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    The Island of Eternal Spring

    With lush landscapes, brightly coloured flowers and a mild, year-round climate, it’s easy to see why Madeira is called the ‘Island of Eternal Spring’. Its interior is mountainous, so most resorts are coastal, many at the foot of steep cliffs.

    One such resort is Paul do Mar, a fishing village known for whale watching and surfing, as is Jardim do Mar, on a plateau just east. Nearby Calheta has 2 white sand beaches protected by breakwaters.

    The main resort is the capital Funchal. Cascading down slopes, it has the lion’s share of 5-star hotels in Madeira on Booking.com. A cable car ascending into the hills offers fantastic views towards the harbour where cruise liners and ferries from neighbouring Porto Santo island are berthed.

    East, Caniço’s sandy beach is nestled between rocky cliffs, while Santa Cruz is the nearest resort to Madeira Airport. Machico is the 2nd biggest city and has the best nightlife outside Funchal, but the best Madeira hotels for families are in quieter resorts such as Porto da Cruz in the north.

    Santana is home to the triangular-shaped, thatched houses typical of the island, and twisting mountain roads lead to São Vicente, an attractive hill town with red-roofed houses. By the north-western tip is the village of Porto Moniz whose offshore rocks shelter natural rock pools.

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