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  • Writer's pictureUrsula

Madeira 31.10.-16.01.21

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

To enter the country you need a negative Covid test, which can be done for free at Funchal airport. It takes about 5 minutes, you get a banana and then it goes to the hotel until you get the test result within 12 hours.

We spend the first 4 days in the beautiful boutique hotel Castanheiro in the old town of Funchal.

For the rest of the time we rented a nice villa with pool in the middle of banana plantations in Arco de Calheta. In this area of Madeira, the weather is supposed to be the nicest and all destinations on the island are easily reached within an hour. We take it a lot quieter here, read a book, make Christmas cookies and rest by the pool. 2-3 times a week we go to the mountains or the coast to hike, swim and enjoy.

In the following sections, the excursion themes are somewhat summarized.


The old town of Funchal impresses with beautiful well-preserved buildings, parks and the artistically designed squares and alleys with black and white pavement mosaics.

In the old market hall the farmers offer their goods, especially fruits, vegetables, spices and flowers. The merchants urge us to try the most unusual fruits including passion fruit in different flavors (peach, lemon, orange, etc.). Everything tastes great and one is happy to have some fruits packed. When the (high) bill is presented one initially thinks they have made a mistake by a zeroan.....

A tourist activity, which is fun and quite unique: it goes by cable car to Monte, a neighborhood above the city, where you can visit the tropical garden, and then you go down by wicker sled on a steep alley (where cars also run) towards the old town.

The botanical garden in Funchal, which is also worth a visit in winter, must of course not be missed.

Christmas and New Year are very special in Madeira. In November, the elaborate Christmas decorations are installed everywhere, which then shine for the first time on December 1.

The fireworks in Funchal are (world)famous. For this purpose, 5 pyro artists are invited in the summer to show their show. The winner gets the contract for the New Year's Eve fireworks. Happy New Year!

Levada and mountain hikes

Levadas are narrow irrigation channels that crisscross the island. On the maintenance paths next to the canal channels Madeira can be hiked comfortably without many meters of altitude. Mostly it goes through forests (also sometimes laurel or eucalyptus forests), past waterfalls and gorges and sometimes through narrow tunnels whereby the headlamp is absolutely necessary. On some hikes you change via stairs to a higher or lower situated levada whereby you easily reach the altitude meters to be reached per day.

Levada do Alecrim & Lagoa do Vento near Rabaçal

Levada das 25 Fontes

Levada da Ribeira da Janela

Levada das Rabacas (one of our favorite levada hikes).

Unlike most levada hikes, which take place in the forest, you enjoy this gorgeous hike with lots of views into the Ribeira Brava valley and mountains.

Caldeirao Verde and further into the Cladeirao do Inferno (the TOP hike).

This hike leads through the UNESCO World Heritage Site into the green cauldron and further into the infernal cauldron. The hike is spectacularly laid out, leads partly only on the levada walls, through several tunnels and you also get wet sometimes. It feels like in the cloud forest, very green, dreamlike water walls and waterfalls

Levada da bica da cana

Sunny hike with views to the coast.

Ponta de São Lourenço

The peninsula to the east is overgrown with green grass in winter and scores with grandiose views.

Achadas da Cruz

Here it's a steep descent to the sea gardens, which were created by a rock avalanche. Up it goes with the small cable car, which was originally built for the farmers.

Beautiful circular hike from Fontes to the viewpoint Chão dos Terreiros with views of Pico Grande.

On the coast

Ribeira da Janela on the north coast is particularly fascinating when the wind really blows and the waves crash against the rocks.

Porto Moniz is our favorite place. Also a magnificent wave spectacle and natural lava pools which invite you to swim with beautifully heated water.

And here some more impressions from the coast...

Our last hike, to get us somewhat prepared for the cold Switzerland, takes us to the snow-covered Pico Ruivo (1862 m) with a magnificent panoramic view.

Now it's off to Switzerland to Trin Mulin for a good 2 weeks and then on to South Africa for 2 months (if that works out). The next blog will be published at the latest at the beginning of March.

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