The floating garden. The island of eternal spring. The garden island. Madeira has many names, each one conferring an almost magical beauty on this little European outpost. From Reid’s Palace, A Belmond Hotel, explore this island’s sea-swept beauty.
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The delights of nature draw many to Madeira. For the best views, take the winding road up to Pico de Arieiro. The mountain air is incredibly clean, so breathe deeply and soak up the surroundings. If the conditions are right, you’ll be standing above the clouds and feeling on top of the world.
Monte Palace Tropical Garden wows with exotic flora and serene Japanese gardens. Take the cable car up and marvel at the colourful peacocks and Koi fish. On your ride back into town, take a wooden toboggan—a Madeira tradition since the 1850s.
If you crave nostalgia, climb aboard our replica of Columbus’ Santa Maria. With the sails hoisted high and crew rushing about the rigging, you’ll feel like you’ve journeyed back in time. Make sure to keep an eye out for bottlenose dolphins and pilot whales swimming beside the ship.
No visit to Madeira would be complete without sampling the island’s most eminent export. The 200-year-old Blandy’s Wine Lodge offers excellent tours and tastings. You can even have cases of fine Madeira wine shipped home.
Out of all the things to do in Madeira, a visit to the island’s capital, Funchal, is a must. Cobblestone streets lead to Portuguese style plazas. Don’t miss Mercado do Lavradores, an Art Deco farmers’ market dazzles with colour. Purchase handicrafts and dazzling flowers, or head to the fish section to see the island’s freshest catch.
This jagged peninsula affords stunning views of the ocean. Hikers will love this spot, considered one of Madeira’s wildest wonders. Begin in Caniçal where the landscape is unlike anywhere else on the island. Soon you’ll reach the peak of Pico do Furado—from here, the views are breathtaking. Follow the path back down to the beach and enjoy a cooling dip in the crystal waters.
Most visitors to Madeira end up on a levada walk, sooner or later. Everywhere you go on the island you hear of these ingenious man-made irrigation watercourses. Travel through lush emerald forests and enchanting valleys to the heart of Madeira. From bubbling springs to snaking streams, breathe in the scent of eucalyptus and spot wild-growing passionfruit.
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