I’ve finally got round to posting this about our stay over the post-Christmas and new year period.
After TAP changed our flight times and airport I wasn’t looking forward to such an early start but the roads and airport were very quiet and on arrival at our usual hotel (Pestana Promenade) we were able to go into our apartment straight away. That meant we had time to get unpacked, clean up, get some shopping in and still make it to The Beerhouse for lunch.....perhaps the early start is not so bad after all!
Thanks so much everyone for all of your tips, we managed to do nearly everything you suggested: saw the painted doors in the old town, visited hotels to see the Christmas decorations, looked at the old photos in Porto Santa Maria, went to the bar on the top floor of Lavradores, visited Palheiro Gardens etc. All very enjoyable.
It was our first visit at this time of the year and hopefully not the last. The atmosphere in town was fantastic with the lights, live music and the Christmas huts (one of which sold Ginja, a cherry liqueur served in a small chocolate cup, very nice). Agree that Tokos also looked very pretty.
New Year’s Eve was fabulous and we were very glad we chose to go to The Forte where the staff did a great job. The night started with bubbly and canapés in the courtyard. There were then several areas where they served a 4 course meal with drinks, each with various forms of entertainment (we were in the marquee). This was followed by viewing the amazing fireworks from the roof level and then a DJ for those who wanted to stay on longer. A very mixed crowd in terms of age and nationalities and even though the drink flowed from 7pm until almost 4am (bubbly, wine, brandy/liqueurs + an open bar) it was a great friendly atmosphere with no one overdoing it!! Taxis there and back were easy to get and not at all overpriced. A very special night.
Did the walk one day from our hotel to Camara de Lobos stopping for a drink at the Yacht Bar. It was a beautiful sunny day and we really enjoyed it. Worth pointing out that there were a few people having problems walking on the pebble beach just after the tunnel and there is a part of the walk with an old industrial unit on it. The rest is a very pleasant coastal walk.
Drove to Pico Areiro one day and unlike the last time we visited (when we couldn’t see a thing) we had beautiful views this time. It’s such a surreal experience driving higher and higher through the clouds and then reaching clear bright blue skies.
Other great places we went/returned to for drinks/lunch were:
- Pousada dos Vinhaticos at Serra d’Agua (very relaxing with good views and friendly, placid dog. Would love to go back when their agapanthus are in bloom)
- O’precipio at Faja de Ovelha (fairly basic cafe but lovely seaview, building clings onto side of cliff so need a head for heights)
- Sol Poente at Ponte do Sol (great place to view sunset).
As always there were lots of restaurants we didn’t get time to try but our favourites this trip were: O’Tapassol (first floor terrace) and Olives (both in Funchal) and Vila Da Carne in Camara de Lobos.
....so all good things come to an end. Arrived back to a very hectic Heathrow on a Friday night to find one of the wheels on our suitcase was missing. We then arrived home to find our fence had been badly damaged in the storms.......ho hum back to the real world!!
......can’t wait for our next visit and sorry this is so long!!