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There are many wonderful things to see and do on Madeira, here is just a sampling.
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Madeira Botanical Garden


Trees, bushes, and flowers fill this verdant space and the sweet scents of their blossoms waft through the air. Colorful flowers and well-cut trees catch the eye, making wandering around this botanic garden a fantastic aesthetic experience.

The whole island of Madeira is a rich, luscious oasis of greenery speckled with gorgeous gardens. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that the islanders were able to realize their dream of creating one big botanical garden. The Madeira Botanical Garden opened on what was previously a private estate and now houses more than 2,000 magnificent plants.


The garden is divided into several distinct areas. Part of the garden is reserved for indigenous and endemic plants, while another part of it is reserved for succulents and big cacti. You can also find a section of agricultural and aromatic plants and trees complete with juicy fruits and beautiful blossoms, as well as a topiary section filled with differently shaped trees.


What is perhaps the most iconic slice of this garden is the section to this garden is the section of colorful and patterned flower beds. These meticulously crafted displays create a visually striking mix of geometry and an aromatically pleasing medley of aromas. The planted patterns changed as the plants age and need to be replaced.


The garden also has a small natural history museum, where you can find a collection of fossils and old taxidermy specimens, as well as a bird park full of beautiful, exotic birds.

Monte Palace Tropical Garden


Located in Monte, a suburb of Funchal, this scenic garden is home to a rich variety of exotic plants and trees.

The Monte Tropical Garden is not the typical garden you would find in Madeira Island, yet, a visit to this garden is surely an unforgettable one.

Madeira entrepreneur José Berardo donated Monte Palace in 1988 to the Berardo Foundation and from there began his creative work phase. His dream of a Tropical garden of which he would be able to share with the world became true in 1991, when he opened the doors to his masterpiece to the public.  All the exotic plants both native and from all around the world in Berardo´s garden thrive due to Madeira´s special climate.

Within this tropical garden is the Monte Palace Museum.

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Monte - Palace-Tropical-Garden - Funchal
Monte Toboggan Rides

Originally devised as a fast means of transport down to Funchal for people living in Monte, these toboggan sleds appeared around 1850.


Still in use today, they attract thousands of tourists every year who want to enjoy this exciting experience of sliding, at high speed, on narrow, winding streets down to Funchal. These two-seater wicker sleds glide on wooden runners, pushed and steered by two men dressed in traditional white cotton clothes and a straw hat, using their rubber-soled boots as brakes.

Cable Car Between Funchal and Monte

The Funchal Cable Car (Portuguese: Teleférico do Funchal), or Madeira Cable Car, is a gondola lift that transports people from the lower section of Funchal, Madeira to the suburb of Monte. The route of the cable car was chosen to replace the old Monte Railway, which ran from 1886 to 1943.

Construction of the cable car system began in September 1999; it was opened in November 2000 and has been in service since then. The bottom station is located at Almirante Reis Park in central Funchal. The journey takes approx. 15 minutes.

Lava Pools at Porto Moniz

On Madeira, the black lava bathing pools of Porto Moniz are just about as far as you can get from the island capital, Funchal. Until recently, it took several hours of twisting mountain road to get there. Now they are reachable in just 50 minutes thanks to a network of highways and tunnels cut through the rocky heart of the island.


At Porto Moniz, the meeting of Atlantic waves and some prehistoric volcanic eruption formed spiky rings of black lava rock along the waterfront. They've been turned into one of the world's weirdest and most beautiful swimming pools. More than 4,500 square yards of clear, calm saltwater pools, separated from raging ocean surf by the lava walls.

Funchal Farmer's Market

Flower sellers dressed in traditional rainbow-hued skirts. Fish merchants wielding machetes to slice torpedo-sized tuna. Funchal's Mercado dos Lavradores (farmers' market) is a spectacle. The fish is fabulous, but fruit is the main attraction.


Just about anything grows here. Island bananas are packed with flavor and there's a baffling variety of passion fruit; papaya, custard apples and something resembling a elongated pine cone called monstera deliciosa (it tastes like banana crossed with pineapple.)

