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Where to watch the New Year’s Eve Fireworks in Funchal?

Where to watch the New Year’s Eve Fireworks in Funchal?

Most people would agree that the best spot to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Funchal is from the sea. And, even though it is quite spetacular, there are many other great alternatives in the city.

Funchal Bay from the sea

Here are a few suggestions of viewpoints where you can get (for free), a nice perpective of Funchal fireworks!

Palheiro Ferreiro

Pico dos Barcelos
Parque de Santa Catarina
Fortaleza do Pico
Rua dos EUA
Miradouro das Cruzes

Garajau is just outside the city, but the perspective is beautiful as well.


So get together with your loved one, grab your bottle of champagne and keep those New Year’s wishes flowing – let’s make it a good one!

Where are you watching the fireworks this year? Please leave your comment below. 🙂

Happy New Year 2019 ❤︎

Vereda do Pico Branco e Terra Chã

Porto Santo trails – Vereda do Pico Branco e Terra Chã

Porto Santo trails – Vereda do Pico Branco and Terra Chã

Last weekend, we took a trip to Porto Santo. We were in need of its peace.

Porto Santo

We walked from the boat to the hotel Praia Dourada – 40 minutes walk by the sea. We could see the reflection of the moon in the ocean, listen to the waves and see stars in the sky. We even sang along a few Queen songs (since we recently saw the Bohemian Rhapsody movie).

On the next morning, our deserved rest arrived. We were deep in sleep after a busy week. Despite the 19ºC outside, there was wind and some rain, so we thought twice if we would do the Vereda do Pico Branco and Terra Chã – and I’m happy we went.

How to get to Pico Branco and Terra Chã?

To get at the trail’s beginning, you can drive to the path’s entrance, via Portela. It is easy to find – you’ll see a sign and place for parking. To get there from the centre of Vila Baleira, it´s about 15 minutes drive by car and by taxi it costs about 14 euros.
The Pico Branco and Terra Chã are both accessible by this path. It takes about 2 hours to get to Pico Branco, and then we go back to reach the house of Terra Chã (400 meters). We then take the same return route to the parking lot.

It is not easy to find adjectives that do justice to the beauty of this place – charming, irreverent, unexpected, magical …
Enchanting because the trail surrounds the peak and we get glimpses of the mountains, the cliffs, the beach, the sea, and the beautiful hills.
Irreverent, because it is a tour of contrasts. There are some ascents and descents, which are made either with light tracks or tough steps. It’s like life (somebody said). It has the shade from trees and offers strong emotions, overwhelmed by the contours of the rocks, unexpected sights and vertiginous passages where your heart beats faster. Although it’s not too difficult overall, it has some unprotected areas, which deserve special care – we went with a guide.
Magical – because Porto Santo has this ability to calm your soul.

 I leave you with some photos of the Vereda do Pico Branco and Terra Chã:

Vereda do Pico Branco Porto Santo

Vereda do Pico Branco Porto SantoVereda do Pico Branco Porto Santo e terra chã

There was still time for a stroll around the center and a walk on the beach.

Vila Baleira Porto SAntoPraia do Porto SantoAs a friend of mine said a few years ago, no one should visit Madeira without discovering Porto Santo’s nature.

Here’s the tip – a getaway to Porto Santo in November;)

40 Photos that will make you want to visit Porto Santo
Book your hotel here.

Levada Rabaçal Madeira

The day I went chasing Rabaçal waterfalls – a Levada walk in Madeira

The day I went chasing Rabaçal waterfalls – a Levada walk in Madeira

Last September, Hit the road Madeira launched a new walk to Rabaçal, in the west part of Madeira. Their goal was to show visitors the beautiful waterfalls of Rabaçal, away from the busy, best-known Levada of the 25 fountains.

Let me tell you more about Rabaçal Waterfalls Hike…

PICK UP was at 8:45. The meeting point was in Funchal old town, near the cable car. There were 4 of us plus the driver Vitor and mountain guide Lisa. First, we stopped at Ponta do Sol to buy lunch in a cosy bakery with affordable prices, but you can also bring a “picnic” lunch if you prefer.

