A Hazy Day in Madeira

View from Camara de Lobos

It was a hazy day in Madeira. We were surprised by a fantastic continental breakfast that included almost anything you could imagine having for breakfast. 

We picked up our rental car (a Smart car) and then we were off!  The only problem was that we hadn’t planned where we were going or how to get there.  We drove straight out of Funchal on the same road where we found the rental.

Madeira is covered in mountains and cliffs, so you can imagine what the driving is like: up and down steep hills, on narrow streets, with hairpin turns.   Of course, there was  almost always a steep drop on one side of the road, and a house perilously close to the road on the other.  After twisting and turning up and down a few mountains, we happened upon Cabo Girao,  where we got our first view from outside of the car.  Cabo Girao featured a look-off point where you could view the dramatic cliffs on the south side of the island. The viewing platform hung over the cliff and had a transparent floor.  It was pretty scary to walk on, even if you’re okay with heights!

We quickly got tired of navigating the car and found the closest hiking trail.  There are paths all over the island.  Some paths are actually “roads” that farmers use to check on cattle that graze high up in the hills and mountains.  There are also paths that follow  levadas. Levadas are small, concrete lined irrigation channels that farmers use to bring water from high in the mountains to lower fields and gardens.  

We ended up hiking a mountain called Achada da Pinta.  The trail was wide, often covered in short, green grass.  Although it was hazy, there was blue sky at higher elevations and the temperature was pleasant.  We were lucky to avoid the rain that had been in the forecast earlier in the week.   At the top of the mountain, you could see soft  green mountains disappearing into the haze in one direction and in the other shaper, rockier peaks.  We happened upon goats and dogs along the trail and there were cows at the summit.  

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped in at a town called Camara de Lobos for dinner.   We tried to make getting there easier, by using a GPS we normally use for hiking, to find the main highway.  According to the GPS, we were on the main highway multiple times, but there was no highway in sight.  It didn’t take Marko very long to realize that the main highway was in a tunnel underneath where we were driving!  After backtracking for a while we were able to find the highway and make our way back.  

36 Responses

  1. Dad & Mom says:

    Looks like your having a great time! Really enjoying the scenic photos and the description of your journey! I see short sleeves. That’s a good sign of warm weather?

    • Marko says:

      We’re really enjoying Madeira. Driving is a bit harder than we anticipated, but we’re getting better at it. The weather has been pretty good. It was supposed to rain, but we’ve been getting sunny days.

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