What to do in Madeira

Cabo Guirao in Madeira

you may be wondering what to do in Madeira because you have decided to travel to this archipelago located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but belonging to Portugal. It is made up of the inhabited islands of Porto Santo and of one's own Madeira, as well as two sets of them without population: the Desertas y the selvagens.

Therefore, your trip will be limited to the first two. And this is already a lot, because they offer you beautiful towns, very interesting monuments, a nature that overflows with exuberance and delicious gastronomy. All of this is part of what to do in Madeira and we are going to talk about it next.

Get to know Funchal

San Lorenzo Palace

The Palace of San Lorenzo in Funchal

With just over one hundred thousand inhabitants, it is the most important city and the capital of the archipelago. Despite not being very big, it offers you an incredible monumental heritage that you cannot miss. The vast majority of its monuments respond to the Gothic, Baroque or Neoclassical styles, but there are also many elements of the famous manueline art. As you know, this, which only occurred in Portugal, is a combination, precisely, Gothic and Mudejar.

Such styles are found in religious monuments such as the funchal cathedral, Socorro and Jesuit College churches, Chapel of the Incarnation and convento of Santa Clara. Likewise, they are present in civil constructions of the old town such as the Palaces of the Government of the Region y of Count Carvalhal.

You should also visit two fortresses in Funchal: that of San Lorenzo y that of Saint John the Baptist. But even more surprising will be the precious Botanical Garden, installed in the Quinta de Buen Suceso and of extraordinary beauty. It is also very beautiful photography museum and, if you want a bit of adventure, go up to the neighborhood of Monte and descends in a basket cart. This name is given to a sort of typical Funchal carrilana that is guided by two experts "tankers" dressed in typical clothing. Saving the distances, we could tell you that they are the gondoliers of this transport.

Enjoy other locations in Madeira

Hut

An hut, the typical house of Madeira

Later we will also travel to the island of Porto Santo. But first we must take a tour of Madeira with you to get to know some of its beautiful towns. Among them, it stands out Wolf Chamber, a fishing village full of charm and traditional houses. In any of its restaurants you can taste the famous black sable or black sword, a native fish of the island and considered a delicacy.

Also, very close to this town you have Cape Guirao. From its viewpoint, located almost six hundred meters high, you will have wonderful views of the Madeiran coast. Not surprisingly, it is considered one of the highest cliffs in all of Europe.

Another must-see among what to do in Madeira is the villa of Santana for two fundamental reasons. The first is to know the famous palhoças, traditional houses with reed roofs that resemble Valencian barracks. Regarding the second reason, many hiking trails by laurel forests from the area. These, declared a World Heritage Site, have turned the municipality of Santana into a Biosphere Reserve. We are going to propose some of these routes.

Go hiking, among the essential things to do in Madeira

View of the Ruivo peak

Pico Ruivo, the highest in Madeira

Among the aforementioned routes, the one that goes to the Arieiro peak, the third highest on the island with 1818 meters. From this, you also have impressive views of other natural wonders of the island such as the Point of San Lorenzo. As well as small villages surrounded by mountains, for example, Nuns' Corral, which is an obligatory tourist visit in Madeira due to its privileged location.

The route between Queimadas and Caldeirao Verde, a path between abrupt volcanic mountains that penetrates into the deep valley of Ribeira de São Jorge. You will also see laurel forests, but, above all, you will be surprised by the giant cryptomeria, a large conifer. This route, which also passes through the pretty village of Achado do Marquis, it is barely six and a half kilometers and it is not difficult.

Easier still is the route that goes up to the Ruivo peak, because it does not reach three kilometers. If you go by car, you can park in Achada da Teixeira to do it. In this place, you can also see the Home em pé, a unique basaltic formation, but, above all, once at the top, you will enjoy wonderful views of the Ribeira Seca Valley and Torres and Arieiro peaks. Not surprisingly, Ruivo is the highest on the island at 1861 meters.

In short, other hiking routes that you can do in Madeira and that will not disappoint you are the one that goes through the aforementioned San Lorenzo peninsula and those of Furada, from Fanal to Paul da Serra or Pico das Pedras. As an anecdote, we will tell you that these roads are known as levadas because they follow the channels so called and made to bring water from the mountains.