The Levada hike was 14 km and lasted about 5 h 30 m. As we were walking in Levada trails, these are often irregular with roots, rocks and slippery puddles. You can also find tree branches right above your head. So, you need to be careful and pay attention to the security instructions. Luckily we had Lisa, who was always warning us in advance, so we could be more secure and enjoy the views. As for equipment, you also need mountain boots, waterproof jackets and trousers (in case it rains), backpack, gloves, beanie/hat and sun blocker. Mountain sticks can be helpful. There were some wood sticks available in the car that they lend us, which was an attentive detail. We were fortunate with the weather: a sunny day, blue skies and almost no wind.

Trekking begun in Levada do Alecrim towards the beautiful spot called Fonte do Lajeado (also known as Dona Beija Lagoon).

We then walked down to Lagoa Do Vento, where the path became a bit more challenging with steps and some slipping trails. But, OH so worth it, since we finally saw this huge, 100 meters waterfall and lagoon – Lagoa do Vento – what a marvellous sight. There were a few couples already there, enjoying the sunshine, the green peace and the blue skies, while listening to the powerful, yet calming sound of water. We found a nice corner to have a lunch picnic and had some extra time to relax.

After climbing back up, we kept walking towards a beautiful spot, that used to be the forest guards house of Rabaçal – Rabaçal Nature Spot Café. Besides being able to visit this unique location, we took a little break for tea and cake. Tip: Try the delicious Queijada cake, made from Madeiran cottage cheese.

The last part of the Rabaçal Waterfalls hike was towards the 800 meters Cavaleiro tunnel. Lisa gave us some flashlights to cross the tunnel, which is wide enough to be comfortably crossed, but, in some parts, you must be careful to lower your head, as Lisa pointed out. In the end, it opens in an unforgettable viewpoint. After a few more minutes walk, we could see Vitor’s car. We were back to Funchal around 17h15.

What was special about this walk?

It’s a beautiful, diverse and well-picked up route in Rabaçal. Although the trail is challenging in some parts,  it was overall relaxing.
The path wasn’t crowded (we could actually hear the silence of the forest, endemic birds like the chaffinch, and the water running in the Levada channel).
Since it was a small group of people, we had plenty of opportunities to take photographs and chat away, while being looked after by Lisa. She is a caring, passionate mountain guide with a lot of knowledge in Botanics. We saw outstanding mountain views, waterfalls and lagoons, right in the heart of the Madeiran laurel forest.

Here are my photos from the Rabaçal Waterfalls hike:

Rabaçal Levada

Lagoa do Vento Lagoa do Vento
Lagoa do Vento Lagoa do Vento

Levada Walk Madeira

Rabaçal Nature Spot Café Rabaçal Nature Spot Café

Levada do Alecrim detail Levada Walk

Levada do Alecrim | Lagoa Dona Beija ou Fonte do Lajeado
Levada walk Not bad for a November day…;)

mountain boots levada walk #fromwhereistand
Túnel do Cavaleiro, Madeira Túnel do Cavaleiro

Flowers in Madeira Levada walk

Levada do Alecrim Levada do Alecrim
Lagoa do Vento, Madeira Lagoa do Vento
Levada do Alecrim Tour Our guide Lisa – Hit the Road Madeira Tours
Lagoa do Vento, Madeira Can you spot the waterfall?

If you’re interested in this tour, click here book the Rabaçal Waterfalls Hike.
You can use the code MARS to get a 10% discount.

This tour was courtesy of Hit the road Madeira but the views expressed are my own.

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Photo Sessions in Madeira

Photo Sessions in Madeira

A couple of months ago I was looking at my Instagram feed, and I began to see these photos in Madeira that captured my attention.
There was something different about them, the light, the composition, the style, even the citation underneath! 🙂


As I scrolled the whole feed I loved every one of them, so I said to myself;
Who is Benjamin Begin?


