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Tomato & Onion Soup of Madeira – My mother’s recipe

“It’s sunday afternoon and the weekend is pretty much over. There’s a ton of work waiting for you the following week and you don’t want monday to arrive”- Sounds familiar?




For years I’ve came up with strategies to overcome the sunday blues. Going to the movies, hiking, going to the beach, meeting friends, reading, watching sunsets or playing card games the whole afternoon ( just to name a few).

Nowadays, on Sundays evenings, nothing excites me more than the secret I’m about to reveal to you.

It’s soul conforting and brings back the sweetest memories…My childhood, me and my brothers sitting at a round table in the kitchen. Friends coming home for lunch. My Aunt Maria as a cook. Me crying the first time I chopped an onion. My boys smiles at the table. My parents happyness looking at them.

No, it’s not super exciting or even adventurous. But it’s something that tastes better when you’re surrounded by the people you love.




It’s a tradition in my home and we do it, “religiously”, every sunday evening. So I’m sharing the recipe with you – trust me, you’ll never have a depressing sunday evening again!

It’s my Mum’s Tomato & Onion Soup. Enjoy it  and let me know how good it was ;).





Funchal Checklist

Funchal Checklist

Are you visiting Funchal and looking for a checklist?

I have an ambiguous relationship with checklists when I travel. Sometimes I do love them, others I don’t…See, while this checklist in Funchal is useful to make sure you don’t miss out good attractions, it’s also important to wanderlust and discover your favourite spots.

In the meantime check this list in Funchal and start ticking those boxes! 🙂

√ Stroll along Avenida Arriaga all the way from the Cathedral. At the heart of the city, you’ll find the most elegant cafes, a lovely garden, the tourism post office and the Theatre – get inside (it’s beautiful)!

Avenida Arriaga

Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias - Funchal

Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias

√ Admire the colourful street art in the painted doors of the pedestrian street Rua Santa Maria. Go early in the morning (fewer crowds) if you want to see the urban art on the painted doors, or later in the evening to have dinner, drink Poncha and listen to some music).

√ Admire one of the most beautiful church squares in town – Largo do Município – and visit the beautiful city hall nearby.

Funchal City Hall




√ Go for a long walk by the seaside at Lido Promenade, cross the tunnel at Doca do Cavacas and refresh yourself with a swim in the Formosa Beach. Sit quietly and see the sunset as you listen to the sound of the waves – it’s super!

 

√ Visit the Farmer’s Market. Smell it, feel it and eat it! If you want to grab a bite at the market, you can try the typical sandwich of pork, wine and garlic by the hands of those that have been doing it for 27 years – Cica Café. If you’re vegetarian, check this list of vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Funchal, like Olive’s nearby.

 

 

√ Head to the marina and hop on a boat to see the outstanding views of Funchal from the sea and with some luck, dolphin’s jumps in the waves.

√ Visit the local gardens and let yourself be driven by the local “Carreiros” in a wicker basket, down the hill. Monte, in Funchal, is the only place in the world where you can go for a ride like this (as far as I know…) so go for it!





√ Photobomb a selfie with the CR7 statue and then relax in the city park – Santa Catarina Park. Take the kids to the playground there.

√ Forget the diet and taste some food at a local restaurant: Tomato soup, scabbard fish, tuna steak, passion fruit pudding, Madeira Wine, Honey Cake (to name just a few typical dishes in Madeira).

Sccabard fish at Porto Bay Hotels

√ See the 360 º views of Funchal at Pico dos Barcelos. Welcome to beautiful Funchal!





Are you looking for a hotel to stay in Funchal? Check these deals!

Booking.com

If you like to share, I would be thrilled if you could with me your favorite spots in Funchal. You can share it on social media (#checklistfunchal) or leave me a comment below, if you wish.

Are you interested in getting more info about Madeira?
→ I’ll do my best to send you the best tips!



See you soon ♥

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Carnival in Funchal. What, where, when?

Carnival in Funchal. What, where, when?

The other day one of my AIRBNB guests asked me what, where and when exactly happens Carnival in Funchal.

So these were my answers.

