Madeira: 10 things to do on the island of Portugal

Madeira, an almost unknown land but with a lot of charm. We are still in Europe, we are in Portugal even if the colors and the people who live in this place seem to tell us that we are on the other side of the world. A volcanic island that is worth discovering in 10 things to do.

According to legend the island would be part of the kingdom of Atlantis, was discovered, almost by chance, by João Gonçalves Zarco, in 1419, when he landed on its shores after a strong storm that had sent his ship off course.

A volcanic land, warm as the hearts of the people who live there, the climate is mild more or less throughout the year and thus allows you to enjoy its wonderful landscapes to the fullest. With this article I want to propose which, in my experience, are the 10 things to do in Madeira.

Madeira: 10 things to do on the island of Portugal

1. Visit Jardim do Mar

Small village in the southwest of the island famous above all among surf lovers, but in addition to being surrounded by the splendid waters, this small town can be visited only and exclusively on foot, since it develops between narrow and cobbled streets. Along the path that leads to the top of the mountain overlooking Jardim do Mar you can admire an old wooden mill.

2. Climb to the top of Cabo Giråo 

One of the highest cliffs in Europe, from which you can admire a breathtaking landscape, thanks also to the terrace with a transparent floor that allows you to admire the waves breaking on the rocks 589 meters below our feet.

3. Admire the lava pools of Porto Moniz

Small town located in the northwest of the island, famous for its lava pools which have always attracted tourists and residents alike. A path allows you to get lost, for that little, among these natural lava constructions, which reflect their beauty in the transparent water. Fort Jåo Batista, dating back to 1730, now used as an aquarium, was once built to defend the city from frequent pirate attacks.

Madeira: 10 things to do on the island of Portugal

4. Getting lost along the Levadas

Levada is a Portuguese term for man-made water channels to transport rainwater to the fields. There are many paths that can be traveled within the island, and which offer those who travel them the opportunity to see a wild Madeira that is hidden, but still fascinating. For the more experienced, walks of up to 7 hours are proposed, while for the less experienced even 45 minutes.

5. Race with the Carros do Cesto

The Carros do Cesto are nothing more than small wicker sledges typical of the island, dating back to the nineteenth century, and were used for the transport of goods or wood. It is possible to experience the thrill of a two-kilometer descent from Monte to the center of the city of Funchal, in these carreiros, pushed by two young locals dressed in white. During the ride you can also reach 50 kilometers per hour.

Madeira: 10 things to do on the island of Portugal

6. Taste the Bolo do Caco

Typical island bread, stuffed with garlic butter and always served hot. In bars and restaurants, if ordered, it is a good custom to eat it as an appetizer, but it is also found as street food stuffed with bacon or Chorizo. To try.

7. Drink Poncha and Vinho Madeira

Distilled from sugar cane, honey, sugar, lemon and fruit juice drunk mainly by the island's fishermen, very strong and with a particular taste. Vinho Madeira is a fortified wine typical of this island, also called “vinho da roda” (return wine) because its aging took place in the holds of ships.

Madeira: 10 things to do on the island of Portugal

8. Ponta de São Lourenço

In the north-eastern part of the island, a landscape different from the lush and warm colors of the rest of the island appears before our eyes, it is Ponta São Lorenҫo. This elongated coast of the island owes its name to the first ship that landed there, in fact, San Lorenzo. The show is breathtaking, despite the dryness of the area, and it is possible to reach the tip of the peninsula via a 10 km long path.

9. Visit the Cathedral da Sé in Funchal

Cathedral of the island's capital, built in 1514 by order of King Don Manuel, in Gothic style. The bell tower overlooks the city and makes it so easily accessible, also because it is located in one of the most touristic places in the city, where there is no shortage of stalls and restaurants.

Madeira: 10 things to do on the island of Portugal

10. Santana

Town in the north east of the island famous for the presence of typical houses. They are small triangular stone houses with a thatched roof. The thatched roof thus constructed protects from the cold and wind in winter without the aid of any stove. The inhabitants of Santana know very well that tourists are dying to visit them and certainly do not ask for a small free offer.

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