Let us take you on a journey to the real Madeira. An interesting fusion of outstanding beauty spots, only four hours flight time from the UK. This verdant island with its green steep lush valleys, dramatic coastline and rugged mountain ranges has excellent mild weather all-year-round.
Small is beautiful, which is why we have hand-picked all the accommodation with great care. You will stay in a combination of trendy and hip hotels, and small tastefully designed, off the beaten track Quintas during your island holiday.
So join us on an unforgettable bespoke journey to the island of Madeira and experience this vibrant and beautiful pearl in the Atlantic, as a couple, with a group of friends or family, or own simply on your own.
Getting to Madeira
Flights to Madeira from the UK, mainland Europe, the USA and Canada are excellent and there are lots of options to consider. There are daily direct flights from the UK with a flight time of just under 4 hours and daily flights via Lisbon from Heathrow and Manchester. There are also direct flights from Lisbon and Oporto in Portugal and from Sao Miguel in the Azores. Most routes are served by TAP Air Portugal, British Airways and Azores Airlines (previously SATA Air Azores) but the budget airlines, Easyjet, Thomson, Monarch and Jet2 also provide some convenient direct flights from regional airports in the UK.
Getting around Madeira
We have divided the island into four geographical regions, with the capital Funchal as a separate city. The infrastructure on the island is exceptional, with tarmac roads and an impressive tunnel network, making it easy to drive around yourself. There is also a good public transport service, which covers the whole island, or taxis can be arranged if you prefer private transfers.
The Lobo Marinho (the Porto Santo line ferry) runs daily between Funchal and Porto Santo and takes around 2 hours and 30 minutes.
These are an excellent way of getting around as many drivers speak English and prices are very low compared to the UK. The yellow taxis are generally quite new and of a high standard. We work closely with one taxi company and their details will be given to you with your pre-departure information.
This is available on the island and we can reserve this for you. Vehicles are generally fairly new and range from super mini to people carrier. Petrol is a little lower in price than the UK. The Madeirans drive on the right and the roads are of a high standard with many long tunnels (don't forget to turn your lights on). Do familiarise yourself with the different speed limits, as they can vary. The roads are fairly well sign posted on the main routes. Mopeds and bicycles are also available for hire and a European style license (with photo ID) is required for all motorised vehicle hire.
Only TAP operates the short 15 minute hop between Madeira and Porto Santo
There are several sailing companies in Funchal that organise trips around the island or to Porto Santo. For more information please ask our Madeira Island specialists.
Visas are not needed by UK or EU passport holders. You should check with your nearest Portuguese consulate if you have a passport other than these. Check your passport is valid until after your planned return date and it is recommended that you take a copy of your travel insurance policy for consultation in case of emergency.
There are no special health formalities for visitors to Madeira and local hospitals are well equipped, should you be taken ill. We will let you know of any special fitness requirements for certain tours before booking.
There is no additional hotel tax in Madeira, however if staying overnight in Lisbon, do bear in mind that all hotels in Lisbon are required to charge a room tax of €1 per person per night. At present this tax cannot be pre-paid and all hotels are required to issue a guest invoice at either check-in or departure in order to collect the tax. Children under 12 years are exempt and the total is subject to a maximum of €7 per guest.
ATM machines are common in most towns – remember to take your PIN number for your ATM card though! Credit cards are accepted in larger restaurants and shops, but you will still need currency (Euros) for smaller establishments.
Madeira is like Lisbon / mainland Portugal on GMT.
There are many pleasant cafés and restaurants (we listed some of them in our mini guide we send you once you have booked a trip) on Madeira and prices are reasonable. For dinner (with wine) allow £20 - £25 per person, although it can be done more economically. Local beef, pork and chicken are readily available and few dishes are highly spiced. Local fish is a speciality and greatly varied. Madeiran bread and cheese are excellent and easy to find as well as great Madeiran wine and rum. Salads are readily available and there are vegetarian dishes on the menus - so always ask if the hotels and restaurants can cater for your dietary requirements. There are small supermarkets in most towns and prices are displayed and fixed. It is safe to drink the water from the tap.
If you do not speak Portuguese, you should not worry about getting by in Madeira. Many Madeirans have lived and studied abroad for part of their lives and young people often speak excellent English. Learning a few Portuguese phrases is always appreciated however, and you can make friends quickly if you have a go – our mini guide contains some phrases to get started!
Madeira is one of the safest holiday destinations. There is very little crime and no dangerous animals. The Madeirans are very family focused so children are welcome everywhere.
The weather on Madeira is great all-year-round. There is hardly any rain from April to September, and the summer months can be quite hot and humid. However as a sub-tropical island with many micro climates there can be the occasional torrential rain which cause rivers and levadas to flood and can result in land slides and rockfall. November to March are the months when you can expect some rainfall and even some snow in mountainous areas.