Madeira Holidays 2024/2025

With its endless landscape of lush green valleys, craggy peaks and black sand coastlines, it’s no wonder Madeira is known as the ‘Floating Garden’. It really is a feast for the eyes, and you can enjoy it all while sampling Madeira wine – a specialty that originated on the island.

Madeira wins plenty of appreciation for giving you the most for you money. There’s plenty to explore, tons of adventures and some incredible hotels, and our cheap Madeira holidays mean you can enjoy it all, for less.

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The Floating Garden

Madeira might be a little pinprick in the Atlantic Ocean, but this island has much to offer when it comes to holidays in Portugal. It’s part of a Portuguese archipelago that’s not far from the Canary Islands and Africa – and you can feel it in the weather, which is almost constantly warm. Temperatures peak in July and August where it can hit the late twenties, but between May to December, they rarely drop below 15. This means winter breaks in Madeira still offer those warm temperatures but you can bag yourself a bargain – and avoid the crowds.

This tiny island is renowned for its landscape, which is paved with greenery sloping down valleys and up steep peaks, home to waterfalls, caves and a diverse range of flora and fauna. It isn’t exactly a hotspot for beaches, though you’ll find a few man-made shores and pebbly coasts that are sure to do the trick. Holidays to Madeira are great for all, whether looking for an All Inclusive getaway, a family trip, or a last minute cheap deal, there’s something for everyone.

Holidays in Madeira

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Outdoor paradise

The island of Madeira is cloaked in breath-taking natural landscapes that beg for exploration. There are massive mountaintops to be scaled, valleys to hike through and waterfalls to wade past. Madeira Natural Park covers about two thirds of the whole island and is a unique and protected area rich in natural and cultural heritage, and there’s even an UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Laurisilva of Madeira sits within the Natural Park and it’s a vast forest of laurel trees – a type of vegetation that’s now concentrated in only a few areas around the world – and it’s so vast, that it is the largest remaining of its type, in the world.

There are group tours you can join that’ll provide transportation to and from these gorgeous parks so you can get the most bang for your buck, but you can also visit on your own too. There’s several trails to hike along and take in the views at your own pace and doing it alone still gives you the full experience while staying in budget for your cheap holiday to Madeira.

What’s more, you’ll also find off-roading and quad-bike adventures in Madeira for days full of fun and thrill. And for those that like the greenery without the adrenaline, Madeira has a handful of botanical gardens too, such as the one in Funchal that can be reached by cable car.

A handful of beaches

On the whole, Madeira is a volcanic island clad in black basalt rocks. There aren’t any natural sandy beaches, but in an effort to compete with its Mediterranean counterparts, sand has been imported from Africa to create a few beaches that more than satisfy for those looking for beach days on their Madeira holiday.

Praia Formosa is a black, pebbly beach that’s reachable from Funchal and is lined with a small selection of restaurants so it’s the perfect set up from breakfast to dinner.

Perhaps the best man-made beach is the Praia da Calheta, which is up on the southwestern side of the island, just east of Canical. It’s a Blue Flag award-winning curved bay, whose golden sands were imported from Morocco. Despite it’s man made nature, this beach feels very unspoilt and natural, and there’s a charming cafe nearby for a refreshing drink of beach front snack.

Madeira specialities

If you haven’t yet heard of Madeira wine, prepare yourself. It’s a Portuguese wine that originated in the Madeira Islands, and ranges in taste from dry to sweet. What makes this wine different is it’s heated continuously for months before being left to sit. Famous around the world, Madeira wine is especially prevalent in its home island, and is readily available to drink. Perfect, right?

Another of Madeira’s top sips is poncha, a sweet fruit drink made with aguardente de cana, a sugar cane alcohol. Add to the mixture some honey, sugar and lemon, and you’ve got yourself a strong and refreshing drink to enjoy on a warm Madeira evening.

A taste of Portugal

Because Madeira is an island, it’s treated to a tantalising array of fresh fish like tuna, marlin and wahoo. Portugal’s national dish is salted cod, but you’ll find a much wider array of seafood here, mixed up in stews or heated on the grill.

Another popular cuisine is a hearty meat dish called espetada – the process of cooking soft meats on a skewer. The meat is usually marinated in garlic, salt and bay leaf, as well as Madeira wine.

On top of this, there are an array of restaurants across the island serving British eats, Indian cuisine and other Mediterranean flavours to choose from, so even the fussiest of eaters will be well fed. Even if you’re staying All Inclusive, or on a tight budget with a cheap Madeira holiday, be sure to try a new dish, or at least the Madeira wine!

Dancing till sunrise

During the week, nights out on holiday in Madeira will be largely low key, but things are sure to heat up come Friday and Saturday. The majority of Madeira’s nightlife scene takes place in Funchal, the island’s capital. That’s where you’ll find booming nightclubs along the waterfront, as well as tucked inside busy casinos. It’s these spots that keep the party going until sunrise.

For those in search of a quieter evening, there are plenty of easy-going bars to choose from in Funchal, as well as in all-round quieter resorts like Canical, Canico De Baixo and Santa Cruz.

There are several efficient and affordable ways to go between resorts in Madeira, whether you prefer taxis and buses, or a bit more fun with scooters and bikes to rent, and even tuk tuks!