TOP TEN THINGS TO DO IN MADEIRA
Madeira is a beautiful Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean, known for its stunning natural landscapes, mild climate, and a wide range of outdoor activities.
Here are the top 10 things to do in Madeira:
- Explore the island’s unique irrigation channels known as Levadas on a guided hike. These walks offer breath taking views of Madeira’s lush forests, waterfalls, and terraced hillsides.
Madeira’s capital city, Funchal, offers a mix of historical and modern attractions. Explore the Old Town (Zona Velha) where there are many bars and restaurants to sample, visit the Sé Cathedral, and enjoy the vibrant markets.
One of Madeira’s most remarkable attractions is undoubtedly the Monte Toboggan Rides. Dating back to 1850, these wicker basket toboggans were originally a fast mode of transport for those wishing to travel to Funchal. Today, the adrenaline-pumping experience can be enjoyed by visitors to the island. Be prepared, though, as the high-speed journey through winding streets is not for the faint-hearted!
3.Monte Palace Tropical Garden:
Discover the beautifully landscaped gardens of Monte Palace, home to exotic plants, art collections, and panoramic views of Funchal.
Exotic plants, peacocks and spectacular garden displays cover the grounds at Monte Palace Tropical Garden. This unique Madeira attraction has a fascinating history. In the 18th century, the English Consul Charles Murray bought the property and transformed it into a beautiful estate. Near the end of the 19th century, some of the wealthiest families in Madeira lived in magnificent estates such as this. Years later, the estate was purchased and transformed into a palace-like residence named the Monte Palace Hotel. When the buyer, Alfredo Guilherme Rodrigues, passed away, the estate was transformed into the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens.
The gardens are filled with exotic flora and fauna, grand sculptures and art installations. Discover the full history of the estate at Monte Palace Museum within the grounds and look out for some unusual wildlife roaming freely.
4.Reid’s Palace Afternoon Tea:
Enjoy a luxurious afternoon tea at the historic Reid’s Palace hotel, known for its stunning cliffside location and excellent service.
Surrounded by lush subtropical gardens, Reid’s Palace perches above picture-perfect Funchal Harbour. They have welcomed guests for 130 years and you can enjoy gorgeous panoramic views, innovative cuisine and the superb service of a bygone era—you may never want to leave.
This UNESCO World Heritage-listed forest is home to ancient laurel trees and endemic species. Hiking in this ancient forest is a unique experience.
6.Pico do Arieiro and Pico Ruivo:
Hike to the summit of these two peaks for incredible panoramic views of the island’s rugged terrain. The sunrise and sunset views are particularly stunning.
7.Dolphin and Whale Watching:
Take a boat tour to spot dolphins and whales in the surrounding waters. Madeira is a prime location for marine life observation.
8.Madeira Wine Cellars:
Madeira wine is a fortified wine native to the islands. Dating back to the Age of Exploration from the 15th to 18th century, the wine was made when Madeira was a standard port of call for ships heading to the New World or East Indies.
Whether you prefer your wine dry or sweet, Madeira wine is a must-try when visiting Funchal.
Visit one of the many wine cellars in Funchal and taste the famous Madeira wine. Learn about the wine-making process and its history. I very much enjoyed visiting Blandy’s Wine Lodge in Funchal.
9.Porto Moniz Natural Pools:
Relax in the natural swimming pools created by volcanic rocks and the ocean’s tides. It’s a unique and refreshing experience.
10.Cabo Girão Skywalk:
Experience the thrill of walking on the glass-floored viewing platform at Cabo Girão, one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, for breathtaking views of the coastline.
The cliffs of Cabo Girao, just outside Funchal, are some of the highest in Europe. So, what better way to appreciate the view than by wandering over a glass platform jutting out over the water? The skywalk is certainly not for the faint-hearted, however, the views are spectacular. After taking in the scenery, ride the cable car down the face of the cliff to the terrace fields at the bottom. Further still, this attraction is completely free to visit.
These are just a few of the many attractions and activities you can enjoy on the beautiful island of Madeira.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking to relax in a stunning setting, Madeira has something to offer everyone.
If you get chance, I highly recommend you give it a try.
For more information on Madeira click here
By Lisa Mousley