We’ve spent a week on the beautiful Island of Madeira. It’s somewhere we’ve been to many times, but still each visit brings something new. The island is a province of Portugal, but it is actually much closer to North Africa. It has a rich heritage and a very interesting geology as a volcanic island. It is very mountainous with several peaks over 1800m above sea level, making for striking peaks, ravines and valleys.
One of the things that does immediately hit the senses is the vibrant range of colours of the many plants and flowers. The mineral rich soil of the island produces an abundance of fruit, vegetables and flowers. However it has come at the back breaking expense of the many generations that toiled to dig the terraces and the Levadas (the irrigation system drawn from the North side of the island to the South) to create enough flat land to cultivate. Even today the work is manual, with no farm machinery able to access the high and narrow terraces.
Another highlight of the week was going Dolphin spotting. We used a small but highly recommended company called H20 https://www.h2omadeira.com/ and we were not disappointed. During our 2 hour journey we saw Bottlenose, Striped and Spotted Dolphins. All very different in size and character. We got some lovely close encounters and it was especially adorable seeing the babies. My pictures are a bit fuzzy, so this is from H20 themselves, who take a collection of photos from each trip.
Funchal is the capital of Madeira, famed for its wine, it’s tiled streets and for being the birthplace of Cristiano Ronaldo. It’s a small town to navigate and has some lovely little squares and cobble streets to explore.
We found a Vegan restaurant near the centre called Coarcao Vegan (or Vegan Heart on Google Maps) https://www.facebook.com/icoracaovegano?utm_source=tripadvisor&utm_medium=referral The Teriyaki ‘Chicken’ is highly recommended and the Falafal salad or the soup. Other meals, whilst delicious were mostly deep fried, so whilst tasty, were not exactly healthy.
No trip to Funchal is complete without the coffee stop at the Grand Café – Golden Gate. It was closed when we last visited Madeira for refurbishment, but its certainly looking great with the new facelift. It’s the best terrace for people watching in the centre and the coffee is excellent.
We always enjoy our time here and look forward to coming back again some time.