Madeira is a beautiful island oasis in the Atlantic Ocean that is hugely popular with travellers. It is one of the most picturesque luxury holiday destinations in Europe, with superb flora and fauna and a year-round summer climate. Lovers of nature will be in their element when visiting, as the island has many protected reserves featuring exotic vegetation, beautifully flowered gardens and parks and stunning sub-tropical plantlife. There is excellent variety in the surroundings, ranging from imperious mountain peaks to lovely seashores. For outstanding golden beaches, Porto Santo Island can be reached by flight or ferry, and is only a stone’s throw away from Madeira’s capital, Funchal. The highlight on Porto Santo is the nine-kilometre golden beach, which does not disappoint for beauty and enjoyment, as soft sands are accompanied by stunning cliffs and natural rock pools. Funchal itself is widely regarded as Europe’s cleanest and most picturesque capital. A rejuvenated location, it has evolved into a cosmopolitan and modern city. It is also the birthplace of world-class footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo. Madeira also has a historical feel, with Funchal featuring many traditional squares, churches and a cathedral. Visitors can also indulge in local pleasures, such as colourful street markets selling fantastic local produce. Madeira is very family-friendly, with Santa Cruz Aqua Park featuring water slides, swimming pools and a lazy river. Madeira Theme Park is fun for adults and children, featuring outdoor sports and attractions that mix entertainment with education and culture. The island also has a mini-zoo, Quinta das Palmeiras, which is a small oasis full of exotic birds. The colourful São Tiago Fort is home to the Contemporary Art Museum of Funchal, and also features bright yellow walls and an elegant restaurant. There are a variety of other museums as well, including the City Museum and the Library Museum, featuring an excellent Christopher Columbus collection. The Madeira Story Centre is superb, utilising interactive features as visitors discover the history of the archipelago. For outdoor lovers, Madeira’s Levada walks are a fantastic way of taking in the stunning views, landscapes and mountainous terrain of the island. The Levadas provide easy and safe access to many of Madeira’s outdoor environments.
Beaches and the Outdoors
The nine-kilometre golden beach on the nearby island of Porto Santo provides an idyllic and impressive beachfront location. A favourite swimming spot, visitors can also enjoy scuba-diving on a shipwreck and amongst the marine life. The island of Madeira has exceptional natural beauty, offering superb hiking trails in forests that provide stunning mountain views.
The capital of Madeira, Funchal, is a modern and cosmopolitan city, rejuvenated with superb restaurants and five-star hotels. Located in the south of Madeira, the city has a stunning mountain backdrop, lovely coastlines and beautiful, lush plantlife and gardens. The city also has an historic flavour, while the nightlife is bustling and lively.
Funchal offers many top-class restaurants. The Michelin Star restaurant, Il Gallo d’Oro, can be found at The Cliff Bay luxury hotel, where diners can savour the superb gourmet cuisine, which has Mediterranean and Iberian influences.
This small village is situated on the hills overlooking Funchal, and is famous for its thrilling toboggan rides. Visitors can slide down the narrow and winding streets on two-seater wicker sledges. These rides are only for the brave, as speeds of up to 48-kilometres-an-hour can be reached! For a more serene experience, Monte Village provides stunning views of Funchal and the island. This traditional and famous village is a destination that visitors to Madeira will not want to miss and can be reached by cable-car, which travels from beautiful botanical gardens.
Volcanism Centre and Caves of São Vicente
Set in the charming village of São Vicente, the Volcanism Centre charts the birth of Madeira as an island. Audiovisual entertainment displays volcanic history and eruptions in an educational and cultural fashion. Visitors can also enjoy the famous volcanic caves, taking in complex tunnels that feature lava accumulations and volcanic stalactites.
Whale and Dolphin-watching
Whale and dolphin-watching is available in Madeira, thanks to the islands unique, mid-ocean location. A variety of different species may be spotted, including Pilot, Humpback and, possibly, even rare Beaked Whales, as well as Atlantic Spotted, Bottlenose and Striped Dolphins.
Madeira is renowned for its wine, as the island has a long winemaking history. The fine wine comes in a variety of styles, from dry wines to sweeter variations, a perfect accompaniment with a lovely dessert. Naturally, wine tours are plentiful on the island, allowing visitors to explore the beautiful vineyards and sample the luscious, lip-smacking vintages.
For enthusiastic golfers, Madeira is an outstanding destination. There are four top-class courses, including the championship course at Ponta do Pargo, which was designed by British golfer, Sir Nick Faldo, and Porto Santo Golf Course, designed by the legendary Seve Ballesteros. Madeira’s beautiful climate makes it the ideal setting for playing an enjoyable round, and the stunning cliffs and ocean views provide a spectacular backdrop.
Even with year-round, mild and sub-tropical temperatures, Madeira's spring is still the most beautiful; warm with flowers in full bloom.
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Madeira.
British Airways and Easyjet fly from London Gatwick to Madeira. Regional UK departures and charter flights are also available.
From London Gatwick to Madeira: 4 hours.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.