The next day after I left Madeira, I instantly felt homesick for this incredible island. To the point that I didn’t even want to like Lisbon – my next destination.
I failed there as well as after over a week here, I am in love again.
I guess travelling is like a consecutive number of never-ending flings. Like a little romance, an infatuation.
You are over the moon at first, excited to discover the places, experience feeling you didn’t know where possible. You start with few reservations, and once the place has opened up to you, you fall in love bit by bit, a little more every day.
But it’s like a vacation fling. It has to end. You have to go your own way, yet you leave a bit of your heart in every place you have left behind.
The wounds heal pretty quickly, and then, you meet a new place. Completely different. You keep comparing it to the previous location until you fall in love again.
I wanted to share with you my affair with Madeira. Here is my Madeira photo journey.
I arrived in Funchal, and my first accommodation was at the heart of Funchal Old Town. Typically very busy and noisy at night, at this time, it was a perfect location. Madeira was in the state of curfew at the time, so the streets of Old Town were quiet in the evening. During the day, I walked around and enjoyed the part of Funchal that only in recent years became up and coming.
Funchal Old Town became a go to destination in recent years due to its Panted Doors Project which was introduced to revive once forgoten area.
Yet Funchal Old Town is not the only part of the town worth exploring.
The town centre is a great place to walk around, have a great meal, wine or tea, and admire the splendid architecture and discover its history.
There is also another side to the city: more touristy and much more commercial. Not my favourite yet, I treated myself and spent the last few days in Sao Martino, Lido area. Filled with hotels and more upscale apartment, fancy promenades and restaurants catered for tourists rather than locals.
But still, it’s a beautiful part of the town. Fe natural pools and lidos are located here, so it’s a great place to stay if you fancy chilling by the pool.
There is so much to do in Funchal, but what this town is very famous for are its lush gardens and parks. The incredible Monte Tropical Garden, Botanical Garden or Santa Catarina park – just to mention a few.
What really made me head over heels in love with Madeira was its incredible nature. Majestic and lush mountains, Levada walks, rivers, natural waterfalls and the most beautiful coastal cliffs I have ever seen.
As I walked thru the ancient forests, crossed the rivers and mountain passes, I would come across multiple evidence of natures superiority. Boulders on the path that has fallen at some point, sometimes still fresh. Low hanging trees, which over time twisted their trunks to survive and stay stronger against gravity.
The landslides with trees and soil from underneath them falling down far down the sheer slopes. The constant noise in the bushes around me as the lizards were running away from my steps. It all made me very alert. I realised that I could just be at the wrong time and the wrong place during those walks. With mountains being humid and rainy, the landslide could happen at any time, a tree could break above my head and. I have never been aware of my vulnerability against nature to this extend.
I felt I am a guest, an intruder at times. I felt like I have to move quietly to let the forest be and never leave a trace of my existence here.
You would think this would make you feel lonely, unimportant, insignificant. But we are already are insignificant, replaceable and, more often than not, a burden to this place. I never feel lonely when surrounded by nature.
I have mentioned that before in many of my Madeira related posts. I have never before felt so close to nature, yet so afraid of it. I became addicted to this feeling. It made me feel alive.
I also treated myself to a jeep safari tour. This way, I could see the other parts of the island, which otherwise I would not be able to visit in the short time I had in Madeira.
And, of course, I hiked the highest peak of Madeira – Pico Ruivo. The best part of my Madeira journey.
It is impossible to see the whole of Madeira in 6 weeks. However, I consider myself lucky for having this much time. I could easily imagine myself staying on this island for many years, maybe my whole life.
I will be back, Madeira.
Madeira Know before You Go – Important Information and Travel Tips
- Currency – Euro
- Language – Portuguese but English is widely spoken (don’t take it for granted though, it’s always good to learn few basic terms)
- Power plugs and sockets – Type F (European). The standard voltage is 230 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz.
- Driving – on the right-hand side. Watch this video before renting a car
- Climate and Weather – Madeira is called the island of eternal spring. It enjoys a subtropical climate with mild weather all year round. It is never too cold nor too hot. The temperature hardly ever falls below 15 degrees in the winter or exceeds 25 degrees in the summer. Sea temperature varies between 17 and 21 degrees throughout the whole year. Expect more humidity and rainfall at the North of the island. For lounging by the pool, visit between April and October.
- What to pack -Hiking trousers and shorts, rain jacket, walking shoes, one warm sweater or hoodie, one pair of sandals, some light summer clothing, warm dawn jacket if you go up the mountains, camera (you won’t forgive yourself if you don’t!), adventurous spirit.
- Most popular supermarkets – Continente Modelo and Pingo Doce. Pingo Doce in Madeira has a great restaurant section as well. Much better than in mainland Portugal. You have to try the Octopus!
- Remember Trave Insurance. I recommend SafetyWing especially for those nomads and long term travellers among us. No need to specify the destination not the duration of travel. And you can cancel at any time.
- For accommodation search I recommend Bookings.com. With many free cancellation options and the biggest stock of accommodation, it is a no brainer.
- You cannot say you have visited Madeira if You didn’t try Poncha, Espada or Lapas. Check this article for the dishes you need to try in Madeira.