A subtropical climate on the outskirts of Europe, unusual landscapes, bananas and wine … Madeira archipelago, closer to Africa than Portuguese coasts, is an elemental concentrate of natural beauty: water, air and fire come together in an exquisite harmony and frankly relaxing. A chance, after landing on one of the most dangerous airport tracks in the world aboard your little plane… But this land, wild and threatening in appearance because of volcanic origin, shows gentle and even magical discovery on earth. Good news…
(… and beach, yes!)
Funchal, the capital on the south coast of Madeira, is almost 1000 km from Lisbon, and presents a microclimate of mildness (a few kilometers away, easily losing 4 to 6 degrees). Pleasant and welcoming, the city is ideal for immersing yourself in the Fado atmosphere (vibrant traditional music) and grilled fish before going on expedition!
Classified as an ecoregion for its unique biodiversity, Madeira is a land whose exploration requires some training … A hike ranked beginner level can quickly turn into an Olympic event for the average person (and even for someone who believes himself to be a sportsman). Along the typical levadas (irrigation canals of the island), after a few kilometers of stairs of stones with high level (!), One can feel a slight decrease of morale by crossing the « habitués » jumping in combat clothing , often sexagenarians. In another style, on the eastern tip of Sao Lourenco, with a rock face and arid climate, the walk is striking. But to reach the last stage, a mental preparation is necessary to forget that it will be necessary to collute the return a little less amazed, broken, and facing the same hikers with pink skin color. But nothing worth the good duo vino verde (or Coral beer) / sardines after the exploit, and before the small plunge in the high seas … of the diving board of one of the swimming pools of the island … or a beaches in Madeira, well hidden certainly, black sand, it does not help, but very nice, even fleeced so soft the bottom is…
WaterAs soon as you leave the airport Christiano Ronaldo (!), encirclement of aquatic horizons and the call of the roasted sardines dominate. Strangely, the impression of an isle lost in the middle of an immense ocean disappears with the mildness of the climate and the calm of the waves. Direction Funchal, it is rather the drought and the after-effects of fires, in particular the one of 2016, that may focus your mind … In the heart of the old town, you’ll discover access to the sea arising out of nowhere, where locals and tourists swim cheerfully in a unique ambience. Along the coast you’ll pebble beaches, natural swimming pools, small harbors and secluded coves, as well as steep blanks worthy of cinematic plans, where the strata of rocks reveal superb colors. Geology when you grab us …
With four times less rainfall compared to the north of the island, the southern regions lack water, while humidity and drizzle characterize reliefs. In a few minutes by car you can go from a sunny coffe to a cold and foggy high mountain activity (foehn for climatologists). True blood flow of the island, the famous network of levadas was made necessary to compensate for this difference of precipitations in the island. It is an ingenious irrigation system that allows water to circulate in different parts of Madeira. It is also one of the main attractions for visitors to hiking in the bowels of the island. Along these small canals filled with clear water, you traverse kilometers in the forest in search of … the happiness of doing sport. You finish on the 25 Fountains or on a giant waterfall, then turn back hoping to cross the least tourist possible … because in some parts of the ride, it is them, you or the fall! Exotic, right?
AirA permanent sea breeze avoids the sensation of a heatwave when you wander around the cities that blossom the fish (cocktail espada / banana grilled is the specialty), … pleasant sensation. More high up in Funchal, we often see a cover of plumbing clouds that clearly splitting the blue sky and foreshadows a climate changing all around the island. The effect of foehn which corresponds to the encounter between strong winds and the surrounding mountains is impressive. It makes you want to stay in in urbanized ground to sunbathe or to walk the market of Lavadores and eat in Camara de Lobos, adorable city in the neighborhood of the capital .. but Madeira, it is the taste of the « adventure « , I had signed! By riding a few kilometers to reach a hike, whatever your destination, the island nicknamed « the lung of the ocean » will quickly tickle your breath. After arriving at the Arieiro peak, you can have the chance to overcome the clouds to reach the 8th heaven … or to stay in the most total fog because the foehn is too dense, fortune again …
Madeira is in the air! … True natural reserve, accessible at moderate prices, offering striking activities as stunning landscapes, you will come across as much English, German and French as Portuguese. The natives still phlegmatic and smiling facing the influx of visitors. Although they are insular in their hearts, local people know how to receive and easily wriggle a few words of your language to sell their products (all menus are trilingual to a minimum). And how can one refuse a little glass of Madeira in the sunshine in such a charming country? This archipelago tends to awaken consciousness, as the fragile but perfect balance of nature expresses itself; the gardens with tropical colors, the dense forests of cartoons, the unusual maritime accesses, the scenery that changes with the winds, are inevitable. Power also dominates the sensations that emanate from territory. We feel that at any moment, the wind can turn 🙂
And when you get to saturation with seafood: sardines, sea bream, trout, saber, salmon, mussels, cod, octopus … which I did not think possible … but yes it is! … you can go in search of a barbecue of grills or skewers of meat or chicken that make the charm of number of small restaurants all around the island. Leeno’s restaurant, located west of Funchal in a modern tourist area, was one of the best carnivorous meals in my life. Finally, to enjoy the sun without effort, you can take the sun and sunbathe in the most beautiful beach of this corner of the Atlantic, Porto Santo, accessible by boat from the capital. With a semi-arid climate, it is a sunny bracket in a disheveled stay, before joining the tumults of the continent.
Can’t resist anymore to a paradise flight ? JOIN the ‘Madeira Island’ Facebook group before your trip !
You’ll find a lovers community sharing videos, great tips and secrets 😉
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