Searching for a holiday in the sun that’s a little bit different? Closer to North Africa than mainland Europe, Madeira is an archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean comprising four beautiful islands, but you’ll most likely be spending your time on Madeira itself, where most of the action takes place.
An autonomous region of Portugal, it’s a place where that country’s culture, and sense of adventure, is very much alive. With a deliciously warm climate year-round, Madeira holidays are a no-brainer for those who want a reliable place to hit the beaches or explore outdoors. Relax on the beach on the small island of Porto Santo, admiring surfers from afar – or hire a board and get involved. Despite its small size – it’s just 20 kilometres wide – Madeira’s dramatic and varied volcanic terrain makes for excellent hiking and cycling.
The island is covered in mountain trails, but also has an interior network of canal pathways called ‘lavadas’ which will suit families looking for gentler walks. Madeira’s subtropical climate also means that foodies will find a mouthwatering variety of exotic fruit, as well as fresh fish at its charming restaurants. For the best views of the sunset, board the cable car to Monte from Madeira’s capital Funchal. As you watch the sun slip into the ocean from the cliff tops you’ll agree that holidays to Madeira are rather wild and wonderful.
Funchal’s painted doors
Turn down Santa Maria Street in Madeira’s capital and stare in wonder at the 200 rainbow-bright wooden doors, each painted by a different local artist.
Incredible marine life
With around 30 species passing by the island throughout the year, Madeira is one of the best places in the world to spot dolphins and whales, so be sure to join a boat tour.
Cabo Girao Skywalk
At 589 metres high, the glass-floored Cabo Girao Skywalk is dizzying stuff. Peer out over the crashing Atlantic waves and enjoy incredible island vistas as you walk.