A popular tourist activity in Madeira is doing the “Volta a Ilha” otherwise known as circumnavigating the island by car. This is another thing that I’ve wanted to do for ages, but never managed to do on trips with my parents, so once again it turned out I would be discovering the island with Raquel’s siblings (Raquel on the other hand has done this before).
The map above shows our route which started in Funchal, heading counter clockwise towards the east of the island. Our first stop of the day was Santana who’s claim to fame are the peculiar triangular houses which tourists flock to. If there is ever an image I associate with Madeira, these houses are it.
The next stop was taking the road along the mountains towards Boaventura, where my family are originally from passing through the parishes of São Jorge which has some great views of the cliffs and villages along the coast. This is a route I know all too well as it is a route we used to take from the airport to Boaventura before the highways and tunnels made nausea from the winding roads a thing of the past.
We drove on to Boaventura where we stopped for lunch with my grandparents. There is one thing you need to know about me… I LOVE my grandmother!! She is awesome! We are always playing around with her and she never gets upset or annoyed! I think she loves the attention! What I love even more is the relationship between her and her children (my dad and his sisters) as they are always laughing and always having fun! As you can see from the photo she even joins in on our sillyness.
After lunch, we drove on through the northern parishes until arriving at the western tip of the island in the town of Porto Moniz. This town with me is always synonymous with wind and clouds, and that day, it was no different. From here headed up towards the mountains in order to cross over down to the South of the Island towards another parish called Calheta.
Calheta these days is famous for one thing these days: The only yellow sand beach in Madeira. This a source of pride of the residents of the parish as everytime you mention a beach they will bring up that they have a yellow sand beach and that the sand is “brought all the way from Morocco!”.
We then headed back along the Southern coast back towards Funchal with one last stop on the way back home in Camara de Lobos which has a very famous miradouro at Cabo Girão, which is the second highest cliff face in the world with spectacular view. However as luck would have it, the miradouro is currently undergoing renovation and improvements which meant that we were unable to take in the view to its full potential.
With the end of the day approaching we headed back towards my aunt’s house where we staying for dinner as after a day of driving up and down the winding roads of the islands everyone was thoroughly worn out.
*This was the end of our trip to the little island, but we are sure to visit again!