Your love letter from Portugal
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I recommend splitting your stay across the east and west of the island, with a night in Funchal if you need. I details how to do this in my five-day Madeira Island road trip itinerary with some suggestions.
One of my favourite ever stays is Casas da Levada, a lush wonderland of old stone cottages and an infinity pool overlooking the sea.
Bolo de caco. Milho frito. Peixe espada. Lapas. Maracujá. Madeira Island might be part of Portugal, but this sub-tropical drop in the Atlantic has its own strong identity – and most importantly, unique dishes and foods to try. Check out my guides on what to eat and drink in Madeira, and where to eat on Madeira Island.
Madeira Island is an easy flight from Portugal’s mainland. You can fly in from Porto, Lisbon or Faro, plus other European cities such as Berlin, Prague, Paris, and the Canary Islands.
The Madeira archipelago also has a second island, Porto Santo, which is almost the polar opposite in terms of landscape. Here find long, golden stretches of sand and a relatively flat and dry smaller island. Perfect for that beach vacation. You can hop between the two by ferry or plane, plus there are direct flights from Portuguese and Europen cities to Porto Santo.
For somewhere like Madeira Island I love the freedom of renting a car to explore small villages, pull up at viewpoints and beat the crowds. If you can’t hire a car, there seems to be an okay public transport system that will get you around the island. Alternatively, lots of tour companies offer day trips and 4WD safaris you can book to explore more of the wild landscape.
Everything you need to know about the tropical islands
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