Madeira Airport, known informally as Funchal Airport, is approximately 10 miles northeast of Funchal, which is the capital city of Madeira Island, an autonomous region of Portugal. Around 3.5 million passengers pass through its single terminal every year, and it consists of 40 check-in desks as well as 16 boarding gates. The airport is reasonably well equipped, with restaurants, cafes, bars, a bank and several foreign exchange bureaus. Wireless Internet access is also available within the airport. The SAM public bus service connects the airport to local destinations with an Aerobus shuttle service running to Funchal city centre and taking only 15 minutes after your flights to Funchal have landed.
There is a local bus service called, Horarios do Funchal, but they do not go much beyond Funchal. As Funchal is not very large, you could walk everywhere if you are fit and active. The SAM or Rodeste buses will enable you to cheaply and reliably travel around Madeira itself. The road network on the island has been much improved recently with a dual carriage motorway allowing you to get to places quickly. You will be able to rent a car at the airport from the usual hire car companies, especially if you saved money with cheap flights to Funchal.
Sometimes referred to as the 'floating garden'; the island of Madeira is very picturesque with scarlet poinsettias, lilac jacaranda trees and other colourful flowers making a kaleidoscopic landscape. Although many of its beaches are pebbly, there are a couple of exceptions such as Ribeira Brava. And just a short ferry ride away is the island of Porto Santo that has miles of golden beaches. There are lots of water sports to enjoy, as well as boat trips to go dolphin and whale spotting, which truly justify the cost of your airfare to Funchal. The Madeira Adventure Kingdom provides canoeing trips for the more adventurous.
Funchal is equipped with a wide variety of shops from traditional handicraft stores to shopping malls such as Madeira Shopping, the biggest mall. This is located in the Santa Quiteria area of Funchal and has over 80 stores, restaurants and a cinema complex. The Municipal Market provides a more traditional shopping experience, a great place to buy souvenirs.
As an island, seafood features strongly in the many restaurants. The Restaurant Do Forte has a great location overlooking the sea, and provides delicious and well-presented dishes such as shrimps in filo wraps with lobster sauce. The nightlife is not the main attraction of Funchal but on the weekends the clubs and bars are busier, such as at the Copacabana, which sometimes has fashion shows or live bands before the dancing begins. All of these experiences make your Funchal flights a great investment.