Hi to all!
Between the verdant hills and the blue ocean, Madeira lies 1000 km southwest of Lisbon and 800 km from the coast of Africa, offering the delights of a subtropical climate. The landing on this airport is very exciting. If you are sitting on the left side in the plane, you will see Funchal (the capital) and the wind ˝ it is a great look by landing in the night. Then you fly along the coast until the airport. But airport itself was a big building site.
General: Our hotel was the ýPESTANA CARLTON MADEIRAţ; there you have to walk about 20 minutes the harbour and also centre. If you like swimming in the sea, Madeira is the wrong island ˝ there you have to to Porto Santo (the beach there has a length of 9 km. But every Hotel in Funchal has one or two pools for the leisure. In May we had a air temperature of 25 o C (and in the evening there was always windy) and the sea was app. 20 o C. In the evening it was better to take some long clothes with you. Sport: It is a great place for hiking because the mountains are not extremly high, so there is a pleasant temperature. For example the Pico Ruivo (highest mountain of the island) you have to walk about 3 ˝ 4 hours (with return). But donÝt forget to take some warm clothes with you! Eating and drinking: There you have to try following things: Sword- and/or tuna-fish and also other seafood, Honey cake (is very,very sweet) and of course Madeira wine (it donÝt taste everyone). At the harbour you find some good restaurant; but compare the prices, there are a lot of differences.
Funchal: ItÝs the capital of the two islands (Madeira and Porto Santo) ˝ itÝs a small capital. On the first day we visited the Market. ItÝs a great place ˝ you can buy fruits, a lot of flowers and also, as on every island or places by the sea, fishes and all kinds of seafood. Also beautiful is the Old town of Funchal. There are small street, where you find many shop of every kind of goods and also Caf╚Ýs and Pubs. Worth to see is also the Botanic Garden and Orchid Garden (near the Botanic one) ˝ you can reach it with the public bus. Monte: ItÝs a place of pilgrimage and you also find the tomb of the Austrian Kaiser Karl (when it is true ˝ there are different stories about this place).
We was there with a guided tour ˝ so we hadnÝt to arranged nothing at Madeira. The following tours you can also book there, but I think it is cheaper to make it yourself with a rental car (be careful because the roads on the island are very small and there are a lot of buses you have to pass).
East Tour: Camacha (the centre of the wickerwork - handicraft), then after passing the Poisa pass you come to Pico dos Barcelos National Park (trout-breeding). The next towns are Faial, Santana (Picturesque village where you will find enchanting cottages with pointed thatched roofs), Machico (In this seaside historic town, visit the mother-church ˝ there is also a great outlook to the mountains and the seaside).
West Tour: Camara de Lobos (centre of the Madeira wine production), then you beginn to go up to the plateau (1.600 m; you can make there some great hiking). After crossing the plateau in direction of north you come to Porto Moniz (there you find some natural lava pools ˝ itÝs a nice place for some bathing). The following road from Porto Moniz to Seixal and Sao Vicente is very small but very, very beautiful and you will have some exciting views. At the end of the tour you can visit the Cabo Giraro (this is the second highest cliff of the world ˝ 560 m).