One day in Madeira

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Aug 28th, 2003, 01:46 PM
  #1
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One day in Madeira

We will be on a cruise with only one day in Madeira in November. Should we rent a car? Any ideas for best things to do? Thanks Much
1nancy1 is offline  
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Aug 28th, 2003, 04:15 PM
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Nancy - when you see how beautiful Madeira is, you'll be sorry to have only a few hours to explore the island.

I wouldn't rent a car-main highway wouldn't pose any driving problems, but the off roads definitely will. It's a volcanic island, so it's comprised of peaks and valleys, and these roads are narrow at best. There are sightseeing buses that will give you an adequate tour of the downtown area. There are tours to explore both the western and eastern half of the island which you may want to look in to, but not sure if you'll have enough time. We opted for the western tour on our recent trip (non-cruise), and it lasted about 8 hrs, including a lunch stop.

I might suggest day tripping in Funchal-they'll be plenty of sights to see, shopping to do, and so many restuarants it will be hard to choose one. Madeira is known for its embroidery, and shops abound in selling all sizes of this lovely work in all price ranges.

You might also want to take some time and go to Monte - take the cable car up (it's not far from where you'll dock and you'll get wonderful views of Funchal). There's a lovely garden in Monte, a church and a small town. Whatever you do, take the toboggan down-it's a wonderful, fun ride that you won't soon forget.

There's also a lovely and peaceful botanical garden in Funchal if your interests lie in that area.

Madeira is paradise in my book! ENJOY!!
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Aug 29th, 2003, 06:01 AM
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I totally agree with Debs re car hire, as well as narrow secondary roads the locals drive with flair and imagination if you know what I mean. In Funchal itself visit Blandys Wine Lodge, its a bit touristy but the building itself is lovely and the tour is very interesting. The local indoor market is also worth a visit and is within walking distance, we were there in May and were totally knocked out by the array of flowers for sale. I also second a trip to Monte via the cable car after visiting the gardens walk to the town square and just enjoy a drink at one of the little bars & restaurants. The old town is near the cable car terminus in Funchal and just wandering around the little streets is nice plus there are loads of restaurants to choose from if you want a meal.
JanG is offline  
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Aug 29th, 2003, 06:19 AM
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We had no problems driving the narrow winding roads in Madeira. We toured the island in one week.
I agree tho that it isn't wise to rent a car for just a day. There's plenty to see in Funchal. The colorful market in the Zona Velha (between Rua Latina Coelho and Rua Hospital Velho), the Jardim do Monte (go up by cablecar and come back by toboggan), the Jardim Botanico (bus 30 or 31 from Funchal's central bus station), the Sé (Funchal cathedral - only open during services), and enjoy eating and drinking in the numerous restaurants and bars. Don't forget to have afternoon coffee/tea at one of the Pasteleria's (bakery's). Yummie pastry!!!
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Aug 29th, 2003, 06:52 AM
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In case you need yet another opinion I'd also vote for spending your day sight seeing within Funchal.

On our two week long stays in Funchal we particularly enjoyed visiting the Worker's Market (fruit & veg, fish, flowers and some other goods), the cable car ride up to Monte and our visit to the Jardim Botanico. It is also easy to spend some hours just strolling in Funchal - along the marina and waterfront, in the Old Town, along the larger boulevards and in the little park of Santa Catarina.

If you like ports and fortified wines you may enjoy Madeiran fortified wine. It's not just the sweet variety that is most well known outside of Portugal but comes in Dry, Semi Dry, Semi Sweet and Sweet varieties.

Best place to sample (as well as take a tour on how it's made if you fancy it) is the Adegas de Sao Francisco. Complimentary tastings are available of wines up to 10 years of age - for those looking for something a bit more special I'd definitely recommend payinf for some tastings of older wines in the small room opposite. My husband really enjoyed the experience of trying a glass of one wine bottled in the year his father was born over 70 years ago and we tried and then bought bottles from the year of our birth (1971) and the year of my sister's birth (1974).

Whilst a car would allow you to get a glimpse of the rest of this beautiful island it would mean missing out on all that Funchal has to offer.

Instead, have a taste of Funchal and come back for longer next time to see the rest of the island.
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