Plan an amazing trip to Madeira
A touch of the exotic in the heart of Europe is a perfect description of the islands of Madeira. Located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and an autonomous region of Portugal, this small piece of land has many attractions. Verdant plains meet the slopes of vertiginous volcanic mountains. The island was only discovered in the 16th century. Funchal stands proudly against the wind, anchored in history. In the heart of the country, ancient fortresses are replete with tales from the past. Here, you will find some terraced vineyards, but the banana plantations are dominant. With its teeming vegetation Madeira is aptly known as the island of flowers: camelias, bougainvilleas, pink azaleas, birds of paradise plants, mimosas, jacaranda and amaryllis bloom in turn and perfume the island through the seasons.
Pauline & Pascal's tips,
Best time to go to Madeira
For us, May is the month to choose. In addition to the mild weather, flowers are beginning to flourish. Flowers have a special place in Madeira, known as the "island of flowers", or sometimes "the lungs of the Atlantic." The only disappointment is that the water temperature is still relatively cool at 59°F.
What to see and what to do in Madeira
Pauline & Pascal answers your most frequently asked questions
There is the beach, of course, and a water park (towards Caniço). There is also the theme park in Santana, the aquarium in Porto Moniz and an exhibition of how the islands were created in the Sao Vincente caves.
For older children, there is a go-kart track near Fanal, paintball, an equestrian centre, and water sports (diving, surfing, paddle boarding...) and paragliding.
Seixal is, for us, the most beautiful beach on the island. However, the pebble beaches near Jardim Do Mar are equally impressive, although they are wilder and more dangerous. Calheta beach, is an artificial bay (the sand comes from Morocco) is ideal for young children.
Do visit the famous Lavadores Market in Funchal for its fish stalls and the wide variety of fruit and vegetables. However, on the first floor, the price of fruit and vegetables in particular is too high - passion fruit at 20€ per kilo, for example as opposed to 5€ elsewhere. The vendors' insistant attitude can be exasperating too.
Yes, especially on the south coast which is well served with fast roads. There are plenty of steep and winding roads in Madeira. Practice your hill starts!
The 25 Fountains and Risco Sao Lourenço Point Pico Ruivo, Pico Areeiro
Espetada, Beef on laurel skewers, often served at village festivals. Espada com banana, swordfish fillets served with banana and a passion fruit sauce. Bolo do caco, a Madeiran, round flatbread made with sweet potatoes. It is often served with aperitifs, cut in two, buttered and topped with garlic, salt and parsley. Picadinho, a dish of chips and diced beef, served with Madeira sauce. You will also find Portuguese specialities such as Pastel de Nata pastries, Feijoada (a kind of meat stew) and Cosido, a pork and cabbage ragout.
In Camara de Lobos you will find the famous Henriques & Henriques. In the heart of Funchal, there are several bars (such as Grao D’Uva) where you can sample and buy Madeira. They will be delighted to welcome you.
In order to discover the best of the island, it is essential that we underline the importance of being independent. The weather on Madeira, as with most tropical and sub-tropical mountainous islands, is very variable. Too often, we have met people on hikes and organised excursions, unprepared and inappropriately dressed for the gloomy weather.
Bed and breakfast offers homely comforts and gives some independance as well as contact with your host. Pour reprendre notre offre, notre localisation Sud Ouest, également appelée ‘Côte du Soleil’, vous permet de rester sur le versant Sud (le plus ensoleillé), tout en conservant un aspect sauvage (plus rare, sur cette côte plus développée). Le calme, la sérénité et le panorama océanique qui entourent nos gîtes, sont paradoxalement également accompagnés d’une facile accessibilité. Nous sommes en effet situés à 2km de la voie rapide, vous permettant ainsi de traverser l’île en 1h, pour rejoindre la pointe Est de Sao Lourenço.
Si vous souhaitez en découvrir plus sur nos offres, n’hésitez pas à vous rendre sur notre : site internet. Pour information, notre établissement a ouvert en juillet 2015, il comprend : . Une maison madérienne rénovée pour 7 personnes (3 chambres) . 4 Gîtes ~ 55 m2 se composant d’une chambre et d’un canapé convertible dans le salon.
Hiring a vehicle gives independence, but the cost is significant. Don't hesitate to use a comparison site to find the best deals. Refine your search with two essential criteria: - Excellent customer feedback (avoid companies with very negative reviews). - Unlimited mileage. Child seats are often rented on a daily basis and it can be cheaper to buy your own (or ask your host if you are staying in a B&B).
Some advice on what to pack: don't forget wet weather gear, a fleece, good walking shoes, a pocket torch and your summer clothes. If you're planning a hike, you may well have to walk through clouds or through damp 'levadas' (irrigation channels).
Visitors are drawn to Madeira's mild climate. The sun often shines and winter is almost non-existent. The range of activities and the beauty of the countryside are also attractions. Furthermore, Madeira brings an affordable touch of the distant tropics to Europe. It's hundreds of well maintained trails make Madeira the kingdom of the hiker.
Swimming in the sea is not always advised as the coast can be very rugged and dangerous. Even in summer, the water can be a little cool.