Things to do in Madeira
Madeira is an archipelago in Portugal and can be found off the coast of Morocco in the North Atlantic Ocean. The island consists of four distinct islands namely islands of Madeira and Porto Santo and smaller islands of Selvagens and Desertas. The island is widely known as the Garden Island and the Pearl of the Atlantic and it offers tourists a comfortable climate all year round. There is a wide range of activities that you can try out in the area and some of them are listed below.
Go sightseeing at Ponta de Sao Lourenco
The eastern park of Madeira houses a nature reserve that features enormous volcanic rocks that are surrounded by reddish hues. Ponta de Sao Lourenco offers tourists a picturesque scenery that will leave you mesmerised. The climate and the soil in the region also support the growth of unusual flowering plants such as cardoons. You can start exploring the park from the Quinta do Lorde resort so that you will get to relax and go picnicking at the picnic tables. The highlight of Ponta de Sao Lourenco is that you will enjoy panoramic sceneries.
Explore Levada Walks
Levadas are a system of aqueducts and many dates back to the 15th century. It provides the local farms with the water need for their agriculture. A great way to explore Madeira is by wandering around the numerous walking paths made by the Levada. On this path, you will find an open canal system and they can be found in the drier regions of the south and wet regions of the north. The highlight of the region is the Levada walk of Rabacal. The walk is about 10km long and it will take you through three levadas and also discover over two dozen waterfalls on the path.
Enjoy stunning views at Funchal Cable Car
This is a modern cable car system that will take you from Almirante Reis to the upper suburb of Monte in Funchal. Although it is usually crowded, it moves very quickly and you will be able to soak in the mesmerising views of the ocean and mountainsides dotted with white houses in 15 minutes. Once you get to the peak, you will be chanced to take Instagram-worthy pictures of Monte Palace Tropical Garden or the Church where Emperor Charles was buried.
Go on Panoramic Drives
Although Madeira has a rough terrain, it has a good road system that winds around majestic natural sceneries waiting for you to explore them. You can head to the north coast where you can experience the VE2 from Sao Vicente to Porto Moniz and you will fall in love with the mesmerizing ocean views. You are also going to find waterfalls along the way, you can also visit Seixal to swim in the rock pools. The highlight is the twisting road that takes you from Funchal to Curral das Freiras deep inside Madeira.
Visit Monte Palace Tropical Garden
This garden is the first thing that you will see as soon as you step down from the cable car terminal in Monte. The garden is laid out on the terraced slopes that surround Monte Palace Hotel that was constructed in Rhenish Revival style architecture at the beginning of the 20th century. The garden houses herb beds, medical plants, cacti, local laurel forest, European azaleas, heather from Scotland, and cycads from South Africa. You should make sure you do not miss the Japanese garden which features a pagoda and a pond filled with koi carp. You will also find Azulejos around the foliage which will give you an insight into the story of the Portuguese in Japan on an enormous panel with 166 tiles.
Go swimming at Porto Moniz Natural Pools
Porto Moniz can be found at the northwestern tip of Madeira and it is popularly known for its honey cake and tasty sugar cane. The place also has a natural pool that you can explore. The pools were built by the cooling of volcanic lava and the water inside the pool comes from the sea. The best thing is that the saltwater flows in and out of the pool which means you will be swimming in freshwater. The pools also feature amenities like lockers and showers that you can use if you are planning to swim here.