Late last year, Jo from our Blackheath Branch travelled on a Familiarisation trip to Madeira courtesy of Cyplon Holidays. She got to explore the Island in all its beauty visting some lovely hotels & properties along the way.`
Below are some of her top tips on things to do on the Island along with a brief description on some of the hotels she visited.
Jo's Top 5 things to do in Madeira
Afternoon tea at the Belmond Reid Palace
Afternoon Tea - The Belmond Reid Palace in the lido area of the Island and is the place to have afternoon tea. Choose from delicate finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones and homemade pastries, all accompanied by your choice from a selection of 24 teas or an indulgent glass of champagne. Make sure you book in advance as it is very popular.
The Monte Toboggan is one of Madeira’s most famous attractions. Dating back to the 1850s. The trip to the bottom takes about 10 minutes down a curvy road, and you can expect to reach speeds up to 30mph!
The toboggan run is located in Funchal, Madeira’s capital city. You can take the Monte Cable car from Funchal to Monte, and then it’s a 5 to 10-minute walk to the steps of the Nossa Senhora do Monte Church — where the toboggan run starts. Look for the guys in white with straw hats and, of course, wicker sleds.
Wine Tour at Blandy's Wine Lodge
Tours of Blandy's Wine Lodge give you the opportunity to explore 200 years of Madeira wine. Their most comprehensive tour covers the making of barrels at the Cooperage, the transformation of grapes into Madeira wine, brasilian satinwood storage vats and a tour of their museum with unique items from the history of Madeira wine, followed by a tasting.
Porto Moniz Natural Rock Pools
There are 2 sets of lava pools in Porto Moniz: the completely natural pools that overlook the Ilheu Mole island & the western pools, that have been converted into a dramatic Lido pool. The surrounding rocks of the Lido have been converted into a terrace, & this is a pleasant place to sunbath. The entrance fee to the Piscinas Naturais is €1.50. There are changing rooms, showers & good facilities for a relaxing day.
Jo's Top Pick Hotels in Madeira
Belmond Reid Palace 5*
A very iconic hotel in Funchal - lots of history and very traditional. Situated in the Lido area (around 20 mins walk to the town centre) with direct sea access. It has beautiful gardens, spa & gym.
Belmond Reid’s Palace is a true institution of traditional luxury and old-world charm on the island of Madeira. The hotel’ iconic pink building is synonymous with sophistication and elegance on the island. Highlights of the hotel include a Michelin-starred restaurant, 2 outdoor heated pools including a seawater pool, tennis courts and an indulgent spa centre. The hotel’s magnificent terrace plays host to the most famous service of afternoon tea on the island, where guests can enjoy a magnificent view of the coastline whilst savouring their tea and scones. For families, there is a kids club and provides expert child minding services and numerous games to keep the youngsters entertained. For the height of luxury and impeccable service in Madeira, the Belmond Reid’s Palace is the ultimate destination.
The Cliff Bay 5*
The Cliff Bay is without doubt one of the most revered 5-star hotels in Madeira. The hotel maintains an outstanding reputation on the island, and for good cause. The facilities and services on offer here are first-class yet the hotel retains a very warm and familial feel, which is why guests here keep coming back. As the name suggests, the hotel occupies a beautiful seafront location, perched high on a cliff-edge, that offers magnificent views of the coastline, as well as direct access to the sea. The outdoor heated seawater pool is surrounded by immaculately kept gardens that produce a serence ambience throughout the hotel. Guests here will also enjoy the only 2 Michelin-starred restaurant on the island which serves delectable Iberian cuisine, a full service spa centre for some extra indulgence, a complimentary shuttle service that runs to and from the centre of Funchal.
The Cliff Bay will meet the needs of the most discerning traveller and will without doubt enhance your experience of the wonderful island of Madeira.
Quinta de Bela Vista 4*
Quinta da Bela Vista is a warm, rustic property that gives guests a true sense of welcome and a real feeling of being ‘home away from home’. This Quinta is set amongst almost 5 acres of lush botanical gardens that provide an incredible ambience of tranquillity and a deep appreciation of the calming effect of nature. Amenities here include an outdoor heated pool, 3 dining venues, including an elegant fine dining venue with an afternoon tea service and several libraries and quiet spaces that are ideal to soak in the peace and enjoy a book. The centre of Funchal is just a short drive away and the hotel provides a shuttle service to and from the main hub of the town. With this Quinta being set a little back from the town’s centre, perched on a hillside, magnificent views of Funchal and the Madeiran landscape can be enjoyed. Quinta da Bela Vista really does provide a wonderful experience of the best that Madeira has to offer in terms of nature, comfort and hospitality.