Discover the Island of Madeira
Madeira has one of the smallest airports in the world, which is almost 3 km long. Perched above the ocean, it is one of the most exciting and scary landings for even the most experienced pilots.We flew with Easyjet. Not more than 1h30 minutes by plane from Lisbon to Madeira.
The mild climate makes it perfect to visit the island throughout the year. It is the perfect place to escape when the winter freezes all over Europe. Composed from the island of Madeira, the island of Porto Santo, the desert islands and even the wild islands, the archipelago of Madeira hides treasures that makes it worthy visiting. Spectacular landscapes, sculpted from its rugged peaks whose height rises to 1862 m (Pico Ruivo) leave anyone speechless.
More than 15 million years that the island is called Madeira, according to historians, the whole island was “covered by a thick and dense grove, which is why the Portuguese navigators gave its name, Madeira which means Wood in Portuguese. Considered by UNESCO as a natural heritage of humanity.
IMPORTANT LANDMARKS WE VISITED
The Church of our Lady of Monte: You can find it by walking and climbing up to Monte. It is characterized by a long staircase. The Church is very charming and offers a breathtaking panoramic view. Located near where the Careiros depart their interesting downhill trips.
Careiros of Monte : being dragged down the hill from Monte, one sits on a wicker toboggan run.
Pico do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo: If you like walking, you will be fascinated by the path between the two highest points of the island. The route takes 5-6 hours round trip for 12 km. The second route is much easier to reach Pico Ruivo from the east and the village of Achada do Teixeira. The outward journey lasts between 2.5-3 hours, but still rises to 300 meters along the 3 km route. We did the longest and most challenging route from Pico do Areeiro. This route is not for the weak heart and also not for those who fear heights because it crosses steep ridges, passes through tunnels and steep slopes. Pico Ruivo’s weather is very variable, so always plan for the worst. Between Pico do Areeiro and Pico Ruivo there are sections with tunnels, so it is advisable to bring a torch.
Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse: Going to Porto Moniz we stopped here to enjoy the view. The views are spectacular!
Porto Moniz natural pool: The natural pools of Porto Moniz are pools formed by volcanic lava, where the seawaters enters naturally bringing crystal clear water. This beach has a parking lot, changing rooms and an outdoor shower. We were here in the month of February, but despite some cool winds, we managed to dive in and take a bath. Free admission!
Cave of São Vicente: The visit was good but not exceptional. The first part of the tour involved a visitor center with information about volcanoes, an animation of an erupting volcano, a documentary on the formation of Madeira, a 3D film about lava and a visit to the core of the Earth. The visit to the cave was much more interesting and the tour guide provided good information both in Portuguese and in English. However, it took a while. We would have preferred to walk at our own pace without a guide, with just an information leaflet. It costs € 8, We would still recommend to visit as they are different from the other caves due to the formation of volcanoes.
Mercado dos Lavradores: This was our first visit to the market of Madeira. There are restaurants outside and inside there are fresh flowers, a fruit and vegetable stands, meat shops and local produce both on the lower and upper floors. Sellers will offer you a sample of their fruits to try. It’s a great way to taste the fruits you’ve never tasted before. There is a wonderful fresh fish market at the back where they offer various types of locally caught fish. Worth a visit.
Companhia dos Engenhos do Norte: Visit the Engenho do Porto da Cruz. It is one of the few in Europe to operate steam, using production waste. Above all, it is a journey through the history of the industrial revolution on the island of Madeira. Don’t forget to drink a glass of Poncha or Rum. A must try!
Ponta de Sao Lourenço: An extraordinary walk along the cliffs of the narrow peninsula of Sao Lourenço formed by lava. Strong winds and numerous stairs are the challenging part. The rock formations and the contrast of colors with the blue water of the ocean are a magnificent view to see! We enjoyed this 8 km long promenade in an unspoiled nature.
OUR REVIEWS ON MADEIRA ISLAND
We had a fantastic stay in Madeira exploring and discovering natures natural beauty. It is a perfect get away during the winter time and to enjoy great family excursions. The island offers a lot of activities to do. The natural swimming pool at Porto Moniz was one of a kind. Food is very good and the cost of living is very cheap. The tropical vegetation is very nice and the climate is mild that you can enjoy nice weather the whole year through. The people were friendly and hospitable.
Travel Guides to Madeira