Madeira’s warm summers and mild winters have traditionally attracted the older generation, but things are beginning to change as more and more hotels on this beautiful Atlantic island concentrate on great nieces and nephews as well as great aunts.
With wonderful scenery, superb levada walks, world-class hotels with great facilities and superb cuisine, the only thing Madeira lacks for perfect family holidays is sandy beaches, but at least pebbles can’t get into all those awkward nooks and crannies. Plus it’s clean, the people are incredibly friendly, and it’s virtually crime (and biting and stinging insect) free – and less than 4hrs' flying time from the UK.
|Flying Time||3.5 hours|
|Carbon Footprint||2.15 tonnes CO2|
Take a cable-car trip up to Monte, then come down again in one of the traditional wicker baskets.
Make a heart-thumping trip down one of the slides at the Aquaparque de Santa Cruz.
Enjoy afternoon tea at super-child-friendly Reid’s Palace (see Accommodation) for some old-fashioned British colonial splendour and tradition.
Go for a stunning walk along the island’s levadas – old water channels that follow natural contours.
Take the kids to the rockpools at Porto Moniz.
Have a day off from the kids (or just a morning or afternoon) to play golf or go blue-marlin fishing.
Have a dip in the seawater lidos at Funchal, where you'll also find Madeira Magic/Kids’ City, with the emphasis on science (there’s a mini-planetarium and a 3-D cinema as well as a 5,000m2 garden with educational and recreational areas).
Wander round any of the island’s stunning gardens – Madeira is known as ‘the floating gardens’. Among the best are the Botanical Gardens, Jardim Orquidea and Boa Vista.
Head for the Madeira Theme Park in Santanta, which focuses on the history and culture of the island and has multimedia shows and rides for children.
Many packages include dinner, and most good hotels have a children’s menu and/or accommodate special requests for kids – which can help on family holidays with fussier children.
But do venture outside and experience the great local (Portuguese-based) cuisine, especially the superb fresh seafood and grilled meats. And make sure you treat yourself to a glass of Madeira wine.
Madeira is a good choice for family holidays year-round, including winter breaks and any of the half terms. Oddly enough, however, some of the best deals are to be had in the height of the summer holidays, when it’s too hot for the oldies yet mild enough for kids.
There are direct flights to Madeira from several UK airports, plus Dublin. Flying time is around 3hrs 30mins and there is no time difference.
The airport is about 15km from Funchal itself. Madeira is a small island and you can get by with taxis or public transport, but for family holidays you may want to consider hiring a car.
Prices for family holidays on Madeira start at around £400pp for a week’s good-quality accommodation, rising to more than £1500 for a week at Reid’s Palace.
There are numerous hotels in Madeira catering for family holidays on all budgets, with a wealth of facilities and activities for children.
Win a 7 night touring holiday in Scotland for 2 adults and up to 2 children ... Enter now
The UK's biggest family holiday site. We offer exciting, hand-picked family holidays and breaks to family friendly places in the UK and abroad.
Top family breaks
Top family holiday types
Copyright 2003-2012 © Take the Family Ltd. All rights reserved. All images are copyright of their respective owners.