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The Magic Of Madeira: Portugal's Island Paradise Offers Adventure Aplenty

23/09/2016 13:53

LYING 700km off the coast of Africa is a small island paradise, its authenticity still perfectly preserved despite growing tourist demand.

Madeira is the sun-kissed destination giving the likes of the Canary Islands and Marbella a run for their money.

The island is a part of Portugal, though it sits closer to Morocco in the North Atlantic Sea.

Boasting a tropical climate with warm temperatures that extend through March and November, the island attracts sun-seekers year round.

While the destination has typically been a popular go to for over 50s, its strong food and wine culture coupled with adventure opportunities is putting in on the map for young travellers.

Whether you fancy a luxurious getaway lazing by the sea, or exploring the depths of lush forest in a jeep safari, Madeira can cater to all.

If you're going for a long weekend or a lengthier stay, here are the must-do's to soak up all of Madeira's magic.

To eat and drink

Enriched with volcanic minerals, the fertility of Madeira's soil is nothing short of remarkable. Tomatoes grow alongside avocados and grapes, which share vines with multiple types of passionfruit.

Living off the land has never been so nourishing, and the local cafes and restaurants certainly know how to make the most of it.

For lunch: Beerhouse Restaurant

With panoramic views of the crystal-clear sea from the capital of Funchal, the Beerhouse Restaurant is an idyllic place to sample the Island's authentic dish, black scabbard fish with friend bananas.

For dinner: Restaurante do Forte

Set inside a 17th Century castle, the unrivalled views over the Funchal bay are matched by the menu.

For a truly memorable experience, the restaurant offers a meal package including pick up in a vintage Rolls Royce.

Treat yourself: Il Galo D'Oro Restaurant at The 5* Cliff Bay Hotel

Headed up by Executive Chef Benoît Sinthon since 2004, the restaurant was awarded the first and only Michelin Star in Madeira and has held it annually.

The mouth-watering menu features Mediterranean and Iberian influences, and their wine list has received international acclaim.

To play

Whether you're into extreme activities or prefer more leisurely, the nature-loving hub has something for all adventurous appetites.

Jeep Safari Tours are offered by numerous companies, and are a great way of seeing the rich forest and dramatic terrain the island is known for.

For a spot of sealife spotting, Rota dos Cetáceos offers speedboat rides and guaranteed dolphin encounters.

Kite surfing, caving and rafting are also on offer throughout the island.

To stay

The steep and dramatic landscapes of the island make it relatively easy to find a room with a view, for all budgets.

In central Funchal, the Golden Residence Hotel offers a sea view apartment with buffet breakfast included from €102.50.

If you're looking to go a bit more luxe, the Cliff Bay Hotel will provide a truly unforgettable stay.

To get there

Monarch offers year-round flights to Madeira from Birmingham and London Gatwick airports with fares starting from 59 one way (£109 return).

If you're flexible on dates, Skyscanner's view monthly tool allows you to see when prices are peaking and dropping across all airlines and airports.

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