Things to Do in Madeira
The capital Funchal was founded five centuries ago and boasts an 18th century town hall and historic churches, as well as modern markets and shops. The atmosphere here is one of sunny relaxation, with cafes, coffee shops and restaurants serving delectable seafood dishes straight from Funchal’s harbour. With so many major museums and art galleries within such a compact area, as well as the botanical gardens, there is something to keep everyone entertained. Stick around when the sun goes down and the city comes to life with bustling bars and a casino.
You can catch a bus or cable car from Funchal to get a taste of the sights further afield. These include Monte village, a garden lover’s paradise a few miles to the north, and Cabo Girão, one of the highest cliffs in Europe. The magnificent lush countryside is a popular place with ramblers and offers a variety of interesting excursions, including jeep expeditions and walks for all levels of experience.
Although Madeira has no beaches of its own, a day trip by ferry to the even smaller sister island of Porto Santo offers a 5 mile stretch of soft golden sand and quaint cobbled streets in the main town of Vila Baleira, where you can sit and enjoy a glass of fortified Madeira wine.
Did you know? Madeira has been producing ‘laranjada’, a carbonated orange drink since 1872, making it 14 years older than Coca Cola.