Reasons to Visit
A Portuguese archipelago, Madeira is blessed with a year-round mild and sunny climate, gorgeous scenery, dramatic coastlines and a charming capital city, Funchal. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, just northwest of the Canary Islands, it’s a short distance from most major European cities making cheap holidays to Madeira convenient and easy to get to.
Things to See and Do
From exploring Funchal’s flower markets, cobbled streets, cathedrals, shops and restaurants to whale-watching trips and partaking in watersports like diving and windsurfing, Madeira offers a multitude of things to see and do. Once you’ve explored Funchal, head to the smaller resorts and seaside villages like Santa Cruz, Machico and Garajau to get away from the crowds and to see the island’s extraordinary volcanic landscapes and “levada” walking trails.
The Funchal cable car ride takes you from the seafront promenade up to the historic village of Monte and is one of the best things to do as a family. From there, head to the Fortaleza de São Tiago, or Fort of St James, located near the cable car terminal on the Funchal seafront. Here, explore the passageways, tunnels and the Museum of Contemporary Art. The Madeira Aquarium, housed in the renovated São João Baptista Fort in Porto Moniz, boasts 12 display tanks, each one representing a specific theme and highlighting local species. There’s also the popular Aqua Park located near Santa Cruz not far from Funchal International Airport that is always a hit with the kids, and The Living Science Centre not far from the aquarium that is also worth a visit.
Madeira’s climate consists of hot, dry summers (April to September) and mild winters with some rainfall (October to March). The cooling winds that hit the island help keep summer temperatures more comfortable. In summer, the average daily high is around the mid 20°Cs, but temperatures above 30°C are not uncommon. In the “winter”, daytime temperatures are around 20°C and rarely fall below 10°C but rainfall is high from December to February.