The islands of Madeira and Porto Santo rise in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between the turquoise blue sea and the emerald green of the vegetation, and a mix of exotic and colorful flowers. The archipelago has two-thirds of its area protected, and here you’ll find the largest Laurissilva forest in the world.
Landing on the island is difficult, being necessary the expertise of the pilot due to the crosswinds near the airport, the track from the air seems too small. At that time, I went to visit a person who was working on the island and although it was for a short time, it was worth it! The landscape is overwhelming.
Get ready to travel along winding roads with tunnels drilled in mountains. From the viewpoints, the landscape is always incredible and this is where the football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo was born. I have tips and curiosities to share with you, come with me on this journey…
1. Viewpoints that you will never forget
I remember the Viewpoint of Cabo Girão, one of the highest cliffs in the world, many paragliders jump from here. Madeira is abundant in fantastic belvederes like this one, and like the ones you’ll find in Santana’s council: Pico Ruivo, das Torres, and Areeiro are among the highest on the island. Here, there is one of the most beautiful and dangerous trails in Madeira, but the less adventurous can go by car.
In the path of the Belvederes, the Bride’s Veil is a must-see. This is one of the most magnificent places on Madeira Island. Putting your eyes on the waterfall that flows along the slope, you will have the impression of seeing the veil of a bride, thus the name of the place looks like the name of a painting, in a mountain that rips the sky. An equally striking scenery is the cascade of Vereda da Garganta Funda at Ponta do Pargo.
Go also to Ponta do Garajau where you will find the statue of Jesus Christ. When you start to go down the stairs leading to the ocean, it will look like you are entering the sea, an indescribable feeling. Get to know the splendid Balcões Viewpoint, located in Ribeiro Frio Park.
2. Interesting Spots
The city of Santana has spots of great interest, but it is the typical houses, with thatched roofs that surprise. Santana is classified by UNESCO as a Biosphere Reserve, due to its natural wealth.
If you can, go to Machico. Here, I found black sand beaches, due to the volcanic eruption which occurred a million years ago. They are wild and exotic and I loved walking on them.
Speaking of volcanoes, visit the wonderful São Vicente Caves, a 700-meter course, where you will see ancestral lava tubes.
To the southwest of the island, visit the Serra d’Água. The town is surrounded by a dense grove and very high hills, among which the peaks of Cruz, Cedro, and Pico Grande stand out. The place is crossed by several streams, which together form Ribeira Brava. I also advise you to go to Ponta do Sol and pass by the Anjos Waterfall. Also visit Curral das Freiras, a small village at the bottom of a massif mountain. From here, if you look to the sky, you will feel as if you were swallowed by the magnificence of the incredible volcanic mountains that surround it. Try the typical cherry liqueur and the chestnut soup.
Just like me, dive into the natural volcanic pools of Porto Moniz, in the northwest of the island, and if you want to see something different, pass by Ponta de São Lourenço, here you will find a wild peninsula, with just palm trees, and an 8 km trail.
3. Curiosities of the Island
Madeira is a set of several islands, but only two are inhabited: Madeira and Porto Santo. The rest are protected areas and are divided into two groups: the Desertas and Selvagens. Its location, near Africa, is privileged, so, the island, does not present extreme temperatures, either summer or winter. The climate is always mild, always in eternal spring.
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The Biggest Laurissilva Forest in the World
Considered World Heritage by UNESCO, and is an excellent state of conservation, the Laurissilva Forest is an ecosystem with very rich diversity. It is a subtropical forest, essentially formed by trees of the Lauraceae family. There are others of its kind in the Azores, the Canary Islands, and Cape Verde, but the largest nucleus is in Madeira.
9 km of Beach
The golden sand and crystalline water of Porto Santo are part of its charm. You can get lost in long and uninterrupted sand, where there are fantastic resorts along nine kilometers of beach.
Dolphins always insight
Take a boat trip and enjoy the dolphins in an idyllic landscape. If you can, go swim with them.
Did you know that Madeira wine is one of the best in the world?
Often grown in places of difficult access, the grapes of Madeira create one of the most famous wines in the world. Taste it while dinner a traditional Madeiran dish.
Embroidery that runs around the world
The women of the island have developed a type of embroidery that they use on clothing, linen, silk, cotton, and organdie and decorative items. Now they are used in world important fashion events.
Exotic flowers and fruits
The cultivation of exotic plants is easy thanks to the location that guarantees perfect conditions. There are native plants and others, brought from various parts of the world, and many tropical fruits.
World Record Show
In Madeira, there is the tradition of a great firework display that attracts people from all over the world by New Year’s Eve. The event won the record for the largest fireworks show in the world by Guinness World Records.
Madeira is definitely the pearl of the Atlantic!