Despite its presence off the coast of Lisbon, beachcombers, sun-worshippers and other sand-and-surf seekers don't get excited about the prospect of Madeira. The small volcanic outcropping in the midst of the Atlantic has no beaches, but that doesn't deter visitors.
The island is a veritable Garden of Eden as a vision of unspoiled brilliance among the deep blue waters. Though discoverers once burned down the island's majestic woods, they've rebounded abundantly, spawning colors, textures, aromas and sounds you just can't find around civilization. Madeira is a paradise borne of the volcanic soil, gentle rains and temperate climate. Walking the hillsides, ravines, plains and valleys nestled amongst the cliffs is akin to walking where no man has walked before.
The island's only 'cosmopolitan' locale is the capital of Funchal. There you can visit the Frederico de Freitas Museum, which houses decorative tiles, earthenware, art and artifacts from Madeira as well as other cultures. Also, the Sao Vicente Caves offer a touch of magic and mystery as leftovers from an eruption hundreds of thousands of years ago. Finally, for those who long to laze by the sea, take a short trip to the neighboring island of Porto Santo, which unlike Madeira is somewhat desolate except for its southern coast, which offers golden sand and glass-like waters.
While we can't replicate the essential artistry of Madeira in the accommodations we feature, you'll find comfort and refreshment and be ready for the next day's wonders.
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