World Tourism Day

World Tourism Day

27th of September is World Tourism Day. The purpose of this day is to display awareness that tourism is vital to the international community (especially for the Madeira Islands) and to show how it affects the social, cultural, political and economic values.

And that is why the island of Madeira offers on this particular day FREE entrance to all tourists to most of the gardens, museums, galleries, exhibitions etc. Funchal city center will be decorated with flags especially for the occasion apart from other cultural activities.

Upon the arrival at the airport of Madeira and some official tourist offices, tourists will be greeted with flowers and gifts.

For the complete programme visit the Madeira Islands Official Tourism Website

Madeira … Walk up the isle

According to Adhamhnan O’Sullivan in the there is one thing that Madeira lacks of … and that is flatness.

If you decide to make Madeira your holiday destination, be assured you will be following in famous footsteps. One of the more regular trippers was Winston Churchill who first visited in 1899 on his way to cover the Boer War and returned to engage in his passion for painting. At one stage of his life Churchill declared that when he made it to Heaven, “I mean to spend a considerable portion of my first million years in painting, and so get to the bottom of the subject.”

The weather on the south side close to Funchal provides sunnier and drier days than the rest of the island, but visitors should avail of a bus or taxi trip, or take a car (if you feel brave enough) to the west and north west and ensure that the journey crosses the plateau that is the roof of Madeira. There are times when you think that you have reached the summit of the winding corniche roads, only to turn a hairpin bend and find that the road goes on, and up, and on.

Click here to read the whole article.

Fly to Funchal from Manchester Airport, a low cost airline from the north of England, is planning to fly to Madeira Islands starting in the summer of 2010.

The airline is offering one way flights from Manchester Airport including taxes from as little as £49.99 to Funchal (Madeira). Departures can be booked now online and will start from 3rd of May 2010.

Madeira in the NYT

Four (web)pages article about Madeira … its history, culture, traditions and various aspects of daily life. Written by Barbara Bell for The New York Times.

Madeira has been Portuguese since the days of Prince Henry the Navigator, who sent two lieutenants, Joao Goncalves Zarco and Tristao Vaz Teixeira, on an expedition that reached Porto Santo in 1418. Returning the following year, Zarco and Tristao Vaz landed on a bigger island 25 miles to the southwest and named it Ilha da Madeira, or island of wood, for its thick forests. Theories abound about supposed earlier discoverers of Madeira – possibly Phoenicians, a sixth-century Irish monk or a pair of shipwrecked English lovers – but there were no inhabitants when the Portuguese arrived. To clear the land for agriculture, they set fire to the dense forests. The island is said to have burned for seven years.

Several peculiar forms of transportation evolved on Madeira over the centuries: the hammock, the ox cart and the wicker basket chair. To recline in a shaded cloth hammock suspended from a long bamboo pole and be carried by two white-suited gentlemen to see Madeira’s sights must have been rather idyllic. Unfortunately, this mode of transport is confined today to postcards.

Sweeping panoramas of mountains and seacoasts continually surprise travelers on Madeira, who are often startled by the sensation that they are overlooking the landscape from the air. Although few serious accidents are reported, drivers who suffer from vertigo are warned that they should not consider renting cars on Madeira.

Click here to read the NYT article called Portuguese Since Henry the Navigator