Madeira's best kept secrets
Located just 90 minutes from Lisbon, Madeira is often referred to as the 'Pearl of the Atlantic Ocean'. This island boasts many beautiful beaches, exciting outdoor activities and an enviable warm climate throughout the year. Here are a few of Madeira's best kept secrets.
1. Fajã dos Padres
Located on the south coast of Madeira, at the bottom of the iconic ‘Cabo Girão’, the second highest cliff in the world, is the secluded resort of Fajã dos Padres. Did you know that this remote area produces some of the top Malmsey wine on the island? Accessible only by boat until 1998, the treat today is to take the new glass elevator (at 350 metres high it is one of the highest panoramic lifts in Europe) and enjoy the spectacular views.
There are many outdoor activities to enjoy in Madeira, which take in the spectacular scenery. For adrenaline junkies who wish to catch some amazing views of the island, paragliding is a great option. For those who prefer to stay on land there are opportunities to go mountain biking, climbing, walking and join jeep tours.
3. Whale and dolphin watching
The seas surrounding Madeira are the perfect temperature to enjoy whale and dolphin watching. This is a fantastic opportunity to come face to face with nature and enjoy the beauty of some of the most amazing mammals in the sea. Some companies even offer the chance to swim with the dolphins - a brilliant way to spend a day.
Located on the south coast of Madeira, Funchal is hugely popular with tourists who adore exploring the charming streets lined with bustling shops, bars and restaurants, as well as marvelling at the magnificent Madeiran architecture. To help you get a better feel for the island's culture and heritage, why not check out Funchal's museums and monuments, as well as the art galleries packed with works by local Portuguese and foreign artists.
5. Volcanic Centre
See a fascinating re-enactment of Madeira's formation at The Volcanic Centre in São Vicente, an enchanting village on the north coast. Within the centre, you can also learn about the famous volcanic caves here and take a walk though the pretty gardens.
6. Pico do Arieiro Mountain
What better way to see the natural beauty of Madeira than from one of the three highest mountain peaks on the island? The Pico do Arieiro Mountain (at 1,818 m high) offers just that for those willing to travel up the mountain, by foot or by bike, on any of the dedicated trails and hiking routes. All that hard work will be rewarded by the breathtaking views from the top!
7. Madeira wine
One of Madeira's most famous attributes is their production of fortified wine, which has taken place for hundreds of years. So after a busy day of exploring the island, visitors can enjoy a relaxing glass of world famous wine in one of the many bars and restaurants across the island, whilst enjoying the sunshine. Perfect!