We are the Ultimate Guide to Meaningful and Healthy Travel with Hands-On Travel Advice!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

A Day with Madeira Taxi Tours by Diogo is the Perfect Way to Get to Know a Spectacular Island

Luxury Travel Docs gives 5 stars to Madeira taxi tours by Diogo who offers a guided tour by a local host in Madeira, Portugal with food and wine tastings and Breathtaking views. 

LTD took a shore excursion sightseeing tour paired with first-class treatment, a local experience and incredible views.  It was a day we won’t forget. 

1. Booking

We recommend going directly to Diogo to see what experiences are offered. Other alternatives are to book on TripAdvisor.  Plans change and Diogo offers the same cancellation policy as TripAdvisor at their website but since there are multiple options of how to book, do what is most comfortable for you.  Find a direct link to Diogo's Facebook page at the end of this post!

2. Communication 

Within an hour after we booked our excursion on TripAdvisor, Diogo communicated with us letting us know he would meet us at the port of Funchal where our cruise ship would be docking.  We confirmed with him 24 hours before as he has a 24 hour cancellation time.  He was pleasant and gave us clear instructions of where to meeting him.

RxTIP:  Use T-Mobile for international travel because it provides unlimited data and text in many countries.  We were concerned that coverage would not be great on an island like Madeira, but coverage was awesome!

3. Meeting

Our cruise ship docked right on time and Diogo's instructions for meeting us were perfect.  He met us right on time and escorted us to our large Mercedes taxi which was parked only steps away.  We expected there may be others on the tour, but it was just us!

RxTIP: WhatsApp is helpful since it provides a photo of your guide helping you locate them. Since we new what Diogo looked like we located him without looking for a sign.

4. Transportation 

Diogo's taxi was clean, spacious and comfortable.  Certainly as his TripAdvisor ad says, this trip could be booked for 7 persons who cold sit comfortably in his taxi.  His driving was outstanding!!!  This was quite evident when watching him maneuver this larger taxi about on the Island, where many roads and turns are very narrow!  We were impressed with his driving and safety.  At all sites Diogo waited for us at the meeting spot and was always ready when we were finished.  His English is outstanding so directions were not difficult to follow.

5. Tour

We booked a tour with Diogo that consisted of him driving us to the various highlights of the island all the while describing the history of the island, the culture, activities, food and famous individuals that previously visited (Winston Churchill) or are natives (Cristiano Ronaldo).  Once we started, he suggested a stopover at the local market of Funchal which we found most interesting as it was a Saturday and freshly caught fish were being delivered and processed for selling.  The local fish that was most commonly seen was the “Espada Preta” or Black Scabbard fish. The black scabbardfish, is a deep-water predator that rarely meets any type of rod and line anglers, due to the immense depth in which it lives.  They are usually caught by trawlers and resemble a barracuda.

Rx Tip:

Pickpockets are very common when going to a crowded market in Europe.  The market in Valencia was not crowded when we were there, but we experienced VERY crowded markets in other cities like Barcelona where attempts were made on our secured belongings.  One person in our tour group pictured here had their cell phone stolen in Barcelona.  LTD can't stress enough the importance of antitheft bags and vigilance!  We recommend the Sherpani AT sling bag for men or women.  It is lightweight, comfortable and looks great!  This is especially good for persons with back pain to minimize pressure on the spine.  The anti-theft features include zipper locks, anti slash bottom and strap, chair loop lock system and RFID protection.  Click the photo to learn more at Amazon and support our blog!  Thank you so much!!!

We continued our tour with a drive up to the mount.  This was a difficult drive with many narrow turns and drives that would only fit one vehicle.  Diogo navigated this with skill and safety.  He explained everything we were seeing along the way, and stopped for us to take panoramic photos!    Going past and above the area for the toboggan, is the location of the Church of the Monte. The interior is small but very impressive, especially when you look at the location and recognize that this was all built before the cable-car existed.  The views are incredible from the entrance of the church. Inside the church is the tomb of Charles I was the last Emperor of Austria, the last King of Hungary, the last King of Bohemia, and the last monarch belonging to the House of Habsburg-Lorraine before the dissolution of Austria-Hungary.  He died on the island in 1922 and was beatified by the Catholic Church in 2004 and is known as Blessed Karl of Austria.

Our plan was to take the Monte Toboggan ride, however the line was so long, we decided to skip it!  Diogo provided us about the history of the toboggan and how it was used to transport the wealthy who lived in the Monte area down to the city and coast.  We asked him if he knows anyone who works there and he said it is a cooperative of families who have run the attraction and shared profits for over 100 years.

See our live visit here!  What a day!!

On to Miradouro Pico Dos Barcelos, located in Santo António Parish! This belvedere dates from 1950 and sits at approximately 1500 feet above sea level, offering a panoramic view overlooking Funchal Bay.

The belvedere has several green areas and many flowers as well as stands where regional products, handicrafts and food are sold.

Next was the Cabo Girao Viewpoint which is the highest cape in Europe. At an elevation of almost 2000 feet it is famous for its suspended glass platform.
Standing on the cliff you have a vertiginous view of the fajãs of Rancho and Cabo Girão – small areas of cultivated land at the foot of the cliff – as well as magnificent panoramic views over the ocean and the cities of Câmara de Lobos and Funchal.
The viewpoint has been recently renovated, and a suspended glass platform, called a skywalk, was opened in 2012.
We were told that it is an excellent spot to practice paragliding and base jumping. In 2006, the Portuguese parachutist Mário Pardo performed a spectacular motorcycle leap here!

The glass bottom walkway is a strange sensation as it's a long way down.

We briefly stopped at the cable car that is a little tricky to find that takes you from the edge of the Cabo Girao to the beach below the skywalk. At the bottom you can walk along the pebble beach to directly below the Skywalk. There are patches of farmland at the base of the cliff, and farmers will utilize the cable car to bring up their goods.  What did they do before?????

From there we decided to relax a little while at our final stop: Baia de Camara de Lobos.  This village owes its existence to its very good, deep water harbour sheltered by impressive volcanic rocks, a natural inlet where the daily catch, caught in the restless Atlantic waters out in the bay, was landed, sorted and sent to markets.  Walk through lanes and alleys, stop in the church of  Sao Sebastiao Church (church of the seamen) before returning to other viewpoints overlooking the pretty harbor, much celebrated in Winston Churchill's paintings.

It was in this quaint fishing village where we decided to do like Winston Churchill and enjoy the views and the local culture.  A military parade just finished as we arrived, and the locals were enjoying themselves all around!

After the Madeira wine, “poncha” is the most popular drink on the Island. Poncha is a regional drink, made with rum obtained by fermentation and distillation of sugarcane juice produced in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.  Usually honey and fruit juice is added to it, and let us tell is definitely enough!  Oh are they strong.  With our Poncha we had a large piece of honey cake.  This was the best way to end our day in Madeira.

Bottom line:

We found this tour through TripAdvisor and read a lot of reviews before booking. Diogo provided clear instructions on the meeting point and location. Our tour was private and very thorough. We had a delightful day and considering the cost, this far exceeded other tours we have taken around the world.  It was perfect to be able to move around Madeira safely, and at our own pace.  Diogo is a caring, friendly and informative guide, never making us feel welcome and never rushed.  Booking options include TripAdvisor or contact Diogo directly on Facebook.

If you like our content and to be the first to see our upcoming content, please click here to find us and follow us on Facebook!  

No comments:

Post a Comment