Feb 10, 2014

Funchal, Portugal: Island of Madeira Part 1


We sailed into the port of Funchal on the island of Madeira, Portugal bright and early one October morning. The sun was just beginning to peek above the water and the colors painting the sky were vibrant and welcoming. As soon as it was light enough to see the island, I couldn't help but snap a flurry of photos. The terrain had an interesting mix of tropical and mountainous characteristics. In the foreground, you could see palm trees, sandy beaches, and rocky cliffs jutting out into the sea. But in the distance, hills and mountains covered in thick, green vegetation towered over the heavily populated city below. As D and I stared at the island from our balcony, we couldn't help but think Madeira must be a wonderful getaway from the hustle and bustle of cities like Lisbon on mainland Portugal. The sleepy city had yet to wake up, so we savored the tranquility as we slowly floated into port.

For our day in Funchal, we had a variety of activities lined up to give us a hearty picture of what Portuguese island life was like. Once we disembarked the ship, we hopped a bus that took us to the Monte area of Funchal to visit Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte (500 year old church in the Monte hills) and to enjoy a funicular ride high above the city. One of my favorite things to do when traveling to a new city is finding vantage points high up so that we can see the lay of the land. You get such great perspectives (and photos!) from atop mountains, bell towers, and cable cars…so don't miss opportunities to get high on your vacation! Ahem, you know what I mean. ;)

The historic walk and cable car views were a great start to our day, but we were most looking forward to participating in the Funchal tradition of wicker toboggan riding. Not sure what I'm talking about? Stay tuned!


36 comments:

  1. These pictures are breathtaking! Talk about a great getaway and your hair looks gorgeous.

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    1. You must go! It would be a nice place to spend a 3 day island getaway! :)

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  3. Gorgeous photos! Portugal is high up on my list, I always hear such wonderful things about it!

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    1. Thanks, Casey! It's definitely worth a visit!

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  4. Beautiful! Portugal is a hidden gem. Looking forward to reading more!

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    1. I agree! I wasn't expect to love it as much as I did! :)

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  5. Hi Casey. My Dads familia is from Madeira, I have been there tons of times, your pics make it look so magical though. Love the island! Your pics have made me realized I am due for a visit. Have not been back in years. Think a good goal for 2014 is to brush up on Portugeuse and book our tickets. Thanks for sharing the amazing pics

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  6. Those houses all look the same, it reminds me of Athens where all you see is white houses! Such beautiful pictures like always, love seeing your trips through your pictures.

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    1. YES! It definitely did remind me of the house on top of house atmosphere in Athens! Thanks so much! :)

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  7. the places you go never cease to amaze me. i want to go to portugal so badly! just seems so unique.

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  8. My will to finish the book I have assigned for class has just gone straight out of the window! GONE.

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  9. Your photos are gorgeous, as always! Definitely need to add Portugal to my ever-growing travel list!

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    1. Aw, thanks girl! It's a gorgeous island…I just hope we have a chance to see more of mainland Portugal someday!

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  10. I can't wait to visit Portugal. Your photos paint such a beautiful picture

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  11. I don't know much about Portugal, but it looks amazing. I'm such a sucker for European towns that have cute little villages built into the hills surrounding the water. Sigh. I have no idea what wicker toboggan riding is so I'll definitely stay tuned. Also, did your hair have a lot of red/auburn in it then or is it just the pictures? It looks more reddish. I really like it!

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  12. Even though I spent one year in Spain and only 2 weeks in Portugal, for some reason Portugal has a special place in my heart. Maybe it is because of certain events that occurred there, but I often wish I could stay another year in Portugal as well! Lovely pictures as always!
    http://liveitinerantly.com/

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    1. I hope you get to go back there someday! I hope we visit again, too…I'd love to see Lisbon! Thanks, Quyen!

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  13. Oh my I would love to travel in one of those cable cars such wonderful photos of what looks like a wonderful place

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    1. Those were so fun! I love getting the lay of the land from up high!

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  14. Amazing photos! Thank you for sharing. Kari

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  15. So so pretty! Before recently Portugal wasn't even on my radar... but I've been hearing so many wonderful things about it that I'm starting to think I need to make a plan to visit :)

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  16. Such beautiful photos! My husband and I will be visiting Portugal in April (my first time there) and I am so excited to explore the country!

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    1. Thank you, Natalye! I hope you enjoy Portugal as much as we did! :)

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  17. You came to my country! Madeira Island is beautiful, have you had the time to visit the Porto Santo island? The beaches are lovely.

    You have to come to Porto, where I live, in the Portuguese mainland. You are going to love it: the city is great, people are super nice and the food is to die for. Let me know if you are coming, I can give you some advice on what to see, where to eat, etc.

    :)

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  18. the best place in the world... visit my portal to see many other pictures
    http://www.madeira-holidays.eu

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    1. for portuguese language http://www.hoteis-madeira.pt

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  19. How beautiful - thanks for sharing! I feel like I've been on a little holiday!

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  20. so pretty, and neat how the terrain is so different!

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  21. This is a great region. Portugal has indeed many of these hidden gems but if you don't have an inside connection you many not find them.

    If you're visiting Portugal, I recommend using services like www.WiserGo.com which connects you with Portuguese experts, who can help you decide what do to, book everything and provide customer support while you're in Portugal. Since they are local agents, they know the ins-and-outs of everything and you get to experience the country as a local! Service is free and the testimonials in their homepage are pretty positive.

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  22. Wow this place just looks less untouched...so beautiful and breathtaking

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  23. I spent a week in the Azores islands last summer, and the churches were definitely beautiful! Thanks for sharing all your adventures with us. :)

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  24. I love your blouse top, where is it from? Love your fashion! :)

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I appreciate your feedback, friends! I read every comment and try my hardest to respond to each one, but if your email address isn't attached to your blogger profile, you might find my response in the comment thread instead. As always, thanks for reading!

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