A relatively small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira is a true pearl with lots to offer. Beautiful black-sanded beaches set against picturesque villages and rugged volcanic rocks and cliffs, it is little wonder that the island has been attracting holidaymakers from near and far for decades. Explore the interior of Madeira and make it an island adventure according to your own dreams.
Famous for its luxurious resorts, beach holidays, fortified wine, as well as being the birthplace of football-legend Cristiano Ronaldo, Madeira is a multifaceted destination that gradually opens up more of itself the further into the island you venture. The capital of Funchal is a good place to start your exploration. The squares and the streets of the centre are drawn with tiles in endearing patterns and quaint buildings abound these walkways. Interspersed among the shops and cafés are stunning cathedrals and churches and numerous museums and monuments (including one by the harbour dedicated to abovementioned footballer).
Explore the narrow streets and alleys of the Old Town, stroll along the palm-lined promenade by the sea, gaze at the impressive the cathedral and indulge in a bit of art and culture by visiting the Museu de Arte Sacra and the Museum of Contemporary Art, all of which are found within easy walking distance of each other. Take the cable car to the tiny hilltop village of Monte, just behind Funchal, for a truly stunning view of the capital below and the landscape draped against the dark-blue Atlantic background. For another Madeiran gem, head five kilometres west of Funchal. The gorgeous city and fishing port of Camara de Lobos was Winston Churchill’s favourite holiday spot in the 1950s and a lot of his paintings feature the sharp cliffs, the green hills and the white houses of the area.
Head further inland to explore some of the charming mountain villages that exist around the sides of Pico Ruivo and head to the west of the island to marvel at the sheer natural beauty of the 25 Fontes Falls, where water drops serenely among the sharp cliffs and the greenery. After a day of exploring the island, drift slowly back to the main towns and prepare yourself for a true Madeiran dinner. Sea-food such as sword-fish and tuna are often to be found on the menus, as is fried corn and espetadas. Similar to kebabs or gyros, espetada consists of succulent chunks of meat and vegetables grilled on spits. Washed down with a glass of Madeira wine and followed by local honey cake, what could be more delicious?
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