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Madeira Holidays

Madeira
Overview

Madeira holidays have been popular with Brits for decades thanks to the island's botanical beauty, having been nicknamed "The Floating Garden". From the scenic coastline dotted with rocky coves to the botanical gardens and clifftop villages, Madeira holidays are some of the most naturally beautiful in Europe. This Portuguese resort boasts a year-round balmy climate, meaning you can flock here for short-haul summer island escapes and a splash of winter sun, too.

Visit the picturesque red-roof beachside villages to the west, start at Câmara de Lobos strolling up to the stunning views from observation platform 580m high at Cabo Girão. From wine tours to watching dolphins and whales up close, there's never a boring moment on this island. Historic highlights include museums like Quinta das Cruzes—home of the Portuguese captain who discovered Madeira—and Museu de Arte Sacra to get a glimpse into Madeira's rich history and culture.

Though rising in popularity, this Portuguese gem remains under the radar in comparison to the Canaries and Balearics so it's a great place to get away from it all. Tourists find it an affordable, safe base to explore nearby destinations, too. Porto Santo Island is home to some gorgeous beaches, while Porto Moniz is known for its rugged beauty and natural salt-water swimming pools. Want to dive a little deeper? The Garajau National Marine Park is a must for scuba diving on your Madeira holidays! For cosmopolitan vibes, the capital of Funchal on the south coast is full of cobbled streets, a smart marina, gorgeous beaches and lido's – plus great nightlife opportunities. Partner this with fantastic Madieran fare and your holidays to Madeira are set to be memorable.

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Places to go and things to do in Madeira
Watersports

Watersports


Madeira's prime position in the heart of the Atlantic means there's a wide variety of watersports to enjoy. Whether you're into sailing and fishing or water-skiing and surfing, the warm waters are a playground for those who love to make a splash. With cliff walks, cycle paths and gorgeous coves to boot, those who enjoy getting out and enjoying the great outdoors will be spoilt for activities. If you fancy a jaunt on the water, catch a catamaran tour for fantastic views of Funchal city and go spot of dolphin and whale watching.

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History & Culture

History & Culture


Funchal, the 500-year-old capital of Madeira, is surrounded by verdant mountains and makes for an adventurous afternoon, especially if you take the town cable car which runs high above the town. The architecture is impressive and a visit to the colourful market in the old town is a must. Enjoy a stroll in its spacious parks, or take a look at the street art and outdoor sculptures in Rua de Santa Maria. Known for its profusion of flowers, Funchal hosts the Madeira Flower Festival in late April annually.

 

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Madeira's Natural Beauty

Madeira's Natural Beauty


Madeira is heaven for eco warriors with lush forests, hiking trails across the sea view cliffs and miles of rugged coastline to explore. Laurel Forest, crowned as the world's largest subtropical forest, is a UNESCO site and full of picture-perfect peaks, waterfalls and shaded valleys. For those who love messing about on the water, why not take a day cruise in a wooden gullet. The tours pass the uninhibited Desertas Islands and stop at the picturesque coves of Baia d’Abra. Jump in for a swim at Machico Bay, where you'll find watersports, football and volleyball and plenty of seaside cafes to enjoy.

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The Great Garajau Coast

The Great Garajau Coast


This picturesque village on the south of the island is home to one of Europe’s first underwater nature reserves, so it’s an ideal destination for divers and a treasure trove for divers, snorkellers and swimmers with magnificent marine life including mantra rays, seahorses, moray and more. Garajau is just as beautiful on dry land too, catch a ride in the cable car and explore more of the idyllic landscape from above.

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Saltwater Pools in Porto Moniz

Saltwater Pools in Porto Moniz


Sitting pretty in the northern corner of Madeira is the village of Porto Moniz, famous for its natural saltwater pools surrounded by volcanic lava cliffs. Walk across the black sandy beach and take a dip in the cool pools, where you'll spot small fish swimming in the summer. Explore the village's vineyards and spectacular rock formations, or if you're on a family holiday take the kids to the nearby fun zone and play area.

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Nightlife

Nightlife


You may have soaked up the sun, sea and sights during the day, but there's plenty more to see in Madeira once the sun has set. If you're looking for family fun, Madeira's folklore evenings are full of delicious food, dancers and Fado music and are held in mountainous taverns between Funchal and Monte. If you like live entertainment, the capital's casino kicks off with a cabaret show featuring favourites from the 50s and 90s, or if you want to let your hair down, Funchal's nightlife offers a string of super clubs such as Vespas and Café Teatro open until the early hours.

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Activities at the Cape Girao

Activities at the Cape Girao


The vertigo-inducing Capo Girao Skywalk isn’t for the faint-hearted – it's crowned as the highest cliff skywalk in Europe, and only second in the world to the one at the Grand Canyon! If you don’t suffer from vertigo and want to appreciate some phenomenal views, this glass-floored platform is a must-see attraction.

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Madeira Beaches

Madeira Beaches


Spend a day on the sand and stretch out on Prainha Beach, Madeira's only natural sandy beach. Located near the area of Ponta de São Lourenço, this sheltered bay is backed by colourful yellow and orange cliffs that contrast the dark sand, and is highly popular with locals and tourists alike. On the western side of Madeira you will find Ribeira Beach, a pretty pebbled stretch with a promenade full of bustling cafés and bars. If you're staying near the capital, Praia Formosa is also a beautiful spot worth checking out.

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Popular Locations in Madeira
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