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Madeira:

Tending to attract mature visitors, Madeira is a complete contrast to the neighbouring Spanish Canaries - it is fertile and laid back ... well, almost.

Younger, discerning holidaymakers have also discovered the island and brought about a modest change of attitude towards tourism.

For example; a few nightclubs have sprung up in Funchal, but they are more geared towards the lively jet-set than lads and 'ladettes'.

Madeira has little to offer families due a lack of beaches and the entertainments tend to be hotel-based. 

'Olde-worlde' and proud of it.

Note: Traveller's Cheques are not particularly popular on the island. Many foreign exchange providers charge a whopping 30% commission so most visitors tend to use their credit cards.

Note: Due to the hilly terrain the island is not recommended for the less mobile. The faint-hearted may also find the steep mountain roads hard to stomach. Also also our Airport Guide

Time difference: Summer: Same. Winter: + 1

Flight time: Approx 4 hours from the UK

Currency: Euro see Travel Tips

Weather: Summer: Hot and dry. 

Winter: Warm and spring-like at best, although considerably cooler than the Spanish Canaries with much more cloud and rain.

Excursions:
  • A toboggan ride (in a wicker basket) down the steep narrow streets of Monte is about as exhilarating as it gets. This ancient white-knuckle ride is now a top tourist attraction although it used to be the local's way of getting from top to bottom. Great fun!
  • Boat trips to the unspoilt neighboring island, Porto Santo.
  • The island's first theme park opened in October 2004 and is divided in several 'zones' geared more towards Madeira's culture and natural history. Energetic visitors can try their hand at some radical sports like cable sliding and bungee-jumping. There are two restaurants and a bar Open every day from 10am to 7pm (except Christmas Day).
  • Walking in the breathtaking countryside following the 'levedas' - small canals constructed to irrigate the land. Taxi drivers offer a drop-off and pick-up service which tends to be cheaper than the organised trips.
  • Two 18-hole golf courses outside Funchal. For more information click on

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