Madeira is known as the island of eternal spring, levadas, flowers, stunning mountains and knee-devastating treks almost to the clouds, unique wine and an even more unique airport. In short, welcome to the pearl of the Atlantic, or if you prefer, the Hawaii of Europe! It is truly an amazing island that is not just for everyone. Especially not for the giddy. 🙂

It may seem strange to you, but the older I get, the more I like to spend Christmas somewhere by the sea.

Madeira was my traveller’s dream, mainly because a lot of my friends visited it and all of them talked about it to the word. I put off visiting it indefinitely, because some of the photos made me afraid of heights. 🙂

Everybody knows Madeira houses.

I visited the island with my family during the Christmas holidays and I have to say that I don’t think you can find a more decorated island anywhere in the world. If you like nativity scenes like I do, you will be in your element here. Every village has its own nativity scene and you won’t find one in every church or at the roundabout into the village.


Câmara de Lobos

Câmara de Lobos is a picturesque fishing town where Winston Churchill spent his holidays. You will also find his statue in the harbour by the painting canvas. I can totally imagine how he used to sit here and paint.

The pleasant atmosphere of the town is completed by vineyards scattered on steep slopes, among which winding paths with beautiful views intertwine.

Winston Churchill at the painting canvas.
Câmara de Lobos – the walk through the town is very pleasant.
You will find fishermen’s painted boats parked in the bay and fishermen playing cards in the harbour.
Câmara de Lobos has the pleasant atmosphere of a fishing town.
Street art in Câmara de Lobos.

There are a few churches left.
Nursery in Câmara de Lobos.


If you’re planning to visit Madeira or are curious about the views the volcanic island has to offer, you’ve come to the right place.

Along the way, you will pass mountains, vineyards and steep cliffs of the island that will take your breath away for a while.


Ponta do Sol means “Place of the Sun” in Portuguese. It’s obvious why the explorers were so keen to settle here.

In this peaceful region by the sea, sugar cane, bananas and, of course, grapes are grown, for which Madeira is world famous. Sugar production was carried out by slaves owned by one Joao Esmeraldo, a close friend of Christopher Columbus.

A walk along the promenade.
Apparently, the Portuguese like to take pictures, because you can find these “photo spots” at every turn.
A nativity scene on every corner.


Cascata dos Anjos is a waterfall located in the civil parish of Anjos in the municipality of Ponta do Sol. The waterfall cascades over a rock wall onto the old regional road E.R.101 and spills down into the sea. It was quite an experience to drive under such a waterfall.


You will encounter tunnels almost continuously in Madeira. You’ll come across even a very unfashionable one with water dripping from the ceiling.


Madalena do Mar is a small village located on the southwest coast of the island among high cliffs. There is a small pebble beach, but otherwise the village is known as the largest banana grower in Madeira due to its particularly warm climate.

View of Madalena do Mar.
The streets on Madalena do Mar are very cute.
You will find many holy pictures on the walls in the streets.

Even in Madalena do Mar you can find street art.
The views here are truly amazing.


The westernmost point of the island is the small mountain town of Ponta do Pargo. On a cliff nearly 400 metres high stands a unique lighthouse dating from 1883, which, with the help of a clockwork machine, provided light using a giant kerosene lamp. In 1999, the Madeira regional government declared this lighthouse a cultural monument and built a passage to it through a pretty steep tunnel and a charming car park.

Actually, all the viewpoints are marked with such a sign.

In spring, Madeira is one big garden full of hydrangeas.


Ponta de são Lourenço

Ponta de São Lourenço is the easternmost cape of the island of Madeira. During the year, it is dressed up in different clothes. Unlike the rest of the island, there are no trees and only patches of grass. The steep, jagged cliffs here fall up to 200 metres perpendicularly into the sea. The peninsula is mostly basalt, but there are also limestone deposits.

You will follow one hiking trail here.

However, the views here are amazing and I simply enjoyed myself. This green-brown steppe contrasts sharply with the dark blue sea. There is one main hiking trail that runs along the headland, from which many smaller paths branch off, but they always lead you safely back. You’ll be walking through winding terrain with narrow paths along rocky ledges. There were a lot of hikers for my taste, and at times I had to squeeze tightly onto the rock face to let oncoming hikers pass.

At the bottom of the hill is a stone building for the park rangers with a couple of picnic tables shaded by date palms. It reminds me of a desert oasis, where we can recharge our batteries and take a little break from the strong sunlight before our final hike.


There are no cafes on the entire island, so bring snacks and especially lots of water.


Christ the King is the name of a statue erected on Cape Garajau near the village of the same name in Madeira. The statue was installed here in 1927 and its construction was financed by a wealthy local family. The statue is meant to protect fishermen. It is illuminated at night and has an orientation value as a lighthouse for coastal navigation.


As I’ve already written, Madeira is more about the mountains, but if you want to relax, there are a few beaches that invite you to laze around. One of the typical beach resorts is Machico in the east of the island. The beach here has two parts and it’s up to you whether you prefer pebbles or fine sand. We stopped here on our way back just before our flight. The town is located a few minutes from the airport.



The village is mainly known for its typical Madeiran houses in the shape of a triangle with a straw roof and the blue-white-red colour of the house.

