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I visited the island that’s been called the ‘Hawaii of Europe.’ Here’s why it’s a must-see hidden gem.


Victoria poses in front of a mural that says "Madeira."I visited Madeira, Portugal, which has been called the “Hawaii of Europe.”

Victoria Leandra

  • I visited Madeira, Portugal, which is often referred to as the “Hawaii of Europe.”
  • Madeira offers a mild climate all year, rugged coastlines, and a bustling city center.
  • I recommend checking out places like Monte Palace and the Cabo Girão skywalk.

When I visited Madeira, Portugal, I found an island paradise brimming with natural wonders and cultural opportunities.

From outdoor adventures to trips to the enchanting Funchal city center, this Portuguese hidden gem has sparked comparisons to Hawaii due to the island’s striking volcanic features, black-sand beaches, and towering peaks.

Madeira is the perfect blend of a tropical and European vacation, coupled with its yearlong mild climate, rugged coastlines, cascading waterfalls, and verdant cliffs.

With visitation at an all-time high, there’s never been a better time to explore Portugal. Here are seven things you have to do while in Madeira.

Get a taste of outdoor adventure while hiking.Victoria, wearing a white hat and blue top, poses in front of mountains by the water.I did lots of hiking in Madeira.

Victoria Leandra

The view from the Pico do Arieiro mountaintop left me speechless.

You can truly appreciate Madeira’s diverse landscapes from up there: jagged peaks, verdant valleys, and the endless expanse of the Atlantic Ocean stretching out before you.

I opted for a car ride to the top, but if you plan to hike, I recommend heading to the Vereda dos Balcões trail or the challenging but rewarding Levada do Caldeirão Verde.

When you need a break from hiking, catch a ride on the Funchal cable cars. A blue cable car over buildings going toward the ocean.The Funchal cable cars offer spectacular views.

Stefan Cristian Cioata/Getty Images

Located in the city center, the Funchal cable cars offer spectacular views as they ascend from Funchal to the charming village of Monte. It’s perfect if you’re traveling with family, including kids or elders.

Once in Monte, you can visit one of the island’s main attractions, Monte Palace.

Monte Palace is the best botanical garden I’ve ever been to.A greenery-filled botanical garden with pathways, and a body of water running through it.I could have spent all day at Monte Palace.

Holger Leue/Getty Images

Monte Palace houses a huge collection of exotic plants from all over the world. The tropical gardens are also home to gorgeous birds like swans, flamingos, peacocks, and chickens.

From its beautiful gardens to its collection of ceramic tiles and precious gemstones, this place feels like a hidden oasis in the midst of the city.

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, check out the Cabo Girão skywalk. A lookout over the ocean, with glass tiles as flooring, at sunset.Cabo Girão features a glass-floored skywalk.

Jennifer Sanerkin/Getty Images

If there’s something I love as much as the outdoors, it’s a unique experience. So when I heard of Cabo Girão, the highest sea cliff in Europe, I knew I had to visit.

The top of the cliff features a unique glass-floored skywalk suspended over 1,900 feet above sea level. When standing on the glass, I got unmatched views of Madeira’s rugged coastline and the crashing waves underneath.

When in Madeira, skip the beer and stick to its famous wine.An arch and tree in front of a vineyard.You can’t leave Madeira without visiting a vineyard.

Victoria Leandra

In addition to being the name of the name of the island, Madeira is also a type of fortified wine. Needless to say, you can’t leave without visiting a vineyard to learn more about the island’s winemaking heritage.

I highly recommend booking a guided tour with a tasting to see the grapes firsthand and gain insights into the intricate aging process that gives these wines unique flavors.

Take a trip to the local market.Fruit in baskets at a market, with spices hanging from the ceiling.A trip to the local farmers market is a great opportunity to sample local delicacies.

Victoria Leandra

Whenever I visit a new city or country, I like to stop at the local farmers market. In Madeira, I visited the Mercado dos Lavradores, which is located in the heart of Funchal.

It was a great opportunity to sample local delicacies while buying souvenirs from local craftsmen.

For a glimpse into everyday life, don’t skip a visit to the Camara da Lobos fishing village.Small boats sitting on a dock. Houses on a mountain are behind the boat.Camara da Lobos is a picturesque fishing village.

Victoria Leandra

Away from the city center and less frequented by tourists, the picturesque fishing village of Camara da Lobos offers a slice of authentic island life.

Grab a poncha, a local Madeira cocktail, and admire the dozens of art murals that surround the community, all while enjoying the colorful harbor and fishermen unloading their catch of the day.

Read the original article on Business Insider