Recent Trips

MADEIRA ISLAND: Volcanic Pools, Mountains and More!

Madeira is one of the autonomous islands in Portugal, which you can easily reach by plane (less than 2 hours from Lisbon.) It boasts of a subtropical climate that makes it a perfect destination when you want to get out of the winter chill for a while. As for me, this is where I spent my first Christmas holidays after having moved to Portugal!

Ribeira Brava

From Lisbon, the flight lands in Funchal Airport (Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport) and fun fact - I've had people in Madeira tell me that this airport is actually considered a dangerous one for landings! After a very quick and basic Google search, I had actually confirmed this. Nonetheless, I've been told by locals that there are measures in place to make sure that take-off and landing are safe, and that flights can be cancelled if the situations (winds?) are unpredictable, or just plainly not good.

Moving on to my amazing time in Madeira - I stayed in Pestana Carlton Madeira - truly one of the best decisions I have made when booking this trip. The hotel was in a very central location, and it had an incredible view of the sea. The buffet dinners and breakfasts had such a wide selection of food and drinks that I can't even imagine how much I ate with just that 3 day and 2 night stay. Another thing I loved about the hotel were the pools - they had outdoor saltwater pools, one overlooking the sea, and they also had an indoor pool and a jacuzzi, which I very much enjoyed. You can choose to go sunbathing outside, or lounge inside since they had cozy beds (not just sunbeds) by the indoor pool as well - check out the photos below!

Now that you know I ate and chilled quite a lot, it's probably time to step out of the hotel and see what is there to explore in Madeira! From the hotel, I walked to the city center, and enjoyed the warm December weather in the island. After walking around, I rode the Madeira Cable Car to get to Monte. 

Madeira Cable Car

Once you get up, you can visit Monte Palace Madeira to see beautiful garden landscapes and different kinds of colorful flowers. After exploring the gardens, you can head on further to see Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte and after climbing the stairs, grab a coffee in this quaint place at the foot of the church.

Monte Palace Madeira

Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte

Outside the city center is where it gets more adventurous. Going the direction of Serra de Água, you can enjoy stunning views of Ribeira Brava. You can stop by Fajã dos Padres before heading towards the North Coast up to Paúl da Serra. You can also do a Levada walk, one of the most popular things to do on the island - there are short ones, or longer ones that can take up most of your day.

Fajã dos Padres

Levada Walk Trail

Other notable spots would be Miradouro do Véu da Noiva from where you can get a view of one of the waterfalls in Madeira. Aside from that, you can also see other waterfalls up close around the area. You can also head on to São Vicente where you can try some poncha (and even Madeira wine in my case.) Then you can check out Cabo Girão if you're at the Southern Coast.

Miradouro do Véu da Noiva

Cabo Girão

The highlight of my Madeira trip was definitely Porto Moniz. There you can find the natural saltwater pools on the coast, which were formed by volcanic lava. One of the main areas were closed for tourists swimming the day I visited due to strong currents. There were other pools that were open though, and I simply loved the views. Check out the photos below!

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