DISCOVER THE HAWAÏ OF EUROPE
Did you know that Europe has its own Hawaï?
Yes! You heard that right! The Portuguese archipelago Madeira is often referred to as the European Hawaï and honestly, it’s not hard to see why!
The island of Madeira will leave you breathless from the moment you arrive. Through the plane window you can already admire the highest peaks peeping through the clouds and you’ll make a landing on one of the shortest landing streaks in Europe.
Madeira is the perfect place in Europe to escape the cold winter temperatures and it’s a wonderful destination year round.
First of all, Madeira is a true hiker’s paradise! There are over 450 hiking trails on this little island. That means that there’s over 3000km for you to explore. Some hikes you can do by yourself, for other ones it’s advised to hire a local guide.
But Madeira isn’t just a dream destination for adventure seekers. It’s also the perfect place for a family vacation or a romantic honeymoon. There’s a ton of fun activities for everyone and you can even go dolphin and whale watching in Funchal!
The best way to explore the island is to rent a car and to simply drive through it. Driving in Madeira isn’t for the faint of heart and highly recommend booking a car with an automatic transmission. But the drive itself is actually one of the most fun activities on the island.
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT MADEIRA
Madeira is a wonderful destination to visit year round. But depending on the activities that you want to do some months will be better than others!
Go from March until October if you love hiking and you want an adventurous trip! Just be aware of July and August. During these two months it can get incredibly hot and some of the most popular and beautiful hikes provide zero coverage. You would burn to a crisp and the hikes will be all the more difficult.
During the winter the temperatures are still stable and favorable but there will be higher chances of rain.
But the two most beautiful months to visit Madeira? That’s in April and May when all of the flowers on the island are in full bloom. This is also one of the most popular times so expect hotels to fill up quickly and places to be more crowded. So if you’re keen to visit one of the world’s most beautiful gardens which is in Funchal then these two months are it for you.
Besides all of the hiking and sunbathing, Madeira is also known for swimming with whales and dolphins. If this is something that you want to tick off your bucket list then go from April to October. That’s when the highest number of mammal species are in the waters of Madeira.
WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN TRAVELING TO MADEIRA
Language – The main language spoken is Portuguese but you’re fine with English in the touristy places.
Currency – As a territory of Portugal, Madeira is part of the European Union. With this in mind, you might guess that the official Madeira currency is the Euro (€), and there are many ways to buy either before you leave for your holiday, or even while you’re out there.
Credit Cards & ATM’s – In Madeira debit and credit cards are widely accepted. The most commonly used credit cards are Visa, American Express and Master Card. As for ATM’s, most of the banks simply have them outside so you can take out cash during any time of the day.
Safety – Madeira experiences very little crime, and what there is does not usually target visitors.e levels are very low. But still, keep your valuables close by and/or hidden, especially at night. The only real scam concern in Madeira (specifically in the capital Funchal) is the possibility of being overcharged by a taxi driver. To avoid this, always insist on using the meter, or better yet, grab an Uber.
💸 Travel Insurance
I highly recommend you to get a travel insurance before your trip cause the risks are never worth the costs. If you’re going on a more adventurous trip you can always get yourself injured! So far I have sprained my ankle in Jordan, got food poisoning in India, turned snow blind in the Dolomites and have fallen multiple times during many hikes. It’s always best to be safe than sorry in such cases and with a good travel insurance you don’t have to worry about medical bills piling up.
I personally love World Nomads, their prices are affordable, their coverage is great, and they also offer 24/7 on-call customer service! When I got super sick in India they even covered an extra night for me at the hotel that I was staying it and rearranged my flight home at no extra cost!