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Irene Clunie, Short Break Specialist

"A number of protected reserves gives Madeira an abundance of natural beauty, from its rare Laurissilva forests to its mountain views and subtropical gardens. Take a cable car along a panoramic 1600 metre route from Monte to Quinta do Bom Sucesso to visit the colourful Botanical Gardens, complete with a special orchid exhibit and an exotic bird collection."

Madeira at a glance

Madeira is a refined and sophisticated holiday destination, with a stunning, varied landscape of dramatic peaks, bustling harbours and some of the highest ocean cliffs in the world. Known as the island of eternal spring, this popular city break destination boasts a wonderful climate and spectacular sights to explore.

Today, the stone aqueducts, known as levadas, provides a remarkable collection of walking paths that trail through mountains and across beautiful countryside, showcasing the best of Madeira’s scenery.

The islands rugged coastline is home to a leading Portuguese port in the cosmopolitan capital of Funchal which features an attractive promenade, botanical gardens and historic monuments. The uniquely deep coastal waters around the island are also known for attracting whales close to the islands shore, with popular boat tours running regularly to allow visitors to get even closer to the diverse range of sea life on offer.

Perfect if you’re looking for

  • Picturesque setting
  • Weekend short break
  • Beach front attractions 

Getting Around

Madeira operates an urban Funchal service, though the city centre is also easily navigated by foot. There is also an inter-urban service which operates outside of the capital city centre.

Bus fare can be pre-purchased on rechargeable tickets or when boarding the bus.

Dining in Madeira

Madeira’s cuisine is based on traditional faire with some of the best local dishes prepared using simple, time tested techniques that produce flavourful dishes.

The Portuguese island is perhaps best known for its locally produced fortified wine which comes in four major varieties – Malvasia, Bual, Verdelho and Sercial.

Must-try local dishes:

  • Bolo do caco – a popular wheat flour bread often served with garlic butter and parsley
  • Picado – small pieces of beef seasoned with garlic and served with chips
  • Queijadas – a small, lightly sweet cake made with cottage cheese

Shopping in Madeira

Madeira has developed over the years and boasts the classic boutiques dotted around the island as well as the typical international branded shops, making shopping in Madeira a true delight. Madeira also has shopping centres which are open to around 11pm, perfect for later shopping. The capital, Funchal is the best place to go for a shopping spree.

Get your tailor-made short break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Madeira designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of Madeira hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 267,785
Languages Portuguese
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for UK citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Interesting facts

Take a stroll along the seafront promenade from Funchal to Câmara de Lobos - where Winston Churchill used to stay and paint.

Distance from airports
Madeira 13 km

Things to do in Madeira

  • Funchal: The cosmopolitan capital is located on the sunny south coast, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, with a backdrop of dramatic mountains. In the 'Old Town’ you’ll find the port and promenade; quaint, narrow winding streets; shops, cafés, bars and restaurants.
  • Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption: Inspired by Hispano-Arabic and Roman-Gothic styles, it features an impressive carved ceiling.
  • The Madeira Story Centre: Excellent attraction charting the history of the island.
  • Monte Cable Car: Enjoy spectacular views on your trip from Funchal to Monte, in the cool mountains.

Tours and Excursions

Dolphin & Whale Watching Cruise

Depart from Funchal Marina and relax on your luxury catamaran as you sail along the stunning coastline to Cabo Girão, one of Europe’s tallest sea cliffs. Whales and Dolphins can often be spotted in these waters and once moored at Cabo Girão you can take a dip and explore the sealife below with a snorkel and mask.

Enchanted Terraces 4x4 Tour

Spend a day touring Madeira’s North West Coast by 4x4, exploring forests and forgotten roads. Admire stunning scenery in locations such as Serra de Agua and Paul da Serra plateau and, weather permitting, take a dip in the Porto Moniz natural lava pools or soak up the sun on the black sand beach at Seixal.

4x4 Wine Tour with Tastings

Take a tour by 4x4 of the island’s most spectacular scenery, including Serra de Agua and São Vicente. Visit a local wine producer and take a tour of the vineyards before enjoying a tasting of a variety of wines accompanied by traditional tapas. Finally, you will visit Cabo Girão (and its suspended glass balcony!) to admire the panoramic views over the Atlantic, Câmara de Lobos and Funchal.

We would be happy to arrange an excursion for you. To discuss options with a member of our knowledgeable team or to book, please contact us on 0131 243 8098.