Madeira, a Portuguese island, is the western most edge of the European Union. About 300 miles off the coast of Africa, it is part of an archipelago of volcanic islands. Madeira is the largest island of the group and its capital city is Funchal. This was our last port before heading across the Atlantic to Ft Lauderdale this past November. In order to see more of the island we joined a small private group tour.
The fishing village of Camara de Lobos was our first stop. We had just a few minutes to wander down to the waterfront.
Back on the road, our van climbed into the hills. This was just the first of many spectacular views.
They have a fairly new and wonderful highway system with lots of tunnels through the mountains which has simplified getting around this mountainous island.
Farther up the coast we stopped at Cabo Girao Viewpoint, a“look out” built 580 meters above sea level. The glass floor extends out so you can look down through your feet to the coastline below!
Back on the road to the small town of Ribeira Brava.
Then up over the mountains to the other side. It was a complete “white-out” at the top so we had to take our driver’s word for it that it is quite beautiful.
The north side of the island was clear and gorgeous! The town of Porto Moniz clings to the hill and spills into the ocean!
Here there are the most amazing natural swimming pools. They have used the natural basins and built patios around them. The “Piscinas Naturais” was closed.
But there were brave souls taking a dip in the natural pools near by.
Back in the van, past pretty waterfalls and on to Sao Vicente.
Back in Funchal, we had the afternoon to wander around town. There are lots of pretty street scenes and the wonderful tiles used on sidewalks and plazas are quintessential Portugal.
The church of Sao Pedro was celebrating it’s 500th anniversary! 17th century ceramic tiles cover almost all of the walls.
This is such a pretty island. Unlike most of southern Europe it was graffiti free! It’s not easy to get here but it’s worth the trip.