View this post on Instagram

As always, pic by @kennylkemp

A post shared by Benjamin Begin | Photography (@benjamin_artwork) on

The bio linked to his website and there I found he did photo sessions.
I was looking for new pictures of my Airbnb, plus I wanted to capture the neighboorhood as well (plus I just had my new Walkingframe From Madeira to Mars t-shirt), so these photo sessions in Madeira, looked like the perfect match.



I sent Ben a direct message on Instagram, and that’s how we met and booked the photo session.
We got together for a coffee afterwards ( the pre-interview), and I told him what I was looking for. We picked the locations, time and date for the photo session. I also showed him some examples of photos that I liked. He asked me exactly what I wanted from the pictures, regarding mood, style and scenery and even how comfortable I was with being in front of the camera.
I picked two outfits and sent him the locations in advance to plan our time.
I agreed to do the half day session, and you can check here for prices.
Benjamin was very easygoing and chilled. We just took it one location at a time, with no rush but trying to make the most of it. Most importantly we both enjoyed the session and had a fun morning out. The meeting ended up with coffee at Legs Eleven (love this place and their logo btw) and exchanging ideas about social media.


When I received my pictures, I was very happy with the result.
Click here to see the Photos of the Airbnb
My Airbnb guests say that the photos and the comments were the things that matter the most when booking my apartment.
As for the outdoor photos, despite helping me promote the neighbourhood of the apartment, my blog, and Funchal in general, it was also a great way to create good memories of life.
Sometimes we forget that we can be a traveller in our city.

Photography is one of my passions but it’s nice to be on the other side of the camera too, and share those moments with people who think alike.

Allow me to introduce you to Ben:

“I’m Ben, born in 1985 in Strasbourg, the seven biggest cities in France, very traditional with his city centre classify to UNESCO program. I studied marketing, and always had a step into art, but more about paintings when I was living in France. I was doing graffiti, and canvas paintings before I’ve crossed the road of photography while living in Madeira Island. I came for a job, as my best friend created his company here in 2009 and requested my help in the marketing area. I started photography 5 years ago, as a pleasure, but it quickly took lots of space in my life.

Your favourite place to photograph in Madeira?

I would say fanal, pico do Areeiro, and north coast in general.  But the place doesn’t really matter. In photography, all is about light. And the light in Madeira is pretty awesome, especially in those months (September, October, November) so I love to shoot in any place at the moment the light is special.

Your favourite local food/restaurant?

The prego from Restaurante Balcony, the wellcom bar in town, and the seafood.
I was not into seafood before to come in Madeira, but this island changed my mind in lots of senses.

Your meeting point?

Mini Eco Bar in Funchal. I love so much to be there that I can even go alone to do nothing or enjoy a good cocktail, but most of the time, I know I’ll find someone I know there.

If a friend comes over to visit you, where would you take him?

Sunrise in Pico do Arieiro, for sure. Then one-day surfing in Porto da Cruz, best experience to appreciate Madeira is an unusual way, and the surf school are pretty good, friendly and professional in same time. And to do the Levada of Caldeirão Verde, which is for me the most “wow” Levada I did until now. I also like Fajã dos Padres, which I think still is an underrated place here. Time stop there, it’s a special place that I love a lot for many reasons.

What do you like the most about living here?

For sure the quality of life, the weather and the fact I realised one of my oldest dreams (a fantasy I can even say): being a surfer. So I would say that it’s my relationship with the ocean. I was living far away from the sea when I was living in Strasbourg, it was only for the summer holidays, and I always saw that as a privilege. So, to have it in front of me every day, it’s something I can’t get rid off.

What do you miss the most about France?

Food, and more specifically, CHEESE!

Your dream trip?

Bali with no hesitation, and all Asia in general. The dream of the dream would be a long road trip in all of Asia.
Iceland, just after.

Your motto?

My motto is not to have one. I don’t like too much fixing on one idea. I like to change my opinion when needed. But if I had to have one, is listen to your intuition more than people. Intuition is something very powerful. Intuition, and intention. I can see it in photography. My first intuition always gave me the best pictures. If you listen too much to people or try to please them, you’ll never do anything.

