What to Do on Madeira

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Epic sea cliff hike and boat ride

Walk the dramatic sea cliffs that resemble a dragon emerging from the sea at Ponta de São Lourenço, on the north coast, then give yourself the ultimate reward: a swim in the turquoise bay. Lunch is served under gently swaying palms at Cais do Sardinha beach pavilion, with boat-fresh fish dishes being the order of the day. Finally, leave the bay by boat, stopping to swim and explore the tranquil coves en route. Drop-off is in Machico. The lunch-and-boat tour should be booked at least a day in advance.

Address

Ponta de São Lourenço, 9200-044 Caniçal

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Fajã dos Padres

An island within an island, Fajã dos Padres can be accessed by boat, from which visitors swim to shore, or by car, followed by a lift or cable-car descent. A tropical oasis awaits, alongside an isolated pebble beach and pier, where palm trees line the shore and grape vines grow alongside mango trees. If you relish the idea of a Robinson Crusoe-style experience, there are basic houses which can be booked in advance. If simply visiting for lunch, savour a wide range of tapas dishes, alongside cold beer and sangria, and round things off with what is arguably the best cheesecake on the island.

Address

Estrada Padre Antônio Dinis Henrique 1, 9300-261 Quinta Grande

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Day trip to Porto Santo Island

Splurge on a private yacht charter to the white-sand beach of Porto Santo. See the island’s coast from a new perspective as you head out into deep Atlantic waters, escorted en route, with luck, by a pod of playful dolphins. Once in Porto Santo, take a dip in the calm waters, sunbathe on the beach and then relax with a picnic and some chilled white wine back onboard. Being compact, the town can be seen quickly, leaving you plenty of time to explore the pirate coves and secret bays by yacht. 

Address

Avenida Arriaga 75, Ioja 247, 9000-533 Funchal

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Swimming with Dolphins

Little beats a close-up encounter with a dolphin for wow factor, and swimming with them is a thrilling experience. The Gulf Stream warms Madeira´s shoreline and the dolphins love to play around the boats. You don’t have to travel very far from Funchal to join them for a frolic, either. Various boat sizes are available – the team will be able to advise you on which is best for your party’s needs.

Address

Avenida Arriaga 75, Ioja 247, 9000-533 Funchal

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Levada walk in the ancient forest

A levada is an irrigation channel used to bring water from the mountains to the agricultural plains below. The central plateau in Rabaçal, Paul da Serra, is the stepping-off point for a walk on Madeira´s Unesco World Heritage-listed mountains. The peaceful Levada do Alecrim is a great hike to start off with, with a riot of native plants framing your path. Brave a swim in the ice-cold natural pools and, if you want a hard-core walking challenge, add the Levada das 25 Fontes to the itinerary. There are hundreds of walks to choose from, including some truly epic adventures suited to daredevil adventurers, as well as gentler routes that showcase Madeira´s natural landscape without you having to work up too much of a sweat.

Address

Rabaçal, Paul da Serra

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CR7 Museum

We hail the Madeira-born footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, who still has strong family ties here – along with an airport named after him. He based his CR7 Museum in a modern building in the Port of Funchal, alongside his famous caricature-like statue, which looks nothing like him but that we all love. Here you can learn about his childhood and see all his major titles and trophies. Next door, pizza is served on the terrace of the Pestana CR7 Funchal hotel. Dig in, and toast Ronaldo´s stellar career with a local Coral beer.

Address

Praça do Mar, Avenida Sá Carneiro, 9004-518 Funchal