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Scenic port madeira

Madeira holidays

Madeira makes an ideal destination for families, couples and single travellers, with plenty on offer to provide anyone with a fantastic holiday. Whether you prefer a relaxing beach holiday, a chance to explore a fascinating city or the thrill of adrenaline sports, you can have it all and more on holidays in Madeira.

Why go?

Whatever you look for in a holiday, Madeira is the perfect destination, whether it's a romantic break for two or a fun-filled family getaway.

Your choice of activities need not be limited and you can make the most of the spectacular surroundings, such as the walking trails which follow the old irrigation channels that run across the mountains. The mountains themselves offer great vantage points for looking down on the whole island and have a number of secret coves just waiting to be explored. Holidays here are the perfect opportunity to discover the hidden treasures of this beautiful island.

Beaches might not be Madeira's main draw as a large proportion of them are pebbly and the sand you might find is of the black volcanic variety. But if you want to lounge on a more traditional beach then you can hop on the ferry over to nearby Porto Santo, which boasts 9km of golden, sandy coastline. If you just want to swim, then most of the hotels in Funchal have their own pools and there are a number of other resorts which welcome tourists at Santa Cruz, Canico, Garajau, Machico and Canical. These destinations all have their own appeal, such as the National Marine Park at Garajau, the annual 'festa' in Canical which sees the water teeming with brightly coloured boats and a fun-filled water park at Santa Cruz with slides and pools for the children and a bar for the adults.

The capital of Madeira, Funchal, is not only home to Funchal Airport (FNC) but is also dotted with old hotels and bakeries where you can enjoy a delicious slice of the cake to which Madeira gives its name. By day, you can shop for hand-crafted lace tablecloths and other souvenirs. For evening entertainment, there are clubs, bars and restaurants and if you are feeling lucky then you can head to the Casino de Madeira.

If you are planning a trip to the island this year and need some help, read on for more information and use TravelSupermarket's search tool to find cheap holidays to Madeira.

When to go?

Set in the Atlantic only an hour north of the Canaries, Madeira enjoys a great climate year round.

The weather in Madeira is reliably warm but not too hot, with highs around 33C and lows of 17C in the summer months.

However, the winter sees temperatures drop by an average of just 4 degrees, so it is still pleasantly balmy, making it an excellent choice for winter warmth.

What's on?

Anyone considering taking their holidays in Madeira might want to schedule their trip around one of the local events for which the region is famous.

Firework display; New Year's Eve: This display is such a spectacle that it has made it into the Guinness Book of Records. The bay at Funchal is always brimming with ships which have to arrive early to ensure they have a prime spot from which to view the pyrotechnics.

Madeira Carnival; February/March: The spirit of fun is not limited to the New Year and carnival season centres on Mardi Gras, with parades featuring singing, dancing, musicians and brightly coloured costumes. The 'trapalhao' parade welcomes all participants and people make their own outfits depicting caricatures or island life.

Madeira Flower Festival; Spring: Spring sees the horticultural attractions of the flower festival, which incorporates more parades, floats and costumes, all featuring the fragrant flowers for which the island is famous. The festival also features concerts, competitions and dances.


What to do?

Why not enjoy some of these activities on the island?

 

Relaxing: Visit the botanical gardens in Funchal to see fragrant flowers, beautiful birds and plenty of picnic spots.

Active types: More adventurous hikers will be rewarded by spectacular views on the route between the two highest peaks on the island, Pico Ruivo and Pico do Arieiro.

Families: Madeira has everything you need for keeping kids of any ages amused. You can go on outings such as riding a cable car to Monte, a town high above sea-level which overlooks banana groves and precariously constructed dwellings. The return journey is in a wicker toboggan piloted by drivers who relish the opportunity to build up a bit of speed, making it a truly unforgettable experience. There are plenty of other family-friendly activities, such as the Madeira Story Centre in Funchal which tells the story of the island's history, making it ideal for families with an interest in learning about local life.

Sporty types: Watersports enthusiasts will love Madeira. From scuba diving and water skiing to surfing and sailing, you can indulge your favourite hobbies in the crystal-clear waters which are usually between 18 and 23 degrees C. If your interest lies more with the native inhabitants of the sea you can go whale-spotting and dolphin-watching and might also get to see mantas, rays and barracudas.