Madeira is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, about 620 miles from Europe and 310 miles from Africa. It is fondly called the “Pearl of the Atlantic” and also “the floating garden” because of the beautiful landscape and breathtaking scenery. Madeira is also a favorite among luxury travellers because of the climate, with an average temperature of 22ºC in the summer and 16ºC in winter, thus providing the island with warm summers and mild winters. Overall, it is a pleasant place to visit, and it has been a favorite destination of many notable personalities over the years.
Among the notable individuals who visited Madeira, was Sir Winston Churchill, who, like other aristocrats before him, chose the beautiful Reid’s palace hotel as his lodging place. Sir Winston Churchill was a well-known statesman during the Second World War. He was an avid traveller, and so, he chose the Madeira Island as his destination of choice to recuperate and gain back his health. In Madeira, he found the perfect place he needed to reflect and ponder on thoughts in tranquility and undisturbed stability. After a few weeks, his health and disposition improved greatly, and he soon explored the streets of Madeira, enjoying the warmth and love of the townsfolk. He painted scenes from the town and today, artists still reproduce pictures of Winston sitting before an easel and painting his views of Madeira. Winston made a return journey to Madeira, and he has been quoted as saying Madeira was one of his favorite places.
This is the capital of Madeira, and it is a favorite among tourists. It is a working city filled with the usual activities of a typical capital city, but there are many things to do to relax and have an enjoyable stay. There are many beautiful sights to see in the city, and you could start with the seafront promenade where you can take a gentle stroll and just enjoy the view. There are also many seafood restaurants where you can have a taste of the local cuisine. There are many beautiful restaurants in Funchal that offer amazing meals.
Funchal is also known for its wine, and the Blandy’s wine lodge is a great place to visit. Madeira has a very rich wine history, and its wines have been exported to various parts of the world because of the high quality and taste. You can take a tour of the wine lodge and experience the history of Madeira. In the words of Sir Winston Churchill, “To drink Madeira is to sip history with every glass”. This is one tour that every luxury traveller to Madeira should take.
The fascinating botanical gardens built into the mountainside are a place you must not pass up. The Monte Palace Tropical Gardens is exquisite and filled with a wide variety of flowers, trees and shrubs from all around the world. The displays are simply a marvel to behold. To have a better taste of the varieties of culture, a tour of the Oriental Garden is a sure bet and you can observe artifacts and collections of ceramic tiles that are more than a century old! There are also several monuments in the city just waiting for your eyes to feast on.
MADEIRA FROM EAST AND WEST
According to several tourists and to our experience, the best way to explore Madeira is to do a Jeep Safari with a certified and knowledgeable guide like those of Green Devil Safari. The tours usually start with various hotels and span the north and western parts of the island. Having a local guide who is knowledgeable about the island makes it a very entertaining and rewarding experience because you will learn a lot while having fun on your tour. The tour extends to the villages, where you can swim in the beautiful waters, interact with the locals and have the best views of the island.
A place you should visit in the northern part of the island is Machico, which is the oldest place in Madeira and also the Old capital of Madeira. The western part boasts dramatic volcanic landscapes in Cabo Girão, one of the world’s highest cliffs standing at 580ft above sea level, and also a traditional fisherman’s village, which was one of Sir Winston Churchill’s favorite places on the Island. For a comprehensive tour, make a stop at São Vicente, known for its underground caves and lava cakes. As you travel along the western part, you will notice the visibly changing species of flowers, which can be described as simply amazing!
The eastern and south western parts of the island also have unique scenery and history that a true luxury traveller should not be deprived of seeing. Madeira’s UNESCO Heritage Forest is located in Ribeiro Frio on the east of the island, and it is called the “Laurissilva”.
PORTO SANTO ISLAND
This is a Portuguese island about 27 miles away from the Madeira Island in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is well known for its golden sand, which has been proved to hold therapeutic properties. The island boasts beautiful beaches, and the major attraction is the golf course, designed by Severiano Ballesteros, a Spanish golf champion.
The Porto Santo Golf Course offers lovers of gold a beautiful sight and a challenging game every time. The course was designed only for those who are passionate about the sport because it covers a wide expanse of land, from the sandy beaches to the cliffs, blending in with the natural topology. The golf course has 18 holes, 72 pars over 6,434 meters, making it ideal for a long game and also lessons in taking precision shots. The clubhouse attached to the golf course is very comfortable and offers patrons a beautiful view of the island and the sea.
The island has its own history and reports state that Christopher Columbus got married to Donna Filipa on this island.