Take a vineyard tour
Being a tiny volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean with a unique microclimate makes Madeira one of the most interesting wine producers in the world. The oldest and perhaps best-known producer is Blandy’s. If you’re here between July and September, take a tour of its compact city vineyard set in wedding-cake-tiered terraces.
Explore a wine museum
It may be the booziest museum you’ll ever visit: at Old Blandy’s Wine Lodge you’ll follow the whole wine-making process from vine to glass. Head to the cooperage to see oak barrels being made, plus the private collection of 200-year-old vintages, culminating – as all good wine tours should – in a tasting. Luckily, this wine lodge and its products are Blandy by name but not blandy by nature.
Av. Arriaga 28, Funchal
Indulge in a wine massage
It’s all about wine at the Vine Hotel in Funchal, with an interior reflecting vineyards through dark purple details and twisting vine furniture. Sign up for the signature 50-minute wine massage in its huge spa, during which you’re rubbed with lavender, oil and Madeira wine. It's a grape experience.
Rua dos Aranhas 27, Funchal
Drink at the Modern Bar
Mercearia Dona Mécia is one of a new breed of bars on the island making wine drinking cool again. Step into this walled courtyard in the Old Town and drink fizzing vinho verde with some tapas – the flaming sausage with wedges of charred ciabatta is a must.
26 Rua dos Aranhas, Funchal
Enjoy the views over the vineyards
Once you’re finished photographing the mindblowing view of the rugged coastline, the island's highest mountain, the Rocha do Navio natural reserve, and Blandy's vineyards, step below ground into Quinta do Furão’s well-stocked cellars for a tour and food pairing. The Madeira wine parfait at the hotel's restaurant is also not to be missed.
Estrada da Quinta do Furão Nº6, Santana
Go on a wine Jeep safari
Choose the half-day ‘Vineyards & Colors’ wine tour from Green Devil Safari and you’ll visit mountaintop vineyards with wine tastings, but getting to them will be just as much fun. Stand with your head out of an open-top Jeep while you hurtle around hairpin bends with tropical views – then calm your nerves by sipping something tasty.
Estrada Comandante Camacho de Freitas 349, Funchal
Stop for wine and jazz
Head to O Visconde Bar for an evening of Madeira wine and jazz, and sway to the beat into the wee hours. Arrive early to wander the 2.5-hectare botanical garden of the Quinta Jardins do Lago hotel, in which it's set, for a lush explosion of colour with more than 500 types of plants.
Rua Dr João Lemos Gomes 29, Funchal
Learn the history of wine
If you’re a fan of Art Deco glamour, visit Belmond Reid’s Palace hotel – if only for a quick pitstop to see the rockpool swimming pool (with diving board for you to spring off into the sea) and the botanic gardens. Coincide your visit with the weekly Madeira Wine Introduction every Tuesday at 6pm for a tasting and whistlestop history lesson.
Estrada Monumental 139, Funchal