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Shore leave Madeira

March 16th, 2018 | on the road

Madeira is a beautiful island. A paradise for hikers, plant lovers and peace seekers at any time of the year. The sporty alternative to cable car and basket sleigh ride is a walking distance from the ship to Cabo Girão – or (not quite as athletic) to Câmara de Lobos, the most beautiful fishing village of the island. Here you can read the captain’s shore leave recommendation: “Three walks in Madeira”

Shore leave Madeira

“The ‘Cape of Turnaround’ can already be seen from the ship. With 570 meters it is one of the highest cliffs in Europe. One thing is to drive there by car or by bus. To “walk” the Cape an entirely different experience. The view that you have from the glass observation deck up there is breathtaking.

Walk to Cabo Girao

“Coming from the ship you do not follow the visitor flows, whose goal is Cristiano Ronaldo Museum or Funchal’s old town. You turn to the West. You go uphill in the direction of the famous Reid’s Palace Hotel (I only want to mention “Sissi”!). You follow the Estrada Monumental, until it branches off left hand side to the beach promenade “Do Lido”. You follow the shoreline on a small way always heading left, finally also taking some stairs down to the beach. Then you will reach a natural swimming pool named Doca de Cavaca. Right after that, you go through a tunnel and directly on the beach to Câmara de Lobos. Some beach bars invite you to pause, anyhow, you should save up that for the way back.

As I said, walking to the Cabo Girão is a sporting matter. Although it is only about 12 km per distance there are almost 700 meters in altitude to cope with. I myself once even went for a jog uphill during a port stay. Not for the untrained! Somewhat more leisurely, we did the way up hiking during a holiday together with the kids .

The route passes through old farmer paths, terraced fields and gardens. Walking that ways it becomes clear that farming must be onerously. What we do for fun, farmers must go there loaded with equipment or the harvest every day – and under scorching sun (therefore I recommend a cap for his trip – even in winter).

At the Cabo, you have the opportunity to take a small snack or to refresh yourself with an ice cream for your way back.

Walk to Camara de Lobos

The convenient alternative to the Cabo race is the walk to Câmara de Lobos, my favorite place on the island. For this trip you should plan 2.5 hours pure going time per track. Enjoy the local fish specialities in one of the numerous restaurants of this small fishing village or visit one of the quaint fishing pubs, such as the Bar Baia. Drink a Poncha and taste snacks like scabbard fish (Espada), tuna stomach or marinated pork feet and of course Bolo de Caco. Poncha is Madeira’s “national drink” consisting of passion fruit juice and Aguardente. A real fishermen’s Poncha, however, is made from lemon juice and Aguardente.

A very nice location you can also find above the square named Forma d Açúcar. They offer simple snacks, like for example sardines, which are really attractively presented. You can sit quite cosy on a small terrace on the first floor with views over the bay.

 

After a nice meal and a walk through the streets of Câmara de Lobos you decide whether you want to go back on foot or would rather take the bus, which takes you comfortably almost in front of the ship again. The bus stop is directly in front of the Forma d Açúcar.

Walk to Doca de Cavacas

Who likes it even shorter and more relaxed, pays a visit to the small natural swimming pools at Doca de Cavaca. Take the same route from the ship for about an hour. You can go swimming, laze in the sun or enjoy the magnificent view on the south coast of Madeira and Câmara de Lobos up to the Cabo Girão from the terrace of the white blue-painted restaurant directly at the sea front. I don’t know about the quality of the food, the Peixe Espada com Banana (scabbard fish with banana, a typical dish of the island) is said to be very good, but even the location is worth a visit. By the way, you should not take personally the rather unkind way of the service staff there.

Have fun in Madeira!”

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