Madeira is a charming archipelago with breathtaking landscapes and a warm and friendly vibe. From the incredible beaches which, because of its ancient volcanic activity, are often black and rocky, to the fascinating mountains up in the North, you have a lot of sightseeing to do. The temperature in the island is warm all year-round but has a few micro-climates, meaning that you can be hiding from the drizzle one minute and sunbathing on the beach the next. It’s what you get from a subtropical climate.
How To Get Here
To get to Madeira you’ll have to take the plane or one the popular cruises that frequently stop by this beautiful island. Once you’re there, getting around won’t be an issue. While you can explore the small island on foot, you might want to consider renting a car or using the local bus to fully experience the beauty of its mountains. Many taxi drivers also do private tours so keep that in mind.
What To Do
You don’t run out of things to do on the island. Take the cable car to Monte (11€) and enjoy the ride up the hills. To come back down, make sure to find experience the toboggan rides (25€ per basket), a fun classic with a bit of adrenaline. This charming island is perfect for Nature lovers. Go for a walk and let yourself be blown away by the beauty of the levadas (starting at 30€), irrigation channels built by man to access the island’s mountain peaks. You can always use the cable cars to go back down and enjoy the view from up above once again.
What To See
Start by exploring Funchal, the capital of Madeira where most hotels and shops are located, and the Old Town where locals and tourists stroll. Meanwhile, don’t forget to stop at the Cathedral of Funchal. Then head to the Farmer’s Market where you’ll find a selection of delicious fruits and vegetables. Seeing the traditional Santana houses is another must and very Instagrammable, as well as Pico do Arieiro, Madeira’s third highest peak. The view is incredible and most days, visitors can feel like they’re touching the clouds. While up in the North, make sure to visit the Monte church and the beautiful tropical garden.
Where To Eat
If you go to Madeira, having a glass of poncha is mandatory. And as it is the typical drink of the island, you won’t have trouble finding where to taste it since you can probably find a poncha bar in every corner. However, you might want to visit Taberna da Poncha, we’ve heard great things about it. Another must in Madeira is seafood which is no surprise considering it’s an island. Portugal is known for its delicious and authentic food and Madeira is not an exception. If you’re not into seafood - or even if you are - you have to try bolo do caco, a typical bread with garlic butter. You won’t regret it.
Madeira isn’t your typical beach destination so if you’re craving a long gold sand beach, you need to visit Porto Santo. Porto Santo is a small island in the archipelago of Madeira and if you have time, it totally deserves a visit. To get there you can take the ferry (starting at 46,94€) early in the morning and enjoy a day on this island.