Well known for it's balmy all year round climate and as a winter sun destination, Madeira's capital Funchal also has one of the worlds prettiest harbours and there's a lively buzz to the place due to the many ships and travellers which stop there. The island is also famous for sugar cane crops.
Try February, when the Funchal Carnival takes place or April-May for the sugar cane harvest. 15th August is Assumption Day, with a procession to "Nossa Senhora do Monte", which is colourful. There's a wine festival at the end of August too. A mild, subtropical climate all year round sees January temperatures around 15°C, rising to about 23 degrees in August and September. Peak holiday season is June to November, when the water temperature is about 20 degrees.
The Portuguese spoken here is sometimes tinged with a strong Madeira dialect, but English is also widely used. Funchal and Madeira are far more inexpensive than the UK, and typically an average meal will cost about 7 EUR.
The nearest airport to Funchal is 'Airport Santa Catarina', and to get to Funchal take the Aerobus: 8 EUR return; one-way 5 EUR, or the public bus which is 3 EUR one way. Taxis have meters, and there is a weekend surcharge, nights and luggage. A three star hotel will cost around 26 EUR per night, rising to 62 EUR/night for a four star. 7 day passes are available for buses for about 22 EUR, but many visitors hire a car. However, Madeira, although stunning, has some hair raising, twisting, steep roads, so take care, and petrol stations tend to be sparsely placed outside the cities, but free wifi exists in major cities and some towns.