Latest Posts


Direct Flights to Madeira – From?

Today I was talking to a friend about the destinations with direct flights to Madeira. After all, from which destinations can we travel directly to  Madeira, without stopovers in Lisbon or Porto (or any other city).

direct flights to madeira

Sometimes it becomes difficult to find the time to travel to new destinations due to this limitation of the stopovers. Especially when traveling with children, the comfort of a direct flight it’s worth a lot while picking the destination. In addition, time is short and we do not want to miss days in transit at airports.

I have prepared this table, with all destinations with direct flights to Madeira Airport, at the present. I hope it helps you to travel to Madeira.

You can check here the list of airlines for each destination.


If you are looking for accommodation, see the best deals on hotels and apartments in Booking and check out my Airbnb!


Milho Cozido of Madeira – My Mother’s Recipe

Milho Cozido or baked corn is a typical dish of the Island of Madeira.

It is often found in restaurants in the area, fried in the form of cubes, as a side dish to meat or fish.

Some people compare it to Polenta, a typical dish of Italian cuisine.

According to the book “Elucidário Madeirense”, the corn culture is an old tradition in Madeira, but it was in 1847 that Laureano da Câmara Falcão, better known as Morgado of Ilha, developed it in the parishes of Santana and São Jorge. In 1853 appeared a law which exempted the payment of tithes from what was produced on earth and it constituted the feeding base of two-thirds of the Madeiran population.

This corn potato dish still remains in our days, and it’s delicious.

Here is the recipe we use at home and a small video about it: IMG_1807.TRIM

Looking for a Hotel for Kids in Madeira? Discover Vila Porto Mare!

Looking for a Hotel for Kids in Madeira? Discover Vila Porto Mare!

These Easter Holidays, me and my family spent a few days at Vila Porto Mare. The goal was straightforward: rest, comfort, open air, good food and fun. We were not interested in leaving the hotel, and we were looking for a Resort that would offer us this possibility, in Madeira.

We found the answer to our request, in Vila Porto Mare, at Funchal.

Vila Porto Mare brings together three hotels: Éden Mar, Porto Mare and The Residence. All facilities are shared regardless of the hotel you stay. It allows you access to 13,000 m2 of tropical gardens, several restaurants, bars, Spa, several pools (including heated pools and for children), gym, Kids Club and various sports.

Location of Vila Porto Mare

Vila Porto Mare is located in the coastal area of ​​Funchal. Nearby you will find several restaurants, bars, bathing complexes with access to the sea, a considerable promenade that allows access to Formosa Beach, a shopping centre and public transportations.

If you wish, you can walk (about 30 minutes) to get to the marina or the Cathedral. The hotel provides a free shuttle bus to the old town.

Bedrooms of Vila Porto Mare

We stayed in Hotel Porto Mare in a standard triple room with a sea view balcony.

The room was very spacious, the beds were very comfortable and had a bathroom with a bathtub, “Rituals” products, bathrobes and an extra strong drier.

Foto gentilmente cedida por PortoBay Hotels

Gardens of Vila Porto Mare

They are vast, colourful and smell good. We can even hear the little birds sweet chirp. There are about 500 species of plants, adequately identified: tropical fruit trees, endemic species and endless orchids. Some butterflies fly over them and all the shades of green you can imagine. They provide shade, refuge and the feeling of being in an oasis, where we rest and recover our breath.

Orquídeas – ver vídeo

 Restaurants and Bars of Vila Porto Mare

There are five restaurants in Vila Porto Mare. Il Basilico, Med and the Balcony bar have children’s menus. The Buffet at Atlântida Restaurant is diverse with choices for the youngest. Do not miss Portofino Bar or Oceano Bar for an appetiser during Happy Hour plus live music.

If you’re looking forward to enjoying an adults-only night, you can book a Babysitter. In Vila Porto Mare it is possible. An hour of Babysitting during the day costs about € 10 and at night (from 10 pm), costs around € 15.

Swimming pools, SPA and other activities at Vila Porto Mare

There are five swimming pools: 3 outdoor (one for children), and two indoor. One of the heated pools also has indoor and outdoor areas with a Jacuzzi. Pool towels are provided free of charge.

As soon as we arrived at the SPA, we entered a magical world of relaxation. There are lots of treatments available for one or two at a time.

You can also practice sports like squash, tennis, or minigolf. The gym is complete and opens from 7 am to 9 pm.

If you fancy shopping, you’ll find traditional souvenirs at the Café Court craft fair, and beautiful Svarovsky crystal jewellery at the Hotel’s shop.

For the children:
The children feel welcome from the first moment, as they receive a map and a leaflet with 10 activities during check-in.
Mini golf
Table tennis
Board games/cards.
Indoor and outdoor pools
Room with toys
Wii sports console
Kids Club

The rental of sports equipment is paid separately and has an average cost of € 2 per hour.

