So many things to do on and off the water

Rural Madeira

Only 32 miles long and 12 miles wide this incredibly beautiful sub-tropical island rises to almost 6000 feet at its highest point. Lush green unspoiled countryside, terraced farms and vineyards vie with the spectacular mountains, pine forests, waterfalls and craggy cliffs. Flora in abundance – orchids, hydrangeas, hibiscus, no wonder Madeira is called the Floating Garden. 

Why not try a Fly-Drive holiday on Madeira – staying in a couple of properties outside of Funchal in quieter locations on the Island.


Santana is a beautiful village on the north coast of Madeira – famous for its small thatched triangular houses.

These small houses, built of natural stone, were used by the locals for centuries as stables and dwellings. 

This region is largely involved in agriculture, craftwork and tradition. The mountainous landscapes are dominated by the lush green that characterises the Laurissilva Forest, which was classified as a ‘World Heritage’ site by UNESCO. As the area and the landscape is so beautiful, most tourists visit Santana. 

Close to Santana you will find “Queimadas”, the starting point for one of Madeira's most spectacular ‘levada’ walks towards 'Caldeirao Verde' (the Green Cauldron).

Close to Santana, Prestige Holidays offers the beautifully positioned, Quinta do Furao, perched on a clifftop, with wonderful views of the coastline below. This hotel has been completely renovated in recent years and is a welcome haven with a traditional restaurant too.

Santo de Serra

Leaving Funchal and head towards Camacha, you will encounter a small village called Santo da Serra. This is the home of the former Blandy Park, where the paths are lined with wonderful blooming camellias. The park has a small variety of animals including deer, horses, goats and even a kangaroo has been spotted. 

Weekends are a good time to visit the village as the local people stage their market stalls along the main road and a surprising assortment of food and other goods can be acquired very cheaply.

About 1500m from the centre of the village you will find the Santo da Serra Golf course. From this course golf players have incredible views over the island and the Atlantic Ocean.

Close to the golf course is the beautiful Porto Bay Serra Golf Hotel – a small rural property with just 21 rooms. The hotel dates back to 1920, but has been completely renovated in recent years.  It is a real gem, perfectly peaceful location.


The mild climate makes Madeira ideal for golf. The Madeira Golf and Country Club at Santo da Serra, 15 miles from Funchal, has hosted the Madeira Open since 1993. It is part of the PGA European Tour. A second continuous 18 hole course is available at the stunningly beautiful Palheiro Golf. We have full details on both courses.

Reids Palace, Casa Velha do Palheiro and Cliff Bay are founder members of this golf course and as such are able to offer guaranteed start times, 30% reduction on green fees (payable locally) and courtesy transport to the golf course (subject to availability). 

Dining out in Madeira

In the evenings life continues apace. There are hundreds of restaurants from the first class to the family business where service excels. Lots of island dishes, in particular the fresh Atlantic fish, are delicious, do sample the ‘espetada’ – beef cooked over a fire of laurel and served on a skewer.

Things to do

One of Madeira main attractions is the 600 miles of ‘Levada’ walks which extend over the whole island. These are a great way to see some of the best scenery, flauna and fauna on the island. Some are quite challenging and walking shoes would prove useful. They carry water for domestic and industrial uses, as well as supplying the hydro-electric power stations. They were originally built to transfer water from the north to the south of the island. The levadas usually have paths running along side them – which are perfect for organised walks.

Water-sports abound (subject to weather) with scuba diving, deep sea fishing and dinghy sailing. Sea bathing is quite safe. It is useful to know that the north coast is 2°-3° cooler. Also ensure you visit the flower market in Funchal – open most mornings, it is a beautiful place to browse and admire the abundance of flowers on offer.

Car Hire

A hire car gives you so much freedom and adds an extra dimension to any holiday, but particularly in Madeira as some of the greatest pleasures are to be found in the countryside.