For an Island more known for its elderly visitors, many people forget that the population of Madeira Island is very young (average age around 21) and there are many and varied sporting activities on offer. From golf on the islands (Madeira and Porto Santo) two championship courses, to deep sea diving, sailing, paragliding, hiking, climbing, and deep sea fishing for record size blue marlin.
All these sports are available to visitors and details are available from reception of the Quinta.
An isolated island such as Madeira has had to prosper from its own ingenuity and from the raw materials available on the island. Three of the indigenous island products have become famous worldwide - the wine, the embroidery and the wickerwork. Don't expect things to be cheap, as we are talking about the very best quality available anywhere. But they will be a lot better value here at source than in equivalent retail outlets around the world that trade with the island.
Although largely isolated from the influences of continental Europe, much of the cultural heritage of Madeira can be traced back to the golden age of the sugar industry. The white gold produced sufficient earnings to allow Madeirans to purchase and commission some of the greatest of religious artefacts. These can be viewed today in the Museu de Arte Sacra in Funchal. Today, Funchal is a vibrant city with many and varied cultural events, from a Jazz festival held in the summer, through to amateur dramatics, and classical music concerts. Also look out for the showings at the six local cinemas. Most films are shown in their original language.
Madeira has always been a paradise for the keen gardener. A few of the gardens worthwhile visiting are the Botanical Gardens, Quinta Boa Vista Orchid Farm, Monte Palace Botanical gardens, and the Gardens of Quinta do Palheiro. Whatever time of year you visit there is always something in bloom, and many of the flowers grow semi-wild along the roadsides, particularly in the mountains. Look out for the Flower Festival that takes place in April every year.
The local cuisine is varied and very appetizing! We suggest you try some recipes such as:
• Beef on a skewer made of a laurel stick;
• Black scabbard fish fillets;
• Tuna steak;
• Crunchy fried corn;
• Bolo do caco, a traditional and very delicious traditional Madeira bread;
• Grilled limpets;
• Sea snails;
• Bolo de mel (honey cake);
• Madeirian queijadas;
• Some coloured and flavoured candies from Madeira. The fennel candies are the most traditional ones. Let the sweetness melt in your mouth;
• Madeira Wine;
• Tropical fruits (banana, papaya, avocado, Madeira's custard apple, passion fruit, banana-pineapple, mango, arboreal tomato, indian fig, etc)
We suggest a visit to Mercado dos Lavradores (Farmers Market), where the colours, aromas and tradition join together to delight anyone visiting it. Here, you can find the best and freshest tropical fruits, vegetables, flowers and a wide variety of spices fill the entire space with exotic aromas.
The tradition and folklore also prevail here. Therefore, you will find many of the saleswomen dressed in the typical, joyful Madeiran costume in bright colours.
And lots more...
The joys of Madeira do not stop at the obvious! There are mountains to explore, levadas to walk, and even a toboggan ride through the city streets. And don't forget that we have a whole ocean out there teeming with whales and dolphins, as well as some of the biggest billfish known to sports anglers.
Or take it easy, slow down to a more Madeiran pace, and simple enjoy your holiday!