Old meets new
Canico, on Madeira’s southern coast, is a real 2-parter. Up on the hill you’ll find a traditional old village, complete with square and 18th-century church. But head 2 kilometres down a steep, winding road and you’ll reach Canico de Baixo, a modern resort area that’s all chic hotels and villas. The steep cliffs and winding roads make for some dramatic views, too.
A different beach experience
This place offers a change from the usual sandy beaches. Here you can sunbathe on rocks, or relax on the pebbly beach just east of the village. For serious swimmers, there’s a lido area, complete with umbrellas and lifeguard. And if sand is a must, you can always take the 2-and-a-half hour boat ride to Santo Porto, Madeira’s sister island.
Local buses can whiz you to the island capital, Funchal, a place known for its wine, handicrafts and dreamy temperatures. Places to visit include the Old Blandy Wine Lodge, where you can learn all about the island’s most famous export. There’s also a 15th-century cathedral and more pretty parks and gardens than you’ll have time to visit. When it’s time to eat, simply head to the marina, which is dotted with seafood restaurants.