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Madeira

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stoo_pid | 17:58 Thu 17th Mar 2005 | Travel
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We're off to Madeira for a week soon - bit of walking, culture & relaxing.  Anyone got any tips on must-see places?

Also as vegetarians I understand eating out may be a little more challenging than usual - does anyone know of any veggie-friendly restaurants?

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The coast road drive to porto monitz, where the waterfalls fall over the road (and your car) after a rainsstorm into the sea is beautiful. Take a day trip, drive inland and take the main route that goes top to bottom over the island.

Take the old road from funchal via ribeira brava then go inland. This goes south to north and has two options, the new road, through the most amazing tunnels, and the old road over the hilltop - very scary but magnificent. Also go to the green cauldron (calido Verde?) as the walk to get there is breathtaking in terms of scenery - bu t take a torch as the caves are dark.

The Funchal street toboggan thing from Monte to Funchal is very tourist orientated BUT very worthwhile, if a little costly. At the bottom, you get the hard sell for phots and a taxi back to town, so share the cot and pal up with any of the numerous other Anglos also there! In all honesty though, Monte is pretty boring, so are the gardens there.

Worth doing is afternoon tea at Reid's palace hotel - remember to dress up.

Although it's not a typical tourist destination, my partner and I (late 20's) have found it the best mix of cultire, quality, variation and relaxation of any Euro destination.

As for the veggie thing - the main dish in Madeira is espada fish (dark fish with banana - sounds daft but is lovely). Visit the Funchal indoor market and the vast array of fruit and veg will amaze you. The only drawback being you may have to cook it yourself! The island has lots of freshwater (unlike the canaries/ballerarics) so fruit and veg are abundant and succulent - making them very good quality.

Enjoy!

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