Discover Madeira: Funchal & Island Experience

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2018 is the year to broaden your horizons… It’s time to get inspired and explore somewhere new.

Just off the northwest coast of Africa lies a small group of islands, featuring the idyllic island of Madeira. Famous for its volcanic landscapes and subtropical climate, Madeira is a place of picturesque views. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the island of Madeira is home to countless beaches and bays with the fishing village of Câmara de Lobos being one of the most beautiful. Towards the North of the island, striking cliffs jut straight out of the sea in Santanta. In Porto Moniz, their natural volcanic swimming pools are filled with crystal-clear sea waters making Madeira a true island paradise. Seriously, Madeira = holiday goals.

Our Madeira breaks start in October and November later this year and depart from six regional airports. Each break lasts a whole week, giving you the opportunity to really get into the Portuguese way of things. During your stay, you’ll be based in the stunning capital city of Funchal which is the ideal spot to spend your time on the island. Our Madeira breaks include two fantastic experiences which take you on a full exploration of the stunning island. If you want to experience more of Madeira, there are a range of optional excursions during your stay too including the Sunday Open Markets and of course, Levada Walks. Madeira is famous for the many Levadas around the island, giving you the experience of complete paradise as you pass beautiful vineyards, banana plantations and vegetable gardens. Either way, your Madeira break is set to be an unforgettable one.

Funchal City

Majestic mountains form as the background for Funchal, with turquoise waters as far as the eye can see. Sitting on the south coast of Madeira, Funchal has a climate that is perfect all-year round meaning that it’s covered in lush, exotic plants and delicious fruits, very much like those at the Tropical Palace Gardens. What isn’t there to love? That’s not even the start of it though!

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Venture into the city itself and you will find more bars, restaurants and cafes you know what to do with and if you visit the old town of Zona Velha, you’re certainly in for a treat. The vibrant walls and beautifully decorated doors make this old town look anything but old – Zona Velha is a charismatic gem that cannot be missed. Whether you want to relax throughout the day or dance the night away, Funchal is the ideal spot. Dive in the crystal-clear waters and swim with dolphins. Take a boat trip along the coast or paraglide through the skies. Visit the city’s many museums and marvel at the stunning architecture. Whatever you decide to do in this city, you are never too short of something remarkable.

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Full Day Panoramic Island Tour

The Full Day Panoramic Island Tour will take you on a full exploration of the island. You will be picked up from your hotel on the Monday of your stay with the tour lasting about 8 hours. The tour will take you from the East side of the island to the West, showing you Madeira in all of its glory.

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• Visit Ribeiro Frio, a quaint little village in Santanta which is populated by the islands native birds. Ribeiro Frio is the home of a spectacular natural park and is also the starting point for many Levada walks around the island. • Explore the rest of Santanta on the north coast, visiting the famous thatched houses and taking in the breath-taking views. • Relax in the natural volcanic rock swimming pools in Porto Moniz – the sea flows naturally into these pools making them something really special. • Visit a range of traditional fishing villages and vineyards along your journey through Madeira. 

Funchal City Sightseeing ticket

Make sure you take advantage of the free sightseeing ticket which is included in this break. With a total of 21 stops, it’s the best way to see Funchal and with the 24hr hop-on hop-off service, you can easily enjoy the city’s most popular attractions.

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• Experience one of many wine cellars in Madeira and stop off at the Madeira Wine Lodge, sampling some of the best wine in the city.

• If you fancy a saunter round some shops, hop off at Fórum Maderia Shopping centre for some authentic gifts.

• Stop off at Avenida Do Mar and walk over to the port for amazing views across the harbour – some beautiful boats and cruise ships dock here, so it’s the perfect place to sit down for a coffee and watch time go by!

Local Cuisine

Madeira is the perfect place for all you foodies. With the sublime climate, food is always fresh, tasty and of course, traditional. Whether you’re looking for sophistication or something more relaxed, from fish to meat and everything in between, eating is Funchal is an experience in itself.

Il Gallo D’oro

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Dining at Il Gallo D’oro is an unmissable culinary experience. Inspired by the delicious tastes of the Mediterranean, the chef at Il Gallo D’oro has made this restaurant one of the best in Funchal. In fact, Il Gallo D’oro has been labelled as the best restaurant in the whole of Portugal. The Michelin star restaurant prides itself on giving you the best experience straight from the moment you walk through the door, to the moment you leave. Dining here is a treat you certainly won’t forget and after all, you are on holiday… O Calhau

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Situated right next to the Cathedral of Funchal, O Calhau is right in the heart of the city and offers a cosy and casual dining experience. With the chill out music, vibrant blue walls and white furniture, this restaurant certainly has personality. Serving food from 9am to 11pm, you literally can catch each meal of the day here. From tapas to sandwiches, O Calhau is hugely popular with both locals and tourists. Make sure you try their mouth-watering tuna steak when you’re there – it’s cooked on a hot pebble which is called a Calhau. One guess where they got their name from?

Local Nightlife

The nightlife in Madeira isn’t as wild as it is in its neighbouring islands of Gran Canaria and Tenerife, but with that being said, there is always somewhere to have a quick tipple or two. Quieter throughout the week, things tend to heat up on the weekend and whatever your mood, from gin to beer, Madeira has got you covered.

23 Vintage Bar

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23 Vintage Bar serves up some fantastic drinks, from the standard cocktails to the more peculiar ones. Mixed with brilliant music and friendly staff, 23 Vintage Bar always has a buzzing atmosphere that will certainly get you in the holiday mood. Madeira Rum House

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This rum house is the ideal place to head at the end of the night, in fact head there whenever you want! The Madeira Rum House is a rum lover’s paradise. With over 20 rums that have all been distilled on the island, visiting the Madeira Rum House is a friendly and welcoming experience. The perfect night-cap after a long day of relaxing.

Our exclusive Madeira flights have now all sold out but if you want to visit this island paradise you can book flights and hotels via our website. Visit our City Breaks page for more information…

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