Madeira, Portugal

Funchal Portugal
Funchal, Portugal
Madeira, Portugal (4/28/2013) – The picturesque island of Madeira surprised us – in a very good way!

Main Old Town Square Funchal Madeira
Main Old Town Square 
- Funchal, Madeira
We stopped at the Portuguese garden island of Madeira on our trans-Atlantic cruise and had a great day. A 20-minute walk from the cruise ship takes you to the old town of Madeira’s capital city of Funchal

Scabbard Fish Lunch
Scabbard Fish Lunch
After our tour of some of Madeira’s beautiful places (see below), we enjoyed having a very nice lunch in Funchal’s main square of the local Scabbard fish with a banana (see photo). The Scabbard fish is brought up from the sea sometimes over 4,000 feet below and the banana is grown on the island.

Madeira Wine
Madeira Wine
Also, Madeira’s traditional bread with garlic butter (called Bolo do Caco c/ Manteiga d’Alho) is a nice treat. Try the Madeira wine they are famous for and the poncha liquor made from various things. We liked the passion fruit rum and honey version.

Toboggan Ride - Madeira
Toboggan Ride - Madeira
Poncha Liquor
Poncha Liquor
One of the fun things to do in Madeira is to take a toboggan ride from the village of Monte in the hills down to the city of Funchal. This fun almost mile-long ride is done in a traditional basket sledge guided by two runners dressed in white and wearing traditional straw hats. Reaching speeds of 20 mile per hour, you a Reached easily by the cable car from Funchal, the village of Monte is a beautiful spot famous for its lush gardens and sweeping views down to the ocean. You can also visit the pretty Church of Our Lady of Monte (see photos).

Beautiful Shoreline - Madeira
Beautiful Shoreline - Madeira
Drivers with nice cars are available offering worthwhile tours of Madeira that take you to beautiful viewpoints high in the hills that overlook the picturesque shorelines and terraced hillsides (see photos). Depending on your preferences, the tour can also take you to do the toboggan ride or the Botanical Garden. A fun stop is also the small fishing village of Camara del Lobos (see photo).

Funchal Madeira
Funchal, Madeira
As our cruise ship slowly left the beautiful city of Funchal, small dolphins playfully jumped the waves made by our ship.

Flag of Madeira
Flag of Madeira
More about Madeira... Madeira is an Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean known for its mild climate throughout the entire year. It is popular with tourists and Europeans escaping the heat of summer and cold of winter. Every year, about 500,000 tourists come to Madeira from cruise ships alone. Madeira has a permanent population of around 260,000 with almost half living in its capital city of Funchal.

Fishing Boat - Camera del Lobos, Madeira
Fishing Boat 
- Camera del Lobos, Madeira
Old Town Street - Funchal, Madeira
Old Town Street 
- Funchal, Madeira
Travel tip... From the dock that the cruise ships arrive at, you can arrange a memorable 3-hour tour of Madeira from Funchal for about $110 (80 Euro). Four people comfortably can share one of the nice taxis and more may be able to share a van. This makes the same $90+ cruise excursion cost you about $20/person or less. Do talk with the driver for a while to make sure they are friendly and will give you a nice tour. The roads in Madeira are wonderful with 35 miles of tunnels passing through this beautiful island.

Please see our other 5 travel blog posts for Portugal:

Lisbon, Portugal (Capital)

Porto, Portugal (one of our favorite places in Potugal)

Douro Valley (Portugal's premier wine country)

Algarve Faro & Praiada Rocha (Portugal's most popular tourist destination)

Medieval Towns of Obidos, Aveiro, Figuerira da Foz, &Coimbra, Portugal 

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