Not only that we like to talk about such a place, but somehow it makes you feel good o talk about such a special place. It is the kind of place that gives you a feeling of well-being, it is simply relaxing, it is enchanting. I don’t even know what we liked the most, maybe Madeira liked us and that’s the answer 😉
We have friends who went to Madeira more than 20 times and we didn’t really understand at that time how it was possible, why would someone go to the same place so many times. After visiting it, we understood that the only problem with this place is how we will live without it.
We stayed 8 days and we didn’t have a base, we moved from place to place, though the maximum length is 57 km and the width is 21 km. Basically, if you establish your base in a hotel, from there with a rented car you can get in a maximum of 1 hour and a half to any point on the island.
In Madeira it is an eternal spring, we arrived there in December and although the temperature is not really for the beach, it is somewhere between 16-20 degrees, quite pleasant.
Madeira is a territory of Portugal, but it is closer to mainland Africa (800km) than to Lisbon (1,200km), while the Canary Islands are 400km to the south -just a fertile island off the northwest coast of Africa.
But let’s see if we can’t sort out some top highlights!
The first 2 days we stopped in Funchal which is the capital of the island. By the end, we came back here. We stayed at Melia Madeira Mare hotel, close to central Funchal and overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. We clearly recommend this place, it was a great experience.
There are many things to see and do in Funchal, but we will highlight the 3 main attractions that we liked the most.
1. The Mercado dos Lavradores is a fruit, vegetable, flower, and fish market in Funchal. The building was designed by Edmundo Tavares and opened on 24 November 1940.
2. Monte & Botanical Gardens was another great experience with tropical vegetation all over the place. This was one of the most pleasant gardens we ever been to which covers an area of 80,000 m², is home to a collection of a wide variety of plants, and has a Museum of Natural History and the Palace Tropical Garden
Monte and the church that features a twin-towered façade and a large churchyard with a splendid view over Funchal. Nossa Senhora do Monte church, a building from de XVIII century and the most important place of pilgrimage in Madeira.
3. We went up to Monte by cable car to see the city from above, but we chose to go down through the tropical gardens. Monte was also known as “the village of carts” offers a magnificent panoramic view over Funchal bay that the 550 meters above the sea have to offer. One of the best reasons to visit Madeira is to hike on remote, high-elevation rainforest paths.
Situated 25 minutes north of Funchal, Eira do Serrado is one of the most beautiful places in Madeira with breathtaking views of its surrounding mountains. Madeira is by far one of the most dramatic places we’ve ever visited. If you’re looking for a straight line…anywhere, forget it.
Eiro do Serrada offers a fantastic panoramic view of the valley where the picturesque parish of Curral das Freiras lies.
While staying in Funchal we took a ride up to this viewpoint which is named Pico de Barcelos, situated nearby to São Martinho and is boasting panoramic views over Funchal and the surroundings.
Pico do Arieiro and Pico Ruivo are two of the highest peaks in Madeira with Pico Ruivo being the highest. Between these 2 peaks there is a well-known walking route which is called PR 1
Length of PR1: 7km (one way)
The time it takes: 3.5-4 hours (one way)
Standing there and looking down on the clouds was an amazing day. The air was so fresh and the sky so clear and the sun so very bright. On a clear day, it is possible to see the neighboring island of Porto Santo, 30 miles to the northeast.
Madeira Island’s shores are home to natural sea pools, traditional fishing villages, soaring cliffs, and dense forests. Ponta do Sol (literally ‘Sun Point’) is – as the name already implies – a region where you will find more sun throughout the year than in any other part. We like to think that happiness is Madeira-shaped and every place inspires and empowers you.
And now our favourite – Sao Vicente
Being in a rural area, we stayed here for 2 days and really looked to experience something more authentic, so we chose to stay in a house. We felt at home at Madeira North Coast Guest House. The lovely beautiful garden invites for a relaxing morning siesta or chill afternoon after some hours of hiking. The host couple was so friendly and the shared kitchen and dining room was a real plus to meet the other guests, we loved our stay as we met some Danish people.
São Vicente is an excellent place to visit if you’re into Geology. The Volcanic Caves feature a great 3D presentation. Stalactites and Stalagmites can be seen throughout the caves, a testament to how old this Island really is.
Every island has its local drink. While in Madeira you must try Poncha, a traditional alcoholic drink from the island of Madeira. We liked the local food so much. We were impressed by a truly spectacular road system with over 150 tunnels built with European money. Madeira a wonderful destination to explore.
Well, I know we presented only the good things, but they are true, that was our experience.
Madeira has a zest for life, it means exotic flavors, it has vibrant colors and shapes. Madeira is the place you dream of and you don’t know if it really exists. Fortunately, it does exist. Only a plane ticket separates you from it. The world is for sure a better place because of Madeira
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