The island of Madeira, located off the coast of Morocco in the North Atlantic Ocean has a very pleasant subtropical climate year around. In addition to its stunning natural scenery, with massive mountains, jagged cliffs, lush forests and delightful flower gardens, the island will offer you its wine, its wonderful gastronomy, its traditions and much more.
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
1.MADEIRA BOTANICAL GARDEN
The gardens is located just a mile from downtown and perched above the city. You are surrounded with spectacular views while exploring the more than 2 000 plants in one of the city’s top attractions. Many of the plants are indigenous, but there is a section reserved for rare foreign plants. At the Parrot Park you will have a chance to see an impressive collection of tropical and colorful birds.
2.MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
The museum was originally built in 1614 as a defense against pirates, and then enlarged in 1767. The mustard-hued fortress with toy town turrets is considered to be one of the top 5 art museums in Portugal. With most of the collection donated by the artists themselves and other painting bought, makes this museum unique. With the ever expanding and growing collection making it necessary to rotate the collection at various intervals to accommodate all the works held by the museum. The museum also allowing several artists private exhibitions – such as Bartolomeu Cid dos Santos, Gil Teixeira Lopes, António Bouca, Cargaleiro, Emília Nadal, Carlos Calvet, António Palolo, Nuno Sampayo, Isabel Laginhas, Ilda David, Ana Vidigal, Miguel Branco, Pedro Babrito Reis, Sofia Areal, Rui Sanches and António Campos Rosado and many others.
3.SACRED ART MUSEUM
The museum is housed in the former bishop’s palace dating back from 1600. On exhibit are rare paintings and statues, illuminated books, and gold-embroidered vestments are arranged chronologically between the 15th and 19th centuries over two floors. The propensity by Maderian merchants to spend profits generated from the island's lucrative sugar trade on commissioning works of religious art to secure their salvation in the afterlife are reflected in the exhibition. The architectural merit and the museum makes a quite diversion.
The functioning cathedral was consecrated in 1514 and has a rather austere façade belies a rich interior that features an early 16th century gilded altarpiece and richly carved sanctuary. The ceiling of white cedar with ivory inlay heightens the ornate Gothic woodwork. The Moorish and European architectural elements are blended in the knotwork and is one of the finest examples of its kind. Sightseeing should be timed between church services.
5.CONVENTO DE SANTA CLARA
The convent was founded in 1476, and was last occupied by nuns in 1890. Visitors can meander through the simply furnished Upper and Lower Choir rooms before wandering the elegant cloisters, which provided access to chapels and oratories. The Moorish-style cupola is noted on the convent’s bell tower and is decorated with a chessboard of blue, white and gold ceramic tiles. The neighboring Santa Clara Church was completed in 1493 and is equally beautiful with its intricate tile work.
6.MUSEU DA QUINTA DAS CRUZES
The museum used to be the family residence of Portuguese navigator João Gonçalves Zarco together with Tristão Vaz Teixeira who discovered Madeira in 1419. On exhibit is decorative artworks from the period in which Zarco lived and provides a suitable introduction to the history behind the island's early pioneers.
7.MADEIRA STORY CENTRE
At the centre you can learn about the history and culture of the Madeira archipelago in an engaging and highly entertaining manner. Exhibitions are themed and arranged according to periods in the islands’ history. Special smell boxes recreate the fragrance of a particular environment. You can buy gifts and locally made artifacts at the onsite shop.
8.MUSEU PHOTOGRAPHIA VICENTES
The museum chronicles the work by the photographer Vicente Gomes da Silva and four generations of the family since 1865. The Vicentes name is synonymous with photography in Madeira, and the studio has been restored to its former glory, replete with vintage photographic and darkroom paraphernalia. The museum offers a nostalgic glimpse into yesteryear, with many historic images on display.
OTHER PLACES TO VISIT
The best way to get around Madeira is by bus (they are the cheapest), taxi, car and Avis.
Madeira’s temperature as so stable, making it a all year around destination. The most popular time is between March and May when you will want to visit one of the most beautiful Botanic Garden.