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Madeira

Country
Portugal
State
Madeira
City
Madeira
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

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Places to Visit
How to Reach

By Air

There are regular charter and scheduled connections to many major European destinations including Berlin, Frankfurt, Amsterdam and Helsinki. Connections from the UK are available from London Heathrow, Gatwick and Luton, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow and Manchester. Flying time from the UK is 3 hours 30 minutes.

By Ferry

There are no regular passenger ferries to Madeira from mainland Europe. However, it is possible to reach the island on one of the cruise ships that call at Funchal. A regular passenger ferry goes from Funchal to the neighbouring island of Porto Santo, and this ferry can carry vehicles.

By Bus

Funchal has an efficient bus service, which runs a long way out into the countryside. Places that are far afield are not so easily reached by bus if you want to make it back to Funchal by night. A tourist plan showing bus routes and fare zones (not timetables) is available from information kiosks on Avenue Mar das Communidades Madeirenses. Buy double tickets (bilhetes duplos) from the information kiosks and get two trips for less than the price of one trip. You can buy tickets from some other kiosks and newspaper stands as well. Funchal city buses are yellow. If you're staying in the Lido area, you can take bus number 1, 2, 4 and 6 from Funchal. Lido is within zone 1.

By Car

Madeira has many newly asphalted roads and a recent dual carriage motorway. Madeirans drive on the right hand side of the road and all cars have the steering column on the left. Seat belts are required, as in all of Europe. Children under the age of 12 are not allowed to sit in the front seats. The speed within cities and villages is limited to 25 to 30mph, while it is 50mph in non-urban zones.

You can still find narrow cobbled roads within cities and villages, which can be very slippery when wet. Even outside residential areas, there are many narrow winding roads. That is why special care and attention should be taken when touring the island. The locals obviously know their way around and therefore tend to drive very fast.

Key places to visit
Lido Promenade, Botanical Gardens, Sao Vicente Caves, Museum of Quinta das Cruzes, Whale Museum


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Places to Visit

Lido Promenade

Since the opening of a new coastal promenade, the Lido area in Funchal, already well known for the many tourist facilities it offers, has developed even more into an extensive leisure zone, much appreciated by locals as well as tourists.

Lined with palm trees and bordered by splendid botanical gardens, this promenade links the Lido area with the pebbled Praia Formosa Beach at the western end of Funchal, offering breathtaking views over the sea and towards Cabo Giro to all those who stroll, walk or run along here.

There are three public swimming pools the Lido swimming pool complex with the largest seawater pool, the Clube Naval and the recently opened Ponta Gorda swimming pool complex; all of which offer extensive leisure facilities with seawater and separate childrens pools, sea access, sports activities, restaurants and snack bars - all you need for spending a relaxing day at the seafront.

Botanical Gardens

On the road to Camacha, about three miles from Funchal, this botanical garden is one of the best in Portugal, with faraway views of the bay. Opened by the government in 1960 on the grounds of the old Quinta do Bom Sucesso plantation, the gardens include virtually every tree or plant growing on Madeira. Some of the subtropical plants were imported from around the world including anthuriums and birds-of-paradise from Africa and South America. A heather tree, discovered near Curral das Freiras, is said to be 10 million years old. The gardens open onto panoramic views of Funchal and its port.

Sao Vicente Caves

Beside the river at Pe de Passo, are the Sao Vicente Caves, a series of lava tubes left after an eruption that occurred about 400,000 years ago. These volcanic tunnels extend for about 3,281ft (1,000 metres) and can be explored on a 30-minute tour. The caves feature formations like lava cakes, volcanic stalactites and erratic blocks, and give a sense of walking through the bowels of the earth.

Museum of Quinta das Cruzes

This museum is the former home of Joo Gonalves Zarco, who discovered Madeira in 1419. The surrounding park is of botanical interest and contains a significant collection of orchids. The museum houses many fine examples of English furniture and China-trade porcelains brought to Madeira by expatriate Englishmen in the 18th century. Also on display, are rare Indo-Portuguese cabinets and the unique chests native to Madeira, fashioned from caixas de aucr, sugar boxes, dating from the 17th century. Also worth noting is a superb collection of antique Portuguese silver.

Whale Museum

On the east coast of the island of Madeira, in the little fishing village of Canical, the Whale Museum chronicles the rise and fall of the whaling industry, which was a vital part of the islands economy for many decades, right up until 1982. The exhibits include photographs, hunting implements, a life-size whale model, a fishing boat and objects carved by local fishermen from the bones and teeth of whales.

Right Time to Visit

October - March

Temperature