Italian Lakes Destination Review by Simon The Lakes have been attracting visitors for many years, offering relaxation and inspiration, boating, and walking in the idyllic hillside. Lake Como is one of the most beautiful and best known, including the delightful resort of Bellagio with its elegant lakeside promenade and cafes....
Discovered by the Portuguese in 1419, Madeira is noted for its beauty and enjoys a warm early summer climate, with its water warmed by the Gulf Stream. The island is really the tip of a huge mountain protruding from the ocean beneath. The interior is very fertile, originally volcanic, with jagged ridges and peaks rising to two thousand metres. Deep ravines lead down to unspoilt fishing villages.
The island is sometimes known as the floating garden of the Atlantic. The warm climate allows all kinds of richly coloured flowers such as bougainvillea, hibiscus and orchids. There are several gardens to visit, including three Botanical Gardens in Funchal. The famous Madeira wine is produced from terraced rows of vines, alongside banana and sugar plantations.
Many of the hotels and quintas (traditional old family manor houses) offer a high standard of friendly, good old fashioned waiter service. Cost of meals and drinks are generally inexpensive compared with many other destination_blogs.
Two thirds of the island is a designated National Park, with 600 miles of walks, many along the famous Levadas, the mini canals used as irrigation systems to distribute water to the drier south. A drive around the island is challenging but rewarding, with stunning views, particularly around Santana.
Madeira’s capital, Funchal, where half the population lives, has a stunning coastal setting as well as a natural harbour which includes a seafront promenade lined with restaurants and bars.
The centre is crammed with chic clothes and specialist shops. There is also a 16th century cathedral, the old town with the best of Funchal’s bars and restaurants, old Custom House, the Palacio de Sao Lourenco and various museums.
Many of the hotels and quintas are around Funchal, some in elevated positions, with gradients and hills to match. A number of properties offer complimentary transport to the centre and there is a good, reasonably priced bus service and taxis. Many clients hire a car for some of the time.
Lying around 40km northeast of Madeira, Porto Santo is an ideal island for anyone looking for a quiet, peaceful beach holiday in an unspoilt location, with its all-year dry climate, clear warm ocean water and a 9km sandy beach. For golfers, there are two 18-hole courses and walking is also popular.
Most of the activity is centred on the small town of Vila Baleira, with a few beach hotels and restaurants. The local museum records the marriage of Christopher Columbus to the Governor’s daughter.
Two-centre holidays can be arranged as the islands are only two and a half hours apart by ferry. There is now a direct flight from London to Porto Santo.
Contact Simon at Designer Travel Tailor-made Holidays & Cruises
Photo: Cliffs Madeira (visitportugal) – 16
More of My Articles
On my most recent Oceania Cruise aboard Riviera we opted to stay in Livorno for the day as the one week itinerary was intensive and we did not fancy travelling for hours to see Florence (at least 1.5 hours each way by road). Livorno is quite a nice city with...
Silversea’s first state of the art, ultra-luxury expedition ship is now named Silver Explorer. Escorting guests in unsurpassed luxury, it sails to some of the world's most fascinating locations, including the wilderness of Antarctica with its natural beauty. Silversea has stepped into the gap between the educational, adventure expedition type...
Get in touch with a Personal Travel Expert for information about our Destinations, travel advice or a quote.0786 488 1126
We'll call you back
Leave us your contact details and we will be in touch as soon as possible.