After it was discovered by Portuguese sailors back in the year 1419, Madeira attracted first settlers and then tourists keen to enjoy the island’s year-round good weather and some truly spectacular scenery. The archipelago is best known for its lush, unspoiled forests and picture-postcard beaches. At the same time, however, it’s also home to an impressive number of parks and gardens, giving green-fingered travelers enjoying cheap Madeira holidays the chance to see a huge range of plants and exotic flowers set within tranquil, well-ordered surroundings. Here are five of the best:
Jardim de Santa Luiza
Set within the grounds of the old Hinton sugar factory, exploring the Jardim de Santa Luiza is the perfect way to enjoy some respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown Funchal, while also learning a little about Madeira’s history.
Located just a few minutes from the heart of the capital, the gardens are home to a wide range of tropical plants, including both native species and those imported from South America, as well as a children’s playground and a popular café. Meanwhile, the old chimney that towers over the gardens serves as a constant reminder of Madeira’s industrial past.
Set within the heart of vibrant Funchal, the Jardim Municipal represents tropical landscaping at its finest. Here, visitors can find flowers from around the world, as well as numerous trees, many of which have been growing for centuries.
Aside from offering tourists and local office workers a space to relax and get back to nature, the garden also plays host to a variety of special events throughout the year, including summer concerts, book fairs and festivals at Christmas time.
Arguably Funchal’s finest green space, the Botanical Gardens is set above the city, offering unparalleled views over the capital. Alongside a spectacular collection of exotic flowers and plants, the gardens are home to an old manor house dating back to the year 1881, as well as to the popular Natural History Museum.
From the gardens, visitors can jump on a cable car taking them up to Monte, another highlight of a Madeira holiday.
Parque Municipal do Monte
The hilltop village of Monte attracts the tourist crowds, and with good reason. As well as offering breathtaking views over Funchal and the rest of the island, the picturesque settlement boasts some of the finest examples of colonial architecture in Madeira.
But if Monte is a bit too busy for your liking, the Parque Municipal offers the ideal chance to escape the crush and enjoy a bit of peace and quiet. Though relatively compact, the gardens are home to a number of trails, dozens of species of plants and flowers, ancient trees and several benches perfect for taking a breather.
Situated outside Funchal, the gardens of this old mansion house offer an ideal day trip from the capital. Its collection of exotic plants, flowers and ancient trees rivals those of the more-popular parks and public spaces, though it is in the summer months when the Quinta Magnolia really comes alive.
Each year, it plays host to the Madeira Jazz Festival, giving visitors the chance to hear world-class performers while surrounded by some of the best greenery the island has to offer.
These are just a few of the many gardens and public spaces open to the public right across Madeira. While the busiest spots are popular for a reason, savvy, nature-loving tourists may want to leave their guidebooks behind and simply get lost in Funchal’s quiet backstreets or else ask locals where the best, and quietest, spots can be found.
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