Funchal is a peaceful, year-round destination
Madeira's biggest city, Funchal, is nestled on the southern coast of the island. This cosmopolitan place enjoys splendid restaurants, fine hotels, beautiful gardens and wide-reaching views.
When to visit Funchal
Madeira has a mild climate all year around with January's temperatures hovering around 15°C. Come in the summer, and expect 23°C during the daytime. Funchal celebrates Carnival in February when colourful parades take place. Assumption Day is in August which is marked by the Catholic population with a feast all afternoon and during the evening churchgoers gather at the Church of Monte. Visit Funchal at the end of August and join in the wine festival.
Things to know about Madeira
Portuguese is the language of the island and it is spoken with a strong, local accent. Wi-Fi is available free of charge in all major cities, and a few smaller towns as well. The cost of eating and drinking out in Madeira is generally lower than it is in London. Expect to pay around €7 for a budget meal in a cafe.
Transport from Funchal airport
From Funchal Airport take the Aerobus to the city centre for approximately €5 one way. There is a public bus as well costing a few Euros less. Taxis have meters in Funchal so there is no need to negotiate before getting in, but there is a surcharge for travelling at weekends, evenings and with luggage. Public transport around the island is economical. A 7-day bus pass is roughly €22 for example. Hiring a car is a popular way to see Madeira, but be aware that many of the roads are steep and petrol stations outside of Funchal are hard to find. There are many hotels in and around Funchal with a 3 Star hotel costing €26 a night on average, and a 4 Star accommodation priced at around EUR62.