03 October 2017
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago of four wild and beautiful islands off the northwest coast of Africa. Just under 400km north of Tenerife and 520km from the African coast, Madeira is known its year-round warmth – and its eponymous wine!
Did you know?
When to visit Madeira
Madeira’s warm year-round climate means it’s a perfect destination to visit at any time of the year. Temperatures in the summer months average 19 degrees Celsius, with winter temperatures averaging 15 degrees Celsius.
Some of the events not to be missed are:
A taste of Madeira
Try Madeiran Christmas cake Bolo de Mel, a rich honey cake that you can now buy all year round.
As well as fortified wine, Madeira also produces arguardente – a rum made from distilled sugar syrup. The aged rum is drunk as a digestif and with lemon and honey when young.
Spend a lazy afternoon in Funchal people watching from under the shade of an umbrella at one of the pavement tables of the Café do Teatro on Avenida Arriaga. Close to the Cathedral, it has a fabulous selection of teas, coffees, cakes and ice-creams.
Dine out at what is considered Madeira’s most romantic destination - Restaurante do Forte. It sits in the walls of Funchal’s ancient Sao Tiago fort and if you book one of the more luxurious tasting menus, they will pick you up from your hotel in a vintage Rolls Royce!
Try Madeiran bread soup, or açorda. It is flavoured with garlic and coriander and topped with a poached egg.
Put on your Sunday best and take afternoon tea at Belmond Reid’s Palace, the hotel where Churchill stayed in 1949 as he wrote volume four of his memoirs, the Hinge of Fate.
Sights to see in Madeira
Wander the narrow, cobbled streets and browse the shops in the beautiful old town of the capital Funchal.
Take a walk in the mountains on some of the 2,200 km of footpaths that run alongside the island’s hillside irrigation channels, or levadas, for some awe-inspiring views.
Visit the Old Blandy Wine Lodge and taste the island’s eponymous wine and learn about its four types: Malmsey, Boal, Verdelho and Sercial.
Take a cable car from Funchal up to Monte. Admire the palace and its gardens then clamber into a wicker basket and let the straw-hatted toboggan drivers, or carreiros, guide your hair-raising descent down the narrow streets back to Livramento.
Spend the day at one of the lidos that line the coastline by Funchal to soak up the sun and enjoy the safety of the rocky pools as you listen to the waves crash against the cliffs below you.
Try something a little different…
Spend a morning at the Mercado dos Lavradores in Funchal. This busy Art Deco market hall sells plenty of souvenirs as well as fruit, vegetables and flowers, including the ubiquitous birds of paradise.
Take a day trip to Porto Santo, the pretty island with a magnificent golden sandy beach that was home to Christopher Columbus.
Take a boat trip to admire the stunning coastline. There are plenty of boat trips to choose from, whether you’re hoping to try deep sea fishing or want to go whale and dolphin watching.
Stroll around the Jardim Botânico, relax in its shaded gardens, and wonder at the tropical plants that thrive in Madeira’s warm climate.
For more ideas about what to do in Madeira, when to go or where to stay, get in touch with your Travel Counsellor.