Madeira in December


Where to go in December?

Where to go in the winter when you don’t want to travel too far, but you’d like some warmth?  I ruled out the Canary Islands, only because I feel I’ve done the islands to death in my 20s.  I loved Cape Verde when I was there a few years ago too, but I like to explore new places.  I recalled a conversation with a work colleague who had told me they holiday often in Madeira and they love it.  I googled to look at the pictures and I was shocked how pretty it looked; decision made!

I Love Doing Research!

As always I love doing my research on where I’m going; for me it’s all part of the holiday.  My requirements for a hotel are pretty simple, first and foremost as a solo traveller I need to ensure that I am safe and that I feel safe.  I needed internet, as my evenings would be fairly restricted I decided I’d take my laptop and stream videos.  I know people say, go out and enjoy the new place you are in of an evenings but I just want to stay safe.  Generally if I know I’m going to be alone for a trip, I plan to do as much as I can in daylight hours.  It’s common sense, even in countries that are proclaimed as safe, I think it’s better to stay in a safe location than be looking over my shoulder all the time.

So I found the hotel I wanted to stay in.  Of course it ended up being a 5* hotel, as I have expensive taste.  The prices I was getting for the hotel on all well known hotel booking sites was expensive!  Out of curiosity I checked package holidays to see what hotels they had.  Bingo!  They had the hotel I wanted and it now worked out at almost half the price.  Top tip: check out all of your options!  I know there are travellers who never even consider a package holiday, whilst preaching that booking separately is cheaper.  Mostly it is, but like I say no harm in looking.

Really? A Package Holiday?

Package holidays can have their benefits: transfer included, a friendly rep on hand, an emergency telephone number and help with tours.  The nice thing about a 5* hotel is the  included transfer option is often a taxi and not a coach.

The Cliff Bay Hotel, Funchal


My research paid off!  The hotel was amazing!

I was greeted by lovely reception staff who went through everything, after she’d gone through it all she said ‘one minute, I have something for you’, she disappeared into the back office and returned with a glass of bubbly.  I have to say it was a nice touch.  I headed to my room, and couldn’t believe how huge the room was.  I opened the windows to the huge patio window and I was hit smack bang in the middle of my face with an amazing beautiful view of the harbour.

I wasn’t intending on writing a review for the hotel, but I loved it so much that I couldn’t go past without saying how good it is.  The restaurants were great.  I even had afternoon tea one of the days.  The pool areas were great, although the weather wasn’t quite hot enough for me to sunbathe.

Day Tour


I did one of the tour operator’s tours of the island, and I fell in love with the island, it was so beautiful and so interesting to hear the history.


Another day I went on a catamaran to go whale and dolphin watching.  I was surprised just how much we got to see and what a highlight of the holiday it turned out to be.



I have to admit, I was shocked that Funchal felt very much like a European city.  I know it is, but having been to the Canary Islands a number of times, I expected it to have a similar feel to that.  I was not expecting to be in a bustling town with very European architecture.  I loved it.  I loved all the artwork scattered throughout the city also.


All in all Funchal and Madeira was not as I expected and it was such a pleasant surprise.  For me to take a suitcase away with me and to stay in one hotel for more than a few nights is not usual, but it’s always nice to do something different now and then, and just go somewhere to recharge the batteries.


3 Comment

  1. Great post; very informative and I love the photos! I’m heading to Funchal in a couple of weeks. Any tips on what the must-see places are?

    1. You’ll have a lovely time! I’d definitely suggest doing a tour around the island. Porto-Moniz is worth a visit, and the sea cliff Cabo Girão if you are brave enough to stand on the glass floor at the top. Let me know what you think, when you get back?

      1. Of course! Thank you!

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