5 good reasons to go
To see / do
Culture and history
The tropical Monte Palace garden
There are some real hidden gems in Funchal, such as the Monte tropical garden. The best way to get there is to board the cable car. Visit this heavenly piece of nature to enjoy a moment of pure pleasure. Endemic plants grow next to species from all over the world. A museum showcases various geological and artistic collections.
Porto Moniz’s pools
To the North-East of the island of Madeira lies Porto Moniz, a small village hiding away an astonishing site: natural pools formed by volcanic rocks over several thousand years. The shallow pools fill with turquoise sea water. This enchanting place is open for swimming, so go and enjoy a dip as you gaze out on the landscape.
Day trip to the São Lourenço Peninsula
To the very East of Madeira lies the São Lourenço Peninsula, known locally as the natural park of São Lourenço. There is a path running along the peninsula, which is covered with semi-arid plants, and the landscape is simply magnificent. It is home to several bird species. You may catch a glimpse of a few monk seals in the sea below.
When walking back from the Sao Tiago fortress, turn onto Santa Maria street. There are many restaurants along this road lined with colourful doors. They are real works of art. Santa Maria leads to the Mercado dos Lavradores, Funchal’s central market. Fresh and dried fruit as far as the eye can see!
An amazing ride down
Want to feel like a child again? it all starts here! Head to the foot of the Monte church, in the upper part of Funchal. Climb in the large wicker baskets, known as carrinhos, that await you and hurtle down the streets for just over a mile. An original and thrilling activity.
Espada in all its glory
Madeira’s famed fish is espada. This scabbard fish is extremely tender. It may be simply accompanied by a butter sauce, fried or prepared with fruit such as banana. Make sure you do not mix up espada and espetada, a bay laurel skewer with beef.
Madeira’s famed cake is the bolo de mel, a honey cake. It should actually be called a treacle cake as the pastry is made with sugar cane treacle originating from the island. Spices, walnuts and wine give even more flavour to this exquisite dessert.
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