The best places to visit in Madeira

Amanda Angus / 08 January 2015 ( 29 June 2017 )

Expert Holiday Creator Christopher Yianni tells us a little bit about Madeira, one of his favourite islands…

Madeira is the perfect destination. It’s very relaxed, very laidback, and it has an amazing charm to it. It’s stunning to look at, wherever you are, whatever time of year. 

The flowers, all the flora in fact, are just out of this world. The people are some of the most friendly I’ve ever met, just genuinely welcoming people who are so happy and proud that you’ve chosen to visit their island on your holiday.”

Discover more about the beautiful island of Madeira Find out more here.


Panoramic view of Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Funchal is a brilliant city, with lots of old architecture, lots of history, lots of local traditions and handicrafts, but at the same time they’re really cosmopolitan with all the big designer shops. 

And all you have to do to enjoy it is just sit outside, drinking the local drink, poncha (which is like the Brazilian Caipirinha), made from fresh fruit like tangerines.

Ponta Delgada

Mountain landscape with hiking trail and view of beautiful lakes, Ponta Delgada, Sao Miguel Island, Azores, Portugal.

The south of the island is almost always bathed in beautiful sunshine, warmed by the Gulf Stream, but the north of the island is different altogether – the weather is a lot more dramatic. 

The sea can have six-foot waves, the wind might howl – but that’s just as enjoyable and exciting, in its own way. When I go to the north, if it’s sunny and dry and hot, I feel let down – I like that wild side of Madeira. 

Because when you get to the hotel, it’s warm and cosy, and safe on the cliff, but you have these big windows where you can just sit and watch the waves crash – it’s an incredible experience.

Relaxation is a given at the locally rated 4-star Madeira Regency Cliff, an elegant, modern hotel enjoying lovely sea views. Find out more here.

The Botanical Gardens

The Botanical Gardens in Funchal, Madeira

The reason Madeira is such a stunning floral island is because it was on the trade route, and it has a natural harbour, so ships would always stop. 

In payment for being able to dock and take on supplies, the captains of the vessels would give the island plants from their native lands.

And because of its climate, exotic plants can grow quite happily – and there’s nowhere better to see this for yourself than at the ever-popular Botanical Gardens.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks

New Years Eve fireworks on the island of Madeira

Madeira boasts the most spectacular fireworks display for New Year’s Eve – every year you’ll find at least eight or nine cruise ships docked in Funchal harbour to watch. 

Every possible surface has fireworks placed ready, and when the music starts playing, the fireworks start – it’s an unforgettable display.

Did you know… Madeira

  • Madeira was originally a floral island – literally – as it had no indigenous animal life. Apart from the insects, any creature that lives there now has been introduced by humans.
  • Madeira won the Europe’s Leading Island Destination in 2013 and again in 2014 at the World Travel Awards. These are like the Oscars of travel, and voted for by people in the industry.
  • The oldest producers of Madeiran wine is Blandy’s, which is a British company. They’ve been on the island for over 200 years, and the seventh generation of Blandy is running the company!

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