Madeira Travel Guide

from Travel Insurance Direct
0800 652 9944
Travel Insurance Direct



If you need to recharge your batteries and relax in a beautiful and sun-drenched location, then Madeira may just be the place for your next holiday.


The island of Madeira is the largest of the volcanic Madeira Islands – a Portuguese archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of Africa. Other islands in the chain include Porto Santo, and the unpopulated Desertas Islands and Savage Islands (aka Selvagens), as well as many uninhabited islands and islets – some of which are nature reserves and bird sanctuaries.


Madeira is one of two autonomous (mainly self-governing) regions of Portugal, along with the Azores.


The islands of Madeira and Porto Santo are tremendously popular holiday destinations.  They offer a year-round warm climate and stunning scenery.  There are many excellent quality hotels, resorts and accommodations, as well as plenty of health spas where you can unwind with a sauna and massage or indulge in an array of health and beauty treatments. 



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Funchal is the capital city of Madeira, located on the south coast of the island.  Madeira is known by many other names, such as ‘island of flowers’ or ‘Garden Island’ for good reason as it is filled with fragrant flowers, orchards, and vineyards.  Funchal harbour is a popular stopover for cruise ships.


If golf is your passion then look no further, as Madeira offers an array of courses, and most offer spectacular ocean and/or mountain views.  If you are planning to play golf don’t forget to add ‘Golf Cover’ when purchasing your Travel Insurance.


A short plane trip or a boat ride of just over two hours across sparkling blue water will transport you from Madeira to the neighbouring island paradise of Porto Santo.  There you will find spectacular expanses of white sand beaches and excellent hotels and resorts.  In contrast to Madeira, the island is mountainous in the north but fairly flat elsewhere, which makes it ideal for cycling, horse riding and gentle walks and hikes.


Madeira is famous for its fortified wine of the same name, which is made from Portuguese wine and can be sweet or dry.  Madeira Cake, however, has nothing to do with the island of Madeira but was named because the cake used to be enjoyed with a glass of Madeira wine.  A traditional Madeira cake is Bolo de Mel (honey cake), made with honey and molasses.  Coral Beer is produced at the local Madeira Brewery. 


Dining out in the islands is an experience to be savoured, especially for lovers of fresh seafood, which is caught in local waters.  A Gourmet Food Festival is held annually, usually in November but check for updated information.



Disclaimer: While we have tried to ensure the information in this Travel Guide is correct we do not accept responsibility for any inaccuracy or the content of external links.

Inclusion in this Travel Guide does not guarantee travel insurance is available in any country at any given time. Travel Insurance is not available in countries where the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued an advisory against travel.

We strongly advise a visit to the FCO website for updated travel information and general travel advice before you book and pay for any travel.