Just before the end of 2018, my boyfriend and I had an impromptu trip to Madeira. Now, I know a few of you were curious about my visit to Madeira and it has taken me a while to write this, but here I am with all the info for you! In this
I visited the Island of Madeira a week before Christmas and stayed there for one week. Madeira is part of Portugal even though it is a volcanic island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Madeira is blessed with soaring, cloud-piercing, mountains covered in bright green foliage with breath-taking views. The local people are welcoming even though I don’t think they are quite used to seeing black people in certain parts of Madeira, Machico to be specific. We did get stared at on many occasions, but I have learnt to accept that not all places or countries you visit will be multi-cultural. None-the-less, the exotic fruits in madeira, was a bonus and I got to have a tropical fruit, Guava, that brings back so many childhood memories growing up in Zambia. Madeira is all about outdoor activities and it has a romantic vibe to it.
Things to Do in Madeira
Levada Walks. The most popular of things to do in Madeira. There are many different walks to choose from with over 2150km of irrigation systems around the island. Not all are steep and strenuous either. There are walks for all abilities and age groups. This is a “must-do” on any list of things to do in Madeira.
Monte Garden Palace. Funchal is famous for its gardens but if you only have time to visit one of them, make it Monte Palace Tropical Gardens (open daily from 9.30 to 6 pm). You will, however, need about half a day to do them justice. Scattered among the tropical foliage and blossoms, you’ll find all manner of artworks including azulejo (painted tile) panels depicting the history of Portugal in colourful bite-sized chunks, decorative ceramics and a panoply of sculptures thanks to the Berardo Foundation. The museum (open from 10 am to 4.30 pm) is devoted to a collection of African stone sculptures and the most magnificent collection of minerals most people will ever see.
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Go Tobogganing. This is as Touristy as it gets. Why not hop into a two-seater wicker sledge and get ready to be pushed down the steep streets of Monte towards Funchal by men dressed in white cotton suits with straw hats? Do they barricade off roads for this? NOPE! You’ll be racing cars down the steep hills with only the thick rubber soles of your driver’s shoes for brakes. It’s a wild ride and definitely unique to the island. It’s one of those things you must do in Madeira.
Monte Cable Car. Monte is Portuguese for Mount so unsurprisingly; this part of the city is high above sea level. It’s possible to catch a bus uphill, and that’s exactly what we did. Giving us a different view from the local’s perspective. We took the cable car downhill. This was a fantastic idea as the cable car makes for a far more interesting journey downhill. As you are going into the city, you’ll get voyeuristic glimpses into private gardens and dramatic views down through steep gorges. The ride itself takes several minutes, perhaps 10 to 15, and is both relaxing and thrilling at the same time.
How to get to Madeira
As mentioned, it was a Last-minute holiday, however we managed to get a deal of approximately £250 per person for return flights from Leeds Bradford Airport and 6 nights at a 4* hotel including breakfast. I don’t know about you, but I think that is a sweet deal.
Where to Stay
My boyfriend and I stayed at the stunning, well priced Dom Pedro in Machico (about 10 mins away from the airport and 45 mins outside Funchal). We did spend a couple of days indoors as it was raining cats and dogs but for most of our stay in Madeira the weather was manageable. Not as cold as the weather forecast had predicted. 14 degrees weather in Madeira was rather warmer than in Yorkshire that’s for sure. The Dom Pedro has a big outdoor pool, which we didn’t get to taste the waters as we were too busy exploring other parts of the island. Our room had a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean and the breakfast every morning was a bonus. It was a pleasure staying there and I would recommend it.
There you have it, you now know all the best things to do in Madeira and where to stay! What are you waiting for?! Get researching your future trip to Madeira now.
Got any questions about my things to do in Madeira? Leave a comment below or let’s start a conversation.
Did I forget anything? Share your tips below…