Madeira is a small autonomous region off Portugal's coast and now, if you're vaccinated, you could have the chance to experience it yourself. It's one of the most recent regions to jump on the bandwagon of allowing vaccinated travelers, however, those who plan to go must provide proof of vaccinations and have their approvals met by the Madeira Traveler Registration site. According to the Madeira Promotion Bureau, the country is opening its borders as a 'vote of confidence in this new phase the world is going through.' For most countries, the opening of borders to those who are vaccinated has been a cautious, but positive and hopeful, change.
For travelers who have been approved, this small archipelago, which is a collection of four islands, in total, might seem like a small speck on the map but was actually given the nickname of being the 'pearl of the Atlantic.' There's plenty to do and see on these islands and, as remote as they are, they leave nothing to be desired. The views are second to none and Madeira's smaller island to the northwest, Porto Santo, is filled with adventures just waiting to be taken.
Hike Along The East Coast
Ponta de São Lourenço offers unique views along the ocean coastline like nowhere else in Madeira or even Portugal. The eastern coast of this island is actually a nature reserve that allows visitors to take in all the natural beauty of the shoreline and its cliffside views.
These views, combined with the natural flora and fauna of the island, make for an incredible experience, and the best part is that most of the land has gone untouched by humans (with the occasional picnic bench).
The Skywalk In Cabo Girão Is Dizzyingly Gorgeous (And Free)
If you're looking for an even more intense view that goes beyond standing at the edge of a cliff, the Skywalk in Cabo Girão is definitely an experience to have. This glass walkway extends over the ocean off the south coast of Madeira.
The bridge itself sits at a height of 580 meters above the ocean below and gives visitors the vantage point of a lifetime. From that high up, they can see the rise and fall of the ocean, the cliffsides that flank the island, and all of the farms dotted in between.
Walk Through Channels That Are Centuries Old In The North
One of this island's most notable features is its channels which were first created during the 1500s. From the Moors all the way to the São George Valley, these channels were carved out and now serve the purpose of hiking trails for those seeking to explore the island even further.
The incredible thing about these channels is that they've allowed people to see parts of the island that were otherwise unreachable without them, and one of the most popular trails is the Levada dos 25, which leads to the Risco waterfall.
Parque Forestal de Queimadas Is A Storybook Forest Setting
In the northern part of the island, visitors will find Parque Forestal de Queimadas. This setting is nothing short of magical with its lush greenery and exotic plant life, and it's also home to some of the largest fronds ever seen in Europe.
The forest is full of trails and some even lead to the Levadas - channels - making for a web of views that can't be missed. The shelter in this forest, which was designed to resemble a traditional Santana cottage, is the perfect place to stop off and take a break for lunch.
Take The Cable Car To Monte Palace Tropical Garden
The Funchal cable car will get people from Almirante Reis to Monte but will also give you awesome views the entire way there. Rising high above these cities, the cable car stops at the terminal in Monte and right after that, visitors will come face to face with the Monte Palace Tropical Garden.
There, the vast expanse of plant life will more than fill a day's worth of time, with features such as a Japanese garden and plants from all over the world, including from Scotland and even South Africa. The landscape is absolutely breathtaking, with each area of flora bringing with it a unique setting, such as the carp koi pond that can be found in the Japanese garden. The entire botanical system has been built around what was once the Monte Palace Hotel, and its architecture only seems to enhance the beauty of this place.