Set in the hillsides of volcanic island Madeira in the Atlantic ocean, Funchal is green, pleasant and welcoming. The food is great and the people are friendly. It has a definite Latin feel and is a great winter sun destination. Many ships stop here before the long trek across the Atlantic to America, which give Funchal a romantic feel too.
In February the Carnival in Funchal livens up the island and in April-May, there is the sugar cane harvest. Assumption Day is on the 15th of August with the "Nossa Senhora do Monte" procession and the end of August hosts a wine festival. The climate is mildly subtropical all year round with January temperatures at around 15°C, and August and September are warmest at around 23 degrees. Peak season is from June to November when the water temperature is around 20 degrees.
Portuguese is often spoken with a strong dialect on Madeira, but English is also widely spoken. The cost of living in Funchal generally is lower than in the UK and London especially with an inexpensive meal costing about 7€.
The Airport Santa Catarina is Funchal's airport. To get into Funchal take the Aerobus for approx. 8 EUR return or one-way for 5€. The public bus costs only around 3€ one way. The taxis are metered and there is a surcharge for weekends, nights and luggage. 3 star hotels on the island cost around 26€ per night, 4 stars are about 62€/night. A 7 day ticket is available for buses for about 22€. Many visitors hire a car to see the island, but be advised that roads are twisty and steep. Also, outside Funchal, petrol stations are sparsely placed. However, there's free wifi in major cities and some towns on Madeira.