Located 500 km from the West African mainland, the seemingly-isolated Portuguese archipelago of Madeira provides the perfect escape at any time of year. Famous for its glorious sub-tropical climate, rich red wines and Cristiano Ronaldo, few places enchant visitors like Madeira. The island’s capital Funchal was once a rough and ready hangout for pirates and native islanders, but today boasts stunning year-round climate, 5 star hotels and cozy alfresco restaurants within walking distance of its attractive harbor. What’s more, luxury 5 star hotels in Funchal are the ideal base for exploring the rest of the archipelago.
5 Star Hotels in Funchal: The Best Hotels on the Stunning Island of Madeira
Funchal: Fireworks and Ocean Views
Sequestered between dramatic mountains and the beguiling Atlantic Ocean, the port city of Funchal has come a long way since its fennel-growing days from which the city earned its name. Today, Funchal is a diverse location catering to all kinds of travelers, and its range of exceptional 5 star hotels make Funchal the perfect base to explore the island’s stunning surroundings. Begin your exploration of this sun-kissed city at the harbor, which regularly welcomes enormous trans-Atlantic cruise liners from as far away as Rio de Janeiro. A brand new promenade had been added along the harbor-font which includes a park, pedestrian pier and even a small beach area to enjoy. Soccer fans with a 5 star hotel in Funchal should not miss out on a visit to the Museu CR7, a museum dedicated to the achievements of the island’s most popular export; Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s located right by the harbor and houses the soccer player’s many trophies and awards. The city’s peaceful Zona Velha (Old Town) is an idyllic place to spend an afternoon. Cozy bars and traditional Portuguese restaurants can be found around every corner, and while you’re walking around see how many ‘painted doors’ you can spot. While you’re here, stop for a taste of Puncha – a Funchal favorite made with run, lemon and honey. Take a cable car up to the city’s Botanical Garden for stunning views over the city, mountains and Atlantic coast. Why not splash out on a 5 star hotel in Funchal over Christmas and New Year? The city comes alive during the holidays, and its streets become draped in festive lights. Funchal’s New Year’s Eve fireworks display is one of the most spectacular in the world – it even won the Guinness World Record in 2015 for the world’s biggest NYE display.
Madeira: Banana Trees and Cliffside Walks
One of the many benefits of a 5 star hotel in Funchal is its access to the rest of the island. Brave visitors should get their bearings at the Cabo Girão Skywalk; a clifftop walkway with a transparent glass floor which juts out almost 2000 feet above sea level. Madeira is a volcanic island, and its inland is home to some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery. Those who aren’t afraid of heights should venture along the Vereda do Arieiro trail which weaves its way over lush canyons and deep valleys, high above the clouds. For dramatic ocean views, the cliff-side Vereda da Ponta de Sao Lourenço is exceptional. If you’re looking for a beach vacation, you’re better off heading to the Algarve, but there are a few unique spots on the island to cool down and catch some rays. The village of Port Moniz is home to natural sea water swimming pools that are a great fun if you’re traveling with kids. Paragliding, dolphin-watching and scuba diving are all popular activities on the island, and thrill seekers can even try their hand at canyoning at the Parque Ecologico do Funchal. Golf enthusiasts will love putting a few holes at the exclusive Palheiro Golf Course; 18-holes house among lush woodland and sub-tropical banana trees. When it comes to a vacation in Portugal, few destinations leave such a lasting impression. A 5 star hotel in beautiful Funchal will only make your stay on Madeira even more extraordinary.