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Madeira is not Ibiza. It attracts a more mature clientele, and raving is limited to enthusing about the island’s dramatic scenery and botanical wonders.

One of the earliest ravers was H N Coleridge, nephew of the poet, who waxed lyrical after a visit in 1825: “I should think the situation of Madeira the most enviable on the whole earth. It ensures every European comfort with almost every tropical luxury.” Madeirans know this of course, and over the years have enhanced their quality of life by producing a cornucopia of fine food and wine. They have also helpfully provided access to their tumultuous countryside by building more than 1,000 miles of irrigation channels, accompanied by footpaths that snake through the kind of striking landscapes dreamt up by J R R Tolkien.

Which is how my wife and I find ourselves strolling through a sun-dappled mimosa forest between two renowned botanical gardens, and looking forward to an al fresco lunch on the terrace of a hillside tea room en route. It is midwinter, and there are reports of blizzards sweeping Britain. We try not to feel smug, and fail.

Continuar... Madeira, Portugal: the most enviable island on earth?

Publicado em 23-01-2016