Friday, June 28, 2013
Three Days in Madeira – Not Enough Time
Flying to Madeira from Lisbon
My friend Lupe and I flew from Lisbon on TAP Air to Madeira – the total flight time about 1 hour and 20 minutes. The Madeira airport is small and easy to get around. I was shocked when our Hertz rental car was not available and we were told we had to wait 4 hours (Hertz has always been there for me on so many international visits), but we were able to get a local rental car for the same price. By the way, the executive TAP lounge in Lisbon is wonderful – we had a great breakfast with Portuguese sparkling wine.
Checking Into Our Hotel & Exploring Downtown Funchal
After unpacking, we walked along the ocean wall to the downtown shops. We had a great time looking at cork purses, shoes, and Madeira wine. The painted doors of Madeira are also fun to explore. Local artists paint colorful scenes and images on doors (see photo).
Dinner at Goviao Novo Restaurant
Visiting Miradouro Do Cabo Girao Lookout
Lunch/Dinner at Chalet Vincente & Evening Walk Along the Lido Sea Promenade
The Twisting Drive Up to Eira do Serrado and Hiking Along Levadas
The next morning we had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel buffet on the patio overlooking the pool and ocean. After checking out we drove to the top of the highest mountain on Madeira to the lookout called “Eira do Serrado” which is at 1094 meters, or 3300 feet. The drive up was a little hair-raising at times, in that the road was narrow with many switch-backs, and of course we got lost several times. It took about 45 minutes all together.
Visiting Rada Villa Do Machico
On the way to the airport, we decided we wanted to stop at a smaller village along the ocean because we had spent the whole time in Funchal and its surroundings. Therefore, we drove past the airport to the small town of Rada Villa Do Machico, and found they had a beautiful man-made beach of golden sand, as well as charming restaurants, shops, and painted doors. In the main plaza, a vendor was selling freshly picked cherries, so we bought a bag and munched on them as we wandered around.
We arrived at the airport an hour before our flight and had no trouble returning the car. They were very careful to check it to make sure we had not dented it. Once in the TAP lounge (much smaller than Lisbon’s) we relaxed and had beer and peanuts before catching our slightly delayed flight back to Lisbon.