HR Madeira Islands They are a Portuguese archipelago made up of five islands, of which only two are inhabited. They are a great European tourism destination, so they must be suffering from the great unknown posed by this pandemic that we are experiencing. Will the visits return this summer? Big question.
Madeira, as they are known, are just 500 kilometers from the Canary Islands and they have a lovely climate all year round. Let's see today what do they offer us, what can we see, visit, enjoy, do ...
It is a autonomous region which, as we said above, has only five islands: two inhabited and three uninhabited. The first ones are Porto Santo and Madeira and the second have been baptized with the name of Desertas Islands or Wild Islands.
The beauty and warm climate of the islands have almost always made them a destination for travelers, so among its illustrious visitors we can name the Empress Sissí, Carlos I of Austria or Winston Churchill.
Madeira Island It is the largest island and its capital is Funchal, a city located on the south coast of the island, although it is not the only city of importance. Is about mountainous islands, of volcanic origin and subtropical climate.
Summers are not suffocating and winters are mild. In fact, on the main island are the remains of the primeval forest of Macaronesia, which was dense and humid and that before the arrival of the colonizers covered its surface completely. Today the area is World Heritage.
The gateway to the islands is the main island and its capital, Funchal. Here they live around hundred thousand people in a stable way, although in high season the population grows a lot. One of the destinations in the city that you cannot miss is the Velha neighborhood, with cobbled streets and old houses, all very picturesque. Rua de Santa María is the most beautiful street of all, with its shops, bars and all its cool vibe.
El Santiago Fort It is an old fort on the edge of the sea dating from XVII century. Today you can eat inside, have dinner, with one of the best views you will get on the island. Obviously, try to reserve.
For views from the heights you can also go up the mountain by cable car and stroll through the beautiful botanical garden that adorns it. You go up in the cable car and down in a typical wicker basket, making a path that dates back to the mid-nineteenth century.
Another visit may be the Lavradores Market with its fish, flower, fruit and typical products stalls. Today these typical products are added things for tourists, so it is a must.
You can do that in the morning and in the afternoon, with sun and good weather, you can spend some time in the Faja dos Padres beach, without sand and with pebbles, but between cliffs and with a small garden. How do you get there? Well, in the cable car.
But the island offers many nature-related activities, so you have to move around a bit. In this sense it is a good idea to rent a car and make some visits that without a car are complicated. For example, in just under half an hour we can climb to Pico Ruivo, the highest point in Madeira, or the Pico de Arieiro of about 1800 meters or the viewpoint of Eira do Serrado (with its glass platform that makes you walk in the air). Driving through the mountain routes, in the sun, with the wind blowing through the car windows… well worth it.
Also by car, another walk is the one of the Caves of Sao Vicente, for example. It is the heart of the island and through different activities designed for the visitor you can learn a lot about the geological formation of the archipelago. You can even see great dry lava tubes that were formed four thousand years ago ... By car, you can also reach the fishing villages of Lobos, Machico or Canical Chamber, with centuries-old urban centers and charming places to eat.
As you can see, renting a car is really worth it but what is worth a little more is rent a 4 × 4 or a jeep that allows you to go a little further, on more difficult roads. Only by jeep will you reach the World Heritage Site of the laurel forests that we named at the beginning. If you want to add some walking to the car then you can do Hiking by the Caldeirao Verde road or by the 25 Fontes, both of more than 4 kilometers but less than 7.
Do you think of islands and do you think of beaches? Well I'm sorry to disappoint you a bit well Madeira is not known especially for its beaches. Its geography is more attractive than its coastline. Even so there are some beaches or more than that, natural pools and artificial. The natural pools of Porto Moniz are an example. For a day of sun and water, there are them. These are pools formed by volcanic rock, on the coast itself, which local people have surrounded by tourist services.
That on the coast, in the sea there is always the opportunity to see whales and dolphins and, if you dare, walk among them. You just have to go to the port and sign up for a tour. With these activities I would say that you can make the most of your visit to Madeira. After, yes, always you can jump to the other island, Porto Santo or the Gold island, this time yes with lovely beachess, golden, and with crystal clear water. If Madeira offers activities, Porto Santo offers relaxation.
Finally, you cannot end your trip without trying the local gastronomy, that beef skewers, Fish y seafood o the strikeout, the local drink of brandy, lemon, sugar and cane. If it hits? Find out. The truth is that Madeira is a great travel destination where you can combine excursions, activities in the sun, a lot of movement, with days on the beach, sea and rest.
If you rent a car you will enjoy the trip much more, if you go out to bars as well and if you have enough money and you can pay for a good accommodation with a sea view, I won't even tell you.