Madeira - a fascinating and fun filled island
I've recently returned refreshed and rejuvenated from a long weekend in Madeira; a small but perfectly formed island off the coast of Portugal, famed for its delicious namesake cake. But as I discovered, it has many more sweet treats and delights in store for visitors to its shores.
First of all, there's its' small but bustling capital city Funchal, which offered something of a unique experience when local's gathered here to sell their harvest; the vast array of fruits, flowers and fish at this local market was a truly amazing site. The city also offers visitors a number of cultural sites and expeditions including the Botanical Gardens, museums.
Head into the hills on a mountain expedition and you could find yourself visiting its wine lodges but whatever sites you choose to see you will be bound to witness its legendary deep blue sea vistas. Hotels here even structure their grounds to make sure they take advantage of the divine and dreamy oceans scenes surrounding them. Reid's Palace have even taken this stage further by creating their very own 'Ocean Pool' to take advantage of their sea views; located on the foundations of the cliff alongside the sea, you couldn't be any closer to the ocean if you tried!
This grand dame of Madeira, Reid's Palace is truly excellent hotel which is highly distinctive, boasting an effortless, elegant, ambiance and although modern in its amenities, its historical significance is very clear. Currently celebrating their 120th Birthday, afternoon tea on their terrace here are world famous, exceptionally yummy and something of an institution- enjoyed by countless stars of stage and screen along with many royals over the years!
Did you know that Madeira received the Guinness World Record for the largest firework display of 66,326 fireworks in 2006? They love to celebrate everything with a bang here and in addition to the annual New Years celebrations there are several firework display competitions throughout the year. I was lucky enough to experience the display around the Funchal Bay on the 31st December - which was absolutely breathtaking!
So whether your reasoning to travel to Madeira is to attend the New Years celebration; or to contribute your time to harvest the vineyards in September, there really is no excuse not to visit this fascinating fun filled island.