The Kids Club is for children from 4 to 12 years old. It runs during school vacations, and in the summer, from 11-12h a.m. and 3-4h p.m. During two hours a day, parents can enjoy some time just for adults (and well deserved!). Our Kids Club program included painting, traditional games, balloon modelling, storytelling, bowling, water games, puppet-making and egg-hunting.


What I liked most about this resort was its ability to provide us with a stress-free holiday.

Sometimes, when travelling with children, we end up the holiday more tired than at the beginning because of the constant search for activities and restaurants which are appealing to everyone. This was not the case.

The diversity and extension of the tropical gardens were surprising.

Although the resort was full, we did not feel rushed. The tables were always set to welcome us and enjoy the stay.

I can not forget to mention the staff, always professional, polite and attentive. As I walked in the corridors, I got greetings and a smile.

At this Hotel, children have the freedom to play, swim, look at the sky with the sea on the horizon.

All that a family holiday should be, Vila Porto Mare made it happen.

Thank you.

Would you like to stay at this Hotel?

My stay at the Vila Porto Mare was courtesy of PortoBay, but the views expressed are my own.

5 Ways to use Madeira Embroidery

5 Ways to use Madeira Embroidery

I grew up with Madeira Embroidery. It was in the dress of my first party, on the tablecloths of my birthday and the sheets of my children’s crib. My mother knows how to embroider and tried to teach me, but without success. Times were different, and there were many other distractions…

However, I learned to give value to Madeira Embroidery when I realised how much time, hand expertise and devotion exists in the construction of each piece. Each point has its science, transmitted from mothers to daughters, from embroiderer to embroiderer. I love the names they give to each point: the “garanitos” (for beginners), the shadow points, the “cavacas”, the “bastides”, the widows (viúvas) among others.

Touching a piece of Madeira Embroidery is realising what tradition means.

It is the softness of cotton or linen, and the delicacy of each line pulled by a needle worked with saliva and sweat. Being an embroiderer was once the financial support of most Madeiran women. It is not a profession for anyone; it requires tenacity, concentration, perfection and a lot of desire to work. May the embroiderers never end and continue to be part of the Madeiran culture.

I hope Madeira Embroidery endures and continues to cross borders (as it always did) for its quality, beauty and perfection.

Buying a piece of Madeira Embroidery is not cheap, that’s for sure, but it’s also not expensive if you think about the time dedicated to each piece. If I tell you that the onesie of one of these photographs costs € 25, what do you think, expensive or cheap? It’s all a matter of perspective. Moreover, we are supporting the local economy, “which is ours and is so good that it gives us such pleasure to buy”. Who has ever slept in a bed with sheets of Madeira Embroidery knows what I’m talking about – delicious!

Here are five ways to use Madeira Embroidery:
Lady's Blouse Madeira Embroidery
Madeira Embroidery Cushion
Madeira Embroidery Towels
Baby clothes / Bathrobe Madeira Embroidery
Madeira Embroidery Table Cloth

These pieces are available for sale at www.linoandaraujo.comor Rua dos Murças nº 2, 8 and 19, Funchal, Madeira.

See you soon and good shopping!

Visit Sistelo, a wonderful village of Portugal!

Visit Sistelo, a wonderful village of Portugal!

This article is the testimony of my last trip to the North of Portugal. “Writing & travelling Atelier – four days trip with the Portuguese author Raquel Ochoa“.

I finally arrive at Sistelo.
A cat walks around my legs as if he was greeting me home. The sheep approach the Largo of the illustrious Viscount of Sistelo and look at me curiously as if to pose for the photograph.

With about three hundred inhabitants, there is no day there that hasn’t got a story to be remembered.
In the bar, a woman straightens the chairs already leaning against the rain. The neighbour on the side opens the door with a loud “Bom dia!”.
Good morning was not the best word to describe that day because rain was pouring down, but the joy of the arrival of our group fills the day with hope. Even the sun seems to break through the clouds, even if just for a few seconds.

As I walk through the streets, I see the granaries or canisters, religiously aligned, as soldiers fulfilling their mission. They keep the village cereals, the beans and the corn. They accuse the passage of years, surmounted by inscribed dates and gleaming moss.

Everything and everyone in Sistelo sounds like the good old days, giving it a unique grace. The fountain, in the centre of the square, marks the meeting point and the details of the houses invite us to curiosity. Iron staircases, stone steps, sheer white draperies and half-open wooden doors are typical of a village where peace reigns. There is only one bar open in Sistelo, right next to the “Tasquinha”. It’s simple because life here wants to be like this. The conversations run smoothly, through the weather, the cousins, the photographs on the wall and the wine made by the grandson (delicious by the way).

How lucky to live in such a place … I sighed.
“Luck or bad luck,” a Sistelense soon replied.
“That the beauty of isolation has its price, but here, at least, no one dies at home and is only discovered days later! And it continued… If they do not appear until 10 a.m. in the streets, that means that we’ll go to their house to figure out what is happening! “
I shut up with that smile you get after an unexpected answer.

