Tourists have been heading to Madeira for hundreds of years to convalesce in the mountains, drink fortified wine and sit by the sea. But the islandís image has always been sedate Ė the kind of place where youíll find older types on gentle hikes rather than children tearing about the terrain. So much so that the tourism board has made a concerted effort to shake off this reputation and appeal to a broader range of visitors, including families keen to take a dive into the countryís wild side.
What Madeira lacks in beaches it makes up for with jagged volcanic terrain thatís perfect for adventurous kids to climb up and bike through.
Madeira may be an island, but itís not the place to come for toddler-friendly sandy beaches. Topographically, it screams out adventure, thanks to vertigo-inducing cliffs, rocky seashores and gorges clad in ancient laurel forest. The lack of beaches isnít an issue, though. The island has plenty of natural pool complexes that hug the sea, and kids can get their kicks canyoning, mountain biking, exploring volcanic caves and swimming with dolphins in the wild Atlantic swells offshore.