What about Carnival in Funchal?





Carnival celebrations in Funchal happen mostly during three days, although there are events along an 11 day period.

Day 1 – Friday

On Friday before Carnival, a parade organised by local schools take plenty of children along Avenida Arriaga disguised in their favourite masks, superheroes or princesses. Feel free to dress up your children as well. Of course, it’s too cute not to watch!

On that evening most of the local clubs and discos celebrate the “Travesties Night” so you’ll probably see many brides and grooms, ballerinas or divas walking along the streets that night…:)

Day 2 – Saturday

It’s Saturday night live, and you’ll have fun! It is the most significant event of Carnival in Funchal. Thousands of locals dress up in colourful and some slightly provocative costumes to dance in the streets of Funchal. You’ll find the rhythm of Carnival, loud music and sparkling decorated floats, plus tons of people watching. Go there early if you want to grab a front row spot. There are also some paid seats that you can buy at the local tourism office for extra comfort. Get into the Carnival mood, grab a drink (and maybe a mask or a costume) and have some fun at the parade. Dancing is totally accepted!

https://budgettraveller.org/carnaval-madeira-photoessay/

https://budgettraveller.org/carnaval-madeira-photoessay/

https://budgettraveller.org/carnaval-madeira-photoessay/




https://budgettraveller.org/carnaval-madeira-photoessay/

Day 3- Tuesday

It’s a holiday in Madeira, so many locals have fun at the slapstick parade called “Trapalhão” Anyone can join, you too! There’s no theme; you can merely disguise yourself, have fun and mingle!

Carnival in Funchal – Where?

Check this great map made by the Madeira Tourism site:

You can also download the Madeira Tourism PDF guide: PROGRAMA_CARNAVAL_EN

Curious to know about other events in Madeira? Check this out!



Click here to see photo essay of Carnival in Madeira, from the Budget Traveller when he was living in Funchal a couple of years ago.

Now get into the Carnival mood, listen to some drums, pick a costume and have some fun at Madeira!

(Btw this is my favourite Carnival music!)

Do you want to get more news about Madeira? Please subscribe to my newsletter here. I’ll do my best to make it worth it! 🙂

 

The coolest Hotels in Europe I’ve ever been to

Have you ever visited a destination because of a particular hotel? Do you think that staying in a cool hotel is halfway to enjoy a city?

I believe so.




I think much of a good travel experience depends on how we feel and are welcomed. I do not want to say with this, that only if we stay in 5-star hotels can we have a good experience. My concept of a good hotel has nothing to do with the number of stars or price per night.

I like places that surprise me with originality.

I like a friendly and informal service.

I like to feel at home, or better!

 

 

I like hotels that make me laugh.

 

I like gifts on my cushion.

 

I like unique tips and hotels that mix locals with tourists.

 

I like themed rooms.

 

 

Check out the list of cool hotels that follow and visit them if you have the opportunity.

 

Daniel Hotel, Viena

Estive em Viena há alguns anos e adorei a cidade. Descobri o Daniel Hotel por causa de um mapa. Eu e o meu fascínio por mapas personalizados levou-me a descobrir que este hotel vendia um mapa com as melhores dicas de Viena. Qual não foi o meu espanto quando descobri que ficava mesmo ao lado do Palácio Belvedere (na foto).

Palácio Belvedere

Schloss Belvedere – Fotografia foi cortesia de Budgettraveller.org

A localização não podia ser melhor e o hotel é o contraste perfeito da austeridade… Este hotel tem um barco no telhado, colmeias, uma horta, bicicletas e vespas personalizadas, uma caravana e camas de rede nos quartos. Tem uma loja com produtos da própria marca e um restaurante/café onde os artigos se vendem com legenda. Eu explico, por exemplo, ao comprar uma fatia de bolo, sabe o nome da Srª que o fez e a sua história. Adoro estes detalhes…

★★★★ Hotel Daniel Vienna, Viena, Áustria

O Daniel Vienna combina um design individual com uma localização junto ao Palácio de Belvedere e da principal estação ferroviária.

Student Hotel, Amesterdão

“Que o estudante que há em si, nunca morra!”

