For the second year in a row, Madeira was named the best island in Europe by the World Travel Awards. Home to some of the best wines, fresh produce, and awe-inspiring landscapes, this Portuguese archipelago is located about 350 miles from Morocco.
My own portuguese heritage brought me out to Madeira this past month, to take a tour through the glorious greens cliffs, the quaint clay-roofed villages and brightest blue waters I’d ever seen. Lucky enough to tour through the island with my family (who is originally from Madeira) and their Madeiran friends, I got to experience every inch of the island; the best foods, the jaw-dropping views, and the local flavors of a wonderful little island that people pride in calling their home. And while being voted number one island is plenty a reason to visit Madeira, here’s 10 reasons the trip will be well worth your while.
Hike through the cliffs and mountains to see stunning rock formations, waterfalls, distant ocean views, and dropping cliffs. This view from Pico do Arieiro is the island's third-tallest peak.
Breathtaking Views at Every Corner
Everywhere you go, there is a breathtaking view waiting to be soaked in. Vegetation includes everything from bright fruits and flowers to cactus and towering trees, and you can see the ocean from almost anywhere on the island.
Beaming Blue Beaches
Now, I'm not an avid beach goer, but these were the bluest beaches I'd ever seen. And it wasn't that clear water blue, but that deep, fresh and salty blue. It made everything around you feel bright and wonderful. Also, Porto Santo is a world-famous beach hotspot.
Madeira is home to some of the best wine in the world, and you can smell it. It seemed like every house had a garden filled with grapes, and as you travel up the mountains, the smell of fresh grapes waft through the surrounding air.
Nature is Your Playground
Natural lava pools can be found all throughout Madeira. Take a dip at the baths of Porto Moniz where you can dive off a cliff with a built in diving board.
Reach New Heights
As you continually S-curve up the mountains and cliffs, the island makes you feel like you've reached entirely new heights.
Unique and Delicious Foods
The food is incredible. Hands down. This sharing plate of pig's feet was one of the tastiest dishes of the trip (and there were many!)
Madeira has a large fishing culture, with some great fish dishes to prove it. At many docks throughout the island you can hop on a boat tour of the island, or head out on the water for some dolphin watching, too.
Each town has it's own unique layout dependent on it's location. Some are settled up in the mountains, others in a valley between. All of them are adorable, and filled with genuinely nice folks.
Despite some desert terrain scattered through the island, the temperature was fantastic. On average temperatures in Madeira range from 73°F in the summer and 61°F in the winter with very little humidity. Though it got hot in the sun, a cool, salty breeze would carry from the ocean and make it all alright.