Madeira

Located in the Atlantic Ocean and an autonomous region of Portugal, Madeira is a sub-tropical region consisting of two populated islands - Madeira and Porto Santo and other unpopulated islands known as Desertas and Selvagens Islands. Less than four hours from the United Kingdom, these islands are within holidaying distance of most European cities. They are known as the island of eternal spring due to their fairly mild weather.

Floating garden is an apt name for this lovely island, with an amazing area of sub-tropical plants and flowers in abundance. There are parks all around and you will not be disappointed if you spend time visiting at least one of them.

There is also have some amazing volcanic scenery, and the mountains at Monte which will give you a panoramic view of Madeira and you will also have a fabulous view of the fabulous coastline here. The seaside is one of Madeira's foremost tourist destinations.

Visitor Suggestions:

Flower and fruit market in Funchal

Must attend:

The Funchal flower and fruit markets have a stunning array of local produce

Must visit:

Porto Moniz has the famous volcanic salt water pools.

Must do:

The Monte toboggan ride - an unusual experience, it has been described by Ernest Hemingway as the "most exhilarating experience" of his life

Must see:

The fireworks display on New Year's Eve. It is believed to be the second largest display in the world.

When to visit Madeira:

Madeira has a sub-tropical climate, so can be visited year-round. The winter is a great time to visit and escape the cold weather elsewhere. Winter temeperatures in Madeira are similar to late April/early May in the UK.

The summer is not too hot and the winter is not too cold, but be prepared for a certain amount of rain. The bay of Funchal, which is protected by the mountains, gets the maximum amount of rain.

How to get there:

Madeira International Airport is located about 30 minutes from the capital Funchal. Many flights from Europe have made this one of their stops. There is also another airport at Porto Santo, but it is much smaller and does not cater to international flights.

Many cruise ships stop at Madeira and it is one of their most popular ports.

Internally you should either hire a car or travel around using the local bus service. Between the two islands there are boats and ferries which connect them.

Useful Websites

Madeira Information.