As a self-acclaimed “travel blogger”, it may be strange to find out that I’ve only travelled outside of Europe once, and that was when I was a little kid. And now I’m about to tell you that my #DreamHoliday lies within Europe. So much for dreaming big, eh? No, but seriously… hear me out, guys… I know you’ll be dying to visit subtropical Madeira, just like me, after you’ve read this post. Yep, Madeira. Heard of it? Whilst it’s a reasonably popular destination, it’s not up there in your typical dream bucket list (think Machu Picchu, the Northern Lights, Anghor Wat, etc). Madeira is a Portuguese group of islands, set in the Atlantic Ocean, and the capital of Madeira is Funchal, located on the main island’s south coast. I like to idealise Madeira as an international taste in a European space. H N Coleridge noted, back in 1825, that Madeira “ensures every European comfort with almost every tropical luxury“, which is totally ideal (especially on a budget! Sometimes dreams can be attainable, right?) The number one thing that attracted me to these islands is how lush, green and naturally beautiful they are, but enough with the rambling…
This is why Madeira is my dream destination for 2016:
Peru? Nope, guess again. This is Portugal! If hiking’s your thing, then Madeira seems to have it all. From gorgeous coastlines to expansive mountain ranges to plenty of waterfalls, I am dying to explore. I really want to climb to the lookout point Ribeiro Frio, seen in the first photo. With a stunning view across the mountain range, it’ll make all that walking so worth it. Instagram worthy, anyone? If you are not one for hiking, then there are several awesome cable car routes that will let you see the island from above, without the exercise. For more adrenaline, I would love to try out paragliding and canyoning which are the two most popular adventure sports in Madeira.
Wandering under this romantic tunnel of trees, along vast bricked bridges and trailing around the small winding towns of these islands, Madeira offers an otherworldly romantic feeling. It would not only be a romantic island to visit with a partner, but it would also be an escape from our bustling, technology-ridden society. Madeira is also well known for its flowers – which obviously screams romance – due to its all year round summer climate! I’d love to visit Madeira in April to celebrate their annual flower festival with lots of other tourists and locals.
We know I’m all about unique accommodation over at Faraway Lucy, and Madeira fits the bill just nicely. One of my favourite Airbnb properties of all time, (not pictured above), is located on Madeira’s main island: a luxurious glamping experience in a tipi, situated in a tropical banana tree forest, overlooking vast expanses of water. Sometimes I feel like I just want to visit Madeira in order to stay here, but that’s not the most valid reason, is it…
Chinese Botanical Gardens
One of the coolest attractions the main island has to offer is their brightly blooming Chinese Botanical Gardens, both Jardim Tropical Monte Palace and Jardim Botanico Funchal. I doubt that I’ll be making my way over to Asia, on a student budget, anytime soon so this will have to do…
Now, I’m personally not a fan of your typical beach holiday; however, I am a fan of natural lava pools at Porto Moniz (how flippin’ unique is that?!), majestic cliffs, and picturesque pebbled beaches. While Madeira doesn’t offer your picture-perfect golden beach, its crystal clear waters definitely bring you that tropical feelin’. If sandy beaches are your thing, you can just hop on a short ferry out to the nearby Porto Santo island for miles of yellow, sandy beaches.
When most people think of Madeira, their thoughts automatically jump to fine wine. These islands seem to offer a wide variety of fresh, delicious local produce that I would just love to get my hands on! Waking up early in the morning as the sun rises, relaxing under a palm tree eating locally sourced fruit… yeah, sounds blissful, doesn’t it?
So, what is your current dream holiday destination? Let me know in the comments below, and let’s kick-start each other’s wanderlust! This article is an entry into Travelex UK’s #DreamHoliday competition.
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