It’s been a long winter. I think we have caught every germ that has been circulating around. I haven’t been home sick this much since I was in school, this has seriously affected mainly my energy levels. Luckily spring is finally here and I’m already counting down to the summer holidays.
First I thought I’d write something about our winter holiday to Madeira. A very needed vacation to a location that really surprised us. I must admit that my expectations weren’t very high. I just looked forward to temperatures above zero, and not having to fight with all layers of winterclothes.
To summarise, Madeira was a great location. We spent two weeks there in February, on the warmer side of the island (we had sun and temperatures around 20 degrees Celsius pretty much every day). We rented a cute newly renovated appartment for week one and a villa for week two.
The first week we spent doing daytrips and getting to know the island and the second week we spent mostly chilling in the villa. We rented a car and it was very easy to drive around, with good roads and there were lots of small villages to visit, and lots of places the kids will appreciate. Funchal was a nice town too.
Most appreciate was probably our visit to Sao Vicente and the lava cave museum. The whole thing about Madeira being a volcanic island really fascinated Luca. Porto Moniz with it’s natural pools was also really impressive. One thing though, that side of the island had totally different weather, it’s windier and rougher. So we always had extra clothes and jackets in the trunk. Also the mountains were quite cold.
We loved the our trip with the cable car up to Monte and back. Amazing views.
A real favourite was driving around in the mountains, Paul do Serra and Curral das Freiras. Again, amazing views. It doesn’t happen very often that you gasp for air. But we had a few of those experiences, we were speechless.
If you have bigger children you should definately try a levada walk. We tried to do a short one to the Risco Waterfall, but started in the wrong place (the signs aren’t that clear so do your homework!). We came to a cave that just kept narrowing and felt lika it never ended. Not so great with kids, so we turned around. Still we had a nice walk and a nice picknick which the kids really enjoyed.
If we come back, perhaps when the kids are bigger we’d love to go whale and dolphin watching. It would also be nice to see the island when it’s summer.
The only negative thing was the food. It was ok, but most restaurants had pretty much the same menu. Very little variation and not that great. Once we started cooking more at home, we realised that there was a treasure of great foods that apparently didn’t make it to the restaurants – lovely sausages, lovely sweet treats and so many different goat and sheep cheeses.
So, if you’ve been considering Madeira as a destination but have your doubts due to the islands reputation of boing and old people’s destination. I say go. There are lots of oldies around, but I guess it’s because they are old and wise and know it’s a lovely place to visit anytime of the year and great value for money. In particularly active and sporty people will be pleasantly surprised. Party people and those scared of heights should though not be botherered,