A lucky group of Super Break HQ staff went to the beautiful island of Madeira to soak up the culture, views and attractions on offer. Millie, our resident travel blogger, had a chat with them to find out more about their experiences…
What was your favourite part of the trip?
‘My favourite part of the trip was the visit to Nun’s Valley – The views were literally breath-taking. Being in the clouds and viewing some of the drops were incredible!’
‘My favourite part was walking around the old town, viewing the artistically painted doors, sitting in an outdoor cafe and sampling the poncha which was actually quite a refreshing fruit juice with a bit of alcohol thrown in. I also enjoyed visiting a viewing platform which was a glass balcony hung over the cliff edge which was not for the faint hearted.’
‘I really enjoyed going up to the mountains and looking out across Nuns Valley. The views were incredible! The drive up was terrifying for those afraid of heights but it was a great way to see parts of the island.’
‘The views are amazing, Madeira is like nowhere else. It reminded me of a tropical Jurassic Park – up in the clouds one minute, brilliant sunshine the next!’
Why would you recommend Madeira as a getaway destination?
‘It is not like anywhere else that I have experienced. The island really has to be seen to be believed. You can literally be by the pool one day getting a sun tan and the next day be on top of the world looking down on to clouds.’
‘Everything seems to slow down – it’s all about relaxing in an area of natural beauty. Marvel at the panoramic views, chill and pamper yourself in a spa, take the time to walk around beautiful gardens, religious landmarks, lush green volcanic mountains etc.’
‘It has lots of places to go walking and take in the spectacular views. The pace of life is very relaxed and the people all very friendly and accommodating.’
‘It’s a beautiful island, with a short flight time, friendly people and lots of activities, or you can just lay by the pool.’
What was the food/drink like?
‘The food was great, quite traditional Mediterranean. The beef skewers we experienced on the traditional night were exceptional.”
‘The kebabs they served at the cultural night were great. They were pieces of meat grilled on a long skewer and then hung up in the middle of the table with garlic butter dripping down them. It felt quite medieval. The meat was really succulent.’
‘Delicious – we went for traditional food one night which was meat on hanging skewers smothers in garlic and chilli butter. We also drank lots of Madeira wine and ate yummy pastries. They are big on coffee too! Lots of nice espressos.’
‘I can recommend Madeira Wine! Food is varied, there’s something for everyone – traditional restaurants, fast food outlets, international cuisine etc.’
What did you learn while you were there?
‘I thought the destination was going to be more suited for older people, this is not the case. The destination is suitable for everyone.’
‘The story of Nuns Valley was interesting. We also learnt a little bit of the history relating to slavery and how this shaped the island and its ancestors. Also bananas! They grow EVERYWHERE.’
‘Lots of bananas are grown all over Madeira!’
Which attraction did you enjoy the most?
‘I really enjoyed the traditional evening. The food was great and the entertainment something totally different. It was one of those things you will remember forever.’
‘The toboggan ride in Monte is a must-do for any visitors to the island. Speed downhill on the wicker sledges which are pushed and steered by two men, using just their boots as brakes. This is such a unique experience – and the perfect way to travel down to Funchal. Be sure to pose for the cameras as you go round so you can get a great picture at the end to capture it!’
‘Nuns Valley was amazing with stunning views.’
Any hidden gems/insider tips that you picked up on?
‘The rooftop bar at the Tiles Hotel is stunning – no better place to enjoy a cold beer.’
‘Try the Nikita cocktail while in Madeira – with pineapple, wine, beer and ice cream as its main ingredients, it’s weird but tasty!’
‘Everyone raves about the traditional Black Scabbard fish dish served with bananas so I’m sure that would be a recommendation.’
‘Take something warm to wear for Nun’s Valley – it gets quite chilly up there in the clouds.’
‘All Madeirans are really well dressed! Lots of linen suits and beautiful tailoring. I asked and apparently it’s a known thing – Portuguese from the mainland have to dress up when they come over to fit in.’
The team would like to say a huge thank you to On Travel Solutions (particularly Rita and Gary) for their hospitality and kindness during the trip.
Fancy an island escape in Madeira for yourself? Take a peek at our Madeira: Funchal and Island Experience exclusive flight breaks and look forward to a break away like no other.