Madeira Island - one of the best islands in the world
The Madeira Archipelago, elected as one of the best tourist destinations in the World and Europe, is undoubtedly a destination not to be missed. Known for its always inviting climate and the best gastronomy, it offers a wide variety of activities and experiences. Here are some suggestions for visiting Funchal and the surroundings of Mother Nature.
Cape Girão Viewpoint
Paúl da Serra
This is a splendid place full of nature, ideal to visit both during the day and at night. By day you will have the opportunity to observe the ocean from both the north and south side of the island, a unique landscape at 1500 meters above the clouds and explore its area with a vast fauna and flora, characteristic of the island. At night this is a magical place to enjoy the wide universe of stars and constellations in an unrestrained silence between mother nature and moonlight.
Porto Moniz natural pools
Synonymous with relaxation, the Natural Pools of Porto Moniz are pools formed since the island’s beginnings by volcanic lava, where the sea naturally enters bringing fresh crystal clear water. It is an ideal place to recover from the day-to-day routine and spend a good time with family or friends with sensational views of the north coast.
Fanal Forest Park
Represented by a mysterious ancient forest, Fanal is one of the most magical places on the island. The twisted branches of the centuries-old trees, coupled with the fog in place, makes this place authentic for the visitors. Here you can walk along several routes through unique flora and fauna and even find extraordinary viewpoints.
25 fountains walk
If you are looking for natural landscapes, the Rabaçal valley is one of Mother Nature’s greatest masterpieces. This Levada is the most famous walk on the island and offers fascinating scenery, fantastic waterfalls, an endless forest, and beautiful springs along its 13 km route. The walk can be completed in about 3-4 hours, during which time you can enjoy the multiple and vibrant colors in each of its corners.
Typical houses of Santana
One of the best known icons of Madeira’s culture are the houses of Santana, which represent very well a large part of our heritage. The people of Madeira used to go about their daily lives inside these small houses, with only an attic, where agricultural products were kept, and a first floor, where the residential area was located, divided into two separate parts: the kitchen and the bedroom. They were made of straw, from the cereal crops that served to cover them, and of wood, because it was more affordable.
Miradouro dos Balcões
It would be difficult to describe this place in just one sentence.
In a deep valley surrounded by mountains and fragrant forests that offer a pleasant environment, the emblematic Balconies viewpoint is located. In just 45 minutes you will discover its slopes populated by numerous species of plants, and some birds, which can also be observed, namely the small finches.
Queimadas Forest Park
Nun's Valley Village
The Monte Palace Garden
The Monte Palace Tropical is without a doubt one of the places to visit in Funchal. In this beautiful garden you can find an incredible variety of exotic plants and trees from the four corners of the world. In addition, you can also visit the Monte Palace Madeira Museum where you can behold sculptures and collections of minerals, also from the four corners of the world.
There is a very curious way to get down from Monte, and if you are not afraid of speed, you may find it really interesting. We are talking about the ‘basket cars’, a unique and unrepeatable type of transport, used for over 100 years. This is a unique experience not to be missed and is one of Madeira’s best known attractions. “The basket cars” are produced by hand, with wicker and wood, and offer two or three seats. The cars are driven by two drivers who use their own boots as brakes.
The Farmers’ Market is a fruit, vegetable, herb, flower and fish market that offers a bustling local atmosphere with many colors all around and all kinds of sounds and smells. If you have time, stop here and taste some typical and exotic fruits from Madeira, such as purple or yellow passion fruit, banana passion fruit, tomato passion fruit, tobaibos, pitahaya or dragon fruit, papaya and Madeira banana.
Take a look at the main religious temple of the Archipelago, the Sé Cathedral. It has one of the most beautiful ceilings in Portugal, elaborately carved with wood from the island. This historical symbol dates back to 1400, and has been classified as a National Monument since 1910.
Take a stroll through the cobblestone streets and squares of East Funchal, especially the Old Town, worth a visit if you want to experience the authenticity of Funchal, because it is considered a historical area of great architectural and heritage value. Through Street of Santa Maria you will find beautiful street art, some of them allusive to Madeiran culture.