The houses are adapted for tourists. Here you can buy, for example, flower seedlings.
Christmas decorations are everywhere.

São Vicente

The town is situated in a narrow valley stretching inland from the sea. The town is dominated by the 16th century Igreja de São Vicente church, built in colonial style. And it is truly beautiful.

Church Igreja de São Vicente
The Igreja de São Vicente church is especially beautiful inside.
Inside, as in other churches, you will find beautiful coloured tiles.


The village is situated in a narrow valley. The main attraction of this place is several rock formations of volcanic origin that rise from the sea very close to the shore. The dramatic cliffs were formed by the erosion of volcanic rock. The highest of them, Ilheus da Janela, measures over 30 metres. Above the cliffs are terraced fields.

Here you will find a wild rocky beach where huge waves often form. So be careful when you go here, for example, to take pictures.
On the left side in the rock, notice the small statue of the Virgin Mary.

On your left you can spot a hydroelectric power station, then pull into the parking lot near the only island campsite. Head towards the sea. There is a high basalt rock with a statue of the Virgin Mary in a small “window”. To the right of the rock is a small tunnel and beyond it a beautiful viewpoint of the unique rocks.


The journey continues to Porto Moniz. It is a tourist resort located on the northwestern tip of the island and attracts tourists for unique swimming pools. The natural pools and the dominant black rocks are famous. There are barricades all around the viewpoints. This is probably because the water splashes up to several meters behind them. The natural pools are obviously closed because of Covid, but I think also because of the rough sea. You will find public pools, however, where a few tourists splash around.

Raging waves crash and crash against the rocks.

I’m just thinking that only a fool would try to bathe here. Except for my family. Two big waves came in that no one expected to jump the big barricades. As a result, my husband lost his diobtric sunglasses (probably no need to comment on the fact that he bathes in glasses) and my daughter had a few scrapes on her body. So watch out! While it can be great fun for some, the waves here can be big and dangerous at times!




Although Pico Grande is not the highest mountain in Madeira, it could easily equal it with its 1,654 metres. There are three ways to get to Pico Grande. We chose the one that leads from the mountain saddle of Boca da Corida, reached by car from Câmara de Lobos.

You can pray before you go.

Basically right from the small parking lot you have a wonderful view of the highest peaks of Madeira. Directly below you in a deep valley is the village of Curral das Freiras. In places, you’ll walk along a paved trail leading along the ridge between the peaks of Pico do Cavalo and Pico de Serradinho to the Relvinha crossroads.

In some places you will come across white charred trees, reminiscent of forest fires.


The island of Madeira actually looks like one high cliff. Its highest mountains rise to heights of over 1800 metres above sea level. Even such an innocent walk around town is such a chore, and driving a car through the steep serpentine roads is a chapter in itself.

Thanks to our navigation we got to places where I thought we had no chance to climb the hill. And sometimes we were going straight downhill. We got to places where the views were absolutely perfect, where we literally had the whole island in the palm of our hands, even with the endless dark blue Atlantic.


Everyone knows Madeira airport. It is mainly known for its interesting landing method and its runway, which is one third built on high pillars above the sea cliff to extend its overall length. It is said that landing in Madeira is a chapter in itself. It is a nightmare for all passengers and perhaps even for the pilots themselves. This is one of the reasons why I have put off visiting Madeira, because I thought, I’m not going to get killed on live TV.

Just go to the smoking area at the airport, which is outside, and you can watch the planes land. Only pilots with special training fly here. The plane heads up into the mountains and turns onto the runway literally at the last minute. But nothing drastic happened and it felt like any landing. SO STAY CALM!


Madeira wine (MADEIRA) is a dessert wine and therefore a bit stronger. It is very similar to port and has a sweet taste. Historians say it was created by accident. Sailors often stored the wine on ships and when they arrived in the equatorial zone and heated it to almost 45 C, the wine changed its taste.

Another typical drink is the alcoholic drink PONCHA. It takes many forms, but usually contains lemon peel, honey, fruit juice, sugar and especially Aguardente da Cana. It works on the principle of rum, which is created by distilling fermented sugar cane juice. So watch out for it! Don’t get drunk! 🙂

Among the typical dishes of the island is ESPADA, the most famous is the local fish, the so-called dark lace fish. Its meat is of very high quality with very few bones. That is why it is also very popular. It is served with grilled banana and maracuja sauce. I have to admit that I don’t really like this combination, but just grilled espada with sweet potatoes is in a different league.

Another delicacy is the ESPETADA, which is a beef skewer that is considered the national dish of Madeira.

However, you will find various types of seafood, tuna and actually seafood in general. As a side dish, you will most often find potatoes or sweet potatoes.

From seafood I tasted LAPAS. That was a novelty for me. It’s grilled mussels prepared in butter. You just drizzle them with lime juice. You get about 20 of these mussels per serving.

Another rarity is the BOLO DO CACO bread, beautifully fluffy. It is sold toasted in different variations and spread with herb butter.

I think that the trip to Madeira was really successful and I found it exactly as I expected it to be. But Madeira is not only beautiful nature, but also the capital Funchal – information in a separate article – Funchal or little Lisbon in Madeira or you can go together to the levadas, which is why people come here – Levadas or with your head in the clouds.

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