at this time of year.
By taxi: They’re easy to find in resorts like Funchal, and it’s a convenient way to get from the airport. Look out for the yellow cabs with blue stripes on the side.
By bus: An affordable and reliable way to travel around the island. Lots of buses run between the main resorts all year round.
By hire car: Want to travel at your own pace? Or head off the beaten track? Hiring a car is the best way to make the most of holidays in Madeira.
Wine Rally: It’s the biggest event in the region, and takes place every August. Look up the race course beforehand so you know the best place to watch the action.
Nature Festival: This week-long event is an excuse to enjoy the natural landscape and join in with outdoor pursuits. Family-friendly adventures including bird watching, kayaking and horseback riding.
Atlantic Festival: A cultural highlight of the year, it takes place across the island throughout June to make the beginning of summer. Expect music, fireworks, and street performers galore.
Wine Festival: For a real taste of Madeiran culture, head for this local fiesta. It’s held at the end of August every year to celebrate the harvest and the island’s wine-making tradition.