Poncha da Madeira

Poncha da Madeira

The Poncha is a drink originated in India, brought by the British, and adapted by Madeirans. The Indian name given to the drink, namely pãnch, was initially composed by five ingredients: Rice or nut coconut spirit, sugar, tea of fresh herbs, spices and water.

It is believed now that the Poncha has been experienced for the first time outside India, on Madeira Island in the middle of the eighteenth century by the English at that time, during their travels between these parts.

Throughout the nineteenth century the Poncha was a popular drink within the Madeira the more or less wealthy families on the island.

Today, the tradition of Poncha remains very much alive among us, on Madeira, and the instruments used to assist in preparation of these drinks, in essence has not changed much.

In Madeira, this drink was adapted to be used with honey, sugar cane spirit, lemon juice and lemon peel. The Poncha has become very popular due to the fact of being considered a good drink to heal the ills of the throat … has many other things …

When you are on Madeira …. experience a Poncha … and taste the Madeiran culture.

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Festa da Anona

The idea of the Festa da Anona (Cherimoya Feast) was born in 1990, through a group of producers of Faial, that wanted to promote their products (fruit) and thus to call the attention the madeirenses in general.

Anona - Cherimoya

The initial idea was a Regional Cherimoya Exhibition, nowadays also known as the Anona Festival, … which is to be held at Faial (Santana), on the North Coast of Madeira Island. This is an exhibition specially dedicated to this fruit and its derivatives,…. such as liquors, puddings, ice creams and (beaten) drinks. The programme, with the participation of some hundreds of farm owners, … includes music and contests, … with a traditional Madeira flavor.

    The cherimoya (Annona cherimola) is a species of Annona. It is a deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub or small tree reaching 7 m tall. The flowers are produced in small clusters, each flower 2-3 cm across, with six petals, yellow-brown, often spotted purple at the base. The fruit is oval, often slightly oblique, 10-20 cm long and 7-10 cm diameter, with a smooth or slightly tuberculated skin. The fruit flesh is white, and has numerous seeds embedded in it. Mark Twain called the cherimoya “the most delicious fruit known to men.” Source: Wikipedia

Festa da Anona

Related page (most popular): Regional Festivities Calendar

Madeira … The Green Pearl of the Atlantic

Madeira, “The Green Pearl of the Atlantic”, with its spectacular variety of landscapes, the island that they say it sometimes is 6 different continents in one mini-continent. The friendly locals and the picturesque villages make Madeira a perfect island for those seeking a combination of adventure, sports, nature, sun and rest.

An island with many faces, that is Madeira. Still famous for its Levada, miles-long irrigation channels, ideal for walkers. But Madeira is more: there are beautiful hiking trails through vast Eucalyptus and Laurel Forest, “cobbled roads” between friendly villages and narrow roads on sunny slopes.

Madeira Levada Walking

In the East, Madeira Island is very woody and you can visit the many nature reserves. Middle Madeira is also known as the Rocky Mountains because this part of the island is not very easy to access, but certainly worthwhile to take the challenge. The south coast of Madeira makes you think you are on the sunny coast of southern Europe. There are many fishing villages and (pebble) beaches where you can enjoy the sun. In the west you can find a more efficient environment, but once you have arrived on the plateau above, you will certainly enjoy the beautiful view over the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. The north coast is more a jungle of steep cliffs, interrupted by deep green valleys.

Nature lovers will really love this island. You can explore one of the many protected reserves or gardens for colourful flowering fauna and discover why Madeira is also referred to as ‘The Floating Garden of the Atlantic’. You could start your holiday with a trip to the Botanical gardens of Madeira located in Funchal, or the Ponta de Sao Lourenco – a peninsular located on the East of the island that boasts amazing coastal views and a variety of flowering fauna perfect for the botanist in you.

Ponta São Lourenço, Madeira island

Various secondary roads winds through banana plantations and agricultural lands, taking you higher up through forests of fragrant eucalyptus trees. The roadsides are full flowering Agapanthus, Bougainvillea, Hibiscus and Begonias and the houses, which are scarcer towards the top, have Roses and Orchids in large quantities in their gardens and/or balconies.

