A blissful tropical climate softened by Atlantic trade winds, pinkish-white, sugar-soft beaches, fabulous scuba diving, and laid-back catamaran cruises… These are just some of the fabulous experiences to be savoured in one of the Caribbean’s most popular and welcoming destinations - Barbados.
Madeira – a place for everyone to feel at home
Thanks to its year-round pleasant climate (18C in Winter) and short flight time from the UK (four hours), Madeira is an excellent choice for families looking to get away for a short break over half term in October or February, or for something a little longer during the end of term breaks over Christmas and Easter. These are some of the activities to include in your next family visit over school holidays.
Combine mountain hiking with beach relaxation
The main Madeira Island is about 57 km long and 23 km wide which means that everything is within easy reach without being required to spend several hours in the car or public transport. The possibility of living different experiences on the same day is quite appealing for families to ensure the little ones don’t get bored.
If you’re travelling with young children, you may find some of the mountains to be too challenging in which case Madeira’s Levadas are the ideal alternative. These shallow waterways cross over the island, providing almost flat routes that wind through dense forest and farmland, and by babbling streams and plunging waterfalls.
Cable care ride to Monte (with a thrilling descent)
Located beside the island’s Old Town is the Campo Almirante Reis Garden where you’ll find the base of the cable car that takes you to Monte. A scenic ride in its own right, the cable car takes you up to the Mount Palace Gardens where you can take in arresting views of the surrounding island before hopping aboard one of Madeira’s most unique oddities, the wicker baskets. Large enough to comfortably accommodate two fully grown adults, the baskets are operated by expert drivers who guide them safely down the slopes, following the tradition set by wealthier local residents as a mode of transport to get down into town from Monte.
Whale and dolphin watching
Thanks to warm currents coming from the Mediterranean and North Africa, Madeira ‘s coastal waters are home to an abundance of marine life at all times of year. To help you make the most of this biodiverse area, your Travel Counsellor can arrange a boat trip out to see dolphins and other marine life – several species can be seen off Madeira throughout the year, including bottlenose dolphins and pilot and sperm whales. If you are lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a monk seal, one of the rarest sea mammals in the world.
Test your taste for heights
At Cabo Girão, you can stand upon a glass ledge perched some 589 metres above the Atlantic Ocean, overhanging from a soaring cliff. The most daring guests can even look down to see the tumbling waves beneath their feet.
Test a swim with a view
Around the island’s coastline, volcanic rock pools have been carved by nature into the land to form idyllic bathing spots for warm sunny days. On the south side of the island, you can take a swim along the Promenade at the Doca do Cavacas, and on the north coast you can visit the very popular pools at Porto Moniz.
Enjoy the festivities around Christmas and New Year
Christmas and New Year are big dates in the Madeiran calendar and whether you’re there for the big days themselves, or during the lead up you’ll feel the magic and joy that these events bring to the island.
Madeira’s Christmas Markets have earned their place on the map of European festive markets, alongside those found in Central Europe. The characterful wooden huts sell delicacies and handicrafts from across Madeira, making ideal gifts to take home for family and friends.
For more advice on how best to spend your time in Madeira, or to book your next visit, get in touch today
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