Over the years, Madeira has been afforded many complimentary designations including Island of Eternal Springtime, Lovers’ Isle, Pearl of the Atlantic, Floating Garden of the Atlantic Madeira. The fantastic panoramic views and inspiring landscapes of this beautiful sub-tropical island attracts many discerning visitors each year.
The island is a mere 32 miles long and 12 miles wide, but almost 6000 feet at its highest point. Abundant displays of flora throughout the island further enhance the stunning coastal scenery and soaring mountain peaks.
The warming influences of the Gulf Stream ensure a pleasant water temperature year round – ideal for trying the array of watersports available. For those who prefer land based activities there are 600 miles of walks throughout the island…choose carefully though, as some are quite challenging! The sub-tropical climate offers mostly perfect conditions for
golfers. Afternoon tea at one of the world’s most famous hotels, Reid’s Palace, is highly recommended for any visitor to the island. Pre-booking is suggested and the cost is approximately €29 per person.
It is worth hiring a car whilst on the island as there are many exotic gardens to be visited as well as small traditional villages and wineries (the 2014 wine festival is from 31 August to 2 September). Some of the greatest pleasures are to be found in the islands countryside.
Madeira has a few manmade beaches; however the lidos on the outskirts of Funchal along with hotel pools, often with fabulous views of the sea, are worthy alternatives.
Funchal is built on gentle slopes in a sheltered bay. It is a great place to mingle with the hospitable locals and dine in fabulous restaurants where delectable international cuisine and native tapas are often to be found on the menus. Should you be on the island over New Year, you can admire the spectacular World Record breaking fireworks display over the town.
For those who prefer to be away from it all and enjoy a quieter holiday, the 16sq mile island of Porto Santo is only 40km away from Madeira. With a population of only 5000 and 5½ miles of golden sandy beaches, Porto Santo is a perfect location if you yearn for complete relaxation. If you enjoy a round of golf in the sunshine, there is a new course, designed by Severiano Ballesteros, that stretches all the way across the island from dune-rolling beaches to dramatic basalt cliffs.