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Upwind
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Booked a weeks holiday at the end of November for a bit of sunshine........ anyone been and have any tips for us?

 

Staying at Funchal with breakfast included - so looking at any excursions, nice restaurants, do and don'ts etc.

 

Any suggestions, ideas gratefully welcomed.. 

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1 hour ago, bigash_swfc said:

I'm sure you'll know Ronaldo was born there and they're obviously in love with him. There's a huge statue of him and a Ronaldo museum.

 

Yep - knew that - statue is shocking apparently.

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We have been 4 times to Funchal and we really like it. ( only been during the summer months so would be interested to hear what the weather is like when you go. We are also booked to go in August next year.

 

Allthough it is on the same archipelago as the Canaries it is very different, the flora is stunning almost like a large botanical gardens. Also note their are no beaches on the island.

 

Funchal is a busy working city and is within walking distance of most of the hotels which are located around Estrada Monumental. The flower and fish markets are well worth a visit.

 

There are a plenty of great restaurants and cafes, there are bars but haven't come across any like the cheap and cheerful ones you get in some parts of the Canaries.

 

Things to do

 

An island tour is recommended as for some fantastic views of the inland area which very mountainous with the highest sea cliffs in Europe.

Catch a cable car from Funchal up to Monti and get a toboggan ride back down to Funchal through the streets which can be a bit hair raising.

 

Lots of great restaurants but our favourite is La Bamba which we normally eat at around 3 times in the week. They do the most fantastic steak on the stone where you get a hot stone and a huge piece of steak and then you cook it to your taste.

 

Hope you have a great time.

 

 

 

 

 

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22 hours ago, Upwind said:

Booked a weeks holiday at the end of November for a bit of sunshine........ anyone been and have any tips for us?

 

Staying at Funchal with breakfast included - so looking at any excursions, nice restaurants, do and don'ts etc.

 

Any suggestions, ideas gratefully welcomed.. 

 

Madeira is beautiful and dramatic. I hope you get the sunshine, because the weather is very unpredictable; it's climatically different from the Canaries. I went several years ago, and both arrived and departed in driving rain (although in-between it wasn't so bad).

 

Funchal city centre is very pleasant to wander around. There is a Madeira (the wine that is) factory that offers tours including tasting, and a wet market that's interesting to just go along and observe. There is a good bus network in the greater Funchal area if you want to reach outlying parts of the city such as Monte (famous for it's road going toboggans - hire one, or just watch terrified tourists being ferried downhill at high speed) and the iconic botanical gardens.

 

If your budget stretches to car hire, it's worth it just to be able to travel beyond Funchal. The main roads are easy enough. but you'll need nerves of steel to navigate some of the smaller roads. The volcanic rock pools at Porto Moritz, the restored village of Sao Vicente,  the traditional Madeiran houses at Santana and the summit of Pico do Arieiro are all worth an excursion.

 

Finally, Madeira is great for hikers, particularly along the Levadas - irrigation channels dug into the hillsides. If you just want to get a feel for these, try a short easy one such as the 10 minute trail from Ribeiro Frio to the Balcoes Viewpoint.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks @A E Neuman NYowl - greatly appreciated - will definitely look out for La Bamba and I think the Island tour is a must do, along with the cable car and toboggan ride.  I have heard it can be a seat of your pants experience.  Missus is into her flowers and gardening generally, so will look out for the flower market.

 

Cheers @Roy Of The Roasters - thanks for your input - we had already noted rock pools at Porto Moritz and I think you can do that on one of the tours - so we may do at the same time.  We also like walking (maybe not hiking) but will look into that also.  I already like Madeira wine - very port like and quaffable...... will search out the tasting tour.

 

Hoping for some decent weather - I think it should be around 20-24 degrees - but will be taking poncho's and jackets also...... will let you know what it is like.  

 

Couple of questions - missus likes a Bacardi (or two) - is it worth getting a bottle at the airport on exiting the UK, or is it cheaper to buy out there?   Are the buses cheap and easy to get - can you buy a weekly ticket?

 

Any other hints/tips gratefully accepted..

 

Thanks guys.... 

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50 minutes ago, Upwind said:

I already like Madeira wine - very port like and quaffable...... will search out the tasting tour.

 

The one I remember is Blandys Wine Lodge, in Av. Arriaga, Funchal City Centre

 

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50 minutes ago, Upwind said:

Are the buses cheap and easy to get - can you buy a weekly ticket?

 

My knowledge is a few years out of date, but within the Greater Funchal area there was an extensive bus network which was easy to use, and yes - you could get tourist passes allowing unlimited use. These were available in several different durations which might well include weekly - I brought mine from a ticket machine on the sea front, but they may be available from tourist offices and bus drivers as well.

 

There are several bus companies operating to points beyond Funchal, but I have no experience with these. Their timetables were in Portugese as I recall, although should still be easy enough to interpret. I think your best bet would be to seek more info from a tourist office.

 

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Our trip to Madeira...

 

Our plans slightly changed in the last month leading up to our holiday and then again on the day before our departure.  First TUI cancelled a flight and we had to pick another flight..... and a new hotel... although this turned out to be a good decision as our new hotel was superb and closer to attractions. Then, to add to our stress, Boris introduced PCR tests on return from overseas which resulted in a mad scramble to book a test for our return - having already arranged LFT's for our return...

 

However, despite being messed about a bit Madeira was pretty good - weather was nice, people were welcoming, food was very good and the place was very tidy and extremely beautiful.  It seemed to attract a more senior crowd; however, this meant a lack of screaming kids around the place and, if anything, helped us enjoy the trip more.

 

We did a food and culture tour around Funchal (the capital) a mini bus tour around the island, and a catamaran trip in our first few days and then settled down a bit to do a bit of walking around the coastline and levada routes (irrigation channels) through the island.  We ate very well most nights and the food prices and drinks were very reasonable.  The breakfast at the hotel was also pretty good. 

 

Although Covid dampened our spirits a bit, all in all we enjoyed the time on the island - although not so much the faffing about organising tests and filling in overly exhaustive travel forms to enter the island and the Passenger Location forms on re-entry to the UK - which were not really user friendly.  We were grateful that the PCR tests we organised for our return were here and we have since had negative results.     

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Parents have an annual booking there that my brothers I (and our families) join them on a rotation for.

It’s not too lively, but a lovely place. Venture out of Funchal on a tour and there’s some wonderful scenery.

Take in a Maritimo game (Ronaldo’s team, Nacional, essentially play atop of an inaccessible mountain).

When we to his museum, alongside his champions league trophies etc, was a mannequin wearing the Wednesday kit with ‘wan disco’ as sponsor😂 no explanation or anything, presumably for Semedo 🤷‍♂️

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1 minute ago, Ever the pessimist said:

Parents have an annual booking there that my brothers I (and our families) join them on a rotation for.

It’s not too lively, but a lovely place. Venture out of Funchal on a tour and there’s some wonderful scenery.

Take in a Maritimo game (Ronaldo’s team, Nacional, essentially play atop of an inaccessible mountain).

When we to his museum, alongside his champions league trophies etc, was a mannequin wearing the Wednesday kit with ‘wan disco’ as sponsor😂 no explanation or anything, presumably for Semedo 🤷‍♂️

image.thumb.jpeg.b9f33d0cd74d754e400e7683734f6390.jpeg

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