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Madeira Winter Sun
8 days - by Scheduled Air

Price from £609.00 per person*
Departures from 9th Oct 2017 to 9th Apr 2018

Single person supplement : £150.00 per person

Flights from Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, East Midlands, Gatwick, Glasgow, Leeds Bradford, Manchester, Newcastle and Stansted airports

Please see Includes tab for flight times


If you want to run to the sun this winter, but don't want to end up casseroled, you can't do better than the island of Madeira. Being just 300 miles west of Africa and flush between the latitudes of Casablanca and Marrakesh, you might expect Madeira to be sun–baked and blistering, but instead the pattern of Atlantic trade winds and warm Gulf currents give it a balmy Mediterranean year–round climate with temperatures rarely dipping below 19ºC (66ºF) in January or tipping above 24ºC (76ºF) in October. In other words, Madeira is a Goldilocks island which, regardless of time of year, is perfect for people who like it not too hot, not too cool, but just right.

It's beautiful too, an island of cliffs and cloud forests, slopes and ravines. Storm petrels, chaffinches, firecrests and shearwaters haunt the rugged coastlines or the fennel–scented laurisilva valleys. There is a wild profusion of native blooms including hibiscus, white and blue agapanthus as high as a man, armchair–sized aloe vera, brilliant bird of paradise, weeping bottlebrush, red canna, frangipani, bougainvillea, orchids and forest flame. You might see some of these in a good garden–centre, but not the trees: canary palms like two–storey pineapples, enormous dragon trees, and wooded glades of purple jacaranda, banana and African tulip. Being at the top of a dormant chain of submarine volcanoes, Madeira has a plunging forested interior, with peaks half as high again as anything in Scotland and many hidden valleys and villages. There are some spectacular walking paths, legacy of the Portuguese who cut and built 1,300 miles of water–carrying levadas through rock and over gorges. Some of these are exquisite rambles through an unspoilt Eden, while others feature sheer and vertiginous drops and are not for the faint–hearted.

Madeira is of course most famous for its fortified wine. According to Shakespeare in Richard III, the Duke of Clarence got himself drowned in a vat of the stuff, while Falstaff in Henry IV was prepared to sell his soul for a mere cupful. What we call Madeira cake is in fact an entirely English confection which got its name only because of an 18th century fashion in genteel society for serving it with Madeira wine. Madeira does have its own cake, though, a dark and sticky sponge known as Bolo de Mel, made with almonds, walnuts and molasses. You might like to try it along with other Madeira culinary specialities, such as Bolo do caco (sweet potato flatbread) with fresh limpets, espetada (cubed beef), picado (garlic fried beef) and espada (the weirdly prehistoric–looking black scabbard fish, which definitely tastes better than it looks). There are some optional tours on this holiday, because there are places you might not want to miss, but you can just as easily mooch off and do your own thing too. Either way, we can help make sure your holiday is like Madeira itself, not too much, not too little, but just right.

This tour is organised and operated by Omega Holidays plc ABTA V4782 ATOL 6081

  • Return flight from your chosen airport to Funchal
  • Return transfer from the airport to your hotel
  • Seven nights at the 4 star Hotel Raga, Funchal
  • Light all–inclusive board: buffet–style breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus complimentary drinks with meals
  • Afternoon tea/coffee and cake
  • One piece of hold luggage (20 kg weight allowance)
  • Services of an English–speaking representative
  • All airport taxes and security charges and the Government charge on air travel (APD)
  • VAT at 20%

* Based on two people sharing a room. A room for single person occupancy is offered, subject to availability, at a supplement of £150pp for the break.

Flights ↔ Funchal
Birmingham06:15 / 10:0510:55 / 14:45Monarch
Bristol07:10 / 10:4511:25 / 15:05easyJet
East Midlands10:30 / 14:2015:05 / 19:05Jet2
Edinburgh09:45 / 13:4014:40 / 18:45Jet2
Gatwick07:10 / 11:0011:40 / 15:25easyJet
Glasgow10:25 / 14:3015:15 / 19:20Jet2
Leeds Bradford09:15 / 13:1514:00 / 18:00Jet2
Manchester13:45 / 17:5018:25 / 22:25easyJet
Newcastle09:30 / 13:3514:35 / 18:50Jet2
Stansted09:45 / 13:2514:25 / 18:15Jet2
These flight times are correct at the time of publishing but may not be available on all dates and are subject to change without notice

Monday  Make your way to your chosen airport for the flight to Funchal, where on arrival we will transfer you to the 4 star Hotel Raga for check in and free time before the first of seven nights stay.

Tuesday After breakfast, there will be a welcome meeting in which you will be introduced to the area and given a chance to book the optional excursions. Lunch will follow and the rest of the day is at leisure until dinner.

Wednesday A free day, or join the optional tour of Madeira's West Coast.

Thursday A free day, or join the optional excursion to Eira do Serrado and Monte.

Friday A free day, or visit Quinta do Bom Sucesso botanical gardens on our optional excursion.

