Before coming here, I had poked a young Madeiran emmigrant who described the island as a destination for old people.
“Oh boy, this will be a boring time” but as you can imagine… that was not the case!
Below I will describe what made my cold heart warm again, and what for sure made me fall in love with this unique place..
- Breathtaking places that you’ll hardly find on any guide book
Ever had butterflies when something unpredictable was happening? Well, that’s what often happens whilst travelling through Madeira- and the best views are the ones that you don’t expect at all! Below I’ll describe my favorite ones:
A) Abandoned village in between Porto Moniz and Seixal (google maps reference: RVJ9+58 Seixal, Portugal)
Maybe reading about an abandoned village doesn’t make you feel neither excited nor curious (that at least were my feelings at the beginning)… and that’s why the adrenaline went even more up!
First of all – there’s no road going to this village (it literally doesn’t exist on google maps..). To get there you need to drive into the tunnel…and turn into an emergency exit. This emergency exit will bring you into a kind of illegal, closed road* (be aware that because of the bad conditions and stones on the road is better to go there with good off-road cars!).
Secondly, when you succeed and get there, you still don’t expect anything, because what you see are mostly, old empty houses – but it’s enough to go several meters up through the mural…
*this road is called Antigo Tracado da ER101
… and you have an incredible view at the Seixal’s beach!
B) Feeling dirty? Have a fresh shower in the middle of a…road!
On a (closed) road in between Madalena do Mar and Ponta do Sol you can find a waterfall… literally falling on this road. Better to have all your windows closed there!
Also, if you feel crazy enough or if you want to save some water, stop your car and enjoy the fresh water!
C) Elvis and Ronaldo sanctuary (Caminho do Ribeiro – Carvalhal)
On the road to Paul de Serra (ER209) you can find, at first glance, a quite tawdry place where the time stopped in the crazy 60s.
Long story short, this amazing place has been built by a retired Madeiran sculptor, who happened to be a huge fan of…yes, Elvis. Not going to steal the fun, talking with this adorable man should be part of your experience as well!
Give it a try and stop for a few minutes and you won’t even notice how all your car companions start to sing Elvis’ Jailhouse Rock!
2. Bolo do Caco & Ponchas
To be honest this would be my no 1, but I didn’t want to show that food is a huge part of my life… but hey, if you’re a foodie just like me, aye, Madeira will make you gain +XX kilos! (but at least you can burn them quite easily! 😉 😉 😉 )
Here my lovely friend wrote an article about the dishes in Madeira so I will focus more on things that for sure I’ll try to transfer to the cold Warsaw!
Ponchas will remain in my heart for a long long time (and bolo do caco in my stomach, they’re delicious but still digesting them hehe).
Let’s ignore the fact that maybe poncha is not the best example of a thing that “makes you feel like a kid again” but can’t deny is quite delicious and has a lot of vitamins! (remember, a poncha a day keeps your doctor away!)
With that you receive a small snack – lupin bean (tremoço) or/and peanuts.
Bolo do Caco (for sure I’ll dream it about it each day from now on) it’s in this special list cause it’s just delicious in its simplicity! It’s a round bread with garlic and parsley salted butter…and you are able to find it in most, if not in every, restaurant in Madeira.
3. Stray dogs in Câmara de Lobos
If you love dogs, but can’t own one by yourself, for sure this is the place you’ll call heaven! Besides the lovely landscapes, in Câmara you can find the most friendliest dogs on earth! (also vet’s words ;))
They like people, loooove to be petted and if you give them some treats – they will go after you till the end of the world! (or at least Madeira hehe). Ask the locals and they’ll even know their name!
4. People joking around and playing cards
There isn’t a better place to meet people who are laid-back and have as well a crazy backround.
On the left my mom and a kind owner of a snack bar on the way to North levada.
In his 20s was living in Zimbabwe and came back after the colonisation has finished.
On the right the locals of Câmara de Lobos playing cards!
Additionally if you’ll go to the city centre, you can find elder people playing cards – usually Cassino! Cassino is an easy mathematical game where your goal is to capture the cards by matching your card to the sum of the values of two or more cards on the table (Reminds a lot the italian Scopa).
5. Bonus… places that young locals find unique!
Here just an imput from young guys of where are the best place in Madeira… I’m skipping the ones “at my home” 😉
Hope you enjoyed it!
Volunteer at Teatro Metaphora – Associação de Amigos das Artes
European Solidarity Corps
To know more: https://europa.eu/youth/solidarity_en