Madeira – Travel Report
The flower island – “Ilha das flores”
With an area of 740 square kilometers, it is significantly smaller than other popular holiday destinations such as Mallorca or Tenerife. The year-round mild climate creates perfect conditions for fauna and flora. The mentioned flora can be seen already at the airport where you can buy for a few euros the first famous “Adderheads”. However, the airport is famous for its runway. It is very close to the cliffs, so even the road under it performs. On windy days there are always applause for the pilots during landings and take-offs.
Also on our arrival on the island we were nervous what would come in the next few days. Already half a year in advance, we booked flight, hotel and motorcycles. What you should pay attention to in any case before booking is a hotel with sea view. This is very beautiful on Madeira. On the rugged coastal rocks you have a beautiful view from the hotel rooms, so you can watch beautiful sunsets.
The second day we used to explore the capital. The capital of the island is Funchal. Very popular with tourists from England, Germany and around the world. For example, Churchill often moved to the island. Today, Funchal has become known for an athlete in the world, Christiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese exceptional sportsman is proud of his home country and shows his attachment to a museum and even a hotel by his name, the famous CR7. If you want to climb the hill their is a famous cable car to the district of Monte. On the Top you can visit a botanic garden and a church. When you finished with sightseeing you will get a real adrenalin kick. Downhill it goes with the traditional wooden sled. This spectacle will not be forgotten for a long time.
The rugged landscape of Madeira is covered in winding roads. One bend chases the other. Past countless viewpoints and interesting places to discover. It quickly became clear to us that we do not want to sit in the car and discover the island by motorbike. At Magoscar in Caniço we quickly found what we needed and rented three motorcycles from Ekkehard Kunz, a German immigrant. The rented BMW F 650 GS are ideal for this terrain. On the motorcycle, the island can be experienced much more intense than with a closed vehicle. Odors, temperature and much more make the Madeira experience even stronger.
Finally the time has come. On the third day of our stay we picked up our motorcycles at “Magoscar” and made our way to Gabo Griao on the VR1. The viewpoint offers a great view of the capital Funchal. The first few kilometers on our “little” GS were absolutely amazing. We made a detour to the interior and climbed the plateau on the ER110. Luckily we had all the motorcycle equipment with us as the weather changed and we suddenly had to deal with heavy fog, rain and icy temperatures. Even the heated handles paid off. Back at sea level, the weather was better again and we enjoyed the coastal road ER 101 at the end of our first tour.
With a length of 60 km and a width of 22 km, this does not seem to be very easy at first sight and at least accessible by public bus. You should not be fooled, not without reason there are countless car rental companies on the island. Although it is “easy” to get to the capital of Funchal, you should get a small car for the excursions around the island for the rest of the day. These are usually quite cheap to buy for a weekly package. A taxi driver gave us the tip not to drive too fast, because the longest straight is the runway of the airport and the bends are often very tight.
On the second day with the motorcycles we were very nervous and scoured the weather reports of the island. We made our way to the highest navigable summit of the island, the Pico do Arieiro. The weather was very modest and we feared bad.
When we had the last 20 kilometers ahead on the ER 103, the sky suddenly opened and we were greeted by the sun’s rays on the summit. After a short parking problem we enjoyed the awesome view and the icy cold weather. We drove on quickly because it was really freezing cold. The rest of the tour through the northeast coast of the island was absolutely amazing. A real jungle with countless curves and empty roads.
Away from the hustle and bustle, Madeira offers everything that makes the hiker’s heart beat faster. The third highest peak of Madeira, the Pico do Arieiro can be reached with a pass road. From there you have a breathtaking view on clear days. Those who prefer to stay at sea level will find one of the innumerable old watercourses – Levadas from the guidebooks and can enjoy nature on these trails.
On the last day of our motorcycle tour we decided to drive the ER228 to Sao Vincente, because there would be a coastal road in the rock. When we arrived there, we unfortunately had to find that this road was locked. But we did not let the mood spoil us and drove along our favorite route. We enjoyed the last day on the bike and the really perfect weather.
Madeira is interesting for those who feel most comfortable in spring or autumn, as temperatures rarely fall below 15°C and rise above 25°C. Nature and flower lovers will get their money’s worth in the Botanical Garden and will not forget the visit. Whether young or old the flower island thrilled by their varied offers.
Hiking: Ponta de Sao Lourenço, Levada Caldeirao Verde
Rental: Magoscar, car and motorbike
Hotels: absolutely with sea view!
General information: Travel time: All year round
Flight time: about 4 hours 30 minutes
Connection: Vienna – Funchal