Driving on Madeira


All roads on Madeira are accessible, with the exception of those that are listed as closed on the site of “Serviço Regional de Protecção Civil” (Regional Civil Protection Service).

However these days drivers should be extra careful. A few points to pay attention when driving on Madeira:

Drive carefully. Not too fast, but also not too slow.

– At the moment part of roads and highway are covered with a thin layer of mud, that was spread by vehicles and trucks from the affected areas. When it rains these layers will make the roads very slippery. In that case you need to be extra careful. If possible, avoid driving.

– Island visitors that have rented a car and are driving through the areas such as Funchal, Ribeira Brava, and other by flood affected areas, … please keep your eyes on the road! The driver should not try to deviate his/her sight from the road in order to get a glimpse of what happened. We do not need another victim!

Enjoy your stay!

World Tourism Day

World Tourism Day

27th of September is World Tourism Day. The purpose of this day is to display awareness that tourism is vital to the international community (especially for the Madeira Islands) and to show how it affects the social, cultural, political and economic values.

And that is why the island of Madeira offers on this particular day FREE entrance to all tourists to most of the gardens, museums, galleries, exhibitions etc. Funchal city center will be decorated with flags especially for the occasion apart from other cultural activities.

Upon the arrival at the airport of Madeira and some official tourist offices, tourists will be greeted with flowers and gifts.

For the complete programme visit the Madeira Islands Official Tourism Website

Events for this month

14th and 15th – Feast of Our Lady of Monte – Funchal
This is considered to be the Region’s main feast concerning the people’s devotion, famous all over the world where emigrants from Madeira have settled. Great popular entertainment during the two festival days, transforms the picturesque and romantic parish of Monte into one of the liveliest places in the island.

14th and 15th – Feast of Our Lady of Grace – Porto Santo
Our Lady of “Graça” Chapel, erected on a hill below the belvedere of Portela, opens its doors to an open air festival which is carried out every year on 14th and 15th August. After the liturgy, which includes the religious ceremonies and a procession, follows the open air popular festival with the traditional stands selling food and drink, music and lots of entertainment.

21st – Grand Parade to Commemorate the Day of the City of Funchal
Celebrations to commemorate the Day of the City, on 21 August, will once again feature a historical procession, entitled “The History of Funchal in the Street”. Several periods and events from the history of Funchal and the Region will be recreated. The parade will involve hundreds of participants, dressed in the styles of the different periods and will go along the main streets of the city, as part of an exciting event to promote the city by remembering the past and enabling us to reflect on the future.
The complete programme can be seen at www.funchal21deagosto.com.

21st to 30th- Caniço Promenade Nights – Caniço de Baixo
A Gastronomic Week which is held every year on the Promenade in Caniço-de-Baixo, with the participation of various music bands and some of the hotels, restaurants and bars of Caniço.

22nd – XXVIII Faial International Song Festival -“Voices of the Atlantic” – Faial
This is a Festival of original songs, held at Faial Polidesportivo (multi-faced sport Pavillion), organised by the Sports and Cultural Association of this parish, Faial, which belongs to the municipality of Santana.

25th to 30th – São Vicente – Municipal Festivities
An exciting programme of cultural and social events will take place for a week in the picturesque town of São Vicente, on the north coast of the Island of Madeira. Highlights of the various concerts are Jorge Palma on the 27 th and the Dutch Hermes House Band, on the 28th. The complete programme can be seen at www.svicente.com.

25th to 30th – XVIII Round Madeira by Canoe 2009
Organised by the Centro de Treino Mar of Madeira, this is an international race of the F.P.C. and I.C.F. This event is internationally known for its difficulty, but also for its good organization and natural beauty offered by the coast of the island. The race covers 141 Km distributed along 9 laps. Enrollment is open only to Sea Kayak – K1 and K2.
Further information at www.madeiraemcanoa.com

28th– Wine Harvest Festival – Porto Santo
This festival provides all its visitors with information on the different varieties of grape produced in Porto Santo. It is held, by 10 p.m. at `Largo das Palmeiras’, where a public wine press will be assembled, with wine tasting, demonstrations on the wine making process and an exhibition of the utensils related to vine growing and caring. There will also be musical entertainment with traditional singing groups.

