A Nine Day Trip to Madeira
As part of our trip to Portugal, we had planned a stay in Madeira, this Portuguese mountainous island which is a paradise for hiking of all calibers. Without any hesitation, this was the biggest crush of voyage !
To get to the island, we took a flight of about 1 hour and 45 minutes from Lisbon, on TAP Airlines – tickets reimbursed by the travel credit obtained by each Card MastercardMD HSBC World EliteMD that we have, subscribed last winter.
Early in the morning, we have breakfast at the ANA Lounge at Lisbon Airport, thanks to my American Express Card from Platinum entrepriseMD.
We land in Madeira around 9:30 am, on this legendary runway built on stilts and which gives us the impression of landing on the open sea.
We pick up the Fiat Panda – whose small engine will paint several incredibly inclined roads – reserved and paid for through the points of our Scotiabank Passport™ Visa Infinite* Card. Then we’ll set off for Funchal, the capital city.
After one – très ! – copious meals at Restaurant Londres (pork stew, liver, potatoes, cabbage and other vegetables in abundance), we settle at the first booked accommodation, a private room in a small hostel type establishment, with shared kitchen.
Stay refunded through the points of our Carte Cobaltᵐᶜ American ExpressMD as will be our two other accommodations. Our accommodations had been booked at Hotels.com for earn and get a free night’s accommodation, by first accessing it through Rakuten to collect a 2% discount.
The next morning, we leave for Pico do Arieiro, a fantastic hike above the clouds. In the evening, we come home exhausted but amazed.
Note that Pereira d’Oliveira, a Madeira wine producer offering free wine tastings, is located right in front of our accommodation. We go in, join the group of French people who have just arrived and we are served 3 samples of this sublime nectar… a nice little bonus at the end of the day.
In the evening, we climb to the roof of the Hotel Madeira for the view of illuminated Funchal.
On Saturday, we set off for Pointe Saint-Laurent, the long, windswept peninsula that forms the eastern end of the island.
In the evening, we enjoy a free Fado concert in the style of Coimbra at the Jesuit College of Funchal, a stone’s throw from our house. It was a lovely evening.
Sunday, heading west. After a short visit to the mythical Hotel Reid’s Palace – the one where Empress Sissi came to treat her chest pain – we dine 100% local at Viola in Camara do Lobos, where we seem to be the only tourists.
It was quite an experience: big beef and chicken brochettes hanging above the table, polenta, a little house wine of thunder and ambiance at masse ! You can even taste our first tangerine Ponchas, this brandy-based drink, typical of the Madeira archipelago.
Monday morning, departure for the Levada das 25 Fontes. Levadas are a stunning network of 2,000 km of irrigation canals, often built on cliff faces and accompanied by beautiful – and sometimes dizzying – green trails. During our stay, we will visit some of them, each one more beautiful than the other.
On Tuesday, we visit the city of Porto Monitz and its strange volcanic pools.
On Thursdays we go to the top of Pico Ruivo, the roof of Madeira. Spectacular hike on a path entirely paved with large stones, which took us to almost 2,000 metres above sea level.
We end our stay in beauty. Our latest accommodation, the Casa das Proteas de Sao Jorge, enchants us with its rustic-chic decor, the quality of the meals offered, the kindness of the hosts and the enchanting scenery of the surrounding countryside.
After a short visit to the lounge TAP Premium, we leave Madeira early the next morning, thinking that we will surely come back one day!
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Here are some of the highlights of this trip to Madeira with points: