Posted by: Author | January 9, 2013

Madeira Outdoor Activities

Grutas de São
These caves were created by molten rock. A cave tour, simulated eruptions and a short film will teach you about Madeira’s volcanic origins. São Vicente, Sítio do Pé do Passo.
Twin Peaks

Homem em Pé

There is something magical about emerging from the sun and looking across the peaks of Funchal from the Pico do Arieiro, Madeira’s third highest peak at 1,810 m. The 5-km round trip on foot to the top of Pico Ruivo, Madeira’s highest peak at 1,862 m is within the capacity of fit children over the age of ten. Back at the car park, look for the eroded rocks called Homem em Pé (“Standing Man”) in a hollow behind the rest house.
Cabo Girão Madeira’s highest sea cliff, 580 m above the ocean, also claims to be the second highest in the world, but opinions differ over the location of the highest: some say Norway, others the Orkneys or Ireland. From the viewing point perched on the summit, you gaze down to a fajã , a rock platform created when part of the cliff face fell into the sea millennia ago. Local farmers cultivate crops here in neat terraces. If you want a closer look, you can take the cable car (teleférico) from Caldeira Rancho, on the western side of Câmara de Lobos, down to the base of the cliff.
Ponta de São
The long, narrow chain of eroded volcanic cliffs and ravines at the eastern tip of Madeira is an exciting and dramatic wilderness, protected as a nature reserve because of its coastal plants. The rocky peninsula can be explored from the much-used path that starts from the car park located at the end of the south coast road.
Parrot Park Depending on the age of your children, you can either let them enjoy the playful antics of parrots and parakeets, or engage them in a discussion about the ethics of keeping wild creatures in cages for human amusement. While you’re here, you can also explore the Botanical Garden.
Jardim Botânico,
As well as being a place where avid plant lovers can learn all about the astonishing range of plants that thrive in Madeira’s warm and humid climate, this is also a great spot just to relax and enjoy the visual richness of the immaculately maintained flower beds. The gardens occupy the grounds of an estate that once belonged to the Reid family (founders of the world-renowned Reid’s Palace Hotel) and, with a practised eye for a good building site, they chose to build their mansion on a sunny slope blessed with panoramic views.
Monte Cable Car Take the cable car from Funchal’s Zona Velha up to Monte, and you will sail 600 m up the southern face of Madeira to a place that seems more garden than village, shaded by veteran trees and watered by natural springs
Football Madeira has two soccer teams, Maritimo and Nacional; both play in the Portuguese League. Home matches are friendly, family occasions. Maritimo: Estádio dos Barreios, Rua do Dr Pita, Funchal. Nacional: Choupana Stadium.
Boat Trips Booths located around Funchal’s marina have details of all the cruising options available, from day-long trips to Ilhas Desertas and half-day whale-and dolphin-watching tours, to shorter sunset cruises.

There are lots of boat trips to choose from, but younger children will particularly enjoy a trip on a replica of the Santa Maria, the ship that took Columbus across the Atlantic. Marina do Funchal.

Deep-sea Fishing Fishing trips can be booked around the marina. A tag-and-release policy ensures fish are released into the wild once caught. Funchal Marina.
Walking With more than 1,700 km of rural footpaths to choose from, it’s no wonder that thousands of people visit every year just to walk in the island’s mountains and forests.
Diving Clean Atlantic waters, clear visibility and an array of beautiful fish and reefs make Madeira a popular spot for divers of all ages and abilities.
Adventure Sports Madeira’s challenging countryside lends itself to all sorts of adventure sports, from rock-climbing to hang-gliding, but few companies yet exist to provide organized excursions. One that does is Terras de Aventura, offering mountain biking, jeep safaris, off-road biking, climbing, kayaking, canyoning and paragliding.
Horse Riding The Associação Hípica da Madeira can provide lessons for beginners; for more experienced riders there are guided tours along Madeira’s beautiful, narrow mountain tracks and hidden forest byways. Quinta Vila Alpires, Camhino dos Pretos, São João de Latrão.

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