29 th- XIX National and XII International Folklore Festival – Ponta do Sol
This event has been organised by the Ponta do Sol Folklore Group and the local City Hall. The festival will feature regional, national and foreign groups such as: the Ponta do Sol Folklore Group, and groups from Figueira da Foz, the Algarve, the Azores, Ribatejo, Sweden, Spain and Italy.

Source: Madeira Tourism

Tips for Walking on Madeira

Ensure that you have sufficient water before starting a (long) walk (minimum of 1.5 liters per person). Check if there are any places to refuel … because walking under Madeira’s hot sun can have a similar effect as if you were walking on the Sahara. If there are no taskas (bars) or shops in the vicinity, look out for the local drinking fountains where you can find sweet, refreshing spring water.

Always wear layers. Even in winter when you walk at high altitude … the temperature might feel cold, but sometimes you will find yourself sweating. On Madeira it is not allowed to walk around topless, ladies. Sometimes when you walk through the inner veins of the Laurisilva, thick damp mist can sneak up and the temperature can drop very fast. In that situation you will be very gratefull having some extra pullover or t-shirt or other clothing that you can cover part f your body.

Very essential, especially when walking in areas with little shade such as Paul da Serra or Ponta São Lorenço. Same goes for a hat. Lets be honest …. you did not come to Madeira to visit the medical waiting room?

If you are heading into mountainous terrain, or taking chances to descend steep forest paths … we urge that you wear hiking boots. If you want to do a walk on our natural beaches …. the we advice sturdy sandals … at least.

Due to the diversity of the terrain, heights and routes … please plan your time carefully to do the walk. Include also the pauses in the calculation of the journey. Remember that you came to Madeira to enjoy the scenery … therefore calculate with a relaxing walking tempo in mind. You are not going to walk a marathon.

Easyjet Resident Discount

For those who are resident of Madeira Island and have booked a flight from Funchal to Lisbon or Oporto with Easyjet …. can apply for a resident’s discount.

You need to go to the Portuguese version of the www.easyjet.com site (not the English or German version) where you can get an official invoice. On the start page you will see on the right side a box with the sentence ‘É residente na Madeira?‘. Click this option and you will go to a page where you need to fill out a form. Be careful before sending the form because you cannot return and correct the details once you have sent it. Also … you can only request the invoice for one flight at a time …. thus not for the whole return flight (ida and volta).

After sending the form EasyJet will then send you an official invoice. This document together with the boarding passes, your passport and Número de Contribuinte (Tax Id Number) you can go to the office and request them to pay out the subsidy.

In case you have filled out the form incorrectly or having problems with filling it, then call the Easyjet Call Center at 808 204 204.

Monte Festival

One of the most popular religious (folk) festivals of Madeira will take place … the Monte FestivalA Nossa Senhora do Monte (Our Lady of the Mount).

With this festival Funchal commemorates the deliverance of the people from hunger and plague. Celebrations consists of a city fair which lasts through the night, with braziers and all sorts of wonderful Madeirense delicacies to feed the both inhabitants and tourists. There is no need to get up early the next day as it is a national holiday. People head to church to celebrate Mass, which is followed by a procession from the church in which the devout pilgrims of the Senhora do Monte thank their saint for all the blessings they have received over the year.

The Church of Our Lady of the Mount, patron saint of Madeira, is also very popular with pilgrims who come here to pray or fulfill vows by the tomb of Emperor Karl I of Austria. Karl I died in 1922 at Quinta do Monte, now called Quinta Jardins do Imperador or Quinta of the Emperor´s Gardens. It is a lively celebration lasting two days and transforms the romantic, picturesque parish of Monte into one of the busiest places in Madeira, full of food and drink stalls and plenty of music. (source: Turismo da Madeira)