Portugal’s island of Madeira has recently been crowned Europe’s Leading Island Destination 2020 at the World Travel Awards. It’s won this award seven times over the past eight years, so we assess why it’s such a great place to visit and buy property!

The landscape

Madeira has a fascinating landscape that differs from mainland Portugal. The island has many different climate zones which means that the landscape is extremely varied and can change dramatically, with dense forests, waterfalls, volcanic mountains and a beautiful coastline. You could be forgiven for thinking that you were in Hawaii in some areas and Tenerife in others.

If you’re a nature lover or you are in your element in the great outdoors, Madeira is a great option. Alternatively, if you just love to be on the beach, it’s also is ideal. As it’s a volcanic island, there are no natural sandy beaches, with the few natural beaches having a pebbled or stone surface. However, in the interest of tourism, several manmade sandy beaches have been created to enjoy Madeira’s stunning coastline.

More than 60% of the island is a unique nature reserve with UNESCO World Heritage status.

The climate

The climate in Madeira is often described as an ‘eternal spring’ with mild temperatures all year round. Daytime temperatures are around 19/20°C from December to April, and exceed 20 °C between May and November, reaching 26 °C in August and September.


The culture in Madeira includes traditional Portuguese customs, as well as a few of its own. Festivals take place throughout the year focused on religion, nature and food.

Christmas is a huge celebration in Madeira, with the festivities starting 15 days before Christmas day. This is then extended to the new year with the ‘singing of the kings’ festival. Folklore is also a big part of Madeiran culture, with groups dressing up in traditional costume to perform old songs with traditional instruments.

Food and drink is a huge part of life in Madeira and if you move there permanently or buy a holiday home there, you may be lucky enough to try Madeira’s famous dessert wine, which came to prominence in the seventeenth century and is still being made today. If you love fruit and seafood, you’ll get an abundance of this on the island. Peruse the island’s main market, Mercado dos Lavradores in Funchal, to try locally grown small bananas, guava, chestnuts and the traditional black scabbardfish.

Buying property

While properties in the popular areas, such as Funchal and the southern coast, are not as cheap as some other areas of southern Europe, the cost of living is very reasonable. There are also tax benefits offered by the Portuguese government for those who wish to spend at least half the year on the island. These benefits last for the first 10 years of buying a property there and offer a strong incentive for expats.

Like the rest of Portugal, Madeira is only a few hours away from the UK by air and has no time difference, making it a hassle-free place to enjoy some winter sun.

If you would like further advice on the selling process in Portugal, download your free Portugal Guide.

Why not split the cost and double the fun of owning a holiday in Portugal by buying with family or friends? Read our guide to Buying Abroad with Family

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