Cristiano Ronaldo likes Madeira, and so will you! Well, he was born here, after all. The island has been a leading destination for many years, winning awards across the world, and once you’ve set foot on solid ground and explored a little, well, you’ll no doubt agree.
Madeira sits on the African plate of the Atlantic Ocean and is one of Europe’s most beautiful locations, a destination that welcomes thousands of visitors to its shores. Most visitors come here for the weather, the scenery, and the sport. Funchal, its capital, being the focal point, with the rest of the island offering activities from walking to sailing, surfing, and fishing. Add in the parks and gardens and rustic villages with ocean seascapes, and you have the perfect blend. Let’s then discover what you can do on this Portguese island.
Funchal – The Clean Capital
Your first point of contact with the island will be in Funchal, the capital. It nestles in a natural amphitheatre, with the Atlantic in its foreground and mountains as a backdrop. The first thing you’ll notice once in the city are the beautiful gardens and blooming flowers. Helped by its climate. You’re in one of the greenest cities here. No wonder it welcomes the cruise ships and super yachts as they pass through.
Sipping on a coffee is one of the many pastimes in the city, but if you can pull yourself away from the cafes and gardens, there are several interesting museums to explore. We’ve picked a few of the best out for you.
- Madeira Story Centre – an interactive museum taking you on a journey back in time to the island’s birth through to today.
- CR7 Museum – Well, they had to celebrate their favourite son! The museum takes you through his remarkable career.
- Wine Museum – Like your wine, then learn about the Madeira variant, its culture and the wine-making process
- Sacred Art Museum – Featuring religious sculptures from the 16th to 18th century and jewellery. Plus, collections of artwork and other pieces.
Away from the museums, Funchal offers the usual fare of shopping, restaurants, and cafes, and of course the opportunities for water sports and trips like whale watching.
Touring around the island
With Funchal covered, there are plenty of places across the island to explore. The scenery, for one, is worth the trips out. Places such as Pico Dos Barcelos and Eira do Sorrado offer stunning viewpoints, as well as the opportunity to indulge in a little wine tasting.
There are plenty of walking trails to try among the valleys and mountain passes. Machico, with its contrast in natural vegetation and terraces of vegetables, fruits, and flowers, being one of several examples. The valley of Quinta Grande and Campanario another, with its houses festooned with dahlias and the smell of wood burning fires. These beautiful landscapes are all picture perfect. Be sure to take your camera.
Madeira isn’t your typical island destination; the flora and fauna make sure of that. Enjoy the sun, the sports and the local food but most of all take in the landscapes, the gardens and flowers. They say that this is an island that belongs to all. We should be thankful they let us in! Any wonder Cristiano flourished?