Funchal is the main shopping hub in Madeira and has plentiful tourist nooks and crannies lining its picturesque cobbled streets. For beachwear and classic souvenirs, the Lido area offers the most choice, whilst the old town is strong on one-off boutiques and arty crafts shops. Popular buys include sweet Madeiran wine, colourful embroidered tableware, painted tiles and leather shoes. For larger-scale shopping, head for the island's biggest mall in Santa Quiteria, packed with boutiques and other outlets.
Unsurprisingly, Madeiran food owes much to Portuguese fare and you'll find lots of authentic restaurants sprinkled around Funchal and the other resorts. Fresh fish and seafood feature on most menus and many dishes use espada - black scabbard fish drawn from the local waters. Watch too for bife de atum e milho - fresh tuna and fried maize - caldeirada, a tasty fish soup, and espatada, skewered meat served with fresh vegetables. Most desserts feature succulent home grown fruit like bananas and passion fruit or dig into bolo de mel, the lusciously dark honey cake. Afterwards, why not try ponca, the local liqueur? And of course, no trip would be complete with sampling some fortified malmse and verdelho wines.
Madeira has a sophisticated air that's reflected in its nightlife, which is glamorous and vibrant, but hardly ever raucous. Most people in Funchal spend evenings sipping cocktails in plush bars or hotel lounges, before relaxing over a starlit supper and enjoying a flutter at the capital's swish casino. Many hotels host live music, folklore nights and cabarets, and there's always the option of strolling around the traditional bars in the old quarter and perhaps hitting one of the lively discos in the Lido area.
Madeira holiday resorts
|Funchal Holidays||35 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Calheta Holidays||2 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Machico Holidays||2 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Ponta Delgada Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Santa Cruz Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Canico Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|
|Garajau Holidays||1 Hotels, Villas + Apartments|