In November I visited Madeira, I’ve wanted to go for years and it didn’t let me down. The island is just lovely. As it was a holiday I had planned to relax but typically me I ended up packing the week with loads of sightseeing and to be honest I’m glad I did. If I’d just stayed in the resort of Funchal I’d have missed so much.
It’s an easy trip over around 3 hours flight then around 45 mins transfer from the airport (I’d booked a private transfer so there was a car waiting, so easy!)
We stayed in the tourist area of Funchal, there is a fab range of places to eat and drink. I would say prices are similar to the UK. Be warned though, there are lots of steps and steep slopes in Madeira. Accommodation and restaurants etc are built into the hillside, we certainly toned up our calves during the week.
There aren’t really any beaches but hotels have swimming pools and lots of people enjoy bathing in the lidos along the coast.
Accommodation ranges from very expensive famous 5* hotels to basic self catering apartments. I personally think that bed and breakfast or self catering is the best option as there is so much choice to eat out.
There is a great bus service from the tourist area into the old town and harbour, it is walkable (downhill on the way so we walked down and took the bus back)
The old town has a few streets jam packed with restaurants, too much choice for one week! There is something for everyone on the menus and the ‘house wine’ is normally good (often Portugese)
Top things to do
- We did the world famous basket ride. We took the cable car from Funchal up to Monte (great views on the way up) then were pushed in the wicker basket approx. 2 kms downhill to Livramento. Its great fun costs around 15 euros each and you’ve got to buy the photo!
- We had a 1 day hop on/off bus tour which included a lot of the main sights around Funchal but you really need to take an island tour to see the best of the island.
- The famous tiny thatched houses at Santana
- Stunning coastline including the 2nd highest cliff in the world with a glass bottom floor!
- Beautiful countryside
- Wine tasting
- Jeep safari off roading was such fun
- We didn’t have time to go whale/dolphin watching on one of the many boat trips
There are lots of walk available too, my top tip though is take the right footwear and clothing. The north of the island is 10 degrees cooler than the south, the famous levada walks get wet so proper walking boots and waterproofs are essential
Madeira was truly wonderful, I’ve done lots but will definitely go back as still have lots to see and do Weather was great – around 21 degrees. Its warm all year but expect some rain, all those wonderful flowers need some water! There is a flower festival in the spring- and the fireworks on New Year’s Eve are that impressive many cruises dock to watch- these are on my to do list!
The highlight of the trip was getting engaged so there will be anniversary trips I’m sure💍 💕