Last year one of our final stops during our cruise was the island of Madeira. We weren’t meant to visit the island, but Hurricane Sandy meant a change to our itinerary. Not such a bad thing since Madeira is beautiful.
So what can you do in Madeira?
1. Take the cable car to Monte at the top of the hill. It’s a long ride with glorious views of the city and coast.
2. Visit the tropical gardens at the top.
3. Take a ride in one of the Monte toboggan wicker baskets. Two men tow, then guide your basket down the hill. Some go faster than others. The men who do all the hard work wear a white shirt and trousers plus a straw hat.
4. Visit one of the many shops that sell madeira wine – not really to my taste since it was quite sweet.
5. Wander around the some of the beautiful churches.
6. Check out the markets for fruit, flowers, fish and people watching!
7. Dine at one of the restaurants. I had fresh fish with a madeira sauce, and it was delicious.
8. Try some of the traditional Madeira bread.
9. Go for a sail on the Santa Maria, a replica of Christopher Columbus’s flag ship.
10. Wander in what used to be a red light area. The area had a bad name, but the buildings were given cheaply to local artists. All they had to do in exchange was decorate their doors. These days it’s fun to wander down the alley and check out the different doors.
This is a selection of things to do in and near the township of Funchal. From what I hear the rest of the island is just as beautiful. Maybe next time!