An upmarket tourist destination
The Portuguese island of Madeira is an upmarket tourist destination, with a wonderful subtropical climate and breathtaking scenery. Madeira, known as ‘the floating garden in the Atlantic’, is located 1,000km from Europe and 600km from the African coast, and is home to a stunning landscape, encompassing majestic mountain ranges, craggy volcanic caves and an array of lush tropical vegetation. Madeira holidays, a favourite with nature lovers, in particular botanists, walkers and hikers, attract discerning travellers, keen on exploring the natural beauty and rich history and culture of the island.
Stroll round the elegant capital city of Funchal
The main tourist area of Madeira is the capital city, Funchal, which is located along the south-east coast, and enjoys some of the best weather on the island. A bustling colourful city, Funchal stretches from the deep natural harbour, with its’ busy port, up to the residential areas throughout the hills, and includes a downtown area and a tourist district.
Full of steep cobbled streets filled with elegant colonial mansions and plenty of lush tropical plants and palms, Funchal offers a unique flavour and charming atmosphere. Although the capital, Funchal, is home to a Blue Flag black pebble beach, the island of Madeira has a rugged rocky coastline, and is not blessed with sandy beaches. Beach lovers can make the 2 hour trip over to the glorious island of Porto Santo however, with its’ 9km stretch of soft white sands, known to have therapeutic qualities.
The ideal destination for nature-lovers and walkers
Most of the hotels in Madeira are of a particularly high standard, ranging from charming ‘quintas’ (restored manor houses) and guesthouses, to 4 and 5 star luxury hotels. The island of Madeira, with its’ stunning landscape, attracts plenty of walkers and hikers, with many coming to enjoy the scenic trails of the ‘levadas’ – irrigation channels carved out to allow the spring water to flow down from the mountains. Whilst holidaying in Madeira, activities to enjoy include diving, golf, tennis, horse-riding and cycling, and for the more adventurous, balloon and helicopter rides are available, with dolphin and whale-spotting trips proving popular.
Botanists come to Madeira to study the abundant exotic flora, and visit the Botanical Gardens, whilst the age-old churches, manor houses and colonial buildings attract those in search of culture and history. Whilst holidaying in Madeira, try the famous Madeira wine, and take back souvenirs such as embroidered goods, painted tiles and exotic flowers and plants. There are two airports: Madeira International Airport - on Madeira, and Porto Santo Airport, on the island of Porto Santo.
Weather in Madeira
Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira is closer to Africa than Europe providing the island with a distinctly subtropical climate. A relatively high level of rainfall gives Madeira its inviting, green shades and lush foliage. With warm temperatures throughout the year, Madeira is a perfect holiday destination whatever the season. An average temperature of 24 degrees in the summer months and a very pleasant 20 degrees in winter, Madeira is worth considering whether you are looking for a relaxing beach holiday under the sun or as a slightly cooler destination for walking and exploring in the winter.