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Home Destinations ‘Hawaii of Europe’ is an ideal Tenerife alternative – with £71 flights

‘Hawaii of Europe’ is an ideal Tenerife alternative – with £71 flights

by Staff
It’s an alternative to The Canary Islands (Picture: Getty Images)

If you’re considering jetting off for some winter sun, you might think of heading to The Canary Islands — somewhere like Tenerife or Lanzarote.

But you might want to think again, as experts have warned that the beloved Spanish holiday hotspot is ‘facing collapse’ due to overtourism.

Yes, it seems too many people have been visiting the Canary Islands, the idyllic holiday destination made up of Gran Canaria, La Palma, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, La Gomera, and El Hierro.

A record number of people (48 million) visited the Canaries in 2023, with as many as half of these visitors estimated to be Brits.

Ben Magec — Ecologists in Action, an organisation dedicated to the protection of the environment, recently issued a warning about the overwhelming number of tourists and the quantity of urban development, claiming that the islands are at their limit and ‘facing collapse’.

So it’s worth finding an alternative place to get away, and we think we’ve found the perfect solution: Madeira.

Young woman walking on a scenic mountain trail
 Stairs leading to the summit of Pico Ruivo, the highest mountain in Madeira (Picture: Getty Images)

Like Tenerife and Lanzarote, Portugal’s Madeira is one of four islands making up an archipelago (Porto Santo, Desertas, and Selvagens) in the autonomous Madeira region. 

In addition to being surrounded by azure blue water, the island offers a lovely warm climate all year-round, which is a win!

TikToker @thechaosdiaries has compared the island to epic bucket list destinations such as Hawaii, Peru, and Croatia, thanks to the gorgeous cliffs and volcanic scenery, while @destinationinspiration dubbed it the ‘Hawaii of Europe’.

And if that doesn’t sell you on Madeira, the description from Lonely Planet surely will.

They write: ‘Geologically dramatic, bursting with exotic colour and warmed year-round by the Atlantic sun, Portugal’s most enchanting island is a place that keeps all its subtropical holiday promises. 

‘Pearl of the Atlantic, island of eternal spring…Madeira well deserves its fanciful nicknames and the affection visitors and locals alike feel for this tiny volcanic island that offers so much.’

Sounds dreamy, right?

We’re convinced, that’s for sure. And if you’re considering it, here’s a look at what else you need to know about this lesser-known travel destination…

Aerial view of Madeira island. Land meets ocean in Seixal, Madeira, Portugal
If you head to Seixal, Madeira, Portugal, you’ll find black sand beaches (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

How to get to Madeira

A quick Google search tells us that flights from London to Madeira take just under four hours non stop (3hr 50mins). Prices with Ryanair currently start from £71 if you fly in February, according to Skyskanner.

You can also fly with EasyJet, with prices starting from £78.

For those not in London, flights are available from Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, and Leeds, but these have stopovers and are significantly more expensive.

Map showing where Madeira is
It takes just under four hours to fly to Madeira (Picture: Metro.co.uk)

Best time to visit Madeira

According to travel experts at TUI, the best time to visit Madeira for the highest temperatures is in August or September, when you can expect an average daily high of 27C and lows of 21C.

February is thought to be the coolest month of the year in Madeira, when temperatures drop to 18C (average daily maximum), or 14C at the lowest.

However, if you want to try and avoid getting rained on, you might not want to book a trip in April, which is said to be Madeira’s wettest month. June is the driest.

And if you’re keen to get in the sea, the water temperature hovers around 23C or above from June to October. Bliss.

So really, it sounds like it’ll be pretty nice whenever you go. 

Things to do in Madeira

There are plenty of beautiful things to see and do on Madeira.

The Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo hike is incredibly popular with visitors, with a winding staircase that leads up the highest mountain in Madeira – expect breathtaking views.

Similarly, Ponta de São Lourenço, the easternmost point of the island, is a must visit according to Tripadvisor reviewers. The volcanic peninsula has a trail that captures spectacular panoramic views.

A user named Jen left a five star review, calling it a ‘must’, writing: ‘The whole experience was well worth it and the effort paid off, the views are incredible!’

Another who posts as Wanderlust3483 said: ‘This was our favorite day in Madeira.

‘We had so many hikes planned, but were unable to do them due to weather so this was the only one we were able to do. It’s about 6 miles if you go all the way to the top/end, which you very much should do. There is a lot of up and down and if you are not in great shape like me, you will be pretty sore the next day! It’s very well worth it though. The views are just wild and the terrain is like nothing we’ve ever hiked in before.’

Madeira’s capital city of Funchal is a must visit with plenty to explore, from cathedrals to museums. The botanical gardens in Funchal are another popular attraction, which can be reached via cable car.

Beach lovers should head to Seixal Beach, which has a stunning stretch of black sand, much like the beaches in Tenerife. Alternatively head to Porto Moniz to swim in natural pools formed by volcanic rocks. 

Travellers also recommend heading to the charming seaside municipality of Ponta do Sol, which boasts colourful buildings, palm trees, and of course stunning views of the sea.


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