Why we love... Madeira
Out in the Atlantic, there is a beautiful island. Although known by many it rarely makes the must visit list. Maybe that is why Madeira still holds a magical feel to it?
Madeira is somewhere I have been visiting since I was a teenager and these days arriving back on this Portuguese island creates a feeling of returning to a home after a long commute.
So why do I believe that Madeira is the perfect European yoga retreat destination? Well, it just has everything!! That’s why!
First, it’s hard to ignore the fact that it is desperately beautiful. A subtropical volcanic island filled with deep ravines and valleys to explore, mountains to hike, picturesque towns and rural villages and crystal clear aquamarine waters to swim in. Home to Europe’s highest sea cliff (complete with glass bottomed balcony for the brave) and the jaw dropping Nuns valley there is an abundance of adventures to be had if lazing around the pool or on the beach is not for you!
Then there is the food. Due to that wonderful subtropical climate the island is the perfect environment for amazing produce with markets brimming with fresh, organic fruits and veggies and for the fish lovers you will be in your element! Let’s not forget that Madeira is most famed for two of the greatest things ever… cake and wine - both of which are in cheap abundance everywhere you go.
The best bit of all however is that Madeira is a bit of a bargain. Leave the tourist trail and you can be sipping coffees and nibbling infamous pastel de nata for less than 2 euros and amazing three course meals for less than 20 euros! I can promise no one will go hungry here. There are many great boutique hotels, quirky Airbnb’s and hillside, sea view villas and with flights as cheap as £80 return from London this magical paradise is suitable for every budget.
Here are our Madeira must do’s!
Have a day exploring Funchal! Madeira’s south coast city is filled with great shops, restaurants, botanical gardens and is also home to the best wine tasting venues - we recommend Blandy’s Wine Lodge and that you don’t go on an empty stomach…
Sunrise at Pico de Arieiro, the islands third highest peak is a magical way to start the day and even the drive up to it is an adventure. For those with sturdy walking boots a head for heights, the journey to Pico Ruivo, the islands highest peak at 6,106ft is a strenuous hike but worth it to feel on top of the world!
The Lavada Walks. Lavada’s are the open canal systems created in the 16th century to channel water from the highest, wettest peaks of the north of the island down to the drier south and today, the water still flows and leads walkers through some of the islands most beautiful landscapes. There are walks for all levels from gentle hour ambles through the Laurel forests to full weekend hikes that are not for the faint hearted.
A dip in the sea is any holiday must do. In Madeira this is slightly different as being volcanic there are very few beaches; over the years a few have been man made and now boast great facilities. To get a real feel for the islands waters, take the leap off one of the many lidos into the deep blue! On the north of the island there are also the sea pools of Porto Moniz which are great but can also get busy! Top tip… next to the pool are some incredible (and free!) totally natural pools and sea entry points to explore so take your mask and snorkel!
As a yoga venue, it has everything we could need. Plenty of space, secluded houses and venues, the perfect climate and the sounds of the birds and sea.
So, next time you think of exploring Portugal perhaps spend a moment to give its green island cousin a visit. Bespoke Retreats has a range of incredible venues ranging from sea view villas to boutique city hotels and even a glamping site perfect for your next yoga retreat.
For more information, visit the website to send us an email and let’s create something special on this truly magical island.