Wine that is as good for cooking as it is for drinking, cake that is never cut by a knife, streets that are navigated by toboggan sledges and a perfect climate with matching landscape – these are just the backdrop for a golden holiday in the Madeira region. Balmy weather, sunny beaches, flower bedecked valleys and thickly forested hills typify the Madeira archipelago that lies in the Atlantic Ocean, about 856 kilometres off the coast of Lisbon. Funchal, the capital has a pretty waterfront, scenic hills behind it and steep, narrow streets on which you can toboggan your way down on wicker sledges, helped by expert “carreiros”! Lovely promenades such as Lido, exotic parks like Quinta Magnolia with endemic flowers and birds and the Laurisilva Forest, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, make Madeira ‘a floating garden in the Atlantic’. Camara de Lobos, a pretty fishing village, Cabo Girao, the world’s second highest cliff, the volcanic caves of Sao Vincente and the historic buildings of Funchal are just a few of the many other places of interest.. To tickle the palate, there are delicacies like the Bolo de Mel honey cake, meant to be broken by hand not cut, and the Madeira wine.