É este o conceito do Student Hotel. Mais cool que isto não há…

Tem ginásio, cantina e mesas de bilhar. Tem bons acessos a transportes públicos, cores alegres. Apresenta-se como é, um estudante com alma e sem preconceitos.

★★★★ The Student Hotel Amsterdam City, Amesterdão, Países Baixos

O The Student Hotel Amsterdam City propõe acomodações de design a 15 minutos a pé do centro da cidade.

citizenM, Paris

Já falei deste Hotel, no artigo sobre a viagem que fiz recentemente a Paris, com os meus filhos. Adoramos este local. Saibam porquê neste artigo.

★★★★ citizenM Paris Gare de Lyon, Paris, France

CitizenM Paris Gare de Lyon is located in the 12th arr. Neighborhood in Paris, 1.4 miles from Pompidou Center and 1.7 miles from Place de la République.

25 Hours Hotel Bikini, Berlin

 

The motto of Bikini Berlin? “Change is not an agenda but a principle.”

It does not have Bikinis (Bikini refers to the name of the building) but it has rooms with hammocks and a “jungle view” which is the Berlin Zoo … read this article from Keith Jenkins about the hotel.

 

★★★★ 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, Berlim, Alemanha

Localizado na Estação de Zoologischer Garten, este hotel elegante tem vistas para a popular rua comercial Kufürstendamm, em Berlim.

 

For me, these were some of the coolest hotels I have ever been to. I always feel like going back …

If you know other cool hotels in Europe, do not keep them just for yourselves;)  Leave your tip in the comments, please!

Do you like these tips? Subscribe to my newsletter and receive “cool” suggestions in your email. If you do not have the patience to receive more emails, share this article and leave a tip for Valentine’s Day


… will you take me here ♥?




Paris for Kids | A Travel Guide (without the obvious, like Euro Disney)

So this Xmas we went to Paris.

Why Paris?

First of all, it’s a city my sons had never visited before, I’ve studied there for a few months, and I absolutely love it. Second, they’re starting to learn French at school, so an excellent way to get familiar with the language and culture. And finally, because it’s PARIS, the city that makes believe in love, so that’s more than enough reasons for me. Here’s a few tips for romance in Paris for two.

(Ok, I also found an affordable direct flight from Funchal and with Xmas coming soon why not “offer something different this year”, so the Eiffel Tower was my gift for the 3 of us.)

Altough I don’t like to admit it, I still find it scary to go on holiday alone with my kids. I say to myself “you can do this”, and I try to transmit as much confidence as one possibly can, but sometimes it’s not that simple.

As a parent, you know how stressful it can be to travelling with kids. They don’t have the same resistance as us when it comes to finding your way in a new city, nor the same understanding that things don’t ever go as planned, so some support from a partner is always needed, if not available, just make sure you sleep well…

However, travelling with your family is one of the best experiences for me, especially with my kids. Some people say, they won’t remember when they grow old, and whether that’s true for a four-year-old, at the age my kids are now, ten onwards I know that they’ll remember it plus I do think it’s the best way to open their heads and hearts.

I must say that the terrorist attacks did put us off at some point, since what we’ve seen on TV is so present in our minds. However I’m a believer that life is a daring adventure, and we must fight our fears, as much as we can. I’m not saying that we should put our kids in danger, of course, but for me, it’s important to show them the world, instead of merely telling them about it.

(The first day they went on the metro there was a homeless man shouting “strange words” and pointing his finger at us, and that was scary even for me, yet overcoming that uncomfortable situation safely, somehow reassures you. After day one we felt confortable in the metro.)

I believe travelling helps you to feel empathy towards others and helps kids understand that some people don’t get an easy way in life. Also you learn you shouldn’t judge people by their appearance. It also makes kids more conscious of the differences in the world, how big it is, how many different people are out there and other things you can’t understand in books, you have to see it for yourself. We’ve been lucky, to have a safe, enjoyable experience in Paris, yet of course, you should always use common sense and your sixt sense.

Where to stay in Paris as a single parent?
When I searched for hotels for kids in Paris, there were many options and many budgets…
One of the most recommended hotels for kids was Le Bristol but paying so musch money per night was out of the question.

