Madeira may have originally been known for its namesake fortified wine, which is still aged in handmade oak barrels and sometimes made with foot-stomped grapes, but this underexplored Portuguese island off the coast of Morocco is also an adventure lover’s dream. The island is resplendent with natural wonders to explore, with opportunities for hiking, kayaking, climbing, and diving. Take in the sunrise from the top of Pico Ruivo, Madeira’s highest peak, or visit a waterfall along one of the island’s nature-filled levada walks, footpaths adjacent to irrigation channels dating from the 15th century.
The island’s luxury resorts also offer a respite from the adrenaline. Madeira’s iconic hotel group, Savoy Signature, recently opened the ultramodern NEXT hotel in Funchal, minutes from the waterfront. The completely renovated all-inclusive seaside resort Hotel Riu Madeira in Caniço de Baixo reopened in April with two new restaurants. The Three House’s newly opened rooftop bar features stunning views of Funchal and the Atlantic Ocean.
Direct flights were piloted earlier this year with the hope they’ll return to shave several hours off the journey. Otherwise, take the layover in Lisbon as an opportunity to explore another fabulous city.
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