Make the most of Madeira for less than you thought
Hot sun, blue skies and broad beaches make up Madeira, a Portuguese island that’s a fantastic alternative for those who’ve already conquered the Canaries.
Madeira’s proximity to the UK is another bonus, with direct UK flights getting you there in just shy of four hours. Cheap tipples, good food at rock bottom prices and, of course, relaxing days out are covered on a holiday to Madeira. For sublime scenery, the two villages that join to form Canico de Baixo pack in big, sunny beaches and cobbled backstreets laced with inexpensive restaurants.
Or head to Funchal for a city break. Th gorgeous capital of Madeira boasts architecture that stands up against Lisbon’s finest, while the farmer’s market makes bargain hunting a breeze. On top of that, football fans can soak up the atmosphere of Ronaldo’s hometown and visit his museum.
Madeira’s coastline packs in plenty of free fun outside of city limits. The village of Ponta do Sol rests beneath dramatic pale cliffs – ideal for the perfect Instagram shot. Or, camera in tow, head to Calheta to watch sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean.
Cheap days out in Madeira
Wherever you roam in Madeira, the beaches are close at hand, from pebbly coves to sandy shores or city bathing platforms. Depending on the time of year and their locations on the island, you can expect varied amounts of activity and buzz. Beaches around Funchal tend to be much more lively than those closer to Canico de Baixo.
If history is your passion, a stroll through Funchal’s streets has plenty to offer, and you can visit the harbour to see the replica of Christopher Columbus’ ship, Santa Maria. Come the weekend, bargain hunting at old markets is a great, and cheap, way to pass the day. The one on Sundays in Santo Serra is known for its generous free samples of local treats.
To combine your love of old architecture with incredible natural surroundings, try one of Madeira’s levada walks. These waterways and old aqueducts double as gorgeous walking trails throughout Madeira’s rich, green tapestry of woodlands. Plenty of natural parks enhance the island as well, with Funchal’s Santa Catarina Park topping the list as the most well known.
Other popular holidays in Portugal
There’s lots to see all over Madeira, and we’ve only scratched the surface. Cheap holidays elsewhere in Portugal include the Algarve, a beach-lover and golf enthusiast’s paradise. If you prefer days with your feet buried in volcanic sands, Porto Santo is the cheap holiday destination for you. Meanwhile, mainland Portugal is a pretty cheap place to holiday as well. But, if you’re certain that the island life is for you, check out our travel guide on all things Madeira. Once you’ve brushed up on the basics, start planning by looking over our top hotel recommendations for your cheap Madeira holiday.
Usually, epic clifftop views are associated with the priciest accommodation, yet the Estalagem Da Ponta Do Sol makes style affordable. Tucked atop a cliff with stunning views of the Atlantic, the hotel is made all the more enticing by its infinity pool. It's an hour by coach from the airport and features a games room, TV room and lounge bar for some leisure time that doesn't break the bank.
The free bus service from the Roca Mar Hotel in Canico to the capital Funchal sweetens the deal. The hotel itself has plenty to offer in terms of cheap entertainment. Grab a free sunlounger and catch some rays by the pool or on the open sun terrace. Cocktail in hand, absorb the excellent clifftop views before meandering to the beach, which is just a five-minute walk away.
With stunning Calheta as its setting, a stay at the Saccharum Hotel Resort & Spa gives you affordable luxury at its finest. Choose from the four pools and sip cocktails from one of five bars scattered across the resort. The spa on site, together with its Turkish baths and sauna rooms, will help you rejuvenate without stretching your budget.