I came up with this list of places to stay in Paris with Kids:
Yooma Urban Lodge – good for big families
Mama Shelter – excellent for any age…
citizenM Paris La Défense – good value for money yet a little distance from the city centre but with good transport connections
citizenM Paris Gare de Lyon – we stayed here and loved it! (Ok if you’re three people, one kid up to 10 years old can stay in your bedroom otherwise if he’s older than 10, you have to book another room, so keep that in mind.)

What to expect in citizenM?

To have fun! You’ll get KING XL beds, rain shower, free movies on demand, iPad to control bedroom, mood lights, stylish design and decor. The lights installation at the entrance hall was love and first sight. The whole staff is lovely including a Portuguese (unfortunately you don’t remember his name) who was super friendly with us.

(When we arrived the blinds from our room were not working so we complained, and within a few minutes they changed our bedroom, to 1402 up on the 14th floor. We got lucky as the view was just stunning!)

Breakfast is excellent, the best-scrambled eggs of my life, fresh red fruits and delicious detox juices. You can pay individually for each item if you don’t want the full breakfast, so pay for what you eat is a great option. We felt home, well looked after and with the luxury of a top hotel in a lovely location, right next to Gare de Lyon and Austerlitz, very convenient.

How to get from the Orly Airport to the hotel and vice-versa?
You can get a bus plus train to Gare d’ Austerlitz, but there’s a fixed rate of 35€ by taxi, so we took that comfortable choice.

What to do in Paris with Kids?
Forget Euro Disney unless it’s their dream destination, if so go there and stay there the whole time, don’t even bother with the rest. But if you want to experience true Paris, stay in the capital and live the most of it.

What can you experience in 2 days in Paris with Kids?
1- Go to a typical bistro and enjoy the French food. We went to Chez Janou, and it was really good, just make sure you make a reservation before.
2- Eat a Nutella crepe in the streets and watch them folding it.
3- Stop and listen to the street musicians, they’re usually super talented.
4- Spot the variety of dogs walking along the streets and parks, yep we love dogs…
5- Ride on one of the Belle époque Carrousels spread around the city to feel the magic.
6- Play in one of the city parks, as the one next to the Eiffel Tower which is great.


7- Taste a macaron or a cake in La Durée.
8- Have a croissant in a historical café like Les Deux Magots and watch the world go by.
9- See the crows in the lakes of Tuileries gardens.
10- Go window shopping in Galeries LaFayette.
11- Take a bus tour in Paris and learn a bit of history.
12- Have a special night out – choose karaoke, bowling, cinema, theatre…We went to Hard Rock Café Paris.
13- Meet the locals. Here’s a nice tour for Kids in Paris with locals.
14- Go to Trocadéro and see who takes the best picture grabbing the Eiffel Tower with your fingers..hehehe


15- Take the Nintendo 3DS tour in the Louvre Museum – it only takes 50 minutes and shows you the most important masterpieces in the museum, plus you have no problem finding your way out, kids will guide you with the Nintendo
16-Visit Orsay Museum – next time they speak at school about Rodin, Monet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gogh, Matisse, Gaugin, it will ring a bell.


17- Walkaround. Visit the île de la citê to see the Notre Dame and to Montmartre to see the Sacré Cour.
18- Watch someone painting art in Place du Tertre.
19- See the colourful sculptures in Place George Pompidou
20-Take a souvenir photo in a classic Photomaton of Gare de Lyon

If you go on winter to Paris, make sure to take leggings for kids to dress under their trousers. Dress them in scarfs, hats and warm jackets.

The best of visiting Paris in winter is fewer crowds and no waiting in lines anymore.

Show them how to buy metro tickets and find their way to a metro station, it will be useful for their future! One of the best nights we had was meeting some friends we have in Paris. Travelling is always better when you meet nice people. Parisians, contrary to the common belief, were super friendly, from the taxi drivers to the locals in the streets, to the waiters in restaurants.

From Paris we bring stories, we bring pictures but most of all we bring the strength of travelling as a family. The best Xmas gift is creating good memories together!

