Picture the World : Madeira

Porto Moniz on Madeira's north coast

It’s some time ago now that I completed a post for Picture the World.  Naturally, I focused on Portugal.  There’s nowhere of which I have more beautiful photos.  However the project is still running at The Departure Board and I happened to notice that the slot for Madeira was still unoccupied.  How can that be?
Madeira is one of the most ruggedly beautiful sights I have ever seen.  Sheer drops along the north coast send waterfalls cascading into the foaming sea.  In December you can have snow on the peaks, yet sensuous bougainvilea caressing the houses in the south of the island.
The levadas provide world class walking, in addition to the irrigation which is the island’s life blood.  Every inch of the terraces is utilised to feed the islanders, and to produce the wine which is exported throughout the world.  The Portuguese flavour is all there in the intricately tiled streets, but Madeira has a determined character all her own.
I was there not long before the dreadful floods of 2010 devastated the island.  I watched the TV footage in horror as the flood waters tore through Funchal and the lovely spaces I had so admired.  It is a tribute to the islanders that they picked themselves up so rapidly to restore their astounding natural beauty.
The Picture the World project requires only that I share one photo with you, but I can’t resist adding just a few more.
Funchal looking down from the castle (it's a long climb)

Funchal looking down from the castle (it’s a long climb)

Ornate tiled paths are everywhere

Ornate tiled paths are everywhere

Rainbows too. The island is no stranger to rain.

Rainbows too. The island is no stranger to rain.

Snow not so frequently, but visibility was limited and our coach had to turn back

Snow not so frequently, but visibility was so limited, our coach had to turn back

But everywhere the beauty is undeniable

But everywhere the beauty is undeniable

To further the project, I’m nominating Cloud of Lace to supply an image of her homeland, Lebanon, and Freshly Pressed Compass & Camera because I know she has some exquisite photos of Bhutan.  I look forward to seeing these, and in the meantime, many thanks to The Departure Board for the opportunity to share.


  1. Looks spectacular Jo! especially those tiled paths. And love what Bob has done with that image of yours!! Wish I could learn some of those skills 🙂

  2. I love your photos of Portugal. If I’m blessed to travel places someday, I would like to see these amazing pictures in person. It looks like a place where dreams comes true and nature creates the most breathtaking images 365 days a year. Happy New Year!

    1. Madeira is another of those chunks of volcanic activity left behind by the upheaval of this strange world we live in. The landscape is truly beautiful, but not an easy place to live. I hope that you get to travel some day soon.

  3. I can’t believe I’ve never made it to Madeira yet and I’m Portuguese! Your post just inspired me need to make it a priority.

  4. Thank you so very much for this wonderful gift!! I am so honored! You are simply an amazing person, lucky are those who have you around at home 😉

    As for Madeira… Such a magical place! I’d love to visit one day..
    You’ve done incredible work in this post, I just love your photos 🙂

    1. You are very welcome. I know from your blog that you can find a great photo for the project, and I very much look forward to seeing it. Have fun with it. Si at The Departure Board is very easy to work with. And a big thank you!

  5. Your lovely description of Madeira in the opening paragraph alone is enough to convince me that you do adore the place and for good reason.

    (And that tile path looks like an expensive carpet!) 🙂

    1. Hi Tita! Many thanks, hon. I got so cross with this post because I did it a week or 2 ago, and when I went back to publish it, in line with The Departure Board, the formatting was all wrong and I simply couldn’t fix it. Just when I think I’m getting the hang of this blogging game. Ah well- on to the next post! (and hopefully the next destination, soon)

  6. I can’t believe I never visited Madeira. But since my husband was born in The Azores islands and has family there we also tended to go there over and over… They Azores are also worthwhile visiting, not as touristy as Madeira, and is a lot more natural too, or so I hear! I love that tiled path photo.

    1. The Azores are on my list, Sami. Those lake-filled volcanoes and hydrangea hedges look superb. I’m hoping for a cheap flight at some point from Portugal. I can dream!

  7. I’ve always fancied Madeira from years back. Tried to work out a way to include it on my world trip but it wasn’t exactly on the main route 😀 Had a friend who went recently and his photos were stunning. A work colleague stayed at the posh hotel there. I even bought books on the place. Maybe one day?

    1. It’s definitely a rough seas kind of place! It had a bit of a staid image with all the cruises, lilac perms… a while ago, but then, you must have all that on Gib, too. And the levada walking is sensational.

      1. Actually the hair colour here tends towards the Spanish. ie warm blonde, red or jet black. No blue or lilac rinses!

        We do have the cruises though. And walking up the Rock can be pretty good too 🙂

  8. I have been attracted to Portugal more and more while looking through your blog. The photos of Madeira are simply amazing Jo! I checked out the TDB site and I’m so happy to see you featured there! Happy new year, by the way Jo!

    1. Thanks a lot, Antoinette. Do you fancy posting on TDB? There may be a slot you fancy. I looked at Poland, too, but then thought “steady on girl”. Happy NY to you too. Will return visit asap.

      1. Having a bad evening on here, because this post is wrongly formated. If you have a look at the linked Picture the World post I did on Portugal you’ll see what I mean. The technical side of things is always a battle with me and I’m getting myself upset. If you would like to play around with the photo, by all means go ahead. Sorry, Bob, but you’ve caught me at a bad time.

      2. Is this a kind response to a grouch, or what? Thank you so much, Bob. I’m very appreciative. One of my “goals” for the new year should definitely have been to dedicate a little more time to the technical side of photography.

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