What are the best things to do in Madeira?
1. Take the Funchal Cable Car up to Monte for awe-inspiring vistas across the bay. Then explore the exquisite Monte Palace Tropical Gardens.
2. Breathe in the fragrance of bougainvillea as you stroll around the stunning Palheiro Gardens. Or spot vibrant-hued parrots while exploring Madeira Botanical Gardens. Soak up the sights and scents of the Farmers’ Market in Funchal’s Old Town. Then admire the architectural splendour of Sé Cathedral and São Lourenço Palace.
3. With their volcanic sands mingled with pebbles, Madeira’s beaches are not famed for their beauty. But excellent bathing spots can still be found – try the Blue Flag-accredited Barreirinha and Praia Formosa. Or let little ones splash in the safety of fantastic pool complexes Lido and Ponta Gorda.
4. Discover Madeira’s wild side with a day trip that takes you south from Funchal to Porto Moniz or follow the coastline up to Santana, home to the famed ‘A’ framed cottages. Or book a tour to Monte for those picture postcard views of Pico Dos Barcelos and Eira do Sorrado.
5. Tuck into succulent espetada (beef kebabs seasoned with garlic and herbs) and sample fresh limpets tossed in butter and lemon. Set your taste buds alight with black scabbard fish drizzled with passion fruit sauce. Complete your meal with traditional queijada (cheesecake) washed down with a glass of chilled Madeiran wine.
Which holiday type in Madeira is right for me?
Those who prefer to soak up sunshine with their sightseeing should start in the capital. Wander through charismatic Funchal and admire its Portuguese architecture before strolling to the botanical gardens high on the hillside, or hopping on the Cable Car to Monte Palace Madeira.
If you want to venture further afield, hire a car and take in the breathtaking scenery. Experience the monumental mountain pathways, including Pico do Arieiro, the island’s third highest peak. Walk along Cape Ponta de Sao Lourenco Coastal paths on the eastern edge and feel the Atlantic air kiss your skin. If you’re brave enough, stand on the glass of the Cabo Girao Cliff Skywalk and admire the dramatic cliffs.
For outstanding beach holidays in Madeira you'll find a combination of world-class hotels, fine dining, golf, ancient sites and easy access to sandy beaches and small resorts. Take a break along the palm-tree shaded Pestana promenade, stop at a café and try a slice of honey cake before returning to your Madeira hotel to unwind.