Are you looking for the perfect destination for this summer? Madeira is the ideal place for you, and believe us, we don't take this recommendation lightly. This Portuguese island boasts stunning natural beauty, a rich culture, and a vibrant nightlife scene, all at an affordable cost. Let's not forget that we're talking about Cristiano Ronaldo's hometown here!
Here are some activities that will make your visit to Madeira unforgettable!
Exploring Madeira's Natural Beauty
One of the most impressive aspects of Madeira is its breathtaking landscapes. From rugged mountains to lush forests and scenic coastline, this island offers a wealth of outdoor activities that won't cost you a dime.
For example, you can hike along the Levada trails, which wind their way through the island's picturesque countryside. These paths follow the irrigation canals that were built to bring water from the mountains to the crops in the valleys, offering stunning views along the way. Get those tracking shoes and enjoy hiking some of the most popular Levadas in Madeira such as Levada 25 Fontes & Risco, Levada do Alecrim, Levada Caldeirao Verde & Levada do Furado.
For a next-level hiking experience, consider trying the PR1 - Vereda do Areeiro trail in Madeira. This trail connects three iconic points of the island, which are its highest peaks: Pico do Areeiro (1818 m), Pico das Torres (1851 m), and Pico Ruivo (1862 m). The breathtaking views along the way will leave you in awe! Additionally, we highly recommend catching the sunrise at Pico do Areeiro. You can easily reach the viewpoint by car, as there is a parking lot available. From there, it's just a 200m walk to reach the "Miradouro do Juncal". Once you arrive at the viewpoint, you will surely be astonished and if you’re lucky to get in a clear day, you will even be able to spot the neighboring island of Porto Santo.
Go to miradouros
In Portuguese, miradouro means observation deck and Madeira has plenty of them. Either by the road where you’ll get there in minutes or again do some hiking. Balcões, Cabo Girão, Eira do Serrado, Miradouro do Guindaste, Véu da Noiva and Eira da Achada are some of most famous.
A special highlight to the Cliff Skywalk in Europe also known as Cabo Girão. This stunning viewpoint exists on a 580-meter-high cliff on Madeira’s south coast and offers a breathtaking view.
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Swim in a lava pool
If you prefer to cool off in the water, you can swim or surf at one of the island's many beaches, such as Machico or Porto da Cruz. Or if you are more of a pool person why not a lava pool? Madeira sits at the top of a huge underwater volcano, 6.5km up from the ocean floor. The most famous volcanic pools are the pools in Porto Moniz. Funchal also has its own pool complex called Doca do Cavacas.
Take a cable car
If you want to be transported to majestic mountains, crystal clear blue water and gardens, you have to take a cable car. This 15-minute ride will feel like seconds therefore make sure you soak up the views.
The most known one links the Old Town of Funchal with the top of Monte Hill and Monte Palace Tropical Gardens Park, and then this park with another park – Botanical Gardens.
Now that on top of the Monte, you need to go down, but make it fun by riding in a basket toboggan run.
Ride the Monte toboggan run
What is the toboggan run? Basically, people in white outfits and boater hats await you and then push you into a basket toboggan to slide you down the slope to the centre of Funchal. This epic tradition first started in the early 19th century and was used by local island residents in order to quickly get from the village of Monte down to Funchal’s city proper. Nowadays, it is used as a tourist attraction.
Check at least one (botanical) garden
Last, but not least, we could not recommend you enough to visit at least one of Madeira’s botanical gardens. The two main ones are the Monte Palace Tropical Garden and Madeira Botanical Garden.
Monte Palace Tropical Garden is one of the most gorgeous gardens in Madeira and it is located in the popular Monte Palace Hotel which is currently a museum. The garden contains a mix of flora as well as a mix of cultures since you can find azulejos - tiles depicting Portuguese history and a Japanese garden, which has a pagoda and pond with koi carp.
Madeira Botanical Garden offers you a dynamic range of plants, flowers, trees you name it. The species are coordinated in a harmonious way, pleasant to the eye especially the geometric topiary garden with their colorful flowers.
Experiencing Madeira's Culture and History
Madeira is as beautiful as rich in culture. For example, you can experience traditional Portuguese music, dance, and food at one of the island's many festivals. You may not understand the language but prepare yourself to be moved by Fado, a type of music that expresses the joys and sorrows of the Portuguese people.
You can also visit the Mercado dos Lavradores, a colorful market in the capital city of Funchal that sells fresh produce, flowers, and crafts. Here, you can sample local delicacies such as Bolo do Caco, a traditional bread made with sweet potato and garlic butter, Madeira's wine and poncha, a sweet alcoholic drink made with Aguardente de cana (distilled alcohol made from sugar cane juice), honey, sugar, lemon rind, and different fruit juices according to your taste.
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As the island played an important role in the Age of Exploration, where many Portuguese sailors departed from here to explore what was called New World there is the Madeira Story Centre, a museum that showcases the island's maritime and cultural heritage. You can also take a guided tour of the historic town of Santana, which is known for its traditional thatched-roof houses.
And if you're a football fan, you can explore Ronaldo's legacy at the CR7 museum, admire his statue, and even stay at the CR7 hotel.
Enjoying Madeira's Nightlife and Entertainment
Finally, Madeira is known for its vibrant nightlife scene. You can go from cosy bars to lively clubs, there's something for everyone here even for people on a budget. Take advantage of happy hour specials at one of the many bars in Funchal, such as the Caravela Bar or the Hole in One. You can also catch live music at venues like the Barreirinha Bar Cafe or the Lighthouse Pub.
All the reasons mentioned above make Madeira a fantastic destination for someone who wants to experience adventure, culture, and nightlife without spending a fortune. From outdoor activities hiking and surfing to traditional music and cuisine, and stunning views I can guarantee you won't be bored here!
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And when you're ready to book your next adventure, be sure to check out tryp.com, where you can find the best deals in 3 seconds, with automatic check-in and support for every doubt or issue you may find along the way. Happy travels!