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Has anyone been to Madeira?

(17 Posts)
Chocolatecake12 Sat 18-Mar-17 14:05:53

Going to Funchal in Madeira with my new dp.
What must we do and see? What's the food like?

MonsterChopz Sat 18-Mar-17 14:14:12

I've been and loved it. Some people think it's geared towards an older crowd (we were late 20s) but I really loved it. Lovely people, great food and amzing scenery. We took a couple of the bus tours up to the mountains - not to be missed.

If you enjoy walking there are lovely walks everywhere.

If you are feeling brave you could hire a car but I don't think I'd be brave enought - it's v. steep.

Chocolatecake12 Sat 18-Mar-17 21:00:41

Haha thanks! I probably fall into the older crowd category!!
Hadn't thought of doing a bus tour so I'll add that to my list.

Bumpinthenight Sat 18-Mar-17 21:05:52

I can recommend eating at the Brewery (the big white tent) by the harbour. The steak pregos are lovely!
Boat trip to hunt for whales and dolphins.
Cable car up the mountain and then down on the sled.
There is a glass floor up on the hills (Cabo Girao) this can be reached on a Yellow Bus tour route or on the Madeira Green train.
Green Devil Safari were great when we wanted to go on a tour, they have set tours and will also do private tours.
Guided Levada walks are plentiful.

PerspicaciaTick Sat 18-Mar-17 21:13:38

I really liked the food, there is a lot of meat, fish and bananas (the steak pregos are delicious).

The alcohol is good too.

But it wasn't a particularly exciting place - which suited my needs fine a I was recovering from a serious illness.

highinthesky Sat 18-Mar-17 21:15:41

No, but I hear they make a mean cake!

Greaterthanthesumoftheparts Sat 18-Mar-17 21:16:49

We're going in June for our honeymoon. Will be watching this thread!

Chocolatecake12 Sat 18-Mar-17 22:08:19

Congratulations Greater
Lots of advice on here thank you so much! I'm getting excited now smile

MonsterChopz Sun 19-Mar-17 11:08:31

Have just remembered Espetada - amazing beef in skewers. Doesn't sound particularly interesting but so tasty. I wouldn't recommend eating at the casino, we did and weren't impressed.

One if the tours we did was Nun's Valley - would recommend it.

Like pp said, it's not a wild holiday destination but I really loved it and ince out of the buggy and young kid stage I would love to go back.

BarbaraofSeville Sun 19-Mar-17 13:08:47

I haven't been but it's on my (quite long) list. There's supposed to be some lovely botanic gardens in Funchal and you can go for walks along the Llevadas (canals that transport water around the island).

Also something where they push you down a steep hill in a basket sounds quite terrifying exciting.

I think Afternoon Tea may also be a thing as there are some naice old fashioned hotels there - Reids Palace etc.

PerspicaciaTick Sun 19-Mar-17 18:01:45

Don't confuse the espetada (meat skewers) with espada (fish) (I can still remember DH's sad face after that one).

bingohandjob Thu 23-Mar-17 21:18:02

Yes, it's absolutely beautiful island. Loads of lovely bars and restaurants - very laid back place, super friendly. Stunning scenery. Go to the lidos, go up the cable car, take tours of the island (some gorgeous little villages and coves) I'd take tours rather than drive so you can look at the scenery! Lots of venues have live music. You'll have a great time.

hesterton Thu 23-Mar-17 21:30:40

The organised walks along 'tow patbs' of the levadas (little water canals which irrigate water zig zagging down the mountain) are lovely. They are never very steep as they hairpin up and down, but take you high into the hills and range in how challenging they are. You see gorgeous flowers and trees, caves and cliffs, birds and small holdings growing all kinds of fruit and veg.

Also love Nun's Valley for amazing amazing views.

If you want one big posh night out (not massively expensive but not cheap) get a vintage car to collect you from the Fort and dine there. Or have afternoon tea at Reid's Hotel.

Best breakfast are those lovely Portuguese custard tarts still hot from the oven at a coffee shop.

midsomermurderess Sat 25-Mar-17 13:49:11

I spent a week there before last Christmas and was amazed by it, so lush, green and mountainous with some of the most spectacular cliffs I have ever seen. I think it is worth hiring a car for a day or two to get to little corners like Jardim do Mar along the west coast or to make the drive thought the valley from Ribiero Brava to Sao Vincent or up beyond Canical to the peninsula there which is almost desert-like. Despite what you hear, the driving in not that bad. I'd skip the basket thing at Monte. Just take the cable car or bus up and and then wander round to the gardens. You can still clearly see the signs of the terrible fires they had there recently. Funchal is also quite lovely and worth an explore. I can't recommend anywhere particular for food but, like everywhere else I have been in Portugal, the servings are huge.

bangingmyheadoffabrickwall Wed 29-Mar-17 22:00:29

Hi!
We holidayed there every year between 2006 and 2013 as we had a timeshare apartment at the Porto Bay Residence on the promenade up the hill away from the town centre.

We love Madeira!

We started going as an unmarried couple, went on honeymoon and then took our DS as a baby and a toddler along with aging PIL.

It is not as commercialised as the canaries and it is geared more towards couples (tend to be slightly older - 30+ and families who want the quiet, relaxation of a holiday).

You won't get miles of sandy beaches (some man-made ones) or rowdy drunks, nightclubs or English bars and restaurants that you tend to find in bigger, busier tourist hot spots.

You will get lush scenery, fabulous walks for miles upon miles, mirco-climates, lovely, friendly locals, excellent restaurants (we tended to go where the locals went - it's usually a good indication of a good restaurant), excellent excursions (there is one little water park but it's good for about 2 hours) mainly sea and walking tours and hotels that are mainly 4*+ with a few boutique hotels and B&Bs.

We stopped going due to a growing family and a need to venture to pastures new and have moved, albeit temporarily, onto the AI big, water-park resorts of the Med due to having 2 children with a need to throw themselves down waterslides!

We will definitely be going back when the children are older and can tolerate our pastime fave of walking the levadas and are happy to swim, muck about, read and listen to their music on headphones etc.

But we are tempted to have a cheeky week sometime when the kids are a little older to be left with granny ...

Questionsmorequestions Sat 01-Apr-17 16:41:13

Brilliant restaurant called Cris's just out of Funchal. 5 course meal with wines overlooking the sea. Excellent value at around 40 Euros. See reviews on Tripadvisor

I loved it, was there last April and going back in October.

Food is great, espado, fried corn, garlic potato bread, loads of seafood - I ate far too much! You'll be given Poncha which is lethal.

You absolutely must do the toboggan down from the botanical gardens, go to the sky platform, whale watching, Cabo de Lobo, swimming at the rock pools. I'm really jealous.

Where are you staying? If it's the Porto Santa Maria I'll be green with envy!

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