This archipelago of Portuguese islands that are located on the outer reaches of the European Union are great places to vacation at all times of the year. The climate, atmosphere, and beautiful beaches make it an excellent place to travel and explore. Don’t stick around Lisbon if you’ve got some time in Portugal there are plenty of other great places to visit like Algarve in the south and of course the Madiera islands. You can begin basing your Madiera vacation plans in the capital city of Funchal, the largest city and home to the main harbor on the island. Its a coastal city where over 100,000 people live with both beaches, cliffs, and rolling hills.
Tourism is an important part of the economy in Madeira but its not the primary source of income for the local economy. The island has been granted a number of favorable tax incentives to offer businesses encouragement to set up shop in Madeira. This effort by the Portuguese government has paid off and agriculture and industry are growing steadily. One of the major sources of income is the famous Madeira wine produced on the island and you can make some of the local vineyards a part of your Madeira travels. Its easy enough to hop from island to island in the archipelago via ferry and outside of the Funchal area there are also vineyards on the island of Porto Santo.
For your Funchal plans, the Blandys Wine Lodge is right in town and where most people head to taste some of the local wines being produced in Madeira. Its open on most days and for a small fee you can sample the various wines and also take a tour of the facilities and learn a bit more about them. The experience will last about an hour or so depending on how much wine and conversation you’d like to enjoy. There are also souvenirs, snacks, and of course bottles of wine for sale.
If drinking wine isn’t your thing there’s the Monte Palace Tropical Garden near Funchal which you can get to via the local cable car. Entrance to the Monte Palace Tropical Garden is expensive (over 10 Euro and about that much for transportation there) although children are admitted without charge. The gardens are open daily but be sure to check the exact hours of operation as it does occasionally close to the public for special events. Its really a place that’s great for kids and those who like to be overwhelmed visually. You’ll get a good taste of the flora and fauna that grows on the island as well as some of the wildlife and birds that have thrived in Madeira. There is also a museum on the site where you can learn more about the things you’ve seen and ask questions with local staff. Food and drinks are also available at the Monte Palace Tropical Garden which has been designed to provide a unique and varied experience for everyone who visits.