Madeira: A Magical Island Escape
In the year 2016, Portugal went on to grab 26 awards given by the World Travel Awards; these awards are synonymous to the Oscars and hence are also called as ‘Tourism Oscars’. A country with beautiful beaches, gastronomic cuisines, spiritual landmarks, and nostalgic environment, Portugal was not always on the tourist's bucket list. But today their economy generates up to 4% of their GDP from the tourism sector, from hills to plains, from countrysides to happening cities, from beaches to vast forests, from islands to archipelagos, they have it all. Every tourist will find something of their liking in the Portuguese nation, but today we will know about the majestic Madeira Islands of Portugal.
Did you stumble upon the Madeira wine? Wondering where it was manufactured, well you guessed it right. The world-renowned Madeira wine comes from this North Atlantic Ocean Island which was once the home of Henry the Navigator in 1420. The natural beauty of this island is replete with beautiful picturesque hills, hiking, and palatable cuisines. Above all the capital city of Funchal is Europe’s cleanest capital and gives an opportunity to people to enjoy shopping, diving, water sports, and other leisure activities.
Madeira is an Island destination and has some of the most beautiful beaches. Apart from the beautiful beaches, however, there’s a lot more to the Island that you might expect:
MOUNTAINS ARE KING
Madeira is mountainous Island; some of the greatest marvels of Mother Nature reside on the Island. The highest peak of the Island touches the sky at 1862 meters which makes the perfect destination for hiking beneath the sunny sky with a cold breeze coming in from the Atlantic Ocean.
SAO VINCENTE CAVES
Travel to the Sao Vicente Caves and see how a 400,000-year-old volcanic eruption architected a series of caves.
CABLE UP & TOBOGGAN DOWN
The island is home to some marvelous palaces and gardens. The Monte Palace and the botanical gardens are the perfect place to soak up some culture and enjoy the magnificent flora. The ride up and down is worth the trip itself. The Portugese football team may be the best in the world but the toboggan “Carrieros” are not behind when we talk about leg muscle. These sledge "drivers" will drive you down the steep, winding path and are able to control the sledge with their prowess and special shoes. For someone searching for an adrenaline rush in the center of the town, these toboggans are your best bet.
EAT AMONGST THE CLOUDS
The hike to Pico do Arieiro is like walk into the clouds. As splendid as it is to climb up the hill, you can also take a bus to the top and enjoy the restaurant located on the mountaintop. From here you can hike the Madeira's highest peak, Madeira Pico Ruivo. This presents one of the most stunning and a memorable experience for hiking enthusiasts.
FRESH FRUIT & FISH
Ever been to a market where the farmers from around the country gather with the best exotic fruits or where fisherman chops down tuna, like bananas, with their machetes. Almost every kind of exotic and palatable fruit is found in the Mercado dos Lavradores in Funcal.
The serene yet rugged oceanline surrounding the Island, is home to an abundance of dolphins and whales. Who wouldn't want to swim with these gigantic marvels of the ocean? The dolphin and whale safari is another fantastic attraction in Madeira.
Scuba diving in the crystal clear and mild waters with fish like monkfish, barracuda, manta rays.
Wondering what Levada is? These traditional irrigation systems are a man-made and concretized system of irrigation that has been prevalent on the Island for decades. The narrow mountainside walkway combined with the scenic beauty of the valleys makes for a perfect outdoor adventure.
MADEIRA'S FAVORITE SEAFOOD
Ever tried a fish with a banana? If not, travel to Madeira and try the ubiquitous Black Scabbard fish that is served in every corner of the island. Have it with whatever you are eating or just sample the legendary sandwich served at the Snack Bar and considered the best cuisine in Madeira. The fish is squeezed inside the bolo do caco with added onion and vinegar. The gastronomy of this Island is world renowned.
Last but not the least, Madeira is is known for its wineries and exotic drinks. One drink in particular is Poncha! This drink is prepared with alcohol, Aguardente de Cana (made from sugarcane), honey, home-grown sugar, fresh lemon juice, and bitter lemon rind. A talented mixologist will mix them all in a pitcher, and muddle the whole mixture to architect a perfect drink with a powerful punch and sweet taste.
The list goes on and on, and you will find a lot of other things to do and see. The Island is full of surprises and new ways to enjoy a vacation!