Traveling to the distant Atlantic Ocean on the same latitude as North Africa there are things that you wouldn’t expect to find in a European region.
On the Madeira Archipelago that might be subtropic laurel forest be likely by an everlasting spring-like atmosphere and soils that allow almost any flora to grow well. The island of Madeira has natural landscapes that can make you huff, and what’s great is that they’re easy to find out on mountain roads or via historic irrigation channels known as “levadas”. You don’t have to start into the mountains to enjoy the natural wealth as there are a host of botanical gardens with a crazy variety of plants. And the ocean looks forward to, for whale-seeing voyages and dives in clear, pleasant waters.
More about the island here. Let explore the Madhira.
Ponta de São Lourenço
Madeira’s great east is a nature reserve with vast volcanic rocks that are splashed with reddish colors. It’s a hike value doing for the moving views of the Atlantic and for photos that look like the ends of the Earth. There’s also something about the climate and soil that allows strange flowering plants like cardoons and everlastings to grow well.
After the newish Quinta does Lorde resort there’s no sign of human inhabitation save for infrequent rest stops with picnic tables. There’s something to take your breath away at almost every turn on the way to viewpoints like the amazing Ponta do Furtado.
Natural seawater pools
In the village of Porto Moniz, in the North-West part of the island, you can find natural saltwater swimming pools. These are surrounded by volcanic rocks that keep the seawater which is restocked at high tide. It remains cool and fresh.
Look down from Cabo Girão Skywalk
At 589 meters, the Cabo Girão Footbridge is the highest cliff footbridge in Europe and the second highest in the world (after the Grand Canyon at 1,450 meters). Since the formation of the glass-floored platform in 2012, you can now step into the abyss, looking down at sea. With 1,800 daily visitors, the Skywalk is one of Madeira’s top travelers’ attractions.
Renting a car in Madhira
There are many car rentals services in Madeira. You can easily rent a car with many large European firms such as Sixt, Europcar, or Enterprise, or you can go for smaller, local companies such as Madeira rent or Funchal Drive. The general rule of thumb is that while international firms may have better return rules or customer services (since they are used to dealing with foreigners), local firms will often have better deals. However, renting a car in Madeira is reasonably cheap, so don’t expect a considerable price difference between companies.
Car hire Madhira airport or in Funchal. Collecting and returning the vehicle in Funchal will be cheaper than doing so at the airport due to some extra fees. If you reach by plane and want to rent a car, you can take a bus to the city and then use the public transport system to get to the car rental of your choice. Usually, though, expect car rentals to be very few and far between beyond Funchal’s borders.
Driving in Madeira
- Driving is on the right-hand side
- Seatbelts are required at all time
- EU licenses can be used, otherwise, you need your International Permit
- There are fast roads with lots of tunnels that are easy
- Outside of those, driving is not as frightening as people tend to write. True, roads are slimmer, twisting, and can be extreme. However, there is not much traffic. So you can take your time. Moreover, there are always either trees or little walls on the cliff slide on the road.
- Rent a car that has enough power to make it easier on the steep road.
- When parking on blue zones, you have to pay (often with coins only)
In brief, just take your time, drive at your time and give way to trucks and buses.