How to discover Madeira in 3 days?

Beautiful Madeira, the island of eternal springtime.

Year-round spring climate, mountains soaring from an ocean of deepest blue, an abundance of exotic fruit and superlative seafood, unusual wines.

Madeira seems to be the island that has it all. Yet Portugal's "pearl of the Atlantic" has always had an image problem.

"Dreary, stuffy little place," a British friend told American writer Paul Bowles back in the 1950s. "Nobody goes there but very elderly ladies."

Bowles -- known for his travels around North Africa's wilder corners -- ignored them and was enchanted by Madeira. Less than four hours' flight from London or Paris, Madeira is still popular with seniors but this peaceful, year-round destination 300 miles west of Morocco is increasingly diversifying as new low-cost flights bring in younger visitors.

On Madeira, the black lava bathing pools of Porto Moniz are just about as far as you can get from the island capital, Funchal.
Until recently, it took several hours of twisting mountain road to get there. Now they are reachable thanks to a network of highways and tunnels cut through the rocky heart of the island. The road building has been criticized for its environmental impact, but it's brought the extremities of the island within easy reach of travelers.

At Porto Moniz, the meeting of Atlantic waves and some prehistoric volcanic eruption formed spiky rings of black lava rock along the waterfront.They've been turned into one of the world's weirdest and most beautiful swimming baths. More than 4,500 square yards of clear, calm saltwater pools, separated from raging ocean surf by the lava walls.

Curral das Freiras is a village surrounded by an amphitheater of jagged mountains. The name comes from nuns (freiras) who hid there to escape pillaging pirates. Aside from the dramatic scenery, the little town is renowned for chestnuts gathered from the forested lower slopes.
In season, they're eaten roasted in the street, or on dinner tables in dishes such as chestnut soup, roast baby goat with chestnuts and chestnut pudding washed down with chestnut liqueur.

When it's overcast in Funchal, it's worth heading north toward Pico do Arieiro. The steep climb means cars struggle to get out of third gear, but the climb is worth it when the road emerges onto a sunlit plateau broken by bare peaks that poke through fluffy white cloud. Views can stretch from the rugged north coast to Funchal in the south.

Santana is a beautiful village on the north coast, characterised by its small thatched triangular houses. These small houses, built of natural stone and thatched with straw, have served the locals for centuries as stables and dwellings.

This region lives essentially from agriculture, craftwork and tradition. The mountainous landscapes are dominated by the lush green that characterises the Laurissilva Forest, which was classified as 'World Heritage' by the UNESCO, encouraging locals even more to do everything for maintaining its beauty.

With so many attractions to see, it is normal that most tourists have a circle on their maps around Santana as an obligatory place to visit.

Every year, in July, a large festival of traditional music and dances is held in the village and attracts large crowds of locals and tourists alike. The event known as ’24 horas a bailar’ (literally ‘24 hours dancing’) is made of performances of traditional folklore groups from Madeira and other regions or countries which are invited to participate.

Now the question is ... how to visit everything in just 3 days?

Yes it is! There are 3 tours that show you this and much more! The West tour, East tour and Nuns Valley tour.

West Tour - More details about this tour here...

Nuns Valley Tour - More details about this tour here... 

East Tour - More details about this tour here...

In total you can visit 19 beautiful places... it's really worth it.

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