Scheduled flights are provided either by TAP or other companies from most European capitals either direct or via Lisbon. These are supplemented by a wide range of direct charter flights covering many other major European cities. There are regular shuttle air services between Lisbon and Funchal and also between Funchal and Porto Santo.
Funchal airport lies 18 kms east of the capital centre and is approximately 25 minutes away by taxi. The new Madeira Intercontinental Airport is now open. The new airport's capacity is 3.5 million passengers per year, thanks to a new terminal building and an extended runway of 2.78 kilometres. All classes of passenger aircraft, right up to Boeing 747s, will be able to land and take off from the new airport. Porto Santo has a 3.000-metre runway that can take all aircraft and also has a modern terminal.
Banks are open from 08.30 to 15.00, Monday-Friday (Some open Saturday 09.00 to 13.00). Exchange offices are open every day from 09.00 to 13.00 and 14.00-19.00. On saturdays it is open from 09.00 to 19.00. Hotels operate outside these hours. Shops are open from 09.00 to 19.00, from Monday to Friday and Saturdays 09.00 to 13.00. However, some of them close for lunch from 13.00 to 15.00. Shopping Centres are open every day from 10.00 to 22.00.
Temperate and mild with no great extremes-although it is wise to take warm clothes when visiting the mountains. Average temperatures range from 19C in Winter and 23C in Summer, with sea temperatures being virtually the same due to the warm gulf Stream.
All major credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants and shops.
The currency unit is the EURO
Visitors from EU countries participating in the Schengen Area agreement may move freely. From the other EU countries only an ID is necessary. A full passport is required by all other international visitors. A Visa may also be required from certain countries in accordance with normal Portuguese entry regulations. No vaccinations are required.
Portuguese, but English, German and French are widely spoken and understood.
There are 2 hospitals in Funchal, but only Hospital Cruz de Carvalho has an emergency service - Tel: 291 705600. There are health centres around the island, and some of them also have emergency service. The local water is safe to drink.
The main post office is in the centre of Funchal and itís open Monday to Friday from 08.30 to 20.00. Saturdays from 08.30 to 12.30. Daily collections are made at 11.00 and 15.00 at designated postal boxes in Funchal and around the island.
Madeira celebrates the main Portuguese national public holidays:
In addition there are several local and religious holidays. The dates of these vary from year to year.
Telephone, telex, fax, and cable are available in the mains post office in Funchal and in all the major hotels. Internet world-wide web access is also possible.
Madeira has both winter (GTM + 0) and summer (GTM + 1) time periods. Clocks move forward one hour on the last Sunday of March and go back one hour on the last Sunday of October in line with normal European practice.
A service charge is normally included in hotels and restaurant bills, but an extra 10% for good service is appreciated.
There are efficient public bus services in Funchal and to nearby destinations. Travel to further parts of the island is best organised by pre-arranged tours. Cars are easy to hire and relatively inexpensive. Taxis are widely available at the airport, all major hotels and in Funchal.