Madeira is such a beautiful island offering wonderful flora and fauna, great fresh food, lovely people and breathtaking views. It is easy to travel around by car and even children will love the place. What we liked most are the hiking paths along the irrigation system, called "levadas", that run like a network through the isle and provide excellent walks into nature. You will pass by waterfalls, tunnels and great vantage points. The shores of the volcanic island of Madeira are mostly stone cliffs, so a trip to the little isle nearby makes a stay perfect: Porto Santo is easily reachable by ferry (recommended) or airplane and will charm you with its golden sand beach.
FUNCHAL – The charming capital
Do & See:
PONTA DO SOL – Point of the Sun (article)
Do & See:
PORTO SANTO – Golden sand beach
From Funchal it is a relaxed way to reach the little island of Porto Santo by ferry. You can book the tickets online via Porto Santo Line. The 2.5 hour ride can become a little bumpy but they say you might see dolphins now and then. After arrival you can take a bus or a taxi to your hotel (if you did not bring your car).
Do & See:
These little aqueducts were created hundreds of years ago to bring water from the Northern part of the island to the drier South. The bonus effect is that they provide perfect paths to walk along. The Levada network makes it possible to discover Madeira by hiking through its amazing landscape.
Here three Levada walks we did:
General tips on what to bring on a Levada tour:
Flora and Fauna:
Madeira is known to be a flower island (especially in April). Next to all the beautiful blossoms we saw, we walked through eucalyptus forests, laurel forests and saw how big plants become on this rich spot of the world. A simple dandelion mutates to a tree!
Next time we really want to try some other Levadas like the Ribeiro Frio or the one up to Pico do Areeiro (known to be quite challenging though). Visitmadeira.pt has a good overview here.
FOOD AND DRINKS
Fish & Seafood: With kilometres of coastline the variety of fresh fish and seafood is great on Madeira and Porto Santo.