The Portuguese Island of Funchal is 600 miles from the mainland but is a great introduction to European life when cruising to Europe. Each time we have visited here we enjoyed it so much we contemplated renting an apartment for a while.
The town of Maderia seems safe, friendly, very beautiful, has great food, cheap local wine and they use the Euro, all common European traits which help the beginning world traveler adjust to new ways of life. We did not explore the island as much as our previous visit, rather we simply walked around the town and explored it further.
First-time visitors should certainly do three things in Maderia.
- Ride the gondola to the highest point of the island.
- Visit the botanical garden at the top as well.
- Ride the asphalt toboggans to the bottom.
See my prior BLOG for photos and a short movie of the fun toboggan ride during our previous visit.
It is a Portuguese characteristic to have the streets and sidewalks decorated with black and white rock designs. We found this to be true even in Macau, China which also has Portuguese heritage.
Twisted tree limbs of the Jacaranda trees line the streets. We were a bit out of season, early or late, for their beautiful purple blooms.
Farmers markets are a common site here and throughout Europe.