December 18, 2020 | Sunvil Holidays
Known as the Pearl of the Atlantic, the lush, sub-tropical island of Madeira offers exotic plants galore – often growing wild but also found in its beautiful gardens – plus numerous well-marked hiking trails, charming villages and world-class hotels. The sheer diversity of scenery on an island of such modest size (56km long by 21km wide), and its year-round balmy climate (average temperatures rarely fall below the mid-20s), make it an ideal holiday destination.
As a purveyor of holidays to lesser-known destinations and hidden hotspots, Sunvil first introduced Madeira in 1984, alongside mainland Portugal. Madeira was paused as a Sunvil destination in 2015 to allow Sunvil to focus on growing its portfolio of rural guesthouses in the lesser-known regions of mainland Portugal, such as the Alentejo and Centro.
Sunvil’s MD, Chris Wright, explains why Madeira has been re-introduced for 2021: “During the last few years, Madeira has rediscovered its true values. The emphasis for visitors has returned to the island’s spectacular natural environment, from outdoor activities and natural parks and gardens to its cultural heritage, traditional gastronomy and, of course, its famous fortified wine, Madeira. Tourism development in Madeira is now very much rooted in sustainability and environmental conservation, as well as supporting local communities – initiatives which are vital in the business of tourism today, and which are important values for Sunvil and its customers, too.”
Initially, Sunvil will offer accommodation in Funchal, Madeira’s capital; car hire makes it easy to explore the lesser-known north for a pleasant day out, pootling along quiet roads and through beautiful countryside, with superb Atlantic views and plenty of restaurants at which to stop for lunch. There are also plans to extend Sunvil’s holiday options across the island. Once travel restrictions permit, Sunvil will also offer combinations of two and three centre trips, linking Madeira and mainland Portugal, Madeira and the mid-Atlantic Azores (an archipelago of nine islands), and even all three – mainland Portugal, Madeira and the Azores – in one trip.
Madeira offers a wide variety of holiday options. For the adventurous, there are opportunities for trekking, jeep excursions, canoeing, trail running, canyoning and climbing. More relaxing activities include birdwatching and golf, plus numerous gardens and walking trails to explore. Dolphin and whale-watching are popular with all visitors, including families, as are riding high on the Funchal cable car, or venturing to Porto Moniz in rural northern Madeira to swim in the natural sea pools carved from volcanic rock. As for historical sites, the city of Funchal is 500 years old and is home to many museums, churches, and other historic buildings.
With mild temperatures and quarantine-free travel from the UK, Madeira is an ideal winter break. Here are the latest holiday ideas and special offers from Sunvil:
Quinta Jardins do Lago, Funchal
This elegant, traditional Quinta (country estate) was built in the 18th century and is situated within 2.6 hectares of botanical gardens, full of rare trees, exotic flowers and a beautiful ornamental lake. Featuring a large heated outdoor pool, Turkish bath, croquet lawn and a kitchen garden, this unique hotel also plays host to birds, koi carp, and a giant Galapagos tortoise named ‘Colombo’.
SPECIAL OFFER: Departing 15 January 2021, a seven-night half-board stay costs from £1,007 pp (two sharing), including one free night, one complimentary three-course dinner, one complimentary two-course lunch, flights and private transfers. Minimum seven nights’ stay. Valid only between the following travel dates: 4 January 2021 to 31 January 2021.
The Cliff Bay, Funchal (above)
The Cliff Bay Hotel is praised for its personal and impeccable service, spacious bedrooms and uninterrupted ocean views. The dramatic clifftop setting is enjoyed from many guest bedrooms, plus the gardens and the swimming pool. The hotel has a wealth of leisure facilities, whilst secluded corners offer a sense of tranquillity, just 2km from the capital.
Departing 15 January, a seven-night half-board stay costs from £1,155 pp (two sharing), including flights and private transfers.
Quinta da Casa Branca, Funchal (above)
This charming boutique hotel is a 20-minute walk from the centre of Funchal and the buzz of its shops, restaurants and attractions. The 18th century estate is still family-run and is a Small Luxury Hotels of the World member. Surrounded by three hectares of botanical gardens, banana trees and lawns, guests enjoy a sense of serenity the minute they step through the gates.
Departing 15 January, a seven-night B&B stay costs from £1,123 pp (two sharing), including flights and private transfers.
There is currently no quarantine required either on arrival in Madeira for visitors from the UK, or on return to the UK. A COVID-19 swab test must be taken prior to travel. Sunvil can advise on testing and even pre-book tests on behalf of guests.
To book, or to talk to an expert at Sunvil, please call 020 8758 4722 or visit www.sunvil.co.uk/discovery/portugal.
Press: For further information or high-res photography, please contact Jackie Franklin or Sue Ockwell at Travel PR:
Notes to Editors: Award-winning holiday specialist Sunvil has pioneered many fascinating destinations in its 50-year history, and has been at the forefront of environmental initiatives and good practice, protecting its destinations and ensuring that local people benefit from tourism, for over 30 years.