Merci Paris and Merry Xmas 2017!

If you like this blog, give me the gift of subscribing it. I don’t write as often as I would like so don’t worry, I won’t fill up your inbox…:) Enjoy the Xmas Holiday!

Holidays in Dubai | 4 days itinerary

4 days of holiday in Dubai

I just got back from Dubai. It was a last minute travel, without much planning or preparation.

The reason for a trip to Dubai? A direct and cheap flight from Emirates from Lisbon to Dubai, my niece’s residency in Dubai and travel to an unknown destination were more than enough reasons for me to get going.

Arriving in Dubai was exciting, seeing family we have not seen for a long time, for me, is always good. We arrived at Dubai Airport at 1 am and as the metro no longer works at that hour we booked a transfer from Dubai Airport to our apartment.

We stayed in the Dubai Marina area in this apartment. It has an excellent location and is a spacious apartment with capacity for 8 people. Good value for money.

Greetings from Dubai. Let’s see what the living the luxury means…💫

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November is a great time to visit Dubai. The lower temperatures (average 25º C) allow you to walk comfortably in the street and enjoy the beach without stinging in the sun.

First impressions of Dubai?

Dubai smells good. It is a vast, clean, safe city, great for kids and adults, organised, easy to like at first glance. There are incredible buildings, including the world’s most massive tower (the Burj Khalifa), gold markets, spices, perfumes, many hotels and shopping centres. There is good taste in architecture, in restaurants, in cars and even in gyms. There are lots of plastic surgery clinics, tanning centres (unbelievably), countless Rolls Royce, Tesla, Lamborghinis and Ferraris that fill the first row of shopping malls. The cars registration numbers are paid, the lower the number the higher the prestige. Registration number 1 is from the Sheikh. Taxis and cars are very cheap and the apartments expensive. The taxes are low but the fines are high (that’s what we were told). Fines are paid for crossing the traffic light in the yellow light or crossing the street on foot, without being at the crosswalk.

I did not see many dogs on the street, but I saw some cats moving around the city. On the roads and walks you cannot see many bicycles or children walking, however, the shopping centres are full of families. There is also a vast seafront promenade with fabulous views and the marinas are filled with yachts of all sizes and shapes. Knowing that this city was built in the desert, it is impressive its size and infrastructures. The construction never stops, whether day or night but at what price? Will there be an offer for so much development? It seems so. Dubai is active in tourism.

Simultaneously, Dubai is an Islamic city with several traditions. There are many times of the day where the chants echo loudly from the loudspeakers of the city mosques. At first it’s strange then it becomes comforting.

What does Dubai look like?

Dubai is a city like I’ve never seen before. It welcomes people from all over the world, looking for better opportunities in life.

It has a frenetic pace, a lot of traffic, a lot of work and a lot of fun. It has a World Trade Center similar to New York, several leisure parks, many restaurants and beaches that resemble a Caribbean postcard.

There is luxury and ostentation. There is also friendliness, good morning smiles and thank you  greetings, excellent hospitality and good restaurants. There is security and rules to comply with the penalty of paying hefty fines. There is no alcohol for sale in supermarkets or restaurants, and there are specific places to smoke. It is a city of stars, lights, fireworks, bright and colourful fountains.

Dubai is a city that makes us believe that there is nothing impossible. In Dubai anything is possible, that’s what, in my opinion, is this city’s identity card.
What are the attractions not to miss in Dubai?

Going to Dubai without seeing the Palm Tree is like not going to Dubai at all… Try the Hop in-Hop Off bus circuit.

Take a guided tour of Abu Dhabi – Be fascinated by the Mosque and the Louvre of Abu Dhabi.

Visit something different like the Global Village and the Miracle Garden.

Take the instagram photo in Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab Hotel.

Where to go shopping in Dubai?

Dubai Mall, Emirates Mall ,Dubai Outlet Mall, Box ParkSouk Deira and Kitesurf Beach.

Where can you go to the beach in Dubai?

La mer e Kitesurf beach.

la mer dubai

La mer dubai La mer dubai La mer beach Dubai

Where to stay in Dubai?