Enjoy the View at Pico do Arieiro

When it's overcast in Funchal, it's worth heading north toward Pico do Arieiro. The steep climb means cars struggle to get out of third gear, but the climb is worth it when the road emerges onto a sunlit plateau broken by bare peaks that poke through fluffy white cloud. Views can stretch from the rugged north coast to Funchal in the south.

Hike the Levadas

A network of hiking trails follow more than 1,300 miles (2,092 kilometers) of narrow stone irrigation channels, known as levadas, criss-cross Madeira's mountainous countryside.


Many lead into the Laurisilva forest, a remnant of the semi-tropical vegetation that covered the island before Portuguese explorers arrived in 1419.


One of the most scenic is the Levada do Caldeirao Verde, which meanders four miles past leafy glades and plunging ocean views before emerging into a clearing with a 300-foot (91 meters) waterfall.

Cabo Girao Skywalk

Ireland and Norway may contest Madeira's claim to have Europe's highest sea cliff. Such details hardly matter though when visitors step onto Cabo Girao's glass-floored viewing platform and gaze down 1,900 feet to the Atlantic rollers below.


The cape is a lump of black rock looming over Camara de Lobos. Sunsets there are phenomenal.

Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse

Portugal’s highest lighthouse seems unimpressive in and of itself, standing at only 46 feet tall. However, the fact that it sits upon the precipice of a thousand foot cliff makes it a towering beacon for seafaring vessels.


The lighthouse is publicly accessible and features the Madeiran Lighthouse Museum, a small but interesting collection of curiosities and images detailing the history of lighthouse keeping in this isolated temperate archipelago.

Principality of Pontinha

The Principality of Pontinha is a micronation on an islet connected to Madeira Island, Portugal by a port. The fortified islet was proclaimed an independent principality in 2007 by Renato Barros, self-entitled as Prince Renato, the owner of the piece of land.


The islet and its fort were property of the Portuguese state until king Carlos I of Portugal sold the islet on 9 October 1903 to the Blandy family of Madeira, traditionally involved in winemaking. The money was needed by the king to develop the port of Funchal. In 2000, an art teacher from Madeira, Renato de Barros, bought the islet and fort from the Blandys.


In November 2007, Renato Barros presented a "request for the detachment of the Principality of the Island of Pontinha" to Monteiro Diniz, the sovereign's representative in the Autonomous Region of Madeira. Subsequently, Renato Barros declared the independence of the islet, calling it the Principality of Pontinha and entitling himself its Prince. According to Barros, at the time of the sale of the islet by the king, a royal charter was issued to the buyer, granting them not only the possession of the islet but also the "dominion" over it (meaning, according to Barros, the charter conceded sovereignty over the landmass to its owner since 1903).


In December 2015, bitcoin became the official currency of the country.

By User:Darwinius/att - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
Camara de Lobos

The seaside town of Câmara de Lobos was one of Madeira’s earliest settlements in the 15th century. There’s a pair of churches from these times, and a cove where caravels would have been anchored 600 years ago. Those have been replaced by humble fishing boats, and despite the influx of tourists the town still makes a living from the ocean.


Sightings of Monks Seals date back to the 15th century on Madeira.  The first Portuguese navigators reported seeing many Monk seals howling like wolves - explaining the nickname they received: Sea Wolf. Rumor has it that this gave the name of Camara de Lobos or Municipality of the Wolves.


The most picturesque spot in Câmara de Lobos might be the cove that first attracted Portuguese settlers to this stretch of the coast.

By day the waters are speckled with wooden fishing boats, and at night they go out to catch the weird-looking black scabbardfish, which dwells deep in the ocean, coming closer to the surface after dark.

On the harbour wall you’ll get a fine perspective of the inland mountains, rising sharply from the coast and notched with terraces for plantations.

You can cast your eye over the fleet of painted boats that have been pulled onto the foreshore and nurse a “poncha” at one of the bars in the cobblestone streets behind.

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