Friday 20 May 2016
Exploring Madeira with Grenham Travel
Madeira the Portuguese island is known as the ‘Island of Eternal Spring’ because of its enticing mild climate; temperatures rarely fall below 17degreesC or rise above 26 Degrees C which gives a pleasant year-round weather and an abundance of lush vegetation.
Right in the middle of the Atlantic, Madeira is a haven of fascinating natural beauty. The exotic colours of the flowers stand out from among the blue sea and the emerald green vegetation; this is an archipelago where two thirds are a protected area and where the largest Laurisilva forest in the world is located
It rises steeply from the Atlantic Ocean standing with its small island neighbours in splendid isolation off the coast of Europe and Africa. An island of volcanic origin it is a haven for those seeking a holiday in close proximity to nature. A network of levadas (irrigation channels), built to carry water from the springs in the north to irrigate the cultivated areas of the south, contour along the mountain sides, their banks planted with wild hydrangeas lilies and agapanthus.
Its mountains are rugged and inspiring, often with splendid sea views. This is a photographer’s paradise where its natural infrastructure and biodiversity offers spectacular backdrops.
Whether you are looking for a relaxing holiday or some action based experience, Madeira offers a wealth of activities to enjoy, with walking and hiking trails, world-renowned gardens, watersports, great shopping and all in a peaceful, friendly environment. Here are some of the highlights of a holiday in this un-spoilt beautiful island:
For accommodation based in or near Funchal, transfers to and from the airport take only 30 minutes approximately; Pont Do Sol area takes 45 mins approximately while the small seaside resort of Santa Cruz is just 15mins from the airport and 25 mins from Funchal.
The capital of the archipelago, Funchal is a bustling city with botanical gardens, historic buildings, great art and architecture, exquisite handcrafts, modern shopping centres with a range of boutiques and traditional markets where you can get popular souvenirs such as embroidery, wickerwork and, of course, Madeira cake and wine. Funchal's Mercado dos Lavradores, is a lively market in the old town. See its colourful array of exotic fruits, vegetables and flower sellers in national costume. Downstairs is the fish market where you will see the famous black espada fish, caught only off the coastlines of Madeira and Japan.
The Lido area in Funchal is a popular tourist area which runs along the coast, lined with palm trees and bordered by botanical gardens, this promenade links with the pebbled Praia Formosa beach at the western end of Funchal, offering astonishing views over the sea and toward Cabo Girao. Most hotels are located along this strip. This is linked to the historical centre by local bus and can also be easily reached on foot. There is a large and small outdoor seawater swimming pool, which also has direct sea access.
Fungal has an array of gourmet restaurants, trendy café bars dotted throughout the city and around the pretty harbour. In general, eating out is good value for money.
The island is renowned for its exquisite gardens, including Blandys Gardens, a mecca for camellia lovers, Monte Palace Tropical Garden with its beautiful mix of tropical and indigenous plants, the Botanical Gardens, Orchid Garden to name but a few.
This Cathedral has been classified as a National Monument since 1910. It is the most impressive of all religious edifices in Madeira and worth a visit. In the interior, a ceiling in geometric Hispano-Arabic style of carved cedar inlaid with ivory is outstanding, and the canonical stalls in the chancel are of exquisitely carved wood.
Levada & Hill Walking
The island’s amazing levada irrigation system spans 2,500km and easy to navigate paths run beside the gently sloping levada water channels giving walkers an opportunity to explore the island’s splendid countryside. It is advisable to check out organised walks; mountainous interior is more suited to serious hikers. The Levada dos Tornos between the Palheiro and Funchal municipal botanical gardens is a gentle introduction to the many walks along the network of levadas. Palheiro, in the hills above Funchal, has an outstanding collection of camellias.
Whale & Dolphin Watching
Take a boat ride offshore and marvel as pods of dolphins swim playfully close by - and keep an eye out for whales in the distance.
Two stunning golf courses set high on the hills offer magnificent views for golfers. Palheiro Golf opened in 1993 while Santo de Serra Golf, first opened in 1937, was redesigned in 1991 by Robert Trent Jones.
Monte Cable Car and Toboggan
The 15-minute trip by cable car from Funchal to Monte offers magnificent, truly breathtaking views; Approximately 9 euro one way or 15 euro return per person. Why not combine a cable car trip up to Monte with a return journey via the Monte Toboggan, a wicker carriage controlled by two conductors in traditional dress; a memorable experience, from 20 euro per person.
When to go
A temperate climate makes it an ideal escape from icy northern winters and the oppressive heat of Continental summers. May to early October is a good time to visit.
Stay & Explore & 2 Centre Holidays
There are a number of exciting excursions designed to include the top sightseeing opportunities or go on a 2 centre holiday combining Madeira and the Lisbon Coast, a perfect option to see the best that Portugal has to offer!
Check out details with Grenham Travel. Ph 090 6492028. Email:email@example.com or call into our office at 1-3 Connaught St Athlone. We will be delighted to chat with you.