The title doesn't mean that we are tasting only marvellous wine from this island but also other natural products with ot without alcohol.
FRUITS AND JUICES: Above all Mango - totally different than in European shops - fresh and juicy. Also maracuja (passion fruit) - if you like. Madeira is famous for its bananas (big plantations on the south coast), cherries, chestnuts (Curral das Freiras) and different types of figs. Go to the market called Mercado dos Lavradores in Funchal and taste (buy) different exotic or local fruits like hybryds of banana and pineapple (yummy) or a passion fruit and orange. Madeira fruits area is a big field for your dicoveries.
DRINKS: Firstly, Madeira wine - strong and aromatic, good for dinners, desserts and for cooking (as an ingredient). Also Poncha da Madeira - excellent liquer from sugar-cane honey, lemon and sugar-cane alcohol (recipe: see separate tip). Here are many other sorts of liquers, most known are chestnut, cherry and maracuja. Try it - you will feel heavenly :)
THe collection of sites devoted for tourist attractions of Madeira is not so extensive. Apart of VT you can find several interesting pages. Preparing to visit Madeira I opened:
Madeira Web - http://www.madeira-web.com/ - the best site with variery of info. From beaches to sports, from essentials to historical guides.
Roman Garba's Madeira - http://www.garba.cz/madeira/index_e.html - detailed info in English about Czech team trekking trip across the Madeira
Madeira Islands - http://www.madeiraislands.travel/ - Madeira's Official Tourism Website
Madeira Tourist - http://www.madeira-tourist.com/ - looks OK but it is not especially full of info
not blessed by beaches, with sand anyway, Funchal has several hundred pools not only in any and each hotel of the city. the lido pools are for everyone to go there if yu are keen to a good swim, and spend a nice day twisting by the pool.
2004! A great year to visit Madeira!
The Autonomous Region of Madeira (Portugal) have been voted European Region of the Year 2004, by an International Jury. This was announced by Xavier Tudela, President of the European Region of the Year Organisation, at a press conference on Tuesday, 18 March at the International Press Centre in Barcelona. Eight regions were short-listed for this nomination.
The European Region of the Year is an initiative which aims to increase kowledge and recognition of European regional affairs, to make new contributions to regional construction and European integration and, finally, to project the regions designated as European Region of the Year onto the European and international scene, in all their aspects, such as the social, cultural, economic and tourism aspects. The initiative has certain similarities to the European Capitals of Culture, but at regional level.
Madeira is a garden itself and its beautiful flowers and gardens are a must see for sure.
Bourganvillea, jacaranda, bird of paradise, orchids and flamingo flowers grow alongside a variety of tropical fruits.
There are lots of unique flowers and exotics species.
I don’t have great photos but next time I will take for sure.
The flowers you can see on my photo is called Estrelicias or Bird of Paradise. They seem like a bird !
The animal world of Madeira is not too rich comparing to the other regions located in the same geographical zone. Simply this is the place separated from other places by the thousends kilometres of water - the space difficult to jump over.
But the Lacertilia family is developed here wonderfully. The countless number of green, brown, 'painted' in stripes or dots lizards control the holes in walls and tunnels between roots.
Short story from small beach: I sit down on the boulder near the big rock wall. I'm hungry so I take the slice of pizza from my backpack. Sudenly strange movement directs my eyes. Hundreds of lizards - small and bigger slowly approach. I wave my hand. Lizards escape. But after the minute fabulous smell of pizza calls them again.
I'm staring at the sea horizen and forgot about lizards' invasion. Suddenly I feel that little creature is walking on my arm. Despite the lizard is not wet and slippy I order it "go out".
But after the minute brave lizards start again their patrol. And I have to give up and hide the yummy pizza from animals.
Take the advantage of your stay between these charming creatures and see how they are nice, dexterous and well-prepared to survive.
The climate in Madeira it is never too hot (temperatures can get up to around 33 C when the Leste wind blows for a few days every year) averaging maximums of 24 C during the summers months (July through to October) and minimum's of 17 C. During the winter average temperatures drop by approximately 4 C.
The island is full of little micro climates.
It is funny that when I was in Funchal it was a sunny day but then when we pass through a long tunnel in the other side it was raining and colder.
The bay of Funchal, protected as it is by the highest peaks enjoys the best of sunshine except in the months of February and March when an enveloping cloud. Further down the west coast at Ponta do Sol and Calheta, backed as they are by the lower hills of the Paul da Serra, the sun shines brighter during these months, but they are less protected from the sea winds.
renting a car for 3/4 days and you' d be able to travel the entire Madeira island, and visit the beautifull spots in the island.of course there are tourist tours around rhe island all togheter with 50 other tourists with all the inconvinience that such tours carries.so a car and travel at your own interests is sure the best way to know the island.
Fondest memory: the sights and waterfalls all along the paths through out the island.
Favorite thing: Endemic to Madeira is this robust yet exquisitely beautiful terrestrial Orchid. With shiny foliage and leafy stems, it bears in late spring and early summer dense spikes of angel flowers from pale pink to light maroon in colour, some with a contrasting deep shaded throat giving the appearance almost of a bicolor.
Favorite thing: More than half of Macaronesian flora consists of Mediterranean species. Madeira’s flora comprises about 1,226 species of vascular plants including over 120 Macaronesian endemic species. Sixty-six of these are strictly endemic to Madeira, for example Matthiola maderensis.
Favorite thing: This fantastic plant is also endemic. It makes a giant rosette of long, luxuriant, serrated leaves, from which eventually arises a huge, branching, pyramidal mass of very unusual flowers. Musschia wollastonii naturally grows on cliffs in cool, foggy conditions .
Madeira island is known about its levedas, a traditional irrigation system, that brings the water of the wet north with a lot of springs to slopes and valleys of the drier parts of the island.
The levadas are cut in the rock, digged in the ground and led through long tunnels.
The total lenght of all levadas all over the island is about 1000 KM, so you can't hardly miss them, when you go around.
These levadas became also an ideal opportunity for walking and so Madeira island became a paradise for walkers.
Such highs and thinking you are suspense by a cable, made me freeze. Well, if you look to the landscape you will forget all your fears and you will start enjoying the ride. You can see all those houses that you don’t know how possible was to built them in those small places and in such highs. And the amazing views the ocean, fabulous. …
You will not regret to go …
There are a lot of events and festivities all over the year and all over the island.
Get your information at the tourist office.
All the times we visited Madeira was end Februari. So we were there during carnival.
In the evening there is a great parade of floats with all kind of exotic and historical themes.
At tuesday afternoon there is an amusing costume parade for everybody who likes to share and have fun.
But also all the people in the streets, watching this parade, had a lot of fun.
For more pictures have a look at the travelogue of my Funchal page.
If you want to enjoy beaches you have to go to Porto Santo Island, the other island in Madeira Archipelago. In Madeira (Main Island) you will find high sea cliffs and stone beaches.
Do you ever see a stone beach?
Well, for me was the first time i saw one. I think it must be quite uncomfortable don’t you think?