Madeira enjoys year-round popularity, though April through May and September through October are the most comfortable and, in many ways, the most beautiful times to visit. You might want to avoid visiting in August because that's when capacete, a shroud of cooling mist, tends to envelop the island. If you're visiting in the summer, air-conditioning might be vital to you -- unless you're at a retreat in the mountains -- because the island is often so hot.

Madeira's hotels range from some of the finest deluxe accommodations in Europe to attractively priced old-fashioned quintas (manor houses) for budget travelers. Chances are, you won't be staying in the center of Funchal, but on the outskirts, where many of the best hotels with pools and resort amenities are. However, these make travelers dependent upon transportation into town, and only the first-class and deluxe hotels lying outside of Funchal offer vans taking guests at frequent intervals into town. There are also downfalls to staying in the center of town; because heavy traffic fills the center of Funchal most of the day, hotels there tend to be noisy. Nevertheless, for shopping and the widest selection of restaurants, Funchal is your best bet.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.