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Madeira is a Portuguese island situated in the north Atlantic. It is a very mountainous volcanic island which last erupted 6,500 years ago. It lies in the waters of the gulf stream giving it warm winters and comfortable summers making it an ideal holiday destination. Funchal is Madeira’s thriving capital city. It is noted for its splendid array of subtropical flowers and plants which give a truly wonderful display in spring.
Madeira has some spectacular scenery with steep cliffs rising up immediately from the shore. Terraced gardens and cultivated areas with their brightly coloured blooms making a spectacular contrast with the lush vegetation. There are good sporting facilities including golf and water sports. Madeira is very popular with hikers who can walk along the irrigation system of mini canals which took the water from the wetter north to the dry south of the island. The towns of Madeira are perfect for sightseeing with their cobbled streets and old buildings covered with bougainvillea and other more exotic plants. Madeira is in fact a feast for the senses.
Although Madeira has no natural sandy beaches, there are some man made beaches where children can enjoy the sand. The sun in this area is less harsh than in the Mediterranean and is safer for children’s skin. Those who are looking for an active holiday in stunning scenery need look no further as there are a wide variety of activities on offer on both land and sea.
Madeira is the perfect place to enjoy the sun at any time of year. With no great extremes of weather, summers remain comfortable and winters are pleasantly warm.
Although Madeira is a small island it has an enormous amount to offer with its spectacular landscapes, picturesque villages and crystal clear waters. Towns with beautiful old buildings and monuments situated in cobbled streets, parks with their glorious flowers all contribute to the island of Madeira’s splendour.
The very popular Lido Promenade found in Funchal, the capital, is lined with palms and sub tropical plants. Here you will find sea water swimming pools, bars, pavement cafes and restaurants. The Lido is the perfect place to watch the magnificent sunsets so famous in Madeira.
The Aqua Park in Santa Cruz is a fairly new and exciting attraction enjoyed by both children and adults.
Hiking along the levadas is also popular among more energetic travellers. The mini canals lead through the most amazing scenery that can not be experienced by any other means.
Madeira has excellent conditions for surfing, particularly in the winter months.
The island also offers big game fishing and dolphin and whale watching.
Madeira is host to many celebrations. Being a Roman Catholic country many of the festivals revolve around the churches calendar with patron saints days being particularly important. Wine festivals are also very popular.
Although embroidery is an old craft it has not died out and many fine examples of it can still be found today.
Whilst the nightlife in Madeira is low-key there are many cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants. There are also some nightclubs and discos that stay open until four in the morning on Fridays and Saturdays for who like to party.
Many hotels offer themed evenings which are open to the public.
For those who like a flutter there is also a casino.
Madeira is an ideal place for moseying along its cobbled streets with their fine array of gift shops, craft shops and boutiques. For the ultimate shopping experience visit Santa Quiteria in Fuchal which has a huge number of stores as well as cafes, restaurants and cinemas. It even has bowling and mini-golf available.
As expected fish dishes abound in Madeira and eating out can be quite cheap with fish being a firm favourite. There are restaurants to suit all tastes and pockets.
Try a 'nikita' made from beer, ice cream and pineapple and don’t forget the Madeira cake.
Madeira is a Roman Catholic country and many of its festivals are connected with the church. When visiting churches in rural areas, shoulders and legs should be covered, so as not to give offence.
Cheap Portuguese holidays can be found all of the way through the winter, just as long as you avoid Christmas, New Year and any school half-term holidays. There are also occasional bargains in May and October, but they'll be snapped up pretty quickly so you'll need to keep a look out. If you do decide to visit outside the summer season you'll save some money on the price of food and drinks, particularly in the smaller resorts.
Madeira itself, is a Portuguese island in the North Atlantic. It lies in the waters of the Gulf stream giving it warm winters and comfortable summers. The area is well known for it's landscape, with steep cliff faces rising out of the sea. This is one of many reasons why this area is especially preferred by hikers looking to see the amazing scenery on the island.
Madeira doesn't actually have any natural sandy beaches, however there are some man made beaches where young families and children can still enjoy themselves. The sun is also less harmful for the skin than places in the Mediterranean which makes it much easier to relax. What's more, the weather stays the same pretty much all year round so you can grab some sun and a tan even in winter when the UK weather is abysmal.
The night life in Madeira is very low key, although there are plenty of restaurants and bars where you can socialize. There are also a few discos and night clubs which will stay open until 4 AM on Friday and Saturday nights.
For a cheap holiday in Madeira, you'll be best off looking in the winter period. Just make sure you avoid any public holidays like Christmas, and most of the school holidays and you should be able to find a good deal.