Famous all over the world for its natural beauty, the Island of Madeira is often called “the floating garden of the Atlantic”. Here, the hues of the vegetation that covers the hillsides are matched only in the exotic flowers that bloom from every recess.
Owing to its mild, year-round temperate climate, you can admire flowers and plants from nearly every continent in their natural environment, such as orchids, birds of paradise, anthuriums, magnolias, azaleas, proteas, and many others.
Some of these tropical and subtropical plants were introduced into the Island in the 18th and 19th centuries, by British merchants who made their fortunes from the Madeira wine trade and chose the Monte, Camacha, Santo da Serra and Jardim da Serra neighbourhoods to set up their quintas. The cooler and more humid climate in these areas, closer to English weather conditions, made them ideal for the plants to adapt.
The Quintas of Madeira are today one of the region’s great attractions. You can get to know them since many have been restored for different purposes, such as holiday accommodation, museums, and cafés. The Quintas of Madeira boast large, spacious blooming gardens, brimming with the rarest and most varied plant life, and offer spaces that encourage you to rest and relax or simply gaze at nature. They are indeed ideal places for a stroll or to spend a family holiday.
Some of these sites include the Botanical Gardens, located in Quinta do Bom Sucesso, the Jardim da Orquídea (Orchid Garden), and the Santa Catarina Park and the Municipal Garden, right in the centre of Funchal.
Also worth a visit are the Jardins do Imperador (Emperor’s Gardens), the Monte Palace Tropical Garden and the Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro, where you can spend a few hours enjoying the panoramic views that they offer. Quinta Vigia, Quinta Magnólia and Quinta das Cruzes, in downtown Funchal, are also worthy of a visit for their extraordinary variety of plants.
In Quinta do Arco gardens, located at Arco de São Jorge, on the island’s northern coast, you can admire one of the largest collections of roses in Portugal, which include some rare and otherwise endangered species of rose.
We invite you to visit some gardens with this tour
Madeira also boasts various parks, such as the Funchal Ecological Park, the Queimadas Forest Park 5km from Santana, and the Ribeiro Frio Forest Park. The latter is also an excellent setting for walking, as one of the most spectacular trails in the Island, linking Ribeiro Frio to the Balcões belvedere, starts here, offering stunning views over the deep valley of Ribeira do Faial and the rocky amphitheatre of the Maciço Central, featuring the island’s highest point, Pico Ruivo.
They say that spring spends the winter in Madeira, so there’s nothing better than celebrate the fact with the annual Flower Festival. This event pays tribute to the flowers of this garden island, by filling the streets of Funchal with blossoms.
Before heading home, we suggest to pay a visit to the Farmers’ Market in Funchal to buy a souvenir of this holiday… Madeira’s emblematic flowers.