Resting on the African shelf of the Atlantic Ocean and just 450 miles from the coast of Morocco lies the volcanic archipelago of Madeira. It’s hard to believe that Madeira and the chain of islands that share the same name were accidentally discovered by Portuguese explorers towards the end of the 15th century. Since being settled by the Portuguese in the 15th century, Madeira and its neighbor, Porto Santo, have become popular vacation spots frequented by travelers from around the world. Thanks to the agreeable weather conditions that allow natural beauty to thrive on their shores, flights to Madeira are packed year-round with travelers looking to escape the cold winter months. Funchal, the capital city of Madeira, is a cultural haven with ample opportunity for cultural exploration if roughing it in nature isn’t quite your style. Whether you choose to enjoy a glass of Madeira in a crowded tavern downtown while listening to some fado on the jukebox, mosey along the paths of the ancient stone waterways that once nourished the vineyards and orchards of the island, or ogle the imported tiles and antique Portuguese silverware on display at the Frederico de Freitas Museum, you’re sure to find something to suit your tastes on this quaint island that embraces its fascinating past.
Even though the climate affecting its mainland counterpart, Portugal, experiences hot, stifling summers and cold, wet winters, Madeira’s seasons are mild. Thanks to its location, sea breezes that keep the island cool in the hotter months and temperate throughout the slight chills brought on by January and February.
Peak Season: Madeira knows how to celebrate in style, and for this reason, the holiday season is one that drives tourists in droves to book Madeira flights. Visitors hailing from every corner of the globe come to Madeira for its renowned New Years fireworks display, so if you hope to join the throng of tourists flocking to Funchal for December 31st, be sure to make your Madeira flights and hotel reservations months in advance. With its natural beauty and consistently sunny weather, Madeira makes for an ideal summer vacation spot and therefore the peak time to visit – and when cheap flights to Madeira are hard to come by – extends from May through the end of October.
Off-peak Season: The summertime may be the most popular time to visit Madeira, but because of the island’s consistently agreeable weather, the off season is really determined by the festivals and events happening in Madeira during the summer and winter months. Early spring and late fall are quieter times of year to visit, so if you’re looking to explore Madeira without bumping into tourists at all the hot spots, try taking advantage of off-season cheap flights to Madeira for a quieter change of pace.
When your flight arrives in Madeira, do yourself a favor and grab a bus schedule. Buses are the main way to get around, and all the routes go through Funchal. The bus system in Madeira is affordable and reliable, but take note that some of the routes are scheduled infrequently. Make sure you know what time your bus leaves, as it might be the only one departing from Funchal that day. Ferries to the island of Porto Santo leave regularly, six days a week, from the Port of Funchal.