Visit the island of Porto Santo

Porto Santo

The spectacular beach of Porto Santo

We are now going to move on to the other inhabited island of the archipelago, because this must also figure among what to do in Madeira. Not surprisingly, it was the first to be discovered by Portuguese navigators in the XNUMXth century. Also, although it is less famous than the previous one, it also receives thousands of tourists every year. Even some inhabitants of that one have a second residence in Porto Santo.

This offers you a wonderful beach of almost seven kilometers with white sands. In addition, it is still relatively virgin, that is, it does not have large buildings around it. It is true that, in turn, it is divided into several zones, each with its own name. So, there are the Fontinha beach, which has a blue flag, that of Penedo, Cabeco da Ponta or black stones.

But it is not the only natural wonder of this island. Likewise, you can do mountain routes. It is the case of the one that leads to the castle peak, at the top of which you have a viewpoint and a picnic area. Also, on the ascent you can see the ruins of a XNUMXth century fortress and a bust of Schiappa de Azevedo, who promoted the reforestation of the island with Aleppo pine.

You can also go up to Facho Peak, the highest in Porto Santo, from whose top you can see the island of Madeira on clear days. And, equally, you have the routes to the Ana Ferreira Peak and to the one with the flowers. Very different is the Cal islet, which is located about four hundred meters from the coast and stands out for its impressive cliffs. However, you may not be able to discover it because its fragile ecosystem means that it is protected within the Natura 2000 Network.

Stroll through Vila Baleira and other places

House of Columbus

Columbus House in Vila Baleira

With barely four thousand five hundred inhabitants, Vila Baleira It is the capital of the island. In this small town you have the pretty Church of Our Lady of Mercy, a sober temple with classical features; the building of the old Town Hall, colonial style, and the old Water Factory, an industrial construction made with exposed stone.

It is also beautiful Mall of the Infante Don Henrique. But, above all, you should visit the House of Columbus. You may not know that the famous sailor married Filipa Moniz, daughter of the governor of this island. The house where they lived is today a museum dedicated to the admiral.

However, if we are talking about houses, this island also has its own typical buildings and, likewise, getting to know them should be one of the things to do in Madeira. are the calls Salao houses, which are characterized by their roofs covered with clay mortar through which their inhabitants protect themselves from both the cold and the heat.

Try the typical dishes, another of the basic things to do in Madeira

Cocoa Bowls

Various bolos do caco, the typical bread of Madeira

We end our tour of what to do in Madeira by talking about its delicious gastronomy. We have already mentioned that one of his most popular recipes is that of black saber, a fish as ugly as it is tasty that is prepared on the grill and in other ways. But, as the archipelago that it is, its cuisine gives great importance to all sea products in general.

For this reason, we advise you to try its octopus and shrimp prepared in different ways. He too salted tuna and other fresh fish. As for meat, it stands out the espetada, a veal skewer that is accompanied by fried corn and the popular bolo do coco, the typical bread of the island. This, which gets its name from the surface on which it is cooked (the caco), is also eaten as an appetizer with butter or oil, garlic or parsley.

Precisely, the Madeiran corn it is a traditional accompaniment to many meat and fish dishes. In addition to that American plant, it has salt, parsley, garlic and cabbage. On the other hand, if in a bar they offer you little teeth, they will be talking about the tapas of the island. And, as for the desserts, the tropical fruits such as mango or passion fruit are very abundant and are even used to make ice creams and soufflés. But, if we talk about sweets, you have to try the bolo of mel, which, as its own name indicates, is prepared with bread, honey, spices and nuts. Also, it is delicious Madeiran whining, which is a fresh cottage cheese that is sweetened with different products. Finally, to drink, you will already know the Madeira, which is delicious.

In conclusion, we have shown you what to do in Madeira. As is logical, we have left many activities in the pipeline, but the ones that we have recommended more than justify your visit to the island. Of course, if you prefer to travel to other areas closer to Portugal, we recommend places like Nazareth, Cascais or, naturally, big cities like the capital, Lisbon, and Porto. Dare to travel to the neighboring country.


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