What to do in Madeira
In the middle of the Atlantic, the islands of Madeira are a haven of stunning natural beauty. The colors that emerge from this archipelago are the blue of the sea and the emerald green of the vegetation, but the exotic colors of the flowers don’t go unnoticed.
In a place where the spring temperature is felt all year round, the practice of outdoor activities is almost mandatory. You can enjoy a nice walk, visit the city of Funchal and learn about its heritage, or simply walk around the island freely. Boat trips are also a good option, if you wish to enjoy the seafront and experience a different perspective.
Well-being is a common reference when it comes to Madeira’s welcoming environment. This archipelago offers several bathing complexes and access to the sea for boating and diving. If you are looking to escape stress, the island of Porto Santo (in particular) is the ideal place for a thalassotherapy program or a beach holiday with a round of golf.
Madeira also stands out for its festivities that take place throughout the year. The ones that stand out the most are the carnival parades, Festa da Flor (Flower’s Festival), Festival Atlântico (Atlantic Festival) and, above all, the New Year’s Eve fireworks. All of them perfect occasions to enjoy the gastronomy of Madeira. In the middle of the Atlantic, the fish and seafood in the archipelago are tasty and cooked with tradition, such as black scabbard fish fillets or tuna steaks. Regarding meat, the most traditional dish is the famous skewer of cow on laurel stick, which gives it an unmistakable flavor. Homemade couscous, wheat soup, and Vinha d’Alhos (typical Portuguese marinade) meat are also very wanted dishes. In Madeira there is a great variety of cultures, thanks to its exceptional climate, with a place for sugar cane and tropical fruits, (from the popular banana, pineapple, avocado pear, sugar apple, mango and passion fruit), present in drinks and delicious desserts. When talking about Madeira’s foods, the Bolo do Caco (Caco cake) can’t be missed. Despite its name, it is not actually a cake, but a bread baked on a piece of tile.
The famous Madeira wine, which has more than 30 grape varieties, the most noble of which are Sercial, Boal, Verdelho and Malvasia, goes well with the traditional honey cake. It is also with sugar cane that the brandy of the famous Poncha is made, still confectioned with honey and lemon.
Portugal Farm Experiences offers several activities in this magical archipelago for you to enjoy, from experiences to please your taste, to a lovely farm accommodation.
In the municipality of Santana, 30 minutes from Funchal, you can choose between four unforgettable farm activities. You can visit a Banana Farm and learn how banana trees are planted and how to identify various varieties and species of banana grown on slopes of Madeira Island. This experience allows you to harvest your own bananas, taste them and honey cake from Madeira, with wine or water. There is also a workshop on how to do Poncha!
Another of our activities consists in a Farm-to-Table Cooking Class Experience. Here, you can select your own fresh products and choose all the ingredients (preferably of organic origin) we need for the cooking session. A delicious and typical lunch is also included in this experience.
A Passion Fruit, Strawberry and Wine Experience is also available in Santana. It starts with a visit to the family farm, where you will lunch with the products used in our activities, from the season, whenever possible. After the lunch, you will visit 3 different kind of farms: Passion Fruit Farm, Strawberry Farm and a Madeira Vineyard, where you will be able to experience a Madeira Wine Tasting. Lastly, we offer you a farm stay on this wonderful island, so you can experience its way of life to the fullest! This experience starts with a visit to the family farm, where you can choose the experiences you want to do. There is also welcome drink and appetizers, and then you will be settled into your room.
Moving on to the municipality of Ribeira Brava, there are two activities at your disposal in this area, both related to the delicious tropical fruits that can be found in the island. A Subtropical Fruit Farm experience, that includes a guided visit and a taste of locally produced organic subtropical fruit, and an Organic Farming and Fruit Tasting Experience, where visitors get to know the history of Madeira island, and the process of organic farming a number of subtropical fruits, some quite exotic. It includes a group farming activity and a taste of locally produced organic subtropical fruit.
In Funchal, a Wine Experience at Blandy’s Wine Lodge awaits you. You can choose to take the Premium Tour (45 minutes) or the Vintage Tour (1 hour). This experience will give you the opportunity to explore 200 years of Madeira wine. Available from Monday to Saturday, the tours visit the various areas of the lodge, finishing with a tasting.
In Porto da Cruz parish, you can experience a rum distillery tour. It includes a guided visit, a workshop from the planting of sugarcane to the final product, and a masterclass and rum tasting experience, with seven different rums, a water bottle and Madeira Sugarcane Honey.