Given the rainy, overcast June that we’re all enduring, it’s easy to get distracted by the prospect of sunny holiday locations and making wishful travel plans.
So, when Madeira was named Europe’s best island at the prestigious World Travel Awards it provided us with a great excuse to find out as much as we could about the destination so we can all pretend that we’re there until we actually get the chance to visit.
Part of the Portuguese archipelago made up of the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo and the Desertas, Madeira is beloved for its year-round subtropical climate which attracts rare butterflies, seals and dolphins.
It’s also one of those rare destinations that caters for both those who are keen to get out and explore and those who prefer to take things at a slow pace and unwind – making it an ideal compromise for family holidays where you have to cater to the masses. Little wonder it’s come out on top of the list, hey?
An ideal escape from the everyday, the Atlantic island is a favourite of hikers with scenic trails and routes which are said to rival those of both the Cornish coast and Hawaii, as well as breathtaking mountainous free cycling routes to keep thrill seekers entertained.
There’s also a beautiful botanical gardens – think towering cactus gardens and meticulously manicured lawns set against a panoramic sea view – which will provide plenty of content for your Instagram feed (don’t forget to pack your broderie dress and straw hat!)
If you’re considering booking a spontaneous break to the official best island in Europe, you’ll be pleased to discover that non-stop flights to Madeira start from just £166 each way.
Words by Sarah-Rose Harrison