A new side to...Madeira A new side to...Madeira

A new side to... Madeira

Madeira, Portugal

Madeira's always been green (geddit?) but its got a rep for oldies and cruise ships...

Does it deserve it? Would you spend your time dodging zimmer frames and playing checkers if you went?

Well, it looks like Muppet Treasure Island.

Rugged and canyonny, the whole thing is actually the top of an underwater volcano.

With all the tropical birds and exotic forests, the Tornos trail is where it's at.

This place is an adventure playground for semi-extreme sports.

Think kayaking, climbing sheer rock faces, bathing in lava pools... that sort of thing.

You probs won’t run into the cruise ship crowd paragliding. Or surfing the black sand beaches... or mountain biking.

You won’t even find them in the town after dark, as they’ll have been packed off onto their cruise ships again.

Madeira’s not exactly rave central, but bars in the old town stay open late and the locals will stay for a chat.

At Sobar a Fado you can have dinner with 'traditional sad singing'. Or for dinner minus the sad singing, try Venda da Donna Maria then finish at O Ginjinhas bar.

Verdict

Unless you stand in Funchal Harbour waving a packet of Murray Mints when the cruises pull in, or make a beeline for a few tacky hotels on the West coast you won’t run into any trouble here.

Madeira’s where to come for extreme-ish sports and tropical adventures.