Just a few weeks ago my friends and I decided to go on short trip to the volcanic island of Madeira. I had always seen ads of Madeira here and there and they all seemed to claim an all-year-round beach weather! Although during our stay the weather was nice and sunny in Funchal, the temperatures were not as high as I expected and it was definitely too cold to go for a dip.
I didn’t think Madeira would be so mountainous and I was expecting a few beaches at least, turns out I was wrong!! There are almost no beaches to be found in Madeira, and if they are, they have black sand. Far different from the beautiful white beaches you get in Portugal’s mainland. But on the bright side, water temperature is said to be much warmer then Lisbon during summer time.
|View from Cabo Girão|
We arrived super early in the morning, we left our luggage in our apartment and headed straight to the cable cars to go to Monte. We bought a combined ticket for the cable car (both ways) and Monte tropical palace which cost us 23€ each. It takes around 20 min to get all the way up to Monte and you’ll get to enjoy some breathtaking views of the city on your way.
There are a few options to choose from in Monte but we decided to go for the Tropical garden of Monte Palace. I would imagine this place to be way more beautiful in spring time but as we were experiencing a beautiful sunny day it turned out to be extremely relaxing. The palace was first built by an English man and later bought by a Portuguese. You can find a little of everything here including Japan, Africa, Himalayas and so on. There are plants from all over the world and a picturesque lake with a few gorgeous swans.
The garden is relatively huge so it took us quite a while to explore every corner. We ended up having a late lunch in Funchal and headed back to our apartment to recover. Later that day we explored Funchal’s downtown. As a Lisboner, Funchal’s downtown wasn’t anything extravagant. It had the same features as in Lisbon, only that Lisbon is way more charming.
|Church of São João Evangelista|
|Interior of São João church|
As for our second day we had planned to rent a car and explore the island but somehow we ended up joining a tour company and we were quite pleased with the decision.
We went on a tour with a company called Madeira Happy tours and it cost us 20€ each for a full day bus tour (the regular price was 25€ however they seemed to have a special offer on that day).
I assume they are the most famous tour company on the island. They have half to full day walking tours as well as bus tours. We chose a route that would explore the west of the island which included some of the most important attractions of Madeira. The tour was great and the leader spoke very good English and Spanish. It started raining toward the end of our trip but in general it was totally worth it.
Here are a few places we got to see on our way:
|Bananas are one of the main produces of Madeira|
|Porto Moniz lava pools|
|São Vincent church|
|Véu da Noiva waterfall|
|Paúl da Serra|
Madeira is a relatively cheap European destination. It’s famous for it’s new years eve fireworks and flower festival. Although it’s probably at its best during spring time I still think it’s a great winter getaway if you’re getting too sick of the cold.
If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday, where you’ll get to enjoy some fascinating views, have some nice Portuguese food, go for a hike or you’re into water sports but you’re tight on budget then Madeira is definitely your paradise.