Madeira is a beautiful island in the middle of the Atlantic. An autonomous region of Portugal it is known for its rugged landscape, volcanic earth, warm subtropical climate, high cliffs, pebble beaches and delicious Madeira wine.
Here are my highlights of Madeira Portugal for a first time visitor.
Funchal is the capital of Madeira, its name coming from the abundance of fennel on the island. It’s situated in a naturally picturesque bay and is surrounded by steep mountain slopes, and with churches, palaces, mansions, museums, and gardens to explore, it is a city full of character and history. It is also small enough to explore on foot, so is a great base for your stay on the island.
There is so much to see and do in Funchal, from exploring the Farmer’s market, with an abundance of flowers, fresh fruit and fish, to strolling around Jardim Botanico, the botanical garden. When you want to see this beautiful city from above, take a cable car on a 15-minute flight over the city and for a novel way to return to your destination point take the Monte Toboggan.
Calheta is a small resort on the Southwest coast of Madeira with the islands only golden sandy beach. It has a beautiful little marina and an array of nice restaurants and bars in which you can have a meal or drink and watch the sun go down. You can take a dolphin or whale watching tour from its harbour for an amazing experience and visit the old sugar cane factory and museum for an interesting detour.
Faja da Ovelha
Faja da Ovelha, is a little village also on the Southwest coast of the island, with the settlement originally forming around a small chapel. It’s peace and tranquillity suits those looking for a relaxing holiday and it is popular with walkers and hikers due to its situation on the top of the mountain area. If you stay here you will have fantastic views and the little village is easily accessible by car, with Prazeres a beautiful town only a ten-minute drive away.
Ponta do Sol
One of the sunniest towns on the island, Ponta do Sol is only a 30-minute drive from the capital Funchal. The attraction of this small town is the colourful little houses, the attractive beachfront location and the glorious sunsets. A handful of cute little restaurants and bars adorn the seafront and a ten-minute drive away is Calheta with its sandy beach.
Where To Stay
There are a number of accommodation options in Madeira from hostels, and small hotels to five-star resorts.
For an alternative option, consider a luxury Madeira villa. If you choose a reputable company to book your villa you will get all your needs taken care of including a welcome pack, free wi-fi and maid service. Villas are fabulous as you have the privacy you don’t really get in a hotel, and the space to chill out and relax whilst still being able to share meals and conversations together with your family or group of friends. Many also have a private pool to keep the kids and adults happy too.
Tell me, have you ever thought of Madeira as a holiday destination? Do you like the idea of staying in a holiday villa?