Cuisine and restaurants in Madeira
In addition to the local cuisine, Madeira also has American, Italian, French, Venezuelan, Macroccan and Indian cuisines. The delicacy of the island is “epshada”, as the Portuguese call the saber fish. Tender juicy fillets are used in various dishes, but most often they are grilled and served with a side dish of bananas and passion fruit. Of the first courses, you should try “kataplana” – a soup made from different types of fish and seafood.
Bakalau is considered the national food – to cook it, you need to soak dried salted cod, and then stew it in a special way with chickpeas. The local shish kebab “eshpetada” is juicy pieces of beef rubbed with garlic and spices and baked on a bay branch skewer. The local fast food is the Bolo do caco bread tortilla. Stalls with this name can be found everywhere.
The branded alcoholic drink is not only madeira, but also “poncha” – a cocktail of cane alcohol, honey and juice, most often lemon or orange. The Curral das Freiras Valley is famous for its chestnuts, which are used to make a liqueur and serve as a snack.
You can have dinner with moderate alcohol from 70 EUR. The Maderian trademark Sabores au Kilo translates as “taste by weight” – in self-service canteens you can buy any food for 15 EUR per kg. You can also take it with you, and after 21:00 a 50% discount.
Entertainment and attractions
The motto of the island is “Nature. Walks. Peace.” Tourists here mainly admire the natural beauties and explore the sights. Walking along the levadas – irrigation canals that entangle the entire city with a network – is the best way to get acquainted with the local nature. One of the routes passes through a relict laurel forest – according to scientists, it originated at least 2 million years ago.
From the highest cape in Europe, Cabo Girao, in good weather, a stunning view opens up, moreover, the floor of the observation deck is transparent, which creates the effect of hovering over the abyss. No less beautiful view from the highest point of the island – Pico Ruivo. There is another site in the north near the city of San Vicente.
The hiking trail to the easternmost point at Cape San Lorenzo passes through a nature reserve. At the extreme western tip, there is a lighthouse, to which a road leads through a tunnel. Near the city of Sanatana is the Madeira Theme Park – an exhibition and entertainment space that gives an idea of the traditional life and crafts of the islanders.
One of the streets of Funchal has been turned into a work of art – all the doors and shutters on Santa Maria are painted by local artists. Funchal Fort will be of interest not only to lovers of military history, but also to art lovers – there is an Art Museum there. The Madeira Museum is located in one of the oldest cellars in Funchal (Av. Arriaga 28). There are exhibits telling about the production and evolution of the famous drink, as well as documentary evidence – including letters from W. Churchill.
A lot of houses in the old center of Funchal are decorated with azulejos – Portuguese tiled paintings.
The pride of Funchal is the Botanical Garden with carpets of flowering plants and the Tropical Garden (Monte Garden), which, in addition to the palace-museum, has an oriental-style park and an open-air azulejo exhibition. At the exit of the Monte gardens, tourists are waiting for a local fun – a toboggan ride. Participants of this show are invited to sit in a sleigh woven from willow vines and ride on asphalt polished to a shine.
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It is comfortable here in any season – warm, but never hot. From November to March it rains, the rest of the time they are rare. Strong winds are typical for this period. The water in the ocean warms up to the maximum temperature by July. The influx of tourists happens in the summer and during the Christmas holidays.
For the riot of vegetation and comfortable climate, Madeira is called the island of eternal spring. See citypopulationreview for weather information.
Due to the diversity of the landscape and the subtropical climate, the weather can change several times a day – so sunglasses with shorts and a windbreaker with a hat will come in handy. Most precipitation falls in the northern part of the island. Lush flowering in Madeira can be observed all year round.