Madeira is wonderfully diverse. From steep cliffs and long sandy beaches to green slopes and plateaus, all of this with trendy shops, restaurants and bars in between. It's a true paradise for nature lovers and bon vivants! And when you think 'nature lover and bon vivant', you think 'Wim Lybaert'.
Wim's trip begins in the charming capital Funchal in a very original way. It begins with a descent in a sled made of wood and reed. One of the many highlights on the island you cannot miss, is the spectacular mountain hike to Pico Ruivo at 1862 metres. At the vast sandy beaches you can go diving, surfing and paddleboarding.
But besides adventure, there is also plenty of time for nature. Swim in a natural lake on one of the many picturesque rocky islands and enjoy magnificent views of the most spectacular rocky coastline, go fishing at sea from Funchal on private boat and a captain or take a private boat trip to spot dolphins. Are your holiday dreams really 'sky-high'? Then you can even book a picnic on Pico do Areiro where you can literally picnic above the clouds.
Discover all video clips of Wim's trip here.
Day 1: Departure to Funchal
You will pick up your rental car at Funchal airport and drive to Hotel Belmond Reid for a three-night stay, a hotel with a stunning location on the Madeira coast and breathtaking sea views.
Day 2: Funchal
For centuries, Funchal has been the economic center and capital of Madeira, a city resembling a giant amphitheater built against the mountain slopes. Thanks to the small size of the center, it is cozy and pleasant to stroll around, relax on a terrace, shop and do some sightseeing. A descent from a 'Tobogan', a sled made of wood and reeds, is an experience that you cannot miss. You will take the cable car up to Monte and slide down the slope through the streets of Funchal, pushed by two carreiros. To end this experience nicely, you will go to the Old Blandy wine lodge for a tasting.
Day 3: The Pico do Arieiro and the Pico Ruivo: life above the clouds
On the schedule today are the belvederes of Pico dos Barcelos and Eira do Serrado, with breathtaking views including the village of Curral das Freiras located in the volcanic valley. The most impressive excursion is the one to the Pico do Arieiro. The summit at 1818 metres is the starting point of a spectacular mountain hike for advanced climbers without fear of heights to the Pico Ruivo at 1862 metres. The trip there and back will take about six hours. The icing on the cake however will be a picnic above the clouds. Literally. At the top, a delicious picnic basket will be waiting for you.
Day 4: Câmara de Lobos - Ponta do Sol
Câmara de Lobos, Madeira's oldest fishing village has a picturesque beach where traditional colourful boats are still moored. The place owes its name to the monk seals that used to live here, the lobos, but have now completely disappeared. However, there is still a lot of peixe espada, the black swordfish, which is traditionally fished and considered a delicacy. You'll then continue towards Hotel Quinta Jardins do Lago to stay for four nights.
Day 5: A day at sea
With Funchal as a starting point, you will spend a day of fishing or dolphin spotting at sea. A private boat and skipper are provided to make this experience unforgettable. The amazing waves, the pleasant water temperature and the mild climate provide optimal conditions.
Day 6: The West Coast
You will travel along the West Coast to Calheta, where modern art becomes one with the beautiful nature. From the Casa das Mudas Arts Center, on the edge of a cliff, there is a beautiful view and an impressive collection of modern art. You will then go further north, to Porto Moniz, one of the oldest villages in Madeira on a spectacular rocky coastline, full of picturesque rock islands where there are natural lakes in which you can swim. Then, on to São Vicente, known for its whitewashed houses, set against the hillside, connected by narrow alleys and steep steps, and return to the hotel via Ribeira Brava.
Day 7: The famous levadas
You will explore the Parque Natural de Madeira, which covers no less than two thirds of the island's surface. Along the beautiful levadas, former irrigation canals, you can marvel at the inland of Madeira, including Rabaçal and the plateau of Paúl da Serra to the west or Ribeiro Frio to the east.
Day 8: Return home
You will return your rental car at Funchal airport and fly back to Brussels.
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