Elle Goes to Madeira

 If you’ve been following my trip on Instagram and Facebook or are just looking for some inspiration for your holiday; my new blog series is ideal for you. Take a look at the highlights from my recent trip to help make your holiday to Madeira memorable….

 We found Villa Mirage through James Villas, it’s a stunning property with a peaceful ocean-facing setting located just 15 minutes drive from Calheta.

With three bedrooms, a spacious open plan kitchen-lounge-dining area; there is plenty of room for up to six people to stay. The interiors have a stylish and contemporary decor whilst the exterior has a rustic charm with basalt stone. Outside you can enjoy a game of table tennis or a bbq meal, there’s also an extensive furnished terrace where you can make the most of al fresco dining before taking a refreshing dip in the infinity pool. 

 

And another great thing about staying at this villa is the friendly check-in from Dalia who gives local tips and advice on restaurants and must see sights on the island.

 

I love hats, lots of people say I’m a hat person whether it be my Pom Pom hat in the chilly months or my floppy sun hat in the well sunny weather a hat is pretty much an outfit staple for me.

A couple of people asked me about the clothes I wore on holiday (sorry guys you might want to scroll past this bit). So I’ve broken it down into two outfits; one for a day at the Villa and the other for sightseeing.

 

When I stay at the Villa for the day I just lounge around the pool in my swim wear. It’s important to remember to cover yourself in sun cream, drink lots of water and use a hat to protect yourself from sunstroke. I am slightly allergic to mosquito bites so I always make sure I drench myself in insect repellent. Here are the Villa outfit items listed below;

Sun hat: Bought in Madeira so something similar

Cover up: Next

Bikini: New Look

Sandals: Next

Kindle Paperwhite: Amazon (with screen protector)

Sunglasses: Monsoon

 

 

When you are sightseeing in Madeira the temperature can range from 16 degrees in the Northern part of the island to 26 in the South so it’s a good idea to wear something that can suit all eventualities. Of course you need to bring sun cream with you to reapply throughout the day.

I love this dress not only is it my favourite colour but it works well for day and night. Here’s the breakdown of my day out outfit items listed below;

Dress: New Look

Shoes: Next

Bag: bought from a market in Nice, France

 

 Madeira is an island of diverse contrasts and a vast array of interesting sights, but here are my top five must see sights in Madeira.

 

1) Curral Das Freiras or Nuns Valley

You can discover more about this incredible valley in my 5 Things that will surprise you in Madeira post. Make sure you ascend over 1,000 feet to admire the mesmerising panoramic mountain landscapes formed by volcanic activity.

2) Dolphin & Whale trip

We took an exhilarating boat trip from Calheta. There are plenty of companies to choose from along the marine but we went with h2o Madeira. They have a 99% success rate at spotting marine life and the guides on the boat are very friendly and informative even emailing you professional photos from the trip for free! It’s a very eco-friendly trip as they don’t bribe the animals and they stay far enough away so as to not disturb the animals too much. I’d recommend wearing a baseball hat during the boat trip to avoid getting too overheated.

Oh plus make sure you hang on tight at the end of the trip the driver likes to take you for a little James Bond inspired spin…

 Spotting dolphins in the wild has long been a dream of mine. Luckily they weren’t angry dolphins like the ones in The Simpsons! And on this trip we spotted bottlenose dolphins, striped dolphins who were frolicking in the waves, a baby turtle and pilot whales. I’ll be sharing the professional photos from h20 Madeira on my Instagram soon so make sure you are following me!

Learn more about dolphins and whales in my 5 Things that will surprise you in Madeira post.

 

3) Cabo Girão Viewpoint

Visit this viewpoint on Sunday and enjoy free entry, throughout the rest of the week it’s around €2.50 each. Be brave and walk out across the glass skywalk to admire the turquoise oceans and dramatic mountains below.

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4) Rock Pools at Porto Moniz

Avoid the man made natural swimming pool and head for the natural rock pools for a unique swimming experience. And it’s free!! Learn more about the rock pools with my 5 Things that will surprise you in Madeira post.

 

5) Grutas de Sao Vicente

These caves were formed 890 thousand years ago by a volcanic eruption that created lava tubes. This is a fun day out for everyone with a guided tour through the caves followed by an interactive and immersive experience that helps you appreciate the volcanic formation of Madeira.

 To discover more about the caves make sure you check out my 5 things that will surprise you in Madeira post.

I’d also recommend taking the cable car from Funchal to Monte if you are here around the 14-16th August for the Nossa Senhora festival. It’s a great atmosphere in Monte with street food, live music and beautiful flower decorations lining the streets. For more information on festivals in Madeira that run throughout the year check out my 5 things that will surprise you in Madeira post.

