Essential information for Madeira
When to go
With average temperatures of 18°C in winter and 27°C in summer you could say there’s never a bad time to visit the sunny island of Madeira. Although you’ll get more rainfall in the off-season, particularly between November and February, you’ll also get cheap holidays to Madeira – and you might prefer to travel in the cooler months if you’re planning any hiking or strenuous activities.
There’s a wide calendar of events across Madeira, including a jazz festival, flower festival, film festival and even an onion festival. One of the biggest celebrations is Madeira Carnival, which happens at the end of February to the start of March every year, concluding on Shrove Tuesday. Its headline event is one of the biggest street parties in Europe, with the Trapalhao parade of samba bands and costumed dancers.
If you’re visiting at the end of August to early September, the Madeira Wine Festival in Funchal coincides with the grape harvest for the island. As well as wine-tasting there’s also street entertainment, music and displays of gastronomy and regional handicrafts.
Health and safety
As with any holiday, you should take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover yourself and family on your trip.
It’s also a good idea to apply for a free European Health Insurance Card, EHIC before leaving the UK as this entitles you to emergency medical treatment on the same terms as Portuguese nationals. It won’t, however, cover you for medical repatriation, ongoing medical treatment or non-urgent treatment.
If you’re visiting Madeira specifically to take part in sports or water sports, including hiking, you should make sure your insurance covers this. See our holiday extras page for more information and for the latest health and safety information visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal/health.
Passports and visas
As a Portuguese island, British citizens don’t need a visa to enter Madeira but must have a valid passport. By law, you must carry your passport with you and may need to show it when paying by credit card. For the most up-to-date passport and visa info, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/portugal/entry-requirements.
Madeira International Airport is situated between the resorts of Santa Cruz and Canical, offering short transfer times to both resorts of 15 minutes or less. The airport is around 18 kilometres or 25 minutes drive from the capital Funchal, which is Madeira’s most popular resort. We include transfers as part of most holiday packages, so getting to your resort is easy.
Road transport in Madeira is good, with a network that serves practically all points of the island. Hiring a car is an easy way to get around and there are companies at the airport and main resorts who can arrange vehicles for you.
Advice for travellers with children
A relaxed, quiet island, Madeira is a great place to take kids, with clean streets and a family-friendly feel throughout. Pleasingly when travelling with little ones you can be at your resort in no time, especially if you stay in the charming and colourful Santa Cruz, which is only two kilometres from the airport. All Inclusive holidays to Madeira are easy to find and take all the stress out of planning your trip.
Family attractions in Madeira include Madeira Theme Park, Santa Cruz Aqua Park and The Madeira Story Centre, which is an interactive museum that relives Madeira’s history. Also, with the nickname the ‘floating garden in the Atlantic’ there are loads of parks and gardens across the island where outdoor play time and picnics are encouraged.
It should be noted that most beaches in Madeira are pebbled so it’s not usually bucket and spade territory. However, imported sand beaches can be found at places like Machico, close to Santa Cruz, and Calheta on the southwest coast. Or take a trip to nearby island of Porto Santo for nine kilometres of natural golden sand.
Connector type: Two-pin plug
Voltage Info: 220AC
If you need emergency assistance, dial 112.
The police can be contacted on (+351) 291 208 400.
If you’re a victim of crime or affected by a crisis overseas, or if something happens to a relative or partner, contact the Honorary British Consulate in Funchal.
Address: Rua da Alfandega 10, 3C, 9000-059, Funchal
Phone: (+351) 291 212 860
There are 67 health centres situated around Madeira and two hospitals in Funchal, the main one being Hospital Central Do Funchal, also known as Hospital Dr. Nelio Mendonca.
Address: Av. Luis de Camoes, 9004-514 Funchal, Madeira
Phone: (+351) 291 705 600
Madeira Island News – The latest news from the island of Maderia, as well as local transport links and more.