Few places rival Madeira’s wealth of natural gifts and beauty, and you won't have to travel far to prove it. It is the closest subtropical island to northern Europe, west of Morocco and under four hours flying time from the UK. We're focusing on it in partnership with Classic Collection Holidays, specialist tour operators with decades of award-winning service dedicated to a single goal: creating the perfect holiday. Which shouldn't be too hard with Madeira’s climate: welcoming and warm. The blossoming orchids, bougainvillaea, birds of paradise and jacaranda compete with flowering trees to add spectacular bursts of colour to a landscape where windswept mountain peaks, soaring cliffs and emerald valleys are framed by stunning coastal views. Madeira’s mild climate gives a high chance of good weather, but on mountainous terrain, you can expect occasional rain. In the south of the island, the weather is warm and pleasant all year round. Spring and early summer is a good time to see the island in bloom. Autumn is a good time to escape chilly northern Europe. During Christmas and New Year the climate is warm and Funchal is lit up quite spectacularly with lights and fireworks. Upon arrival, you will realise there’s so much to see and do. Whether your taste runs to gentle walks or more serious hiking, walkers of all ages and abilities can enjoy some of the finest countryside in the world. Youthful and adventurous travellers might like to choose between climbing, diving and horse riding. Sporty types can play a round of golf, indulge a passion for surfing or deep-sea fishing.
Those whose idea of a perfect holiday is to relax, unwind and enjoy the best of life might prefer a selection of spa treatments, an elegant afternoon tea, a black-tie dinner and all the fine wining and dining that the island’s world-class hotels can offer. With a ready supply of superb fish, locally grown vegetables and no end of tasty fresh fruit, it’s easy to eat healthily and heartily in Madeira. The most popular fish is the locally caught espada, or scabbard fish. The white, soft and succulent flesh served with banana or lemon is an inescapable feature of island cuisine. For dessert, it has to be the local bolo de mel, Madeira honey cake, made from molasses, which is dark and delicious. And, of course, one of the great treats of eating in Madeira is the chance to sample some fine wines. There are four types of Madeira, each named after the grape that gives each wine its flavour. The island's enduring appeal is an absence of man-made attractions and an abundance of natural ones. It is the perfect holiday destination for those seeking recreation or relaxation.
Our recommended hotels show the many different ways to enjoy this sensational island. Quinta Das Vistas Palace Gardens
5* Carved from a manor house, this swish hotel is positioned on the brow of a hill with fabulous panoramic views over the mountains, the ocean and Funchal's city centre.
Surrounded by centenary gardens featuring fountains, a pond with swans, a pavilion and a mini-golf course, this elegant Quinta is setting new standards and reflects the luxury and elegance of life in Madeira in the old days.
Casa Velha Do Palheiro
5* A celebrated five-star country house hotel of exceptional character and year-round appeal, formerly a hunting lodge built by the 1st Count of Carvalhal in 1801 as a summer residence.
It has 32 rooms and five suites, a gourmet restaurant, spa, and an all-weather tennis court. The hotel borders the famous Palheiro Gardens and the Palheiro Golf course – a superb 18-hole, par 72 Championship layout – and offers privileged access to guests staying at Casa Velha. The hotel's Sports Fishing yacht " Balancal" lying in the Funchal marina is available for deep-sea fishing and coastal excursions.
Quinta Da Serra
5* This is an exquisite setting in communion with nature, inviting you to rest and renew energy. Along the leafy gardens, there is an indoor heated saltwater pool, jacuzzi, spa, gym and sauna.
The rooms are equipped with air conditioning, cable TV, minibar and a private bathroom. All rooms offer sea or garden views from their balconies.
For further details on any of our recommended accommodation or the island itself, please contact us to make an appointment or call us on 0208 989 9445.