Madeira is a small Portuguese island floating off of the coast of Portugal, Spain and Morocco. Renowned for its mountainous scenery, vibrant orange roofed houses, unique toboggan run and splendid Madeiran cake, wine and cuisine, this island has a lot to offer its visitors.
Although Madeira has been branded as a holiday destination for the ‘elder generation’, my trip with my family in early June confirmed that this unspoiled, quiet gem has a lot to offer any holidaymaker who enjoys a less touristy destination with phenomenal walking opportunities, quaint cobbled high streets and welcoming locals.
Here are my top reasons why you should book a holiday to Madeira this summer.
Scenery and views
Madeira is encompassed by rugged volcanic rims and towering cragged cliffs.
Whether you’re at the top of Funchal’s famous cable car in Monte, trekking the region’s dramatic levada, overlooking the ocean at the remarkable Cabo Girão skywalk viewpoint or, at your accommodation high up atop the mountains, you’re sure to be blessed with mind-blowing views of undisturbed sea by day and a moon beam to die for by night.
Food and drink
As well as traditional Portuguese food, Madeira also has its own branch of seductive cuisine.
For starter, bolo do caco (a traditional Madeiran bread) smothered in garlic butter can be found at the top of every menu. Whilst grilled limpets drizzled in garlic and lemon and served in a hot pan straight from the grill, are a favourite amongst locals.
For main, espetada aka. meat skewers doused in salt and garlic butter are extremely popular and fish – especially black scabbard fish – is traditionally served swimming in a sweet banana or passion fruit sauce. All Madeiran meals must be finished with a post dinner poncha and/or Madeiran wine.
Often referred to as ‘the floating garden’, Madeira is very well-known for its colourful species of flora and fauna as well as, its budding sea life.
Seabirds and Bottlenose and Atlantic spotted dolphins are a daily sighting off of the island whilst Sperm and Pilot whales can be spotted in the Atlantic waters all year round.
Lack of tourism
As you will probably know by now, I’m not a big fan of tourist-fuelled places. Therefore, Madeira was a breath of fresh air when I began my exploration.
It is authentic and quiet yet, offers so much to see and do. Its glittering turquoise waters, rustic narrow side streets, bustling, colourful markets and charming cafes and restaurants are just a few of the island’s unique and untouched selling points.