Luxury  – Jumeirah Beach Hotel, One&Only, Burj Al Arab, Versace Hotel.

Jumeirah hotel

Accomodation with good value for money: Atana HotelApartaments to rent no Dubai.Dubai

As one friend of mine used to say; “Dubai is the Euro Disney of the adults”. I agree.

The Euro Disney smile…:)

streetartfunchal

Where to find street art in Funchal?

Street art in Funchal. Street art is one of the things I love the most while travelling in cities like Athens, Copenhagen, ParisPorto and Lisbon.

I love the way street art blends into the buildings of a city and fills each nook and corner with colours and unexpected food for thoughts…

#paris #latergram #pigalle

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Street art in Funchal is another great attraction of the Island. Besides findind street art in the painted doors of Rua de Santa Maria in the old town, there are other excellent pieces scattered around the city.




The other day I took my new camera for a walk. Yes, I forgot to mention to you, that I won a new camera in a competition in FNAC MADEIRA, and I couldn’t be happier. Check my Instagram pictures to see the winning shots.
Back to the street art, here are 5 of my favourite street art spots in Funchal:

Marcos Milewski, a baleia. 2017

streetartfunchal

Love ❤️

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Find it! Auto-silo do Campo da Barca.

Bárbara Gil:

Zapruder 2015

streetartfunchal

Find it! Auto-silo do Almirante Reis
“The Chef” 2016
Find it! Estrada Monumental, Hotel Baía Azul

Olliemoonsta, 2012

Find it! Porto do Funchal

Tiago Machado e Wolfgang Lass, 2011/2012

streetartfunchal

Find it! Rua de Santa Maria 105

Kim Hana, 2012

Find it! Rua de Santa Maria nº 247

Lígia Gonçalves, 2011

Curious… #cy365august

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Find it! Rua de Santa Maria nº 220

Gabriel Motta, 2011

Find it! Travessa das Torres nº1

If you’re visiting If you’re visiting the Island, check my tips about Madeira 😉



Enjoy!

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10 Getaways in Madeira

Hotels and apartments in Madeira10 Getaways in Madeira

 

Back to work and already missing the holidays? The feeling is mutual … 🙂

Madeira Island is such a great holiday destination with lots of excellent locations all over the Island.

I leave you 10 places to stay in Madeira. Some I’ve tried myself, others I can’t wait to try.

Here are my suggestions:

  1. Vila Cais da Gaivota – Caniçal
  2. Solar da Bica – São Vicente
  3. Porto Bay Serra Golf– Santo da Serra
  4. Quinta das Vinhas – Calheta
  5. Saccharum Hotel Resort & SPA– CalhetaSaccharum Hotel
  6. Atrio – Estreito da Calheta
  7. Aqua Sea House – Madalena do Mar
  8. Hotel Quinta da Serra – Jardim da SerraHotel Quinta da serra
  9. Casa do Velho Dragoeiro – Porto Santo
  10. Barracão 23 – Porto Santo

Wishing you a happy getaway!

Travel Guide to Madeira for my AIRBNB guests | 2017

Hotels and apartments in Madeira



Free Travel tips To Madeira

Great places to eat, see and enjoy - tips from a local!

(I did this guide once for one of my Airbnb guests that came to Madeira for the first time. They wanted some good recommendations for hiking locations, spots by the sea, must see’s, must eat and must do’s on the Island. Also some tips for Funchal. This choice was based on my personal preferences and on the feedback I get from my Airbnb guests. I’ve decided to share it on the blog so that you can use it, save it and share it, as an extra help to planning your stay. Hope you enjoy it and find it useful. )

Obs: there are no pictures so that you can print it without running out of ink on your printer 🙂 But please do check my Instagram account frommadeiratomars for inspiration.

If you’re coming to Funchal, you should allow yourself at least three nights stay. There’s so much to see, taste and enjoy, you’ll leave with the will to come back for more, or at least I hope you do, with my tips :). If you want to explore the full Island, then come for at least six nights and make the most of your time. I usually recommend that you rent a car unless you don’t enjoy driving. In that case, you can book tours, explore by bus or make arrangements with a private taxi.

