HOW TO GET THERE: by plane. There are many low cost companies flying there, so the price will be acceptable. We flied with Easy Jet and it was a really nice flight (1h 30 min).
WHERE TO STAY: if you are looking for something quiet and remote, go for Machico, the former capital. However, if you like being central and connected to everything, choose Funchal. Our hotel was in Machico and personally I would have liked more to stay in Funchal, the present capital. Be careful where the hotel you choose is located, because you might not like staying at the top of some hills.
WHAT TO DO/SEE: if you like wildlife, don’t miss a boat trip. You might see dolphins, turtles and even whales! It does not take long so during the same day you should take the cable car and see the Gardens of the Monte Palace, which are absolutely amazing and heavenly beautiful, a perfectly balanced mix between many cultures.
You should also see the Western (Porto Muniz is divine; its natural pools are a must see!) and the Eastern part of the island (Santana’s houses are so beautiful and the entire vegetation of the Eastern side is glorious!), they have many things waiting to be discovered!
1. Monte Palace Gardens
2. The dolphins (aka boat trip)
3. The western side of the island (Porto Muniz, Minadauro do Porto Girao -the second highest place in the world from where you can look down to the ocean just through a glass)
WHAT NOT TO DO: do not expect to come for a good tan in Madeira. As it is a volcanic island, they only have rock beaches or black sand ones. There are only two golden sand beaches on the island and they are artificial ( the sand was brought from Morocco). However, the weather is always so great that hanging at the pool is not a bad idea at all if you want to get a bit of color in your cheeks.
WHAT TO DRINK/EAT: like in my post about Lisbon, I recommend you eat a lot of fish. Don’t miss on some Madeira wine. Also, eat some passion fruit and papaya as Madeira is home to many trees of these kinds.
Moreover, the people living in Madeira are awesome, very warm and always ready to help you and to offer you the best experiences ever. Socialize. Make friends and enjoy the island!
As I felt the need to detail more, here it’s our 5-day diary :
- roaming around Funchal + the cable car + The Monte Palace and its Gardens + shopping time
- Eastern tour (Santana, levada walks, Camasha village)
- Catamaran trip to see the dolphins
- Western tour (Porto Muniz, Minadauro do Porto Girao)
- Sleeping at the pool
So, did I make you curious about Madeira?
Have a great day!