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“The Island of Eternal Spring” lives up to its name with rugged, colourful landscapes and a year-round sunny climate. This Portuguese nation consists of four islands, and we’ll take you sailing to Funchal, the capital. Dedicate a bit of time to each of the island’s distinct neighbourhoods, beginning in West Funchal. This is where you can indulge in a little retail therapy, while East Funchal is packed full of cafes and restaurants in which to linger and watch the world go by. Don’t miss the Mercado dos Lavradores, a bustling, art deco market dating back to the 40s. It’s a great place to admire traditional Portuguese azulejos (intricately painted tiles) and pick up some souvenirs. If you’re craving some relaxation during your time in Funchal, head to the Madeira Botanical Garden, which cascades down a hillside and offers views of the sea. Or, check out the Monte Palace Tropical Garden, which features exotic plant species as well as African sculptures. On Madeira cruises, you can’t leave Funchal without sampling some of the wine that takes its name. The history of Madeira wine begins in around 1419, when Madeira was first discovered – and this sweet, honey wine is the best way to end an evening exploring Funchal.
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