Do you want to go to Madeira but still hesitate? Stop doubting! In a small area, Madeira has concentrated striking landscapes, the mighty ocean, mountains, steep slopes and high headlands, relict forests, and levadas.
It combines excellent conditions for a relaxed and active holiday with the rich gifts of virgin nature. Madeira offers a huge range of activities including trekking, paragliding, surfing, snorkeling, jeep safari, dolphin watching, and winery tours. Here’re some great reasons to choose Madeira for your next trip.
Walk between Madeira’s two highest points
Pico Ruivo and Pico Arieiro are the two highest points on the island. Moreover, with a height of 1,862 meters, Pico Ruivo is one of the three highest points in Portugal. So, every traveler who finds himself in Madeira should definitely walk between the peaks. There are several hiking trails to choose from, depending on your fitness level. Each of the trails is amazing and offers incredible landscapes around.
Another must-do in Madeira is to reach the second peak – Pico Arieiro. The easiest way is to get to it by car. The picturesque Pico Arieiro is one of the three famous ridges in Madeira. From its observation deck, you can even see the silhouette of the island of Porto Santo located 50 kilometers away.
We also recommend that you arrive at Pico Arieiro at sunset or night. The area around the peak is far from the lights of towns and villages, which makes it a unique stargazing point.
Relax in natural volcanic pools
Madeira’s west coast is famous for its sharp cliffs and looks really impregnable. However, ocean swim fans can take our advice and head to the natural lava pools in Porto Moniz. They were built by water and wind – people only reinforced the sides with concrete and laid paths.
Porto Moniz is a municipality located in the northwest of the island. Although the local weather is much more capricious than those in the south, you can swim in the pools almost every day. For comfort, head to the paid pools in the west of Porto Moniz. It’s stormy in the evening, so admiring the enraged elements from the terrace of the rock-cut restaurant Cachalote is a great alternative. By the way, other natural volcanic pools are available in the Seixal area.
Get a thrill at Cabo Girão
Cabo Girão is an observation deck located a few kilometers from Funchal, the capital of the island. Buses don’t go there often, so we recommend you pick up car hire in Madeira. The best place to hire a car is at the local airport. This will allow you to hit the road as soon as you arrive. By the way, you can book your hire car online, thus guaranteeing the best price. On average, you need only 15-20 minutes to get to the observation deck in a hire car.
At an altitude of 580 meters above the ocean, this place will present an incredible view and thrill. Plus, the observation deck’s glass floor makes it possible to see the steep cliff underfoot. When a 200-story abyss gapes under the transparent floor, trembling hands don’t immediately find the camera button.
Well, breathe in the healing scent of eucalyptus trees and step on the throat of your fear for an unreal view of the endless waters of the Atlantic. It’s especially great to come here at sunset. For even more adrenaline, take a paragliding flight over Cape Girao.
Swim with groupers
With the ocean splashing on all sides, diving is beautiful by default. Diving boats leave from the coastal resorts of Funchal, Caniso, and Machico. In the high season from March till December, you can clearly see how barracudas and stingrays swim in the blue, while clownfish hide in the anemones.
In Garajau Marine Park, groupers won’t leave you alone until you scratch their belly. Also, watch out for whales and dolphins looking for food in Madeira’s plankton-rich waters. However, you don’t have to look for dolphins, as they often jump out of the water and sparkle with smooth fins.
Admire stunning landscapes
Ponta de São Lourenço is one of the few places almost untouched by man. There’s practically no tourist infrastructure on the territory of the natural reserve – only you and the amazing landscapes around.
The length of the hiking track along this natural reserve is 3 km. During the walk, you will discover many panoramas of rocks, volcanic formations, and, of course, the ocean, which is especially beautiful in this place at sunset.
Keep fit on mountain levadas
Madeira is full of levadas – irrigation canals lined with scenic paths. An eco-walk along one of the 23 official routes is much more interesting than going to the gym. The two most popular trails start from the Rabacal plateau, an hour’s drive from Funchal. If you go straight ahead, you will stumble upon an impressive gorge with a waterfall, and if you go down, you will find a beautiful mountain lake.
Adventure lovers can choose more difficult paths. If you are one of them, you will have to walk, crawl, and climb 15 kilometers along the Curral levada. But what amazing views open up from the sheer cliff, especially in sunny weather! Moreover, at the end of the journey, you will be happy to enjoy the chestnut soup on the terrace of a restaurant in the Curral das Freiras valley.
Well, did you like these unique activities? If yes, pack your suitcase and head to sunny Madeira!