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Language: Portuguese | Currency: Euros (€) | Local time: UTC | Avg. Flight time: 4 hrs
British Airways, easyJet have direct flights from London Gatwick (LGW) to Madeira Airport (FNC), which is also known as Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport. Flights are available throughout the year, with a flight time of just under four hours. Once you’ve landed, you can rent a car or take a taxi to your destination if your hotel doesn’t have a shuttle service to pick you up. The airport is about 21km (13 miles) away from Funchal and you should expect to pay about £20 for a taxi to the city centre.
Travellers outside of London can reach Madeira easily too. Jet2 flies direct from Nottingham (EMA), while easyJet dominates the route between Bristol (BRS) and Madeira.
In addition to commercial airlines, TUI and Thomas Cook also offer charter flights from the UK to Madeira.
Conventional wisdom suggests that indirect flights are cheaper, but not in this case. Taking TAP Portugal with a stopover in Lisbon may cost you twice that of a direct flight.
However, Lisbon is a lovely city, so if you want to spend a few days exploring Lisbon before or after your trip to Madeira, booking a flight with a stopover there makes sense.
Madeira Airport is known by pilots and passengers alike for being one of the most frightening places to land in the world. With regular high winds, an incredibly short runway, and the mountains and sea on either side, it’s certainly a challenge for pilots.
For those who’d rather not fly at all, it’s worth noting that Madeira is a popular cruise stop.
If you can avoid the most popular summer months, between June and September, and the busy period between Christmas and New Year, you’ll usually be rewarded with incredibly cheap return flights. However, even in the busiest months of year, the number of airlines flying to Madeira means that there are often empty seats - and last-minute sales could work in your favour.
When researching your flights to Madeira, you may come across another airport called Porto Santo (PXO), which is on an island 43km (27 miles) north-east of Madeira. Only TUI flies direct to Porto Santo from the UK, but plenty of indirect flights are available.