From the airport to Funchal, unless you rent a car, do book a taxi previously, or take the Aerobus – it’s usually the cheaper options.

But before we start, there are three things you should know about Madeira:

  • First, we love tourists, and we’re used to having their company all year, so most people speak a foreign language, mostly English.
  • Second, check the weather. It could be a sunny day in Funchal and rain in the West part of the Island. We are a tropical Island, and we can reach 500 mt above sea level in 30′ drive which means it can get cold up there, and although we’re very close to Africa, we can have all seasons in one day. ” Carry a jacket, just in case. Also, check the weather at this site which displays live webcams from different parts of the island. Also if the weather is not okay for some reason, check this post for rainy days inspiration.
  • Third, be prepared to relax.Whether it’s the climate, the sea, the friendly people, the food, the wine or the natural beauty, you’ll figure it out. Don’t pack too many attractions in one day, and please don’t go all around the Island in one day. The roads are full of curves; you ‘ll get car sickness! I´ll try to be more convincing by telling you a secret, I live here for over 30 years, and there are places I’ve never been, so keep this in your mind while planning your stay; just because it’s an Island doesn’t mean you have to see it all on one visit.

WHAT TO EAT/DRINK



Remember these words or print them. 🙂

“Bolo do caco” typical bread with garlic butter, “Brisa Maracuja”passion fruit, local fizzy drink, “Coral”, local beer, “poncha” is strong but deliciously sweet  rum drink, (try the flavour passion fruit).

Tomato soup with poached egg,  “milho frito”, fried corn in little cubes, “lapas”, limpets.

“Bolo e broas de mel”, honey cake and biscuits, “rebucados de funcho” fennel sweets and “queijada”, cottage cheese cake, they sell in coffee shops (I like the one from La vie shopping, top floor near the piano, btw the pasteis de nata are very good too).

If you’re not vegetarian, you can also try “espetada” beef cubes on a stick, “peixe espada”scabbard fish, and “bife de atum” tuna steak.

And of course, the unforgettable Madeira wine,  have a visit to the wine cellars for a tasting session, check this article for inspiration. If you go to Câmara de Lobos area, try the Nikita at Farol Verde (ice cream with beer, I know it’s weird, but it tastes good and guess what it’s based on the Elton John song…”Nikita”… you’ll never know…)

And the cocktails at PUKIKI BAR in Estreito da Calheta are also damn good.!

You can also read this article about the six most typical dishes.

Restaurants in Funchal? Here are some of my favourites.

LUNCH: 9,50 € deals – BOHO BISTRO, CAFÉ MUSEU, 1811 Bistro & Wine Bar.

DINNER: Fine Dining in Madeira – read this article. Another good option is NINI DESIGN CENTRE/RISO for outstanding views/romantic night. In Lido: Basilico for Italian.

TYPICAL Madeiran Food – O TASCO, TABERNA MADEIRA, A BICA, OS COMBATENTES.

VEGETARIAN food – read this article.

BUDGET bites to eat,  check this list.

HIKING:



Oh, this is an endless journey to write about…

There are 2000 km of Levada walks (you know, those awesome water channels dig on the rocks ages ago) They will take you to an amazing forest called Laurissilva which is rare in the world because it disappeared in Europe during the ice age. Madeira has it. It’s green, magical, mystic and full of fresh air, century old trees and pure nature, nothing quite like this elsewhere in the world.

My favourites are Fanal/Rabaçal (25fontes)/Ponta de São Lourenço – chech miradouro PONTA DO ROSTRO! /Pico do Areeiro/Pico Ruivo/ Caldeirão Verde/Castelejo/Portela/Ribeiro Frio/ Balcões + For food try FAÍSCA .

Be careful while doing these walks, the weather can change dramatically, so I recommend this site for more information.

WHAT TO SEE AND DO?



Hidden gems in Funchal.

Best spots in Madeira.

Like Museums.

Prefer Gardens.

Beach lovers.  I LOVE Praia Formosa in Funchal, especially by sunset/sunrise when there’s hardly anyone at the beach. You can walk along promenade do Lido all the way to Câmara de Lobos.

