Funchal is located on the island of Madeira. It is the 6th largest city in Portugal and the capital of Madeira. It is approximately 360 miles directly west of Morocco, Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. Centuries ago, Portuguese settlers were attracted to the mild Mediterranean climate. They were also overwhelmed by the wild fennel that permeated the terrain. Hence, “funcho,” Portuguese for fennel became the source for the city’s name.
Today, it is a year-round resort area. It is also frequented by cruise ship passengers who have a limited time in port. Many are familiar with the wine that carries the island’s name.
Visitors can experience the island’s contrasting countryside geography or stay in the city to visit local tourist attractions. Like many coastal cities, traveling inland requires a circuitous uphill journey to capture the memorable scenery.
From Funchal many explore the south-central coast with its rugged mountainous rock. Along this route you will see Câmara de Lobos. The red tile roofs with figurines on its corners stand in sharp contrast to the white buildings. The tiered buildings circle around the small rocky harbor that sometimes is filled with colorful fishing boats.
The roadway continues to follow the contour of the terrain and occasionally dips into tunnels. As your vehicle makes hairpin turns, you can look back and see a maze of roads and tiered lush green farmland.
Less than 2 kilometers from Câmara de Lobos is a spectacular place. If you’re not afraid of heights, step out on the overlook at Cabo Girão. It is one of the ten highest cliffs in the world. A glass-viewing floor, allows visitors to look straight down. This marred view does not compare to what you can see over the edge. The drop is almost 2000 feet.
Further down the road is the small coastal town of Ribeira Brava. Along the way, you will encounter deep ravines with tributaries running through the center, winding roads, and more tiered fields of tropical vegetation. The town has a limited number of shops and restaurants. Picture taking is the main attraction as you walk along the shore and admire a few quaint places.
THE ABOVE ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON NOVEMBER 22, 2015. IT IS BEING REPOSTED ON THIS SITE BECAUSE THE EXAMINER SITE SHUT DOWN IN JULY, 2016. SOME PARTS OF THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HAVE BEEN UPDATED AND THE SLIDE SHOW HAS BEEN ELIMINATED.
Sandra Bornstein is the author of MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE. It is available on Amazon.
Sandra’s memoir highlights her living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. She is a licensed Colorado teacher who has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses. Sandra is married and has four adult sons.
The memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards, 2013 USA Best Book Awards, and a Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.