A year round destination with sub-tropical climate

Lying 500km off the west coast of Morocco, Madeira lies on the same fracture zone in the earth’s crust as the Azores and the Canaries but without the active volcanoes. The landscape is rugged. Windswept mountainous peaks and soaring cliffs are softened by amazing colourful flowers and wooded valleys. The island has a justified reputation for year long sunshine and provides a great escape from British winters. Less known is the sheer number of activities available on the island. Walking is fabulous (see below) but it is also a great place to visit for mountain biking, canyoning, trail-running, surfing, paddle boarding and diving. Highlights on the island include:

  • Luxury hotel stays in traditional quintas, often set in beautiful gardens.
  • Botanical gardens in Funchal and elsewhere on the island.
  • UNESCO protected Laurissilva forests.
  • A number of festivals throughout the year including a Brazilian style carnival, Flower Festival, Wine Festival, Jazz Festival, Atlantic Festival featuring an international firework competition and the Wine Rally which is part of the Euro Rally Championship.  
  • The cable car up Monte behind Funchal followed by a descent in a wicker toboggan.
  • Cruise to the Ilhas Desertas to spot dolphins, whales, turtles, seals and birds.
  • Visit Madeira’s neighbour, Porto Santo, for its long gold sandy beaches.


There is some truly lovely walking on Madeira and with its sub-tropical climate walking is a year round activity here. The island is criss-crossed by old paths and tracks which make for interesting walking.  But perhaps unique to Madeira, you can also walk alongside the numerous levadas which convey water around the island in channels, often bordered by colourful flowers. In short, Madeira offers walking for all levels from a gentle stroll along a levada to more mountainous routes. There is a really good walking guidebook, maps are adequate and guides can be hired locally. It is worth noting that many of the walks in Madeira are linear but Madeira has a good bus network and taxis are readily available to drop you off or pick you up at the beginning or end of a walk.  

  • Flying time: 4 hours
  • Time difference: No time difference
  • Currency: Euro
  • Best time of year to travel: Year round

Ideas for a trip to Madeira

Here are some ideas for trips to Madeira all of which can be adapted for you and we are always happy to create a bespoke trip from scratch.

Luxury Lisbon and Madeira

from £2004 per person
A ten-night trip staying in luxury hotels in Lisbon and Funchal. In Lisbon, where you will stay for three nights, you will be in easy reach of the theatres, museums, shops and restaurants of Lisbon. In Funchal, you will spend seven nights at the prestigious Belmond Reid's Palace Hotel with its bold world charm and fantastic amenities.

Spend a week in a traditional Quinta

from £864 per person
Relax and unwind in a haven of peace and tranquility in an attractive country hotel outside Funchal. The Quinta is set in lush green gardens with a large heated pool and spa. There is a golf course close by.

Discover Madeira and Porto Santo

from £1132 per person
Contrast Madeira's windswept mountain peaks and soaring cliffs with Porto Santo's golden beaches. In Madeira stay at a traditional Quinta in Funchal for a week followed by seven nights in a beach hotel on Porto Santo.

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From 1 January 2021 you can visit Portugal for up to 90 days in any 180 day period without a visa as a tourist.  For further information see the FCO website

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