Poppy’s Travel Diary – Madeira

Poppy’s Travel Diary – Madeira

Location Fenchal 

Where to stay

Belmond Reid’s Palace

Surrounded by lush subtropical gardens, Belmond Reid’s Palace perches above picture-perfect Funchal Harbour and is the ultimate location for the perfect ‘get away’.

Having welcomed guests for more than a century, they have most definitely perfected the art of indulgence. Gorgeous panoramic views, innovative cuisine and the superb service of a bygone era—you may never want to leave.

Where to eat

William Restaurant

Opened in 2015 and awarded a Michelin star less than two years later. The William Restaurant is under the direction of executive chef Luís Pestana, a Madeira native who graduated from culinary school at the top of his class and began working at the hotel at age 20, some 26 years ago. He is committed to showcasing seasonal produce and proteins of his island—local fish, vegetables, suckling pig as well as equally willing to import luxurious ingredients like foie gras, scallops, and caviar. With a panoramic view over the Funchal coastline and the Atlantic Ocean, this is a restaurant made for celebrations.

Afternoon Tea at Reids Palace Hotel  

Choose from delicate finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones, and homemade pastries, all accompanied by your choice from a selection of 24 teas or an indulgent glass of champagne. 

Il Gallo D’Oro 

The Il Gallo d’Oro is the gourmet restaurant belonging to the five-star hotel The Cliff Bay in Funchal.

Since 2004 the cuisine has been under the guidance of French Chef Benoît Sinthon. In 2009, Il Gallo d’Oro was awarded the first Michelin star on Madeira, an award, which has been renewed yearly until 2017, year in which the restaurant was distinguished with 2 Michelin Stars, renewed for 2018.

The sophistication of the Iberian and Mediterranean cuisine that has resulted combines regional products with top-quality ingredients from other regions on the Iberian Peninsular. 

The décor in pastel, earthy and golden tones symbolises between classical and contemporary styles.

Boho Bistro– elements of the Portuguese and Asian culinary traditions this funky little urban bistro is attempting something never before tried on the island, and that is to marry traditional Madeiran/Portuguese flavours with their Asian and South American cousins.

Discreetly tucked away, opposite the shopping mall this is an unexpected gem of Funchal. We were so impressed with the excellent food, great service, and in addition good value for money we ate there twice.

Where to visit

Madeira Gardens & Parks

Madeira Island, aside from all its history, natural beauty and subtropical climate this beautiful Island is also known for its well maintained tropical gardens and parks offering a wide variety of plants and exotic flowers from all around the world.

Many of these gardens are surrounded by well preserved historical manor houses and parks, walk along these gardens and admire its beauty and enjoy the wonderful scents.

Botanical Gardens at Quinta do Bom Sucesso are the most famous tourist attraction, perched on a hillside, providing a wonderful view of the city of Funchal.

Botanical Garden Cable Car Ticket

Admire the views of the city, the mountains, and the sea as you ride on the Botanical Garden cable car. Ride over the Valley of João Gomes Ribeira and visit the village of Monte on top of the mountains surrounding Funchal.

Take in stunning views of the Bay of Funchal, the surrounding mountains, and the sea

Travel between the important attractions of Monte village and the Botanical Garden

Monte Palace Tropical Gardens is situated on the beautiful hilltop of Monte. Monte, an 18thCentury historical Palace once a luxury hotel is now transformed into a charming garden and museum belonging to the Bernardo Foundation. Here you will immerse yourself in exotic flowers and plants and wildlife. A must when visiting the Island.

If you are feeling adventurous make your way back to Funchal in the iconic “basket cars” which often appear in Madeira tourism advertisement. Its appearance took place in the nineteenth century when it became necessary to find a solution to carry the wealthiest people in Monte to Funchal without being time-consuming. The cars are made of wicker and slide on wooden skids. The way back to Funchal is descending, so the force of gravity makes the basket-car slide, and the direction and speed reduction are controlled by two men grabbed at the back. The ride takes about 10-15 minutes.

Half day west tour of the Island– this was one of the many tours that had to be done on this trip. 

Picked up from our hotel a local experienced guide from 4×4 tours took us on an unforgettable off-road adventure.

We visited the Mountains. of Câmara de Lobos, ‘the sea wolves’ lair,’ a picturesque fishing village once painted by Sir Winston Churchill.  

Off course we then continue into the steep mountains and valleys passing the winery area of Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, crossed the fragrant mimosa and eucalyptus forest and saw the Nuns Valley from one of the best viewpoints possible the trip wouldn’t have been complete without a stop in a very local spot for a traditional drink and snacks!

Highlights – discovering Boho Bistro, was a result.

The quiet, tranquility and views of the Madeira trip will stay with me forever.

Poppy Watt

Check out Poppy’s Travel Diary – Poland here

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