Thinking about a destination for our 7-day holiday, we decided to start exploring the island of Madeira:
not too far, not too close; no big city, not only countryside; not boring, somehow tropical, somehow different; green nature to explore, but also a beach where you can practice surf; but not only beaches, also something else to see (I know, a bit picky).
WHY THE ISLAND OF MADEIRA?
Little I knew about Madeira, but did you know it was Cristiano Ronaldo’s place of birth?
The island of Madeira ticks a lot of travel requirements from any list. It’s still Europe, but looks more like a remote tropical paradise. Also, you can loose yourself wandering in search for waterfalls or hiking the mountains. It is definitely more than expected, from weather to the villages and the views.
HOW TO GET TO MADEIRA
You can take a direct flight from either Porto or Lisbon.
In my case, Porto was way cheaper, as I flew in from Barcelona.
WHERE TO STAY IN MADEIRA
The south of the island is more populated, as there’s also where the airport is. Once you head it north, you’ll come across surf beaches and traditional villages.
I stayed in 5 places during my trip and explored each side of the island. Started in Sao Vicente, Ponta do Pargo, Ponta do Sol, Sao Jorge, and eventually Funchal.
The north of the island is better if you plan an active trip and stays in small guesthouses, so nothing fancy. In the south you can find plenty of restaurants by the beach and nice, more expensive hotels.
EXPLORING AROUND MADEIRA
I don’t think you can actually get to really explore the island if you don’t rent a car. There are many places where it’s hard to get without one. Also, the roads are very good, but also very (veeery!) narrow and most of them almost 90 degrees up or down the hill (so get yourself a good driver).
If you’re searching for a good deal, I found MadPoint. This is not a sponsored post, but the best option when you don’t want to spend a lot. I found a Mitsubishi Space Star for 196€ with full insurance and no deposit.
THINGS TO DO IN MADEIRA
- Take a swim and some photos in Seixal, the tiny beach with black sand.
- Spend some time in nature exploring Levada 25 Fontes. It’s a nice and easy walk.
- Check out Risco Waterfall on your way to 25 Fontes. Follow the road until it splits.
- Do the hike between Pico Ruivo and Pico de Arieiro (it takes around 1 hour to get up).
The island of Madeira is the place to visit whenever you want an escape. The weather is warm and nice all year round. I’ve spent 7 days on the island and I can easily recommend it to any kind of traveller.
You can find economical options for accommodation and places to eat, but don’t expect prices like the ones in Asia. Also, the public transportation around the island is not that developed and popular. If you’re an explorer, you need to rent a car, which can be a downside.
P.S.: you should have a strong stomach for this island as the curves are pretty intense. If you don’t have it, which I discovered now it was also my case, prepare yourself.
Are you planning on exploring the island of Madeira? Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!
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