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Madeira wine

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The famous Madeira wine

The worldwide unique Madeira wine.

The Madeira wine was created by sheer coincidence. In the 15th century, Portuguese sailors took port wine in wooden barrels on their long voyages. At the end of the journey, which often led through the tropics, they discovered that leftover wine became softer and milder. He gained in taste and so the transport of port wine was carried out from then on targeted. Today, the wine is no longer sent on the long sea voyage, but stored for three to five months at 45 ° C to 75 ° C.

Madeira wine can be very valuable: a bottle of Madeira wine became famous because it was bought at the Sotheby's auction house in New York on May 10, 1997 for around $ 22,000. It was a Madeira wine from 1800, once owned by Thomas Jefferson. The bottle was auctioned by Barrie Larvin, owner of the Hotel Casino Rio de Las Vegas.

Vintage Madeira is the premier class of Madeira wines. He carries a year on the bottle and contains only wine from this vintage. It must be made from one of the noble grape varieties (Sercial, Verdelho, Bual, Malvasia, Terrantez) and matured for at least 20 years in the barrel. Most vintage Madeira, however, store much longer in the barrel, sometimes more than a hundred years. Also, the traditional Canteiro process, in which the wines are heated by the sun, is prescribed. A glass of such a fine Madeira wine at the end of the day means enjoying Madeira.


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Christus-Statue in
Garajau - „Cristo Rei“

A hike to the Christo Rei statue is worthwhile. The statue of Christo Rei Ponta do Garajau stands on a cliff between Caniço and Funchal. From Caniço de Baixo it is a wonderful trip there. This imposing statue, from which sailors wish for a safe trip home, was built in 1927 by the Frenchman Serraz and has a smaller "sister" in Lisbon. From the plateau, a cable car leads down to the beach for each guest. There is a restaurant where you can sit right by the sea and enjoy fresh fish.

Close to this statue is the steep cliff. From here, the deceased, who did not have the Catholic faith, were thrown into the sea. They were not allowed to bury them in Madeiran soil. This affected above all the Englishmen. This did not change until 1765, when the English cemetery was created.

Espetada skewers

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Shepherd skewer: "Espetada"

The delicious meat skewers are a specialty of the island. Fresh beef is cut into pieces and seasoned with coarse salt, garlic and laurel leaves. The meat is stuck on long metal skewers (formerly made of laurel wood) and grilled over open charcoal.

In addition fresh farmhouse bread and „Vinho Seco“ are served. The meat, grilled medium, is very tender and smells of laurel and garlic. Often there are barbecues in the villages at the butchers, where one meets a chat, an "Espetada" and "copo de vinho tinto". Delicious!


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Azulejos are an integral part of Madeira. King Manuel I was enthusiastic about art and introduced Mudéjar - Azulejos from Southern Spain to Madeira around the year 1500. The Moorish craftsmen put individual differently colored stones together to form patterns to avoid the color bleeding - hence the term "Azulejo = small stone. The king himself also ordered the sparkling tiles for the tower of Funchal Cathedral. Madeira never had its own production, so all azulejos from Lisbon or Porto would be delivered.

At the beginning of the 20th century, depictions of traditional everyday scenes were popular. Frequently, old flower, birds and ship motifs were processed. Wall-filling tile carpets decorated house walls, interiors of churches or devotional images for house facades. At Café Ritz in Funchal, in the Mercado dos Lavradores and in many other places of the city are still some to admire. A comprehensive overview of Azulejo art can be seen at the Jardim Tropical Monte Palace. The Frederico Freitas Museum in Funchal also displays valuable azulejos from eight centuries and different countries.


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These Casa de Colmo are worth a visit!

In Santana, the colorful, unusual houses are one of Madeira's attractions. In the small park next to the town hall, the municipality of Santana has rebuilt some of the small houses and promotes their preservation. About 100 of these, also called beehive sheds, are still around Santana. The Casa de Colmo were until a few decades ago, the traditional house of farmers in many island towns. The small gabled, thatched roofs reached down to the ground. The colorfully painted front of the Casas is made of wood.

The Casa de Colmo were born from the distress and remoteness of the Madeirans on the north coast. Wood was in abundance - straw was also there enough after the threshing. The interior was more than modest, the real life like cooking took place outside. Today the tourism center is housed in one of the cottages.

Curral-nun valley

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Curral das Freiras
(Valley of the nuns)

This is a small secluded village in the heart of the island, where in the 16th century the nuns sought refuge from the pirates who frequently raided Madeira.


Most of the current inhabitants live in the countryside producing chestnuts and cherries, which is typical and traditional in this area. There are many chestnut trees in the forest and every year on the 1st of November the chestnut festival takes place.

Many traditional recipes contain chestnuts and you can make almost anything from them, mainly different liqueurs, cakes, puddings and soups.


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The capital Funchal is located on the southern coast of Madeira. The approximately 120,000 inhabitants are spread out into the mountains.

50% of all inhabitants of Madeira live in Funchal!

The runway of the airport was until 2000 so short that jets could start only half refueled and had to land in Porto Santo after 10 minutes flying time. The extension from 1.6 km to 3 km rests on concrete stilts and is referred to in Madeira as Millennium building.

Under the runway there is a sports park. The aircraft noise is barely audible there.


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This small, romantic village, located about 6 km from the city center in the hills of Funchal, was once the in-resort for Europe's 'high society'. One of its most famous attractions was a cogwheel railway that once connected Monte with Funchal. Remains of this railway, especially the old railway station at the foot of the mountain, can still be seen today. 

Karl I, the last Austrian emperor, found exile on the island of Madeira after he was deposed during the First World War. He and his family found their new home in Quinta do Monte, but only six months later, the ex-emperor died of pneumonia. His grave can be found in the famous pilgrimage church 'Nossa Senhora do Monte', which can be reached by an impressive staircase with 68 steps.

One of the most traditional festivals, and certainly the largest church festival in Madeira, is the folk festival on the day of the 'Assumption of Mary', which always begins on the eve of the 15th of August. An incredible number of locals attend a procession in honor of the Virgin Mary every year. 


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Poncha - Legende

Many years ago, according to a Poncha legend, there is supposed to have been a quarrel between a local and a Briton in Câmara de Lobos. A boxing match should decide the matter.

The Briton had prepared himself with a sip of whiskey, the Madeirens had his glass of poncha in the blood. A colossal fist punch made the British go down.

„What a punch, aaaah" he is said to have lamented after his revival, hence the name Poncha

Pride of Madeira

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PriDe of Madeira

"The pride of Madeira" is an endemic plant that only grows in Madeira. You will find many of these shrubs in the area around the Pico Arieiro, the third highest mountain of Madeira. They can reach a circumference of up to 2 meters and then carry up to 100 blue inflorescences, which are swarmed by insects and butterflies. The pride of Madeira grows up to 2000 meters.