Oh, what an incredible December escape to Funchal in Madeira it was! Sue's father surely knows his travel recommendations, as Madeira turned out to be a gem. The decision to chase some winter sun and warmth right before Christmas was spot-on, and it didn't burn a hole in our pockets either!
Flying with JET2 on a city break adventure, we opted for a private transfer through Holiday Extras. Let me tell you, the £40 return for a private car was a game-changer. The driver waiting at arrivals and the seamless return trip pickup made us feel like VIPs. Highly recommend splurging a bit on this one.
Our chosen city break abode was the El Como, a typical city hotel that ticked all the right boxes. Comfortable rooms, all the expected facilities, and a bed-and-breakfast setup that left us ready to conquer the day. The only hiccup was the dated hotel bar, but who cares when you're a mere 5 minutes walk from the buzzing old town central?
The weather gods smiled upon us with 24 degrees of pure bliss, and as if that wasn't enough, the town decided to deck the halls at 6 pm sharp. Funchal transformed into a Christmas wonderland with dazzling decorations and lights that would make Santa jealous. Picture strolling through a Christmas market at 7 pm in 20-degree heat – it was nothing short of AMAZING!
Funchal didn't disappoint when it came to activities. From ancient forts and museums to cable cars and botanical gardens, the options were endless. We tackled two forts, conquered the hill climb for a stunning view, explored tropical gardens via cable car, delved into the natural history museum, and even visited an electricity museum. And guess what? We barely scratched the surface!
When it came to food and drink, Funchal held its own. Prices were reasonable, especially if you ventured away from the tourist traps. We followed our golden rule and found the best eats where the locals dine. Shout out to the real MVP – Restaurant Informal. Excellent service, outstanding food, but be warned, no reservations! So get there early or be prepared to join the waitlist.
Even though Sue's a vegetarian, we didn't struggle for options. Vegans might face a bit of a challenge, but the variety surprised us. We enjoyed the culinary delights so much that, guess what? We've booked again for this December! Can't wait to relive the winter blues with another dose of Funchal's sun and warmth. Here's to more adventures and fantastic finds! Cheers! 🌞✈️