Just to feel like a local.

Are you travelling with children? Check this map for points of interest.

Need a therapeutic retreat.

A day in Funchal: Start at the city park Santa Catarina, walk along Avenida Arriaga, see the Theatre and Visit the Cathedral, the Town Hall and the Farmers Market.  Walk into the old town and enjoy the painted doors by local artists check out the gallery Caravel art centre. Reach Socorro Church and have a break at Barreirinha.  Take the cable car to Monte, and enjoy the ride up the hills. There is a beautiful Monte church and tropical garden to visit there. When you come down you have two options back on the cable car again or on the toboggan rides, wicker cars pushed by man “carreiros”, a classic. From the stop point at Livramento you can walk all the way down to Funchal, it’s about 30 minutes walk. Check the Praça do Mar with all the CR7 buzz and have an ice cream at one of the cafes or a pizza at CR7 hotel, they’re kind of good.  At night the old town is the busiest spot.

CHECK OUT THE NEW MAP USE-IT plus the app for the phone is pretty good too. (no wifi required).

SPOTS BY THE SEA:



Northwest Coast: Sao Vicente (with its lava caves),  via Serra d’agua/Encumeada, and Seixal ( the mini eco bar is a nice spot there to relax) and Porto Moniz and its beautiful natural lava pools. To eat, try the limpets rice at Seixal or the romaria soup at Porto Moniz.

Southwest Coast: Camara de Lobos(beautiful fisherman town) Restaurants there? I like Vila do Peixe, Ponta do Sol and ZION BAR (nice beach bar) Restaurants there? I like the Old Pharmacy, Jardim do Mar (for food try Joe’s bar or the grilled squid at Portinho), and Paul do Mar – Maktub (for sunset and mojitos), are some of my favourite locations. Calheta – the marina has a nice italian restaurant and icecream parlour. Mudas art museum is a must visit if you love architecture.

Northeast Coast – Take the cable car to the nature reserve Rocha do Navio in Santana – magic spot. Food? Try Quinta do Furão.

South East Coast: Machico (an artificial golden sand beach, this is a town located in the biggest valley of  Madeira) See the art door around the centre, far less crowded than Funchal and has some very cool art scenes). Porto da Cruz (Food: A PIPA, check the sugar cane factory next door)  and Caniçal (see the new bar in town – Ritual do Sal – Praia da Ribeira do Natal) Restaurants? Tasquinha do Pescador e Amarelo are some of my favourites.

SHOPPING



Madeira has three main Shopping Malls, 2 of them with a cinema (movies are mostly shown in the original language), many international brands are there. If you’re looking for souvenirs here are my tips: For wine, I would advise buying it at the airport, because of the liquid carrying restrictions in aeroplanes. Although you have much more options in the wine cellars, just make sure you can carry it on the aeroplane. For food and souvenirs there are shops with Portuguese brands, here are some stores – read this.

NIGHTLIFE



My favourite spots are Barreirinha Bar Café, Copacabana Garden, hole in one (typical Irish bar) and Vintage bar in the old town. As for discos: Marginal, jam and Vespas for late night dancing.

DTOX AND LIVING ROOM start late around midnight/1 am but are also cool.

So many choices so little time, leave something for next time and come back again 🙂

Have a lovely Holiday! 

P.S. If you’re a beach lover, please include a day trip or a night stays in Porto Santo Island, in one word: Paradise! Check this article on things to do and places to stay in Porto Santo.

(In Madeira Island, you’ll find pebbles “calhau” beaches or black sand which is beautiful, unique and typical of its volcanic origin. It might not be very comfortable to reach water (wearing neoprene shoes might be a good solution) that’s why in most beaches, there are piers with ladders to the sea. However there are a few of beaches with sand in Madeira which I really like such as Porto do Seixal beach, Banda d’Além Beach and Prainha.)

You can always reach me on Facebook or Instagram, feel free to ask for tips. Have fun. 🙂



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Obrigada! ( that’s what you say if you’re a girl, if you’re a boy you say obrigado).