1. Reminder: Please use our affiliate links for holiday shopping!

Madeira... Any thoughts or tips?

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Lightmancer, Apr 29, 2016.

  1. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Heading off to Funchal in a bit. Anyone been? Have done mainland Portugal plenty of times before, so looking forward to relaxing and catching some fado, madiera (wine, not cake), Sagres and the odd natas, but any advice on what to see or do on the island would be welcome.
     
  2. rayvonn

    rayvonn SC Veteran

    309
    Jan 19, 2015
    Haven't been. But can only imagine the sunsets & golden hours.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Karen
    Was there in December and already booked to go back in December this year. Lovely as a winter break. Lot of older folk go there but still plenty to do for young generation. I guess as I'm in my 40s now :( I'm more middle aged so I felt a youngster there. Lots of walking in the levadas, some you need a head for heights. Others you don't. Flights in can be scary. Check out YouTube for scary Madeira flights!!
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  4. Briar

    Briar SC All-Pro

    Oct 27, 2010
    Scotland
    Karen
    Best meal we had was in a restaurant called Taxiko on our last night. The reviews on trip adviser do the place a disservice because I have to say the quality of the food, the friendliness and professionalism of the staff was way beyond excellent. It was very busy when we were there and there was musical entertainment (jazz I think) but the musicians were different on other nights we passed by. I am looking forward to going back just to go to this restaurant. I don't normally choose a holiday location based on the quality of a single restaurant but I would for here. The food was amazing. Just google Taxiko Madeira and you will find their details on trip adviser.

    The island as a whole you will find the locals very friendly. Driving around the island is very easy and the rental charges are very reasonable. I'd definitely recommend hiring a car and getting out of Funchal to get a flavour of the other parts of the island. It's amazing how small the island is but you will come away thinking you missed so much because there is a lot to see and do.

    Oh and at any other restaurant try the black scary fish with banana for lunch. Despite its fierce look it has a nice, mild taste and the banana surprisingly works. Check it out at the fish market in Funchal before it is cooked.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  5. jssaraiva

    jssaraiva SC Veteran

    212
    Dec 31, 2014
    Porto, Portugal
    José
    Please be aware of a few things:
    • Weather can change very quickly, which can be an issue if you are alone on nature walks. They are great, but avoid being too adventurous.
    • Sagres? Do yourself a favor and try Super Bock;
    • In case of strong cross winds, planes are diverted to Porto Santo. Its not convenient, but you shouldn't worry about it.
    • Oh, and don't scare people with your "Dark Shadow" ;)
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  6. jssaraiva

    jssaraiva SC Veteran

    212
    Dec 31, 2014
    Porto, Portugal
    José
    If you want really good tips, I would suggest that you contact this local guy: Ricardo Pestana
    I "know" him from a Portuguese photo forum and I know he is really helpful with that. I believe he has inclusively the tips already prepared in English!
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  7. lcsolla

    lcsolla SC Regular

    109
    Sep 5, 2011
    Lisbon, Portugal
    Luis Castro e Solla
    First of all correct the title of the thread: it is Madeira, not Madiera. Incidentally, Madeira is portuguese for wood.
    By all means, do not do what many Britons do in Madeira: from the airport to the hotel and its swimming-pool, and then straight back to the airport. Get to know the island.
    One of the most interesting aspects of Madeira is the sheer variety of climate and landscape you get in such a small, mountain island. You go from tropical, at sea level in Funchal, in the South coast, to cool temperate at mid height, to above-the-clouds quasi-lunar lanscapes at the top. And then you can come down to a typical Atlantic, battered coast, in the North face. By car, you can see the whole island in a day. Or maybe two days if stopping very often for photography.
    Many of the older roads are narrow and often have steep cliffs in one side. If you decide to rent a car, drive carefully. There are many interesting walking paths, but avoid the hardest ones (e.g., the levadas, and the Pico do Areeiro) unless you are with somebody who knows them - and avoid them absolutely if you have or can have vertigo.
    If you like plants, flowers, botany, you will find lots of attractions in Madeira. Early in the morning, visit the market in Funchal: its photo opportunities are well-known.
    A boat trip around Madeira - or preferably just the South coast - is not expensive. It will take less than half a day, and you will have good views of the island from the sea. The water being deep, it looks like fountain pen ink.
    Madeira has a long tradition of British tourism. Have a look at the Reid's Hotel and its history. You will not have trouble finding people that can speak english.
    If you have been to Continental Portugal, you already know it is, by and large, a safe country. Same for Madeira. Petty theft can unfortunately occur. Keep an eye in your belongings.
    Try the swordfish with banana (I was surprised), the bolo-do-caco (a special bread) and the Madeira wine (an almost extinct species).
    Make sure you bring adaptors to charge your camera, if coming from the UK.
    And, last but not least, enjoy your stay and bring interesting pictures from Madeira.
    Your humble Portuguese friend.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  8. jssaraiva

    jssaraiva SC Veteran

    212
    Dec 31, 2014
    Porto, Portugal
    José
    Courtesy of Ricardo Pestana:

    "Sunrise:
    - Ribeira da Janela: go by car to the hydroelectric station, and take of photos of the rock near the sea)
    https://www.flickr.c...12/15310123681/
    - Ponta de São Lourenço: leave the car at the end of the road, take the walking path and go to the very end, after the house, climb to the top. Bring a torch obviously. Be careful near the end, the final climb after the house can be confusing during the night. I got lost last time i got there . but then again my torch broke down moments before arriving there.
    https://www.flickr.c...57632691655868/

    Sunset:
    Praia Formosa at Funchal:
    https://www.flickr.c...12/24444190145/
    Pico do Arieiro;
    https://www.flickr.c...eposted-public/
    Madalena do Mar:
    https://www.flickr.c...eposted-public/
    Sandy beach at the end of the promenade.

