Madeira holds a somewhat special place in my heart. My dad has lived most of his adult life in England but Madeira is where he was born, raised and where his parents and lots of family still live today. As a result, we have spent a lot of family holidays there over the years and there’s something wonderful about visiting a country that’s so foreign but also so familiar. So, without further ado, what are my favourite things to do in Madeira?
Head to Machico
I’m biased on this one: as my dad is from Machico, we’ve spent most of our time there over the years. It was actually the landing point of the ship that discovered the island and there’s now a man made beach, making it a gorgeous spot to spend the day. It’s only around 20 minutes drive from the capital, Funchal, but is a relatively calm spot in comparison with some nice restaurants on the promenade.
Visit Caro Girao
The second highest skywalk in the world, after the Grand Canyon, Caro Girao was a new discovery for me on my trip last year. With fantastic views and photo opportunities, this is just one of the many viewpoints you can visit around the island. Another favourite of mine is Pico do Arierio (one of the highest points of Madeira) where, depending on the weather, you will be submerged in cloud or even see the odd whisp floating below you.
Be a tourist
Two of the most popular attractions in Madeira are the cable cars and famous Monte toboggan rides. A great way to see the island is to take a cable car from Funchal to Monte then take the high speed toboggan back down again! With lots of laughter from those who experience one of these traditional journeys, this is still on my list of things to do!
Take a wander through Funchal
A lot of cruise ships come into Madeira for the day and, as the capital city, Funchal entertains tourists all year around. If you fancy a stroll along the marina, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, or you can explore a little further. One of my favourite streets has the most creatively painted doors I’ve ever seen. Walking through that explosion of colour is gorgeous!
This blog post could go on forever – Madeira has everything from swimming pools along the coast that are filled with saltwater from the sea to sleepy fishing towns with brightly coloured houses. You can visit Madeira Shopping to find Zara, Pull & Bear, Oysho, Stradivarius and Berskha or head to Santana to see traditional thatched houses and dancers. In my opinion, it’s severely underrated as a holiday destination and I never get bored of going!
After spending a few hours immersed in sun writing this post, I’ve just looked out of the window to see gloomy England and felt an immense wish to go back. Luckily, I’m headed back for a weekend in August to celebrate my dad’s 50th birthday with the family so expect more pictures coming your way then!
Have you ever been to Madeira?