Madeira. A destination with all-round sunshine, beautiful natural scenery and gorgeous beaches, it has a lot to offer for those seeking, well…just about anything!
Perhaps better known for its summer holidays (and rightly so too), Madeira isn’t always considered for its winter getaways in the same vein. But this is a holiday destination for all seasons – and can offer something quite special on the lead up to Christmas and New Year. Intrigued? We hope so! If you’re looking for a winter holiday with a difference, then read on…
Never too hot or never too cold, many say that Madeira has the perfect climate, especially for those who enjoy exploring the beauty of the destination (and if you’re a keen walker or hiker, you’ll be in for a treat), so visiting in the mild, winter months could be well worth it. Reaching around 20 degrees during the winter, you can still enjoy lazing on the black sandy and pebble beaches or on seashore, and you’ll certainly notice a welcome rise in temperature from home! In fact, Madeira was recently named ‘Best Winter Sun Destination in Europe 2020’ by Word Travel along with the ‘World’s Best Island Destination’ for five years running and ‘Europe’s Best Island Destination’, for a whole seven consecutive years, both awarded by World Travel Awards™, along with a number of other worthy accolades. That’s certainly put it at the top of our worthy destinations to visit.
What’s more, pay a visit to Madeira on the lead up to Christmas and you’ll experience one of Europe’s sunniest Christmas markets. Held in the heart of its main capital, Funchal, you’ll find an array of traditional souvenirs, typical delicacies and drinks of the season and a festive, upbeat atmosphere to give you an insight into the local culture. Plus, there are plenty of entertainment shows, Christmas carols and performances to enjoy too, to get you into the Christmas spirit. The market runs from 01 December to 07 January – be sure not to miss it.
And onto New Year’s Eve. For those who like to experience a mighty fireworks display, Madeira certainly has it – it has even won the Guinness World Records in past years for having the world’s largest fireworks show! Whether it be from the port of Funchal or a cruise ship deck, you’ll have front row seats. The incredible display lights up the sky with colour, and in Funchal, you’ll find an impressive stage in the amphitheatre with thousands of multi-coloured lamps – something quite spectacular! And to top it off, Madeira is in the same time zone as the UK, meaning that you can see the New Year in at the same time as your loved ones at home.
In addition to the Christmas and New Year festivities, there’s plenty more to be seen on the island. There are heaps of epic day excursions available to get out and explore all year-round, from kayaking, snorkelling, whale and dolphin observation and paddle boarding – or for those wanting to go to the next level, paragliding, and diving excursions are available too to give you the adrenaline rush you were after!
There’s lots to choose from on land too; day hikes, horse riding, bike tours and (for those even more adventurous) canyoning are also on the list of excursions available. Whichever you choose, we’re certain you’ll be impressed with the scenery; including impressive cliffs looking out onto the ocean, lush forests and cascading waterfalls – listen out for the rare birds too, you might be lucky enough to spot them. Be sure to take a camera where you can, as we think there are some Instagram worthy shots to be had!
A day of exploring no doubt works up an appetite for a well-deserved meal in the evening – and in Madeira, it’s easy to enjoy fresh food wherever you go due to its year-long warm climate. The island’s capital, Funchal is famous for its authentic restaurants, or if you’ve got a kitchen in your accommodation, take a trip to the local farmer’s market, named Mercado dos Lavradores where you can pick up a huge variety fresh fish, meat and vegetables to cook up your own feast.
Whilst we appreciate that summer holidays are a staple, holidaying in the winter months often means that you’ll have more space to enjoy the scenery, attractions, lively restaurants and bars. Pre-booking excursions and restaurants won’t always be needed, giving the option for a little spontaneity should you be quite so adventurous – and wandering around the local streets will feel leisurely and relaxed, but still with a warm and friendly atmosphere.
A holiday outside of the summer season often means you’ll bag more for your buck too. There are most certainly deals to be had – or if you’d like to stay in luxury accommodation on a 3-star budget, then the winter months will allow that to happen.
Whilst we hope that in months to come, we’ll be able to travel again like we used to, until then Madeira is continuing to create safe holidays for those who choose to travel during this time.
The Madeira Islands are currently working with the SGS, the world leader in certification to ensure the correct safety measures are taken to create the lowest possible risk when travelling here. This will mean that currently, you’ll notice a few changes including presenting a negative Covid test prior to departure, mandatory wearing of masks and social distancing to name of a few examples. Whilst this is different to what we’re used to, these measures make sure visitors and residents are safe and can continue to enjoy the beauty of Madeira.
If we’ve inspired you and you’d like to find out more about Madeira’s sights, scenery and culture, contact us today and we’ll be happy to help.