    During the day:
    Fanal:
    Untitled

    Recommended walking routes:

    Pico do Arieiro - Pico Ruivo - Pico do Arieiro: quite hard to do, need to be in shape, especially if you take the alternative route up to Pico das Torres, but the views are really stunning. You go visit the 3 highest mountains on the island.
    https://www.flickr.c...rdopestana2012/

    Queimadas - Caldeirão Verde - Caldeirão do Inferno: Despite the long distance it's a easy walk up to Caldeirão Verde, but it may be very crowded. If you go to Caldeirão do Inferno which is next you have a very steep climb, and then some tunnels with a low ceiling. Caldeirão Verde is very tall waterfall, Caldeirão do Inferno is a very narrow canyon with 2 small waterfalls at the end.

    Caldeirão Verde:
    https://www.flickr.c...Q-do4gfk-nmZBAg

    Rabaçal - Risco - Lagoa do Vento - 25 fontes: Risco, it's a short walk and very easy, there 's a big waterfall, the pathway can be quite crowded with tourists; Lagoa do vento: very beautiful lagoon , the final descend is quite slippery, you will not find many people there; 25 fontes: easy to go, beautiful lagoon and waterfall, the pathway can be quite crowded with tourists.

    Lagoa do Vento:
    https://www.flickr.c...hotolist-i1dHJX

    Larano - walking path along the sea cliffs with stunning views. Put the car at the end of the road near Porto da Cruz, walk at least to the path that crosses to Machico and Portela and then go back. Path can very muddy and slippery just a few km's after after the beginning.
    https://www.flickr.c...eposted-public/

    Other atractions:
    Pico do Barcelos (viewpoint in Funchal):
    https://www.flickr.c...8-eN2LjN-dBkxGJ

    Miradouro das Neves (viewpoint in Funchal):
    https://www.flickr.c...t-dfTqav-dFaW7u

    Cabo Girão (do not miss it):
    https://www.flickr.c...w-duD272-dsQDBQ

    Porto Moniz (natural swimming pools)
    https://www.flickr.c...V-dBk7Jq-drLj4Y

    Seixal (natural swimming pools and sandy beaches, beautiful scenary):
    https://www.flickr.c...eposted-public/

    Chão da Ribeira (nature, rustic houses, many walking paths, some waterfalls:
    https://www.flickr.c...eposted-public/
    https://www.flickr.c...eposted-public/

    Cable car to Monte and tropical gardens.

    Ponta do Pargo lighthouse: if you go past Ponta do Pargo, go visit the lighthouse, stunning views to the sea;

    Câmara de Lobos:
    https://www.flickr.c...eposted-public/

    Ponta do Garajau:
    https://www.flickr.c...F-v334xc-x2DxAF

    That's the cliff on the photo above. There's a statue of Christ like in Lisbon or Rio but smaller. Stunning views to the sea and Funchal.

    Road between Encumeada and Paúl da Serra:
    https://www.flickr.c...eposted-public/

    Véu da Noiva waterfall (São Vicente):
    https://www.flickr.c...t-C4UBea-ovhKma

    Eira do Serrado viewpoint to Curral das Freiras (must go):
    https://www.flickr.c...hotolist-kQo5pG

    Sugestion for a shooting day:
    - Leave Funchal (i'm assuming you are in a hotel there) at maybe 1.30 hours before dawn and go to Ribeira da Janela (Funchal>Ribeira Brava>São Vicente (fast way using the big tunnel)>Ribeira da Janela;

    - Shoot sunrise there;

    - Go to Fanal (there's a sign near the hydroelectric plant indicating the correct road), explore the area, there are some awesome trees and a lagoon. And cows. be careful, they can be very aggressive. I know someone who had to climb a tree.

    - Go to Rabaçal (visit Risco and 25 fontes if you are not too tired);

    - Go to Encumeada, you can stop at Bica da Cana to explore a little, and after that take the road to Encumeada, stunning views there;

    - Go to Ribeira Brava and then head back to Funchal;

    -If there's time go to Cabo Girão or/and Câmara de Lobos;

    - Head to Funchal and shoot the sunset at Praia Formasa.


    Check the sunset/sunrise times at:
    http://www.cambridge...-calculator.htm

    Check also the best place the direction of the sun. For example Sunrise at Ribeira da Janela this time of the year is quite nice. Other times not.

    This time of the year may not be the best for shooting the sunset at Praia Forma but you nonetheless can get some nice colours.

    Do not miss at any cost: Pico do Arieiro and Fanal."
     
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  9. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    Oh, this is brilliant, thank you, particularly Luis and José. That's a treasure trove of information.

    We are indeed staying in Funchal, but we do like to get out and explore. We're only there for a week, as a Spring break, but we will hire a car for a few days and explore.

    I'm taking the X-Pro2 plus my usual choice of lenses for travel: 14, 18-135 and a 35 - f2 this time. I shall probably slip in a macro - the 60 or even a Zeiss that I will have on loan. I'll also take the X100T for evenings and snaps. Really looking forward to it. I proposed to my wife in Lisbon and have a soft spot for Portugal in general and the warm-hearted Portuguese people in particular.
     
    • Like Like x 1