Madeira has so many stunning places to visit that make this a top destination for summer 2021…
GARDENS OF MADEIRA ISLAND
Madeira Island is famous throughout the world for its natural beauty and is often called the ‘floating garden in the Atlantic’.
However, there are also a wide variety of gardens and parks that are carefully maintained and exhibit a vast array of flowers, plants and trees. In the year 2000 Madeira – represented by the city of Funchal – received a gold award for the ‘European Flowering City 2000’. This prestigious award, which is much sought after by many European cities, has deservedly been presented to one of the most beautiful gardens in the world.
Join us on a journey to Madeira Island’s most delightful gardens… this visit will surely delight you!
Also known as Donna Amélia Garden, in memory of the Queen, the Municipal Garden boasts 8300 square meters of beautiful flowers, plants and trees indigenous to Madeira as well as many other exotic species from all over the world. The construction of this garden dates back to 1880, and the first plants came from Paris and Porto.
Located directly in the centre of Funchal city, opposite the Municipal Theatre, between Avenida Arriaga and Rua Ivens, and once “home” belonged to the Franciscan Convent (in one of the avenues it is still possible to find a 17th century marble coat of arms with the Portuguese Franciscans), this is now a leisure area with shadow providing trees, a small pond featuring ducks and black or white swans, a café and an amphitheatre where often entertaining and cultural events take place
This space also has a terrace, a kiosk and a small pond, with swans and ducks and a sculpture in marble. As it is located in a prime area of the city, it is very well known and visited by both tourists and locals.
SANTA CATARINA PARK
Is it Sunday… do you have some time to relax… or is it just a beautiful day outside? Read a book, take a stroll or simply sit under a tree and listen to the birds and the water of the fountain in the Parque de Santa Catarina. This park is the perfect place to relax and enjoy all these leisure activities.
With a total area of 36.000 square meters and located between Avenida do Infante and Avenida Sá Carneiro, in the western part of Funchal, the Parque de Santa Catarina offers a lovely view over the bay of Funchal, green spaces, a cafe, several paths provided with benches and flanked by many species of the world’s flora and a lovely lake with a small island where swans and ducks thrive.
An extensive lawn surrounded by well-kept flowerbeds marks the centre of this garden and invites for a rest or a ball game. Of special interest for visitors with children is a playground offering all sorts of fun for the youngest. Nearby you’ll find two old machines once used to squash grapes and to steamroll the road.
Santa Catarina Park
Among the many bits and pieces that you can see in this park, we should also mention the aviaries, the sculptures dedicated to several personalities and the Santa Catarina Chapel, which is unfortunately closed to public, and which was ordered tobe built by the wife of João Gonçalves Zarco, the first captain of the island in honor of Saint Catherine of Alexandria in 1425.
MONTE PALACE TROPICAL GARDEN
Open to the public since 1991 this masterpiece located in Monte was put together by José Berardo and includes one of the most important tile collections in Portugal. The tiles exhibited amidst the tropical vegetation represent several ages, coming from palaces, churches, chapels and private houses throughout the former Portuguese empire. Most of them describe social, cultural and religious events. From these we point out a door from the 18th century, framed by a chapel’s frontispiece, with two lateral figures holding the stones of the 10 Commandments and a sword; and 40 tile panels telling the Portuguese history, beginning with the kingdom of Dom Afonso Henriques and ending with a panel dedicated to the Third Republic.
During a trip to Japan and China the beauty, culture, way of living as well as the influence of the Portuguese on the Orient charmed Berardo. This is the reason for the existence of two oriental gardens and of a panel called ‘The Adventure of the Portuguese in Japan’. The last is an iron structure where 166 ceramic plates tell the story of a social, commercial and cultural relationship between Portugal and Japan. Among many Chinese and Japanese elements the visitor can find two ‘Fó’ dogs in marble, mythological animals usually put in the temples’ entrance as guardians, several Buddhist sculptures, a dragon surrounded by children representing fertility and several stone lanterns used in Japan to light the way to the tea house.
Tropical vegetation at Monte Palace garden
Don’t miss the opportunity to see the ‘Koi’ fishes, a species whose origins come from East Asia and which are considered extremely valuable.
And speaking about the animal kingdom, check out the swans’ beauty and majesty on the central lake, the many blackbirds and the peacocks.
Certainly the most wonderful and varied garden on the island, this is the perfect place for an unforgettable day!
Since the 17th century Madeira Island had been waiting for a botanical garden, a dream that came true in 1960. Located 3 km from the centre of Funchal, at Quinta do Bom Sucesso – a private Quinta belonging to the Reid’s family – where the climate conditions are much in favour of exuberant vegetation.
With about 35,000 m2, the Botanical Garden boasts harmonious forms, contrasting colours and more than 2000 exotic plants. It is owned by the Regional Government of Madeira and, apart from being a beautiful place of leisure, it also serves as a Science and Culture Centre.
Throughout the gardens visitors can find the plants labelled with their scientific names, common name and origin.
There are five main areas to visit:
- Indigenous and endemic plants: This is the place where one can see plants exclusively from Madeira and other Atlantic islands, like the Azores, Canaries and Cape Verde. There are about 100 indigenous plants exhibited, ranging from those characteristically found on the more exposed slopes of Madeira to those typical of mid-altitude vegetation and trees found in Madeira’s natural forest, the ‘Laurissilva’ forest.
- Tree Garden: Here you find plants from ecologically opposed areas of the Earth, like the Himalaya and the Tropics.
- Succulents: The capacity of storing water is what distinguishes the plants in this department, most of them coming from South America.
- Tropical/Cultivated/Aromatic/Medicinal: Several tropical and subtropical fruit trees, such as mango, papaya and avocado, as well as coffee trees, sugar cane and popular medicine plants can be seen in this area.
- Loiro Park: Loiro Park gathers some of the most exotic and rare birds. Cockatoos and ‘Loricos’ (a parrot species) from the Asian tropical islands, Australian parakeets and dwarf parrots are only some of the many bird species that you can find in this park.
In 1997, this area was expanded, allowing the introduction of new species and the creation of a viewpoint and an amphitheatre.
In 2009, this garden received the name of Eng. Rui Vieira, an agronomist who died that year and was the founder of this garden in 1960. This homage recognises his dedication to the public cause and to scientific research.
In 2017, the Botanical Garden celebrated its anniversary with renovated lakes, a garden of Portuguese camellias and access to information via smartphone.
This is a simply unforgettable garden and a mandatory presence in the itinerary when visiting Madeira.