Things to Do in Madeira:
The Unappreciated Portuguese Archipelago
Madeira is often overlooked by holiday goers, who dismiss this tropical island as being for honeymooners only, yet these people are seriously missing out. If you have only one week in Portugal, where would you spend it? I would definitely suggest Madeira, off-beaten and definitely relaxing.
This volcanic archipelago is also a dream for the adventurous, hikers and even foodies. Think peaks as high as 1800m, lush greenery and waves perfect for surfing and other watersports. Intrigued? Here are just some of the ways to enjoy this unappreciated paradise:
THINGS TO DO IN MADEIRA, PORTUGAL
Situated in the south of Madeira is the picturesque capital of Funchal. One of the best cities to visit in Madeira, this chic destination is most famous for being the birthplace of legendary soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo – there’s even a statue of him in Funchal, perfect for a holiday snap. Funchal itself is full of upscale boutiques, art galleries and delicious restaurants, simply spend your day exploring this stunning city.
If you have time, join these affordable tours, be sure to take a cable car to Monte Palace and visit the Botanical Islands where you can look over the whole of Funchal. Then, instead of taking a cable car back down; why not take a wicker toboggan? This thrilling ride isn’t for the fainthearted, but for those who enjoy speed, this may just be the highlight of your trip.
Explore the Islands
To truly discover all of Madeira’s magic, you need to get out and explore. However, with these islands being so mountainous, your best way of exploring the island is to rent a car so you can easily get from town to town and to some of the best hiking routes. In case you only have a limited time in Madeira, why don't you check this seven-day guide to Madeira.
The roads of Madeira are unlike anything you’ve ever been on before, with every turn showing another spectacular view to stop and enjoy. You’ll even travel through tunnels, that have literally been carved through mountains. Bar the occasional steep road, driving in Madeira is very easy and pleasant.
Just hop in your car and see where the roads take you. For extra fun, pack yourself a picnic and enjoy an al fresco lunch against the stunning backdrop of Madeira, don’t forget to check if you have spare parts for the car to avoid hassle along the way.
Hike or Bike Through the Mountains
The most rewarding way to explore the beautiful mountains of Madeira is by foot or bike. For hikers, most routes on the islands are of moderate level, so they should be manageable to most people. One of the most popular routes is the Pico do Arieiro, a trail that will take you literally above the clouds, to Madeira’s third highest peak.
On a clear day, you’ll even be able to see neighbouring islands too. More experienced hikers can then go on upwards the highest peak – Pico Ruivo.
For mountain bikers, companies where you can rent you all the equipment you need for exploring the island. You can even go on one of their mountain bike tours, which are tailored to your experience level.
If you like the idea of a bike or hike through Madeira, but are worried about navigating it yourself, then you may want to opt for a guided tour instead. Most of these tours will pick you up from any hotel in the area, giving peace of mind. For more independent travellers, rent a local villa situated near some of the most popular trails. Then you can simply wake up in the morning and go!
Natural Swimming Pools
Being a volcanic island, Madeira benefits from some amazing natural swimming pools that are wonderful for cooling off on a hot day. A must on your bucket list should be a visit to Porto Moniz, where natural pools have been formed from volcanic lava.
These are filled with crystal-clear seawater that flows into these natural craters. The pools have lots of facilities, including a pool and play area for the kids, car park, changing rooms and bathrooms. There’s also a snack bar in the summer.
I hope you find these things to do in Madeira useful for your trip, if you have any questions or if I miss something, let me know in the comment section.
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