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Closer Magazine Winter 2013-14

On a Fred. Olsen cruise you can often expect to be docked overnight in Funchal’s magnificent harbour, giving guests more time to explore the island’s delights. Learn about Madeira’s history and culture at the Madeira Story Centre, visit the town hall and cathedral or simply soak up the sun on the waterfront promenade. On the edge of town, amongst lush vegetation, sits one of the world’s great historic hotels. Reid’s Palace was opened in 1891 to accommodate passengers travelling on ocean liners and continues to do so today. Why not drop in for afternoon tea on the veranda to take in the beautiful surroundings? Any visit to Madeira would not be complete without exploring the delightful tropical gardens. The Botanical Gardens – a conservation area for Madeira’s indigenous plants and home to around 300 exotic birds – offers MADEIRA You may even be lucky enough to spot a pod of dolphins or whales! staggering views overlooking Funchal. There’s also the opportunity to take a panoramic cable car ride to the village of Monte, where you can visit the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens that date back to the 18th century. Dotted around the gardens are giant crystals, classical statues, walls with ‘azulejos’ (traditional Portuguese tiles) and an oriental garden with spacious lakes and fascinating plant species, including cycads – a rare prehistoric fern tree from South Africa. Also not to be missed is the Orchid Garden, the only one of its kind in Europe, boasting more than 50,000 plants. Venture out to the vineyards for a taste of another one of Madeira’s delights. Since the 17th century, Madeira’s most famous export has been its wine. Widely popularised by the British during a brief and friendly occupation of the island, there are now so many varieties of Madeira Wine that it can be served at any time of the day with almost any type of food. Discover the history and sample local wines on a vineyard and wine cellar tour. For those seeking breathtaking, panoramic views a visit to Cabo Girão is a must. This vast sea cliff on the southern coast, just outside of Funchal, is considered to be the biggest in Europe. Further inland, at Eira do Serrado, visitors can look down into the crater of a long-extinct volcano now known as the valley of Curral das Freiras or ‘Nun’s Valley’. This tranquil island owes its lush green landscape, abundance of flowers and captivating wildlife to the yearround, mild climate. And just like the weather, Madeira has been offering British visitors a warm welcome for three centuries. English is just about as commonly spoken as Portuguese. So this year, escape the grey winter for the dramatic landscape, majestic gardens and exotic flora of this truly beautiful island. MADEIRA FACTS CAPITAL Funchal AVERAGE ANNUAL TEMPERATURE 19˚C CURRENCY Euro (€) AREA 801 km2 (309 sq mi) POPULATION 267,785 (estimate in 2011) For more information, or to book a Fred. Olsen cruise to Madeira, visit fredolsencruises.com, contact a travel agent or call 0800 0355 226 www.fredolsencruises.com 9


Closer Magazine Winter 2013-14
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