Car Hire in Madeira
Madeira might be better named the vertical island as everywhere you go is either up or down hill. The volcanic island, which is autonomous region of Portugal, is located in the Atlantic Ocean. The archipelago of Madeira and Porto Santo, plus some unpopulated islands, can be found to the north of the Canary Islands and about 300 miles off the West African country of Morocco. The last volcanic activity was over 200,000 years ago and this has led to a dramatic and fertile landscape. We offer Madeira car hire from Funchal (downtown) and Madeira Airport.
Madeira is quite small at around 300 Sq. miles, being only 35 miles long and about 20 miles at its widest point. This however does not tell the full story as most of the road network is limited to the coastal region and eastern section of the island. There are two main roads which bisect the island and smaller roads leave these to some of the more interesting places you will find. One important thing to remember if you hire a car in Madeira is not to get a low powered model. You will be climbing lots of hills and you will want a car that can cope easily with the terrain. You should also remember that petrol stations outside the main urban areas are very rare. Hiring a car in Madeira is an ideal way to get around.
The climate in Madeira is governed by the Gulf Stream which means the island enjoys warm weather all year with very little rain. The average winter temperature is 16 °C while in summer it only reaches 23 °C. As you head into the mountains and wooded valleys other micro climates exist but overall you know what to expect most of the time.
Most visitors arrive on the island by air at the international airport near Santa Cruz, where you can collect your hire car. The lack of level ground on the island means that the airport has been built on a strip of land which is parallel to the sea. The trip along the coast road to Funchal, which is the capital, takes around 20 minutes. This region is where the majority of the island lives and you can find the more renown and expensive hotels. Cruise ships do call in at the island but this tends to only happen during September and October.
The people of Madeira have constructed a vast network of water courses over the last 500 years to transport the mountain rain to the rest of the island. This has the benefit of providing hiking and walking trails into areas that would not otherwise be accessible. The island has a number of botanical gardens and the three that stand out as worth visiting are the main one in Funchal, the gardens at the former Monte Palace, and the Jardim Orquidea orchid garden. Like most places Madeira has its fair share of festivals; however most are held between March and September, so check your dates before visiting. Make the most of your hire car and take a trip out to some of these areas.
Look at any guide to Madeira and you can be sure that four things will always be mentioned, Reid's Hotel, Madeira wine, Cabo Girao, and the wicker toboggan rides. All are worth some of your time keeping the following in mind. Reid's can be enjoyed without staying by having afternoon tea in their large gardens overlooking the ocean. Madeira is a fortified wine like sherry and comes in four styles, Malmsey being the sweetest and Sercial the driest. Cabo Girao is one of the highest sea cliffs in the world at just under 2,000 ft. If you feel brave you can take a near vertical photo of the sea from its viewpoint. The toboggan rides used to be a bit fast and uncomfortable on the old cobbled streets. However modern tarmac has made them smoother and slower. It costs about 30E per couple to come down but be careful of the taxis at the bottom which can charge the unwary 20 -30E for a short onward trip.
Overall you will find that the island feels a very safe and friendly place to visit. Madeira car hire is relatively cheap and will make your travelling around the island much more convenient.