 

 I have a real passion for food whether that be baking or cooking at home or going out to fancy restaurants and gastro pubs. I love eating! I used to be part of the Food & Wine Society at University which was great because it meant I got to go to some unique restaurants and see what goes on behind the scenes. I’m a total foodie and much to my brother and boyfriends annoyance I’m often taking photos of food and why not? Chefs put a lot of effort into their dishes and most are pieces of art.

Here are my top suggestions for dining like me whilst in Madeira…

 

Beira Mar, Calheta

Recommended to us by Dalia (from Villa Mirage) for its tasty seafood and reasonable prices, this restaurant is a must for any Madeira holiday especially if you are staying in the local area. We loved it so much we visited twice during our trip. It’s set a little bit back from the marina but you can still enjoy a nice view of the harbour and Atlantic Ocean beyond.

The mussels are to die for; with a gorgeous homemade sauce of cheese and white wine. Another dish you must order here is the garlic bread it’s baked fresh on traditional round bread (as many of you know i used to exist on garlic bread at Uni ; Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner yep and yet my breath was minty fresh oh Colgate you babe). And Sangria, of course! Order a litre because getting half a litre is just pointless.

 Read more about my visit here in my Foodie Guide: August.

Restaurante Planka at Monte

Right up the top of Monte village, the service is attentive and the food is beautiful. We ordered yes you guessed it sangria and a delicious steak, egg and chip dish covered in gorgeous home made peppercorn sauce. It was so good that I didn’t get chance to take photos instead I just enjoyed the moment. 

Restaurant Sea View, Ponto Moniz

We found this place by accident when looking for a way to get into the natural swimming pool. Stumbling across this hotel we wandered in and sat on the balcony. It was incredibly windy but the lady advised us that the weather is often like this in the North. The menus were weighted and made completely from plastic – so no chance of them blowing away!

The food was lovely, I had a gorgeous duck breast one of the most generous portions I’ve had. For dessert my mum had this stunning trio of dark, milk and white chocolate with white chocolate and raspberry ice cream – doesn’t it look incredible?!! I had a little taste but not much as I’m trying to be good, plus more room for sangria right?

 

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Sabores do Curral  in Nuns Valley

Although we didn’t eat here, so I can’t comment on the taste of the food, I can say it looked very tasty and lots of people were saying positive things about it. We ordered some beers and admired the views then decided to taste some roasted chestnuts with a pot of syrup as they are the local delicacy.

 

Books

I’m a little book worm, I studied English Literature at A level (quick fact; my favourite books of all time are Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier and Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald). I’ve always been quick at reading, I love being transported to another world and identifying with characters.

At one point I even considered studying the subject at University until my love of marketing took over! And thank goodness I didn’t or else I wouldn’t have met my boyfriend, my great friends or have the wonderful career and blog that I have now (but that’s another story…)

My favourite genre is mystery thriller with a hint of romance and on the odd occasion I like to break up intense books with an easy beach read.

Unfortunately when I’m at home I have very little chance to read so when I go on holiday I love being able to read as much as possible. Chris recommended that I got a Kindle for when I go travelling so I can read as much as I want and I haven’t looked back since, even persuading my mum to buy herself one as well! Here are my top reads from the holiday:

 

The Party by Lisa Hall

Highly addictive this thriller is my favourite read of the summer so far. It’s gripping and I literally couldn’t put it down I finished it in one day simply because I had to know what happened next. The characterisation is superb. Don’t you ever question what would have happened if you hadn’t made that particular decision? We all know the actions we make have repercussions on our lives. Rachel attends a party but when she wakes up she can’t remember what happened only that she feels awful and that something happened. Something bad.

 

Her Greatest Mistake by Sarah Simpson

It seemed like Eve and Gregg had the perfect marriage but it seems it’s become the perfect lie, how much goes on behind closed doors. What was Eve’s greatest mistake? Marrrying Gregg? Leaving him? Or leaving him alive…? Gripping until the last page the pace is relentless and you’ll be dying to find out what happens next. *As this post gets published I’m still in the process of reading so please no spoilers*

 

The Break by Marian Keyes

Imagine your husband tells you he needs a break for six months. To go travelling the world and sleep with other women. How would you react? Hugh promised he’d be back but would he? and if he did how easy would it be to go back to normal again… “Here’s the secret to happiness, Drink as heavily as you can get away with. Buy stuff. And if all else fails spend three days in bed eating doughnuts.” Along the way Amy faces many ups and downs in life as we all know the course of true love never did run smooth. Funny, emotional and uplifting a nice relaxed read. I laughed and I cried.

You might also like to take some games with you on holiday to play at the airport or during the evenings. 

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I hope this post has given you some inspiration about how to spend your time in Madeira and well as a little bit more of an insight into the person behind Elle Goes Global. I’d love to see your images from your trip to Madeira. Please send them to me on social media.

If you’d like to know more about Madeira keep posted and click that subscribe button – as my 5 things that will surprise you in Madeira post is coming very soon….

 

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