Unidade de Hemodiálise do Funchal

Madeira: There’s more to it than blooming vegetation

An amazing explosion of blossoms and a powerful scenery with its steep rocky coast are Madeira’s trademarks. Sumptuous flowers greet visitors of the evergreen island due to its year-round moderate climate and instantly mediate a feeling of relaxation and zest for life.

Madeira has never been a destination chosen for its beaches and sunbathing, though. The coastline is shaped by craggy cliffs and rather small beaches rising out of the surf. The overall impression takes your breath away and inspires visitors of all nations and ages, however different their travel plans may be. And with two of our NephroCare clinics on the island, why not spend your holidays here without missing your dialysis treatments? Whether you want to be active, do some sightseeing or just relax, Madeira is an inviting place for just that.

Funchal cable car

Activities & Sights

Welcome to Madeira’s capital, Funchal

On Madeira the scenery is central. As the only airport is near Funchal, you might start your first exploratory tour there – with the cable car. It takes you from sea level up to the Botanical Garden or the Monte Palace. This is one of the best ways to see the views of Funchal and – best of all – you can ride the curvy road from Monte down to the centre with a wicker sledge, called toboggan. This very unique way to come down the hill is a lot of fun and has been a popular form of transportation since 1850. You do not have to steer the large sledge yourself, of course. That is the job of the "Carreiros," dressed in a straw hat, white pants, and special shoes that help them keep traction. Each toboggan has two drivers who shove and steer the sleigh.

A stroll through the ancient town of Funchal is also worth your while. The old covered market, the Mercado dos Lavradores, offers a broad range from flowers and fruits to seafood and leather or wicker products. As should be expected from a farmer’s market, you can meet many locals and the florists in their traditional costumes are waiting for you!

Join us on an island excursion

You can explore Madeira on foot, by bus or in a rental car. A leisurely drive along the coast will make you familiar with the island and take you to the nooks and corners. The peninsula Ponta de São Lourenço is the easternmost spot. Surrounded by the ocean, it offers fantastic views on the coastline.

São Vicente on the north coast is said to be one of the most beautiful villages on the island. The nearby lava caves, called „Gruta de São Vicente“, resulted from a volcanic eruption that formed several lava tubes open to the public.

Porto Moniz in the west is famous for its natural lava pools. You can easily spend hours either watching the roaring surf on windy days or bathing when it’s sunny. Many other villages along the routes are worth a visit, both on the coastline and in the interior.

Do you feel a little adventurous?

If you enjoy hiking, Madeira is a perfect place to be active. The famous levadas, small irrigation canals, have been created all over the island. Trekking routes along these ancient water courses are ideal for gentle hikes or more challenging tours. ((LINK to article “Where your soul sets the pace” >>https://www.nephrocare.com/patients-home/stay-involved/hiking-and-biking.html<<)) The trails are not too hard and offer stunning views, as the intoxicating nature is central to every outing.

Pico Ruivo, located in the east, is the highest mountain on the island. A well laid-out trail leads to the top. With a cloudless sky, the view from a height of 1862 metres can be breathtaking. More easily accessible by car or tourist bus is Pico do Arieiro (1818 metres). As the Madeira mountain peaks are often overcast, you stand a chance of walking among the clouds. A trail leads from here to Pico Ruivo, if you want to spend the day hiking.

Visiting the Cabo Girão Skywalk is almost imperative, although it might make your legs a little wobbly. On Europe’s highest skywalk you can stand over a 580 metre drop on the clifftop glass-floor viewing platform. Imagine that its height is second only to the Grand Canyon’s, worldwide. Watch your step if you're scared of heights! The skywalk is situated close to the lovely fishing village Câmara de Lobos, where small alleys invite you to a stroll. Loyal to the tradition, the inhabitants here still rely mainly on fish.

Madeira offers a lot of other outdoor activities, too. Try out one of the 4x4 safaris to the rougher countryside in the mountains, for example. As the drivers know the island and the narrow roads like the back of their hands, you will be able to explore less frequented spots, providing for an amazing experience. Speaking of which, one of the cruises for dolphin and whale watching might also be just the thing. Most of the expeditions, either on land and water, start from Funchal or can be booked there.

Funchal Castle
Botanical Garden
Eagle Rocks, North Coast


Funchal is the ideal base for your outings. It provides a broad range of hotels and two dialysis centres. While NephroCare Funchal is located in the center of the town, the NephroCare Machico clinic is situated on the east coast near Santa Cruz, a lively yet tranquil bathing resort featuring one of the rare beaches. Hotels and holiday apartments can be found nearly everywhere on Madeira, the highest density being in the south, as the north of the island is less populated. Most hotels along the coast have ocean platforms that offer spectacular views during your meals or an ideal spot for sunbathing and relaxing by the island’s super-clear waters.

Although Madeira has warm weather and year-round sunshine, it can get colder in the mountainous inland. So, your luggage should include a jumper and a waterproof jacket for the odd rain shower (it is subtropical at the end of the day).

Culinary & Culture

Madeirans take every opportunity to celebrate, and so there’s hardly one month without a festival or other lively event. Being the flower island, of course, Madeira cannot do without a flower festival. The Festa da Flor takes place on the second weekend after Easter to welcome springtime. What a sight when Funchal is covered by colourful flower carpets. The real highlight is the flower parade on Sunday.

In February, Madeira also prepares for partying carnival on a higher level. With splendid costumes, samba music and lavish festivities it bears some resemblance to the Rio Carnival.

Madeira has local and international specialties to offer. For example, traditional afternoon tea at Reid’s Palace is a wonderful experience. In one of the oldest 5-star hotels where Winston Churchill used to stay, tea is served in a grand room facing the ocean. You can enjoy the view while sipping your tea.

There is so much more to the island and its cuisine. Seafood and fish are plentiful and delicious. Something you might want to try is the local specialty dish, espetadas. These are big chunks of meat or seafood, cooked on charcoal and served on skewers, which are then hung on a hook above your table. The exotic fruits of Madeira will make your mouth water. Just wait until you are told about the small bananas the Madeirans are so proud of. They are sweeter and found to taste better than the larger ones.

Madeira's rich selection of fruits


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