Leaving the cold UK with temperatures of -2 degrees behind during mid January was the best decision I made for my birthday. Goodbye UK, Hello Madeira! Temperatures at a delightful 16-18 degrees, sun, sea and ultimately all that's needed to relax to the max.
Despite my intentions of relaxing and improving my house cat impression of napping in the best most sunny spots, there was a lot that caught my eye and filled my trip with visuals I will surely remember for years to come. Madeira is honestly a great location any time of the year, we arrived in their winter and it was wonderful, perfect t-shirt weather. We stayed on the southern side of the island, which has better
weather usually in a place called Calheta and it was wonderfully mellow and relaxing.
If I wished to I could have honestly not ventured any further than the hotel itself, the facilities included a blissful spa, games room, squash court, various pools inside & outside, kids room and a range of bars and restaurants, not to mention the vast number of staff that were constantly on hand speaking many languages. However, take a short walk down the hill and find yourself at a beautiful marina with various shops and cafes and a small sandy beach at the end of your walk.
Without having done this walk, we would never have come across the little shopfront advertising dolphin & whale spotting. It's the sort of experience that is all about luck on the day so I had never really considered doing such a thing, but my best friend of more than 10 years who never steers me wrong was all for it and boy was she right! Despite not having good weather conditions for the first 2 attempts, on the last day, luck was shining down on our heads and brought me the best moments of the trip to end my birthday weekend on a high.
After a short ride on the deep blue waters, we came to a stop after a call from the spotter on the cliff side to say we were not far off from a group of bottle nose dolphins and pilot whales. We searched and squinted against the sun to catch a glimpse of spray from their blow holes upon breaking the surface. After a few minutes we caught our first glimpse and from that moment I was hooked. In the 2 hours we were out on the waters, we were surrounded by at least 2-3 different groups travelling in various directions. The bottle nose dolphins even interacted with the boat at one point! I was in awe of what I was seeing and felt so lucky to have been there in that moment with my best friend, celebrating my birthday and witnessing nature in its element.
My trip to Madeira gave me the best feelings and vibes and I could not have felt more mellow and relaxed, it was a shame to leave and it definitely sparked an interest to come back again and for longer. And so the travel bug has infected me and made me want to experience so much more! Thank you Madeira for bringing me such an amazing 25th birthday, I will be back again someday!
Do you have any travel plans for 2019? Let me know and share your thoughts and stories too.
The wonderful hotel we stayed at during our time in Madeira if anyone is interested, highly recommend!