Continuously ranked as one of the safest and most beautiful places to visit in Europe, Madeira offers visitors breathtaking levada walks, picturesque cities, epic gorges, delicious fresh seafood and plenty of stunning landscapes to explore. If you’re looking for a quiet haven where you can get closer to nature with a sunny year-round climate, this is the island to visit. Here’s why you might want to book a villa in the regions of Funchal, Calheta or Prazares this year.
Madeira is famous for its hilly landscapes offering epic views and picturesque villages. It’s worth hiring a car to explore the more rural and quiet north, while down on the south coast of the island, the vibe is busier thanks to the capital city of Funchal, and most attractions, bars, and restaurants are within easy walking distance. Discover the famous natural swimming pools of Porto Moniz, hike mount Pico Ruivo with a walking guide, or visit Curral das Freiras, known as the Valley of the Nuns, where you’ll find the panoramic viewpoint of Eira do Serrado. Another peaceful spot is Prazares in the west, home to just 700 inhabitants and beautiful hillside walks that look out onto the ocean. Another must-see (easily reached from Funchal city centre via cable car), is the Madeira Botanical Garden, with beautifully planted terraces, a cactus garden, and traditional Santana houses.
If you love getting out in nature for a hike, you’ll feel right at home in Madeira. We’d recommend the Levada do Rei walk, otherwise known as PR18 (which is its unique trail code). It’s an 11km route that takes you through tunnels, underneath waterfalls, into laurel forests and up peaks that are so high, you’ll literally have your head in the clouds! There are plenty of walking tours available across the island, with gentler trails for novices and moderate ones for the more experienced trekker.
You’ll fall in love with Funchal
As the most populous city on the island, Funchal is home to cobbled streets (in vibrant patterns), independent art galleries, coffee shops, renowned restaurants, museums and the list goes on. Visit Funchal market on Fridays – a buzzing hub of energy, noise and colour with fresh local produce, flowers and craft items. Take a stroll down Rua de Santa Maria, tour the cathedral, and visit the Cristiano Ronaldo museum to discover more about one of Madeira’s most famous natives. Don’t forget to take a stop at a local patisserie for coffee and cake!
The food is delicious
Although it may be a Portuguese territory, Madeira has its own flavours that are not just a copycat version of Lisbon. Sample traditional custard tarts (pastel de nata), sweet cakes and biscuits at local patisseries, and plenty of fish and seafood on the main menu, including the local delicacy of black scabbard fish. The island’s national dish is known as espetada – beef, squid or monkfish skewers dressed with garlic, bay leaves and salt. As for dessert, many dishes centre around the banana and passionfruit trees you can see on the island.
Have we tempted you? Explore our collection of luxury Maderia properties in Funchal, Calheta or Prazares.