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  • Pushed by volcanic forces four miles from the sea floor

  • and a mile into the warm trade winds of the North Atlantic Ocean,

  • are the dramatic cliffs and spires of Madeira.

  • A place of legend since Roman and Viking seafarers first gazed upon these cliffs,

  • Madeira's fertile slopes were eventually claimed by Portugal in 1419 and settled soon after.

  • The volcanic activity may have settled down millennia ago,

  • but the island's rich soils and spring climate means Madeira explodes in lush vegetation

  • all year round.

  • Madeira's capital, Funchal,

  • was named after the wild fennel which once carpeted its hillsides.

  • Situated on the island's southern coast

  • and with a population of just over one-hundred thousand,

  • this is the island's only true city.

  • Madeira may be closer to Africa than it is to Portugal,

  • but in Funchal, the textures of Lisbon are never far away.

  • Walk streets paved with patterned stonework

  • that evokes the spirit of Portuguese culture and pride.

  • Explore centuries-old churches and homes

  • which have endured pirate raids,

  • German U-boat attacks, and earthquakes.

  • Funchal is filled with fabulous museums,

  • but for nature lovers, Madeira's finest exhibits are found outside.

  • Set high on a sunny slope over the city,

  • The Botanical Gardens of Madeira showcase the plants which thrive across the island's diverse biomes.

  • The gardens feature rare species native to the island,

  • as well as hundreds more brought here by green-thumbed sailors and settlers throughout the ages.

  • Just two miles away at the Palheiro Gardens,

  • stretch your legs along trails that wind through

  • sweetly-scented woodlands and exquisite flower beds centuries in the making.

  • As Funchal developed in the 1800s,

  • wealthy residents moved further up the hillsides to escape the noise and smell of the bustling port.

  • If you're seeking a little serenity,

  • ride the cable car to Monte Palace Tropical Garden which features olive trees

  • dating back to Roman times,…tranquil Japanese Gardens,…

  • and mosaics depicting great moments in Portuguese history.

  • While Madeira's formal gardens are impressive,

  • it's often the more practical plots that steal the show.

  • From Funchal, head west along the coast to the neighbouring town ofmara de Lobos,

  • where grapes and bananas ripen on terraces,

  • vegetable fields cling kto the edges of cliffs,

  • and the fruits of sea dry in the salty breeze.

  • mara de Lobos is the gateway to Cabo Girão,

  • one of the world's mightiest cliffs.

  • Take a deep breath and step out upon the glass cliff-walk,

  • the highest in all of Europe.

  • And yes, those are crops down there;

  • Madeira's farmers will plant wherever the soil is good,

  • and the growing conditions at the base of Cabo Girão are the most highly prized on the island.

  • You'll find plenty of colossal views just a fifteen-minute drive east of Funchal too.

  • At Garajau, follow the steady gaze of The Sacred Heart Statue out to sea,

  • and watch divers far below enjoying the undersea gardens of the marine reserve.

  • If you feel like joining them, ride the cable car down to the clear waters below.

  • While Madeira certainly can't lay claim to the world's sandiest beaches,

  • its dramatic cliffs, warm waters and coastal towns more than compensate.

  • Just around the corner in Canico,

  • Reis Magos Beach is the perfect place to chill out and enjoy a little reflexology.

  • You'll find plenty of places to cool off in neighbouring Santa Cruz too.

  • After your swim, follow the promenade beneath the battlements of Fort São Fernando,

  • past palm trees and pastry shops and into the whitewashed embrace of the old town.

  • Madeira's modern ring road and tunnel system string together coastal towns and beaches,

  • each one a little different from the last.

  • If you're looking for the island's sunniest spot, head to Ponta do Sol.

  • If you've got a sweet tooth,

  • relax in a café in the old sugar town of Arco da Calheta and enjoy a homemade honey cake.

  • And if the rumbling sound of breakers echoing off the cliffs is your idea of relaxation,

  • spend a night or two at Paul do Mar.

  • While Madeira's south coast offers the best sunshine,

  • the north coast offers plenty of drama and adventure.

  • Feel the power of the wild Atlantic in the natural swimming pools of Porto Moniz.

  • From the town of Seixal, hike the levadas into Madeira's mist-covered interior.

  • While at Sao Vincente,

  • descend into caves and lava tubes and learn about the volcanic forces which shaped this island.

  • After exploring Madeira's underground world, treat yourself to a blast of pure Atlantic air

  • at Ponta de São Lourenço,

  • the island's eastern-most point.

  • Follow the path along this narrow peninsula,

  • which dips like a dragon's tail into the sea, only to resurface again in the far-off deserted islands.

  • Once you've explored the coastline,

  • head to the mountains where the landscape becomes even more extreme.

  • Less than an hours drive from Funchal is Pico do Arieiro,

  • Madeira's third highest peak.

  • Even at this harsh altitude where the views stretch away forever,

  • vegetation finds a home amid the nooks and crannies.

  • From here, experienced hikers can head off along the knife-edged trails to even higher peaks,

  • the same peaks that guided Portuguese explorers to Madeira six hundred years ago.

  • When those explorers first stepped ashore on Madeira's southern shores,

  • they dropped to their knees in grateful prayer and the outpost of Machico was born.

  • Just a few decades later, church bells echoed off the newly terraced slopes,

  • forts guarded the town from passing pirates,

  • and mills crushed sugar cane into liquid gold.

  • Each Spring, the citizens of Machico

  • and towns all across Madeira

  • decorate their streets with floral carpets and give thanks for their island's riches and bounty.

  • Once you've bathed in Madeira's waters,

  • walked its gardens,

  • and touched its clouds,

  • you'll be giving thanks too.

Pushed by volcanic forces four miles from the sea floor

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馬德拉島度假旅遊指南 - Expedia (Madeira Island Vacation Travel Guide | Expedia)

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    Summer 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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