Since Sistelo was nominated one of the most beautiful villages in Portugal, it is slowly combating desertification. Tourists (mainly Spanish) are attracted by the famous terraces or “vertical cultivation ladders” that gave Sistelo the name “Tibetan Portugal”. I can not confirm that the name was well attributed because I’ve never been to Tibet, but I enjoyed what I saw. The Madeiran in me made me soon remember “the poios” of Madeira.

Portugal is like this, a box full of surprises. Everything so far away and yet so close.

I would like to stay there longer, to walk on those trekking paths and get lost in conversations with the locals Sistelenses. I imagine myself sitting in the little chair of the small bar or the wall next to the Church contemplating the mountain range of Penedo. We would indeed have lots of stories to share, good food, good wine and tranquillity.

Do you want more reasons to visit Sistelo? I leave you with a video of this beautiful village of Portugal.

Nearby there is much more to be discovered.
I suggest a visit to Paço de Giela, one of the most interesting and best preserved medieval houses I’ve ever been to. Stop at the Soajo, where a beautiful family of granaries (plus a black and white cat) contemplate one of the most breathtaking views I’ve seen. Of course, I do not forget to recommend, Arcos de Valdevez, where the river Vez flows (the least polluted river in Europe). Or let’s call it “Arcos de Valdevez where Portugal was made”, and where there are Arcuenses like Francisco, whom I met in the Library made me feel so proud of my country. There is nothing like the warmth of Portuguese hospitality, my friends!

Where to stay in Sistelo?

You can stay at Grandfather’s –Casa do Avô, at theCasa da Ferreirinhaor Casas da Peneda.

Festivals and Pilgrimages in Sistelo?

There are many! Check out the sites for more info.


One night at WC Beautique Hotel

WC by The Beautique Hotels

People who are risking new ideas fascinate me. The first time, the first concept and in this case, WC Beautique Hotel was the first hotel that…

Nini Andrade Silva “does not follow trends, she creates them”, and she was the designer who risked this brilliant idea. Fortunately for us, the Beautique Hotels chain embraced this project, devoid of prejudice.

Have you ever considered sleeping in WC Beautique Hotel?

WC Beautique Hotel

WC Beautique Hotel

It is located in the Intendente, a trendy district.
If this neighbourhood is a trend in Lisbon, the WC Beautique Hotel is a trendsetter!

This is the first and only hotel inspired by a luxury bathroom!

How did I sleep at the WC Beautique Hotel?

I can tell you that it was great and that I slept beautifully. The bathtub, right at the foot of the bed, reminded me of the pleasures of a long bath. The water-coloured tiles on the walls combined with the velvet curtains and the stainless steel lamp in the shape of a drop of water formed a unique ensemble. The shower, toilet, sink and shower make a perfect family in this bathroom. The mirrors extend the experience, and the jewellery boxes are cute accessories. The elements, the textures and the sensations bring tranquillity and freshness to the soul.

WC Beautique Hotel

WC Beautique Hotel

WC Beautique Hotel

WC Beautique Hotel

WC Beautique Hotel

What is the restaurant like at WC Beautique Hotel?

“Banho” is the name of the restaurant of this hotel. I ate shrimp risotto, and it was a real “flavour bath”. As I left the hotel at 6 am in the morning, I could not enjoy the breakfast buffet. However, the hotel is kind enough to prepare a treat for its early birders: sandwiches, cakes and fruit.

Helpful, the fact that they did not charge the drinks that were in the minibar in the room. I only leave a suggestion; not charging the water at the restaurant, starting from the same principle.

WC Beautique Hotel

WC Beautique Hotel
WC Beautique Hotel

What surprised me most about this hotel?

The details. This hotel exudes good taste from floor to ceiling. It is a hotel whose design was thought to the maximum detail; it touches all our senses. The colour of the ever-present water, the scent of perfume emanated at the reception, the sound of softly falling water and the soft touch of bath towels and bed sheets. I felt that each piece of design was judiciously chosen.

It is an open-minded hotel, prone to new emotions.

A story:
One afternoon, I get into the elevator with one of the receptionists. She wore a pair of silk pyjamas, blue and with a soft pink line. She wore high-heeled pink shoes. I found her the most elegant receptionist I’ve ever seen. What grace, what comfort, and what originality only in this detail. I also wondered how lucky she was to be able to “work in her pyjamas” and what a pity that I could not buy an equal one at the reception! 🙂

WC Beautique Hotel

WC Beautique Hotel

And so it was with this ability to surprise me (even in an elevator) that I bid farewell to W.C. Beautique Hotel.

WC Beautique Hotel

Location: Avenida Almirante Reis 35, 1150-018 Lisbon (Intendente metro station is less than 1 minute walk away)

Book the WC Beautique Hotel here.

Book tours, attractions, and activities in Lisbon online

My stay was courtesy of WC Beautique Hotel but the opinions expressed are my own.

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!

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 ♥







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!

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.

(Click on the names of the hotels to check their prices!)

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

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…

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.

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.

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.

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 ♥?