Had enough of typical beach retreats? Looking to mix up your holiday routine? We at Prestige Holidays have the perfect solution: an adventurous getaway on the archipelago of Madeira. While this picturesque oasis still allows you to soak up some much-needed sunshine and savour full-bodied wines, why not supplement lazing about with some big-game fishing, a cable car ride or even a jeep safari? Let me introduce you to Madeira’s best spots for thrilling escapades.
Madeira’s charming coastline is known for its colourful array of sea life. If you’re looking for a tranquil introduction to its aquatic wonders, you’ll love going whale, dolphin or even shark watching on one of the island’s sought-after tours. But for an additional – and very recommended – element of excitement, my clients always speak highly of big-game fishing. Why not reel in some of the area’s most exciting water dwellers, such as wahoo, sharks, blue fish and barracuda, and experience their magnificence up close?
Although the island’s entire coastline is graced with myriad sea life, you’re bound to discover the greatest variety of marine sensations in Calheta, a mere 20-minute drive away from Madeira’s capital, Funchal. From sharks to swordfish to amberjacks, you’ll never know what you’ll catch when you bait your hook.
*Please note: all fish will be returned to their natural habitats unharmed.
Our Recommended Hotel
Can’t get enough of the coastline? Neither can we. That’s why our team recommends Belmond Reid’s Palace, a breathtaking 5-star hotel overlooking the glittering waters of Funchal Bay. Situated on the edge of an imposing cliff, the buzz of big-game fishing is sure to carry over to your stay in the hotel: if you’re in need to an adrenaline boost, all you have to do is look down. Along with the island’s famous golf courses, flourishing gardens and sensuous spa and sauna, its location couldn’t be better: it’s only 2 miles away from Praia Formosa Beach and a 15-minute stroll from Funchal. With its dramatic natural setting and world-class facilities, the palace offers plenty of opportunities for daring adventures, as well as laid-back recreation when you need a break.
Of course, you can’t go to Madeira without fully appreciating its spectacular flora and fauna. However, instead of opting for a mainstream hike, make your rural retreat as memorable as possible by taking the road less travelled. Personally, I’m a big fan of jeep safaris, which allow you to let your adventurous spirit loose and fully immerse yourself in the island’s rugged countryside.
From winding your way up steep mountains and marvelling at the natural treasures that are hidden in the tranquil Laurissilva Forest, you’re in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience on any of the area’s jeep safaris. During my stay, however, I decided to drive through the idyllic Porto Moniz, which was a truly exhilarating experience. There’s nothing quite like discovering its stunning lava pools – I’d do it again any day
Our Recommended Hotel
During my holiday, I had my heart set on exploring Porto Moniz, so I booked a stay at the Aqua Natura, a four-star hotel situated right next to the town’s waterside. When you return from your jeep safari be sure to pay the nearby natural pools a visit, which are ideal for taking a refreshing dip. If you can’t get enough of seeking out adventure, I highly recommend plunging into the waters of the hotel’s on-side diving centre. And, after all of that excitement, recharge by taking a warm soak in the hot tub. It truly doesn’t get better than that.
Monte Toboggan Rides
A transfer between point A and point B doesn’t sound very exciting, right? Wrong. In Madeira’s capital of Funchal, the journey from the parish of Monte to the centre of Funchal couldn’t be more thrilling. Since the mid-nineteenth century, toboggan sledges adorn the downhill passage between the two areas and have attracted thousands of thrill-seeking tourists ever since. These two-seat sledges swish down steep slopes at up to 48 km/h, whisking you away to the city centre in a mere 10 minutes. If you’re a roller-coaster enthusiast, you’re in luck: I can assure you that the toboggan sledges are sure to get your adrenaline pumping just as much as any modern amusement ride. What’s more, you’ll be able to enjoy the region’s stunning scenery as you swoop down the mountainside at ground-breaking velocities.
Our Recommended Hotel
To take advantage of the toboggan rides on a daily basis, you’ll want to stay in the area. If you’re looking for a convenient location and want to experience the hustle and bustle of city life, I encourage you to let yourself be spoiled at the Quinta da Penha de Franca, a family hotel near the centre of Funchal. Along with its tropical gardens, you’ll be able to enjoy charming sea views from your room’s private balcony. And, even better: the hotel not only has an outstanding outdoor restaurant that overlooks the water, but also offers a variety of massage treatments to help you unwind after an adventure-filled day.