Family Fun in Funchal: Our Top Nature Trips

Regardless of the location, it can sometimes be a struggle to keep everyone in the family entertained during extended holidays. In Madeira, however, there’s no shortage of fantastic nature excursions within easy reach of the capital Funchal. And with a bit of proactive planning, each of these activities can really help you make the most of the archipelago’s natural beauty and help you connect as a family.

Set Sail, Me Mateys

Hoist the sails for a piratical expedition around the coast of Madeira – children are allowed to bring their adults, and I have no doubt that you will get as much joy out of this as the young ones. I had loads of fun when I did this on my last visit, and particularly enjoyed having the chance to set foot on such a dashing ship. It’s a very fine copy of an old-style Portuguese merchant’s vessel; your children won’t need much convincing to explore it, I’m sure.

Whether you scan the seas in search of whales and dolphins or admire the striking coastline, your children will be learning while also having a load of fun. Holidays in Madeira don’t come much more rip-roaring than this!

Sea Life Up Close

If your kids have yet to discover their inner David Attenborough, then going on a glass bottom boat tour might change that. The Garajau Nature Reserve is teeming with life, including triggerfish, rays and eels, all of which can be spotted through the boat’s clear floor. Seeing these magnificent creatures almost eye-to-eye in their natural habitat is a thrilling experience.

If you want to get even closer, then you can have a go at snorkelling together on the edge of the reserve. You won’t need to struggle with getting into a wetsuit, as the water temperature in summer is never below the low twenties. You will then move further out to sea to track more creatures of the deep. Perhaps, a curious turtle or whale may come and say hello to you!

Top Tip: Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture all of the fun!

Ride the Waves

Lose your inhibitions (and sense of dignity, I’d advise) and enjoy a family surfing outing. I can’t even begin to count to how many clients I’ve recommended surfing for their holidays in Maderia. Feedback has been unequivocally positive, even though I talk to lots of parents who express mock-annoyance at how their kids seemed to be much more natural surfers!

Everything about the beaches in the northeast of the island makes them the perfect place for beginners: the sea here is calm and warm, while the black volcanic sand creates an amazing arena.

Top Tip: Ensure that you use the services of a professional company – they’ll know the best places to go. Ideally, the package will include a pick-up and drop-off, too.

John Dixon is an experienced world traveller and the Managing Director of Prestige Holidays. For over 30 years, he has been providing luxury holidays in Madeira, Bermuda, Croatia and many other destinations around the globe. John tries to visit each of the destinations regularly in order to ensure the quality of his properties, and stay up-to-date about the latest local news and events. He has a taste for the finer things in life and has an interest in arts, history and culture.

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Author: Desiree Michels