Holiday & Travel Guide For Madeira, Portugal
Madeira, belonging to Portugal, is an all year round destination with the heat soaring to over 25 degrees in the summer months of June to August and warm moderate weather through the rest of the year. Funchal has some fabulous beaches to laze on under sunny blue skies for you to top up your tan. Or why not explore the waters by snorkeling and diving, or sometimes something more exhilarating like the jet skis. There are plenty of facilities on the popular beaches with cafés nearby and a variety of water sports throughout the year to keep most people happy and they are ideal for families too.
Funchal is the capital of Madeira where you will find plenty to do while holidaying there. Try deep sea fishing and whale and dolphin watching, or wander around some of the wonderful botanical gardens and parks. The flower festivals are a must see during the month of June, and so are the New Year firework displays. Funchal goes back over 5 centuries so there is plenty to see. It has amazing architecture, impressive volcanoes, wonderful picturesque villas and an amazing cathedral which has a very interesting ceiling. It is decorated in Juniper wood with beautiful ivory inlays. Funchal has decorative paved streets and wonderful historical buildings and many churches to visit. It also has many museums. On Lido promenade where it is lined with palm trees, you can relax on one of the benches and look across the ocean at the breathtaking views. A must see has to be the caves at Sao Vicente. These caves are fascinating tunnels, left after the volcano erupted over 400 thousand years ago. You will also see some impressive stalagmites, but be sure to wear suitable footwear on your tour as it can be slightly slippery. If your budget is healthy, you could treat yourself and family to a balloon or helicopter flight over the city, it is very panoramic and exciting.
Restaurants and cafés are in abundance around the city and with an overflowing wealth of establishments you will not be short on a variety of foods. These range from traditional Portuguese and Spanish dishes like scabbard fish with banana or cod fish in cream sauce. Most dishes are typically made with fresh seafood. The usual international restaurants like pizza huts and burger bars are dotted around for those on a family budget as the restaurants can be rather expensive. You will find some moderately cheaper restaurants or cafés in the area, but as usual the boom in tourism dictates the inflated prices.
There are a few lively nightclubs for the youngger crowds and plenty of bars and discotheques dotted around, along with a casino if you want to try your luck on the tables or in the slot machines. Many of the hotels offer themed nights that are ideal for family entertainment. These can range from local folklore dancing and singing to comedians. You will not be short of evening entertainment but it is quite low key during the week and livens up for the weekend. The shopping centers in the center of the city are open until 22.00pm so you can shop away under the coolness of the evening air. Here you can purchase a variety of items from Lladdro ornaments to beautiful lace and many other souvenirs and gifts, or just to treat yourself to the well priced leather items.