40 things to do in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Things to do in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here are 40 of my favourite things to do in Funchal, Madeira. I’ve been there enough times now that I feel I can give plenty of tips on how best to spend your time in this beautiful island city.

I’ve tried to avoid anything too obvious like the Monte toboggans and I’ve only focused on the city of Funchal itself and day trips you can easily do from it without a car rather than looking at the entire island of Madeira… Otherwise, this will turn into 40 million things to do and no one will have the patience to read it. I’ll be impressed if anyone actually reads all 40 things to be honest…

Anyway, read on if you want some tips from a self-confessed Funchal addict. Enjoy.

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10 things to do in Stockport: a town of vegan eats and vintage treats

Things to do in Stockport UK | PACK THE SUITCASES

I thought I’d put together this little list of some of my favourite things to do in Stockport, one of the 2 nearest large towns to where I currently live (the other is Macclesfield, which I also recommend). Stockport is often overshadowed by the city of Manchester being so close to it, but it actually has some brilliant places to eat and drink as well as some lovely vintage shops worth seeking out. Unfortunately, it also has a fairly run down shopping area, a generic retail park and a brand new chain restaurant/cinema complex, so this can give a negative first impression. I wasn’t taken with it at all when we first visited. It wasn’t until we ventured to one of the food events on that I found all the little hidden gems round the old town and lovely market area and started to see a different side to Stockport.

So here are a few things to do in Stockport that I take friends to when they come for a visit or that I recommend to people who are in the area…

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The best bars in Funchal, Madeira: in search of poncha and craft beer

The best bars in Funchal, Madeira: in search of poncha and craft beer | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here’s my pick of the best bars in Funchal, Madeira. The city is full of bars serving delicious poncha and even has an emerging craft beer scene (craft beer as in the hoppy American hipster kind). So while Madeira isn’t your place for crazy nightlife, there’s somewhere to get ratarsed round every corner.

Obviously, while in Madeira you’ll be wanting to knock back a poncha or ten. Poncha is a unique and rather strong alcoholic drink from Madeira, made with boozy sugar cane rum, honey, sugar, orange/lemon juice and other fruit juices. The traditional lemon one is my favourite because I’m all about that sour life, but lesser beings might enjoy the maracuja (passion fruit) one, which also seems to be pretty popular. Apparently, they (they being the locals) say that if you drink three poncha, you’ll be able to speak fluent Portuguese. I can confirm this is very much not true, but you will be far too confident in giving it a go.

You might die if you only drink poncha for your entire trip in Madeira, so hunting out some craft beer should also be on the agenda. Madeira is awash with the generic Coral lager, a Heineken brand. It’s not vile but it isn’t something you’d seek out. We were stuck with it when we first started going to Madeira a few years ago, but things are looking up now as Madeira seems to be growing its own little hipster craft beer scene. V exciting. More on this later.

So here’s our selection of where to get your drink on in Funchal…

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Where to eat in Madeira: 14 of the best restaurants and cafés

Where to eat in Madeira: 14 of the best restaurants and cafés | PACK THE SUITCASES

If you’re looking for where to eat in Madeira, you’re in for a treat. There is a real foodie scene on the island, with plenty of traditional places but also some cute hipster cafés, and most of it is delicious. Dig out all your clothes with elasticated waistbands.

I love Madeira and I love eating so this is my expert guide to combining the two: I’ve listed the best restaurants in Funchal, the best cafés/snack bars/food stalls in Funchal, and the best places I’ve eaten in other towns around the island that you might find handy on day trips. While Madeira is an island that everything grows well on due to its perfect climate, vegetarian and vegan food can be hard to find. It’s definitely a meat-heavy place, so if like us you don’t often eat meat, it’s worth doing a bit of planning ahead. Obviously, all this food needs washing down with some booze so keep an eye out for next week’s post on where to drink in Funchal.

Anyway, on to the eating…

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First time visiting Rome: a quick guide

First time visiting Rome: a guide and tips | PACK THE SUITCASES

This is what we did over a few days on our first time visiting Rome. We were, to be honest, ready not to like Rome. We don’t tend to love the major capital cities. Paris and Berlin didn’t really do it for me and I can’t stick London. But there was something different about Rome. It’s not too humungous, but is still imposing – in a positive way. You also 100% know you’re in Italy, whereas with some capitals you could be anywhere.

Anyway, this is a very quick overview. We were only in Rome for 4 nights. If you have longer, you can fit more in and there’ll always be something for next time because it’s a really intense city. But this little guide might be a useful starting point for your first trip to Rome…

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Japan 2 week itinerary options: for first-time visitors

2 weeks in Japan itinerary options | PACK THE SUITCASES

Here are some potential itineraries for 2 weeks in Japan. After a few trips there, I’ve become a self-confessed Japan geek and so now I’m always answering questions for friends planning their own Japan trips. So I thought it was about time I wrote something like this.

Your plans will of course depend on which airport you fly into: one of the Tokyo ones or Kansai (in Osaka Bay) or another. But these itineraries might be a starting point for you. They’ll give you a rough idea of where to start and how long you’ll want to spend in each place. Hint: there are very few places in Japan you won’t want to spend weeks in.

Anyway, onto the Japan itinerary options…

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