Hiking Bliss and Culinary Treats

Funchal, the island capital of Madeira, is still an insider tip among travellers. But there is nothing like the present to visit this fascinating town on the “Floating Garden”.

Hiking enthusiasts are likely to fall in love with Madeira the moment they set eyes on it. The island is decked with mountains and cliffs. Waterfalls seemingly play a game of criss-cross with mountain paths, while striking sea views easily make up for even the steepest of climbs. Peaking at 5965 ft. (1818 m), Pico do Arieiro is the third-highest mountain on the island and an especially popular hiking area. It is also the only mountain accessible by road. The starting point for hikes is easy to reach by rental car or taxi. By the way, winter need not be feared. Even if temperatures get a little cooler, the island is always green.

Quick facts Funchal (Madeira)

Flight time

03:30 h

Distance

2644 km

Time difference

- 1 hour CET

Language

Portuguese

A cup of cappuccino costs around

CHF 1.22

Harbour art

The romantic municipality of Santana, situated approximately an hour away from Funchal, attracts visitors with typical Madeiran houses that feature straw roofs. When returning to the capital, it is worth taking a detour to Madeira’s botanical garden. This is where it becomes blatantly clear why Madeira is also referred to as the “Floating Garden”: orchids, magnolias and bird-of-paradise flowers –the botanical symbol of Madeira– bloom here in wonderful abundance.

Feast like the locals

Meat is something of a national dish in Madeira. Numerous small restaurants in Funchal serve tasty grilled meat dishes, complemented with garlic bread. For those who favour vegetarian food, the Funchal Market Hall is just the place. Early in the morning, fruit and vegetable stands are set up and fill the courtyard. You never know, some of the fruit and vegetable sellers may just be charmed into revealing a typical Madeiran recipe or two.

The Garden Island
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