Saturday A free day, or a fine day out on our full–day excursion to Santana.

Sunday One final relaxing day in resort.

Monday After breakfast, at the appropriate time, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home

Optional Excursions

West Coast Madeira tour

Full Day
On this full–day tour we follow a large loop along the south Riviera coast from Funchal to the westernmost tip of Madeira at Ponta do Pargo, then heading inland to the central highlands, before turning south and heading for home. We stop first at the small pebble beach of Ponta do Sol, close to the Lugar de Baixo marina. Sheltered sea pools like this are popular with Madeirans and this is one of the best, offering a large stretch of clear and calm water and two smaller pools as part of a complex. From here go to Madalena do Mar and explore the world of bananas and how to grow them at a local banana field. We'll stop at another fine beach just by Calheta on the south–west coast, and then continue to Jardim do Mar, a tiny village very popular with surfers. On to Paul do Mar, a former fishing village, and then Ponta do Pargo on the western point of Madeira, where there is a lighthouse. This is a noted region for the 'porgy' fish, from the bream family, and for the local apple festival. From here we climb the long road inland to the high plateau of Paul da Serra (1500m / around 5,000ft). From here you can see the vast laurisilva forests stretching away to the north, often covered by a rainforest–like carpet of mist from the expiration of the foliage. The large central Madeiran plateau is excellent for walking but can also be windy. On the way back to the hotel we'll make a final stop in the pretty village of Camara de Lobos (Council of Seals), named in jest by the first Portuguese settlers because of the way the local seals congregated together in the bay and barked incoherently as if in a heated discussion.
Pre-bookable only. Subject to a minimum of 5 bookings, 14 max.
Quintas and Gardens

Full Day
Monte Palace tropical garden
Our first port of call features 70,000m2 of exotic plants plus a lake with free–ranging peacocks, Icelandic white swans and Tasmanian black swans. The Monte Palace Museum (admission included) boasts a display over two floors of African sculptures and a collection of over 1000 mineral specimens, with over 300 semiprecious and precious gems including rough and cut diamonds.

Quinta do Palheiro garden
We descend to near–sea level (by toboggan if you like – see above) to visit Quinta do Palheiro garden, also known as Blandy Garden and much cited in literature as one of the most beautiful in the world. The garden dates from 1801 and today includes a golf course, village and orchid nurseries, as well as a famous collection of camelias, a Rose Garden, a Sunken Garden, the Ribeirodo Inferno, Lady's Garden and Tea–House area.

Quinta Vigia garden
Originally a villa and home to a succession of European and Russian aristocrats, the Quinta Vigia is now the official residence of the President of Madeira, and features a huge variety of indigenous and exotic plants, trees and birds in its extensive gardens, and also affords gorgeous panoramic views over the harbour.
Pre–bookable only. Subject to a minimum of 5 bookings, max 14.
Eira do Serrado and Monte

Thursday Afternoon
approx €25pp
On this full day excursion we visit Pico do Barcelos, from where you can get great views of Funchal, and continue up the mountainside to the panoramic viewpoint at Eira do Serrado, which gives you a view of the village of Curral das Freiras. We continue on through the hills to Monte, a lovely little photogenic hamlet famous for a pretty church, some delightful public gardens and, for the reckless and adventurous, a Toboggan run which (at an extra €15pp) will take you down the hair-raising 2km mountain slope considerably faster than you came up it! Somewhat more sedate is our visit to a local embroidery manufacturer, who also does a nice little line in wine-tasting.
Bookable in resort. No minimum numbers apply.

Full Day
approx €34pp or €46pp with lunch
This is a great day out visiting some of Madeira's most famous sights. We head north from Funchal and climb into the hills through laurisilva forest until we get to Pico do Arieiro, which at 1810m high is the third highest peak and often sits above a white carpet of fluffy clouds, while on a clear day you can see the island of Porto Santo, thirty miles to the north-east. From here we continue to Ribeiro Frio (Cold River), known for its trout farm and the starting point of one of the best levada walks on the island. Thence to Santana, famous for possibly the oddest houses you'll ever see, triangular A-frame affairs that seem to come straight out of a children's nursery book. Continuing east along the mountainous and panoramic north coast we pass through Porto da Cruz, Portela and then Machico on the eastern tip of the island. Machico is said to be the first landing point in 1419 of Zarco and Teixeira, the Portuguese discoverers of Madeira, and today is a thriving town with a pretty harbour. Finally we visit Camacha, famous for hosting Portugal's first ever game of football in 1875, and worth visiting for its local wickerwork warehouse.
Bookable in resort. No minimum numbers apply.

Here are some example hotels or similar ones that we use for this break, actual availability may change with the travel date you choose.

Some hotels have an additional supplement per person, as shown below. Supplements are stated for the break (not per night)

Raga Hotel, Funchal
Lying a short distance away from the city centre, the hotel is situated on the hillside in the heart of Madeira's renowned Lido area and commands spectacular views of the surroundings.

Quote: XNWM01

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