Marvellous Madeira

Boats on sea in front of Funchal

Funchal in Madeira (Photo: Paulo Magalhaes)

If you’ve been inspired by the travel special on Portugal in our June issue, we’ve found even more reasons to visit the island of Madeira this month.

This subtropical island is packed with plenty to see and do and yet it has a charmingly laid-back feel to it. The chic capital Funchal is compact enough to enjoy on foot with a relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere.

At night, bustling bars and independent shops come alive on its narrow cobbled lanes. And outside the capital, a short drive will take you to mountains, shaded forests and traditional villages.

You fly in to the island over miles of Atlantic around a sheer cliff face before dropping dramatically on the airport runway suspended over the ocean. TAP Portugal (0845 601 0932) has flights from London Gatwick to Funchal, Madeira, with return fares starting at £168 including all taxes and surcharges.

Head out this month, and you’ll enjoy these great festivals:

7-9 June – Machico’s Medieval Market where the locals dress in medieval costume and the streets are decorated with colourful flags and tents. There are historical re-enactments, open-air theatre, music, market stalls and plenty of entertainment.

8- 29 June – The Atlantic Festival in Funchal includes music, art, food and each Saturday evening a firework display set to music

15-16 June – The Cherry Festival is held in the village of Jardim de Serra, 5km from Funchal, where locals celebrate the harvest with much eating, drinking and dancing.

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