Best places to stay in Madeira
Funchal, the capital of Madeira, is shaped like an amphitheatre and is surrounded by suburbs. Monte sits high above the city with its beautiful church. You can take a thrilling “basket ride” back down into Funchal. It is a city that is perfect to explore on foot. There many narrow roads and alleyways, with small cafes and bakeries, just waiting to be discovered by the traveller who likes to wander. It is almost impossible to get lost in the city, as all the roads lead downhill to the main avenue, called Avenida do Mar. This avenue is the focus for such celebrations as the Flower Festival and the Wine Festival. It is also well known for its wonderful Christmas Decorations and is definitely the place to go to feel the character of the city.
When in Funchal, you mustn't miss a visit to the Mercado Dos Lavradores ( Farmers'Market) filled with fish, fruit and wonderful smells! The building itself is interesting with large tiled panels. Whilst you are wandering through the city, why not take the opportunity to visit the museum dedicated to footballer Cristiano Ronaldo (CR7) where all his trophies are displayed?
For food, there is no better place than the Old Town called Zona Velha, which is known for its painted doors which are the work of local artists. There are also plenty of good restaurants. Why not try the scabbard fish with banana?
Accommodation in Funchal
Machico was originally one of the main capitals of the island. This is when the first explorers divided the island, to be ruled separately, by two captains. It is a small town but has all the amenities. It is not as well explored as the capital. The town is perfect for sun lovers who want to enjoy a nice quiet day on the beach. There are three man-made sandy beaches available on the island. It is the perfect place for a quiet getaway - with not too many other tourists. Although the town has been modernised, it has maintained its original small-town charm. There are many historical elements in the area to explore.
Although Machico doesn’t have as many restaurants as the capital, there are several serving perfect seafood dishes. You can venture out further into the mountains, where you will find restaurants serving the perfect “espetada” (beef on a skewer)
Accommodation in Machico
Porto Moniz is one of the oldest villages on the island, and although the centre has developed into a new vibrant area, the village has still kept its small village charm. Originally it was a fishing village, with traces of its history revealed in the island's only aquarium and museum. It is the most visited village on the north coast during the summer. This is because of its natural lava rock pools. The pools are located right next to the ocean.
From Porto Moniz, there are many “veredas” and “levadas” (irrigation channels) to be explored. It is the perfect starting point for anyone who wants to spend a few hours exploring the mountains and valleys of the north side of the island. It is a must to climb at least one peak during a visit - simply for the breathtaking views from the top.
Accommodation in Porto Moniz
Porto Santo is one of the other islands in the Madeira archipelago. It is the preferred holiday spot for many Portuguese, simply because of its nine kilometres of golden sand. Many believe it has medicinal and therapeutic properties. It is a perfect place to stretch out on the beach and simply relax. However, if you want to be more active, a windsurfing course is a great idea, or maybe even going for a deep-sea dive with the island's only scuba diving centre. If you want to do a little exploring, the main town, Vila Baleira, is where you will find the island's only supermarket, post office and most of the restaurants and bars.
On the island of Porto Santo, if you are not a beach person, there is also a golf course, which is right next to one of the island's highest peak - Anna Ferreira. To reach the island you can take a direct flight there, a 'short hop' flight from Madeira - or do what the locals do and take the three hour ferry crossing.
Accommodation in Porto Santo
Calheta is a small village built in a valley, that spills out along a narrow peninsula on the southern side of the island. It is a great place to spend a day on the two man-made beaches. Although not a large village, parking is always available and it is not a long walk to the beach. It is a village made for the perfect family beach holiday.
Should you wish to be more of a daredevil, there is a paragliding centre in Calheta that will take you to the nearest mountains. For a complete adrenaline rush (and if the winds are in your favour) you can fly out over the ocean.
For those who are a little more experienced, and want to explore the mysteries of the underwater world, the Calheta Dive Centre offers the chance to dive on a shipwreck that lies on the seabed, at a depth of 32 metres.
Accommodation in Calheta
Ponta Do Sol
Ponta Do Sol is a hidden treasure on the island. It is tucked away in a narrow valley and surrounded by black lava rock. It is the place to go and spend the day on its large pebble beach, as it is protected from the breeze by the rocks and a man-made port. Its name means “Sun Point” and it is the village with the highest number of sunny days in the year. From this little village, numerous “levadas" and “veredas” ”(irrigation channels) can be followed through amazing countryside. It is also possible to walk the original pathway that the original settlers created to link the villages.
In the evening, after a long day of walking, it is the perfect place to relax and watch the sun set, The small restaurant Restaurante Sol Poente sits on the rocks and has a small balcony that reaches out over the sea. From there you get the best view of all as the sun sinks over the horizon.
Accommodation in Ponta do Sol