madeira, portugal. 🇵🇹

Hey everybody!


During my last week of exchange I had the opportunity to go to Madeira, a Portuguese island off the coast, closer to Morocco than Portugal. I travelled with my District Youth Exchange Officer and Sofia, an exchange student from Australia, and we had so much fun! Here are some of the highlights from the week:

Taking the gondola to the top of funchal


On one of our first days on Madeira, we took the gondola up above the city. It was a little bit rainy but we had such a beautiful view from the gondola. It was my first time in a gondola that long and it was so fun!

Sliding down in wicker baskets

Once we got to the top of the gondola we slid down the mountain in these little wicker baskets. It was like summer sledding down the road.


On our first day in Portugal we got to see fireworks over Funchal! It was special for me because it was the day leading up to Canada day, and the firework show was unlike any I’d seen before. Every Saturday night in June in Funchal (so for four weeks), there’s a firework competition put on by one of four teams. The fireworks are coordinated to music and they were so beautiful.

Pregos, Brisa maracuja, and football.

While we were in Portugal, it was the World cup and Portugal played against Uruguay. Unfortunately, they lost (plus it was a boring game) but we got to try some Madeiran specialties like this passionfruit soda called Brisa Maracuja as well as these steak sandwiches called pregos.

Seeing dolphins& being Christopher Columbus

On one of the days we took a boat that was a replica of the boat Christopher Columbus took during his first voyage. The boat went along the coast of the south side of Madeira. By some stroke of luck, we ended up seeing so many dolphins and they started swimming alongside the boat. After the dolphin excitement the boat stopped and we jumped off and swam in the bluest water I’ve ever seen.


Halfway through the week we moved to a new apartment right on the water. It had access to lots of pools and the ocean, and one day we went snorkelling. I had never been snorkelling before and it was a little bit weird to have all the fish around. I actually really enjoyed it though and it was good to try something new and out of my comfort zone.

Roadtrip around the island

The best day of the trip was the day we rented a car and decided to drive around part of the island! We got to see so many cool sights like Cabo Girão (a giant sea cliff with a glass floor), these volcanic rock pools called Porto Moniz, The São Vicente volcanic caves, and one of the prettiest sights I’ve ever seen, Camara de Lobos.

Icecream (of course)

Over the course of the week I ate a lot of the best ice cream cones of my life. Here’s a photo documentation of the legendary cones.

Exploring funchal

We got to know Funchal really well over the course of the trip and learned to navigate the bus, find the best snacks, and of course worked our way through every store in the area. We saw all the cats of Funchal, watched a soccer game live in a field, checked out the markets. Here’s some more pictures from one of the coolest weeks on one of the coolest islands ever!



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