Madeira Holiday Guide
Madeira Island has stunning natural landscapes and hot temperatures all year-round. Get on the hiking trails that run alongside the man-made irrigation channels. Enjoy unforgettable views over clear blue waters and cliffs covered in green vegetation. Spot brightly coloured and sweetly scented flowers in the spring. Chill out on sandy beaches, try out thrilling water sports or delve into the island’s enthralling cultural heritage.
Take in Madeira’s idyllic natural scenery with a levada walk: the levadas are a series of mini-canals developed by early settlers to distribute water around the island. Explore a network of more than 870 miles (1,400 kilometres) of irrigation canals and follow them to waterfalls and lagoons, as well as valleys, mountain ranges and laurel forests.
Brave the glass-floored skywalk at Cabo Girão, one of the highest ocean cliffs in the world. Standing 1,902 feet (580 meters) above the water, you can spot Funchal, the island’s largest city, and Câmara de Lobos from this dramatic location.
Visit the gorgeous village of Santana, known for its multicoloured A-framed cottages, called palheiros. These charming thatched-roof residences are unique to the island and well worth a visit.
See the ornate geometric patterns decorating the roof of Funchal's cathedral, Sé Catedral de Nossa Senhora da Assunção. Constructed in the 16th century, this Moorish-influenced cathedral also features beautiful Baroque altars, gilded choir stalls and intricate tiling.
Don’t miss the views over Funchal from Jardim Botanico, a beautiful botanical garden. Walk along the well-labelled paths and admire collections of cacti and anthuriums. Look for the overlapping roots of an ancient heather tree, which is said to be more than 10 million years old.
Calheta Beach may be man-made, but its golden sands and clear waters are nonetheless scenic. Canoe, windsurf, swim or stop for some fresh seafood at one of the restaurants found along the beach. Be sure to sample the region’s unique white rum called aguardente.
Madeira Island is located about 350 miles (563.3 kilometres) from Morocco. Regular flights leave daily from Lisbon.