Madeira with kids
Is Madeira with kids on your wish list? Madeira came on my radar following an email from Ryanair which was advertising the commencement of a new direct route from Dublin. With offer prices at €25 each way it was very hard to pass up on that so, on a whim booked the flights and set off researching Madeira.
Madeira is an autonomous region made up of an archipelago of islands north-west of Africa. With its warm climate and dramatic landscapes it looked like the perfect holiday destination for my outdoor loving gang.
Where we stayed
When researching accommodation we had a couple of things on our wish list in no particular order 1) close to the town, 2) good facilities on site, 3) good food on site 4) family friendly. After hours of pouring over reviews and hotel websites we decided on Enotel Lido Madeira. This is a 5 star all inclusive newly renovated hotel on the outskirts of the town of Funchal. It commands incredible views over the sea. It is located just 30 mins from the airport. We booked a transfer in advance which was handy and very efficient.
Enotel Lido Maderia
The recent renovations to the hotel have transformed this hotel into a super elegant luxurious space. We were allocated a family room consisting of 2 double beds and a balcony with a seriously wow view over the pool and the ocean in the background. We arrived after 9pm and knowing the food in the main restaurant was finishing soon they checked us in quickly and guided us to the restaurant so the kids could get a bite to eat. We were part of the all inclusive package for the duration of our stay.
The hotel has a number of restaurants and bars on different floors and we never once found any of them crowded. They are comfy and spacious and ideal for families. The all inclusive food was really good, and this is truly all inclusive, all meals, all drinks included. My own favourite was the Italian themed full service sit down 4 course meal. It was so good and some of the freshest seafood I have ever tasted. Do go early as its full sit down it gets booked up quickly.
- Breakfast and the evening buffet were served at the Atlântico Restaurant which was really spacious with inside and outside seating. We found the service here always really good always inclusive and making sure the kids were happy
- Lunch and snacks were served all day near the pool on the 1st floor at Vela Di Canale. The kids gave the lunch time pizzas here a big thumbs up.
There are 4 bars on site, some with evening entertainment and a sports bar with a pool table which my pair really enjoyed in the evenings after the day spent in the pool. We didn’t get to sample the evening entertainment as the kids were so tired after their days spent in the pool. However when we were there, there was dancing show and live music each evening.
We spent 5 days here which quite honestly was not enough, there is so much to do not only in the hotel but the surrounding areas. The biggest hit for my kids were the pools, conveniently both located on the 1st floor. The indoor pool is heated and the outdoor one isn’t. There was no issues getting at lounger at the side of the pool. Between the two pools is a little play space for kids and close by is the Sports Bar and the snacks bar. Also on this floor was the gym, the Spa centre and also kids clubs which weren’t open when we were there. There were fitness classes on each day and my kids joined the pool yoga one of the days!
You really don’t have to leave this hotel, it has everything from the five star facilities to the high quality food offerings. The location of the hotel is convenient if you do fancy a wander to the town of Funchal. The walk to the town is downhill so uphill on the way back so do keep that in mind. However taxis are plentiful and really cheap.
We were allocated a family room consisting of 2 double beds, kids were delighted no fold out bed!! Our room had a balcony over looking the pool area and the sea. It was so relaxing to wake up to that view and relax in the evening with some local wines when watching the sun set. The room also had plenty storage and a great sized bathroom. Where there are lots of rooms in this hotel, there was never a wait during our time there for lifts and from the rooms to the communal areas this place was spotless and I mean really spotless and so well kept.
What we did
Despite the fact nobody wanted to leave the fabulous Enotel Lido hotel, it would have been a real shame to travel to Madeira and not see some of this beautiful island. Its no exaggeration when I say everywhere you look its spectacular.
Magic Dolphin Madeira
Magic Dolphin is a family run business that enables you to see beautiful Madeira while aboard their luxury catamaran while keeping an eye for dolphins and whales. By its very nature wildlife is unpredictable and while nothing is guaranteed there is a good chance of seeing the dolphins while out on one of their tours. The staff were so knowledgeable and respectful of the environment and we were fortunate enough to see dolphins twice. The kids are engrossed in the stories and explanations of the crew on board. Highly recommend this tour, ours was over 2.5 hours long and we got to see the dramatic coastline around Funchal.
Cost: €25 per adult and €12.50 per child.
You could not go to Madeira and not learn more about its most famous person. My pair are football mad so this was a must. The CR7 museum is located in Funchal, the home town of Ronaldo himself, the museum is dedicated to a Cristiano Ronaldo’s trophies. Seeing the Ballon D’or was the highlight for my pair. Its not very big but I lovely way to spend an hour and soak up the sheer brilliance of Ronaldo’s career, impossible not to come away feeling inspired.
Cost: €5 per adult
Madeira Cable Car
We were all really looking forward to this particularly as we felt the views would be spectacular over Madeira. We did this on our third day having woken to pure blue skies making it an ideal day for it. It opens at 9 and last car descends at 17.45. At the top you reach the stunningly beautiful town of Monte with views over Funchal. You have the option of going back via the cable car or going down in one of the iconic wicker toboggans. We opted to go back in the cable car as the queue was long for the taboggans.
There are some lovely restaurants and bars in Monte as well as the Tropical Gardens so do give yourself plenty time to soak up that atmosphere and the view.
Cost: €12.50 per adult and €6.50 per child
Yellow bus tour
On our last full day we decided to do the Yellow Bus Tour to give us a good overview of the island. We did the 48 hour tour of Funchal and Câmara de Lobos. The bus stops is very close to our hotel so we had planned to stay on and do the full loop, however as we approached the picture perfect town of Câmara de Lobos we were hooked and got off the bus to wander around the town.
We stayed a couple of hours enjoying the atmosphere, people watching two weddings and chatting to some locals which enjoying some local wines, perfection. We got back on the last bus and what an end to the most perfect trip.
Cost: Family (2+2) €34
Mamma F Tips
- We took our own water bottles and filled up each day for out and about – very handy as mine drink a lot of water, bottles were Super Sparrow
- Good sun creams are a must, I am super strict with my pair so hats and suncreams are non negotiables. I used the Elave SPF30 on myself and the Elave SPF50 on the kids. No issues at all. I apply with a makeup brush 15 minutes before going out and I reapply frequently especially when in and out of the water.
- Always take a packet or two of Waterful plastic free wipes with us, essential for the spills etc
- I got so much love for the shorts the boys (and Dada Fairy!) wore they are from an Irish company known as Salty Dudez
- Kids hardly go anywhere nowadays without their Reima sunglasses, they are 3 years old now and still in perfect condition.
All in all we can highly recommend Madeira for a short break all year round, and without question Enotel Lido is the perfect base to explore the island, the only issue you will have is like us, you wont want to leave the hotel, between the food an the activities there really is so much to do and so many lovely restaurants to try. A small selection of photos are included in this post however do check out my Instagram for lots more pictures and tips.
Note: Many thanks to Enotel Lido and the suppliers above for their support for this trip. All view are my own or the kids where appropriate.