Paradise in Madeira

Since the beginning of this trip, Ian and I have known that at some point we would want to drink madeira in Madeira.  But, other than its viticulture, we knew very little about the island (actually an archipelago, but Madeira is also the name of the largest island, a la Hawaii).  As it turns out, this place is a tropical paradise.


We rented a car from the airport in Funchal to drive across the island to Porto Moniz.  We spent most of the drive with our mouths open, in awe of the scenery around us.  Green cliffs and waterfalls would appear out of nowhere.


Sometimes we also had to yield to cows:


And even though some of the roads were the scariest we’ve ever driven on, we were still instantly smitten with Madeira.

Can't really capture just how incredibly steep some of these roads were.

Can’t really capture just how incredibly steep some of these roads were.

We stayed at the amazing Aqua Natura, which we can’t recommend highly enough.  The natural pools, seafront balconies, fresh breakfasts, and low rates captured our hearts and we promised we would return.


Natural pools, filled with sea water during high tide.


View from our balcony. We would have paid extra for this balcony, but every room has one exactly like it!

One day we took a hike to this beautiful place:


The trail was along the levadas, which are irrigation channels that run all over the island.  The entire hike was really lush.


Some of it also looked spooky:


We half-expected pterodactyls to appear at any moment.


We’ve moved on to the largest city, Funchal, but Madeira continues to be excellent in every way.  More updates to follow!