So, besides giving useful tips about Madeira, 🙂 I believe that Ben is a great photographer, reliable and professional, plus a good person to meet. Go ahead and book a photo session in Madeira with him. You can also follow his work on Instagram.


Thanks, Ben and good luck! 😉

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The L nights are back to Ponta do Sol!

The L Concerts return to Estalagem da Ponta do Sol! This Independent Music Festival officially started ten years ago, although, well before that, small concerts were already held. Personally, I remember with great joy the gigs I had the opportunity to attend.

Fotografia gentilmente cedida por Concertos L

I love the ambience … the worship, the relaxation and the sound that echoes in the wind, the sea and the perfect amphitheatre that is the Ponta do Sol.

Why should you go to these concerts?
Nuno Barcelos, responsible for this festival, gave us the answers:


L. L Concerts Why?

The name Concertos L appeared from an existing concept in the Estalagem da Ponta do Sol, the L – Community (community of members of the inn). L comes from Lifestyle, Leisure, among others …

What do you like most about this Festival?

The artistic freedom, its public and the place…

Not depending on brands, sponsorships or fashions, allows you to create a schedule free of pressures of any kind, and bring something different and innovative…

The audience, because we have the best attendance of Madeira, interested, respectful, of various ages and groups…

It happens in an unlikely place (for a music festival): a garden 80 meters high, with a bar, restaurant and hotel… Madeira at its best, on the scenery level.

What was the concert that impressed you the most so far?

I can not say “The concert” because we have already brought so many great names that it becomes very difficult. Remembering only a few, I can say that I was genuinely impressed with Sevdaliza, Tcheka, Jambinai, Ricardo Ribeiro, First Breath After Coma, among many others …

Fotografia gentilmente cedida por Concertos L

Which band are you most looking forward to seeing this year?

Once again it becomes difficult to tell a band but undoubtedly Kristoffer Lo, for the unique form as it presents its almost sensorial sound, Aisha Badru by the incredible voice, Edmar Castaneda for its genius in the instrument. Each artist was chosen because it is unique in their area. I am very curious to see everyone live and check how it works.

Good reasons to attend concerts L?

Several. Above all, the opportunity to attend an entirely different program, a program that has been well studied and that intend to bring new music and provoke new ways of feeling the music. As I mentioned before, it’s the unique venue, and your audience makes the L Concerts an always challenging and enriching experience.

Thank you, Nuno!

Fotografia gentilmente cedida por Concertos L

At the top of the Estalagem da Ponta do Sol, time stops. It’s just you, the night and the island, united by music. See you at L.
Until then,

Fotografia gentilmente cedida por Concertos L

Check out this article to know more about where to find live music in Madeira.

How to make “Sonhos” – My father’s Recipe

‘Sonhos’ are one of Madeira’s Carnival typical sweets. “Sonhos”also means dreams in Portuguese, so you can get an idea of what it tastes like…

In this post, I share my father’s recipe with you.

1 cup flour (125 gr)
1/2 cup of milk (125 ml) + 1/2 cup of water (125ml)
1 tablespoon salt coffee
1 tablespoon sugar coffee
2 lemon peels
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon of butter
3 eggs
1 teaspoon baking tea

Preparation mode:

In a saucepan pour the milk, water, salt, sugar, lemon peels, cinnamon and bring to a boil. At the end add the butter.

Then add in the flour (sifted) with the baking powder, mix well and set aside.

Once it cools down, beat the dough adding the eggs one at a time.

Baking mode:

In a pan pour oil making up to a height of 6-8 cm. Heat it and once it’s hot add a spoonful of dough. Once it begins to come to surface, you can add one by one the other spoonfuls of dough. Try to keep the oil temperature to avoid overheating. The portions of dough, bake, grow and turn on each other, until they are cooked / browned.

In the end, with the help of a fork withdraw it from the pan and place it over a surface lined with paper to cool down.

Curiosity: The sugar cane was introduced in Madeira around 1425, imported from Sicily, on the orders of Prince Henry. Currently most of the production is directed to the production of sugar cane honey.


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Let’s keep in touch ♥



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!