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Le côté est de Madère offre une excursion très populaire avec des vues spectaculaires sur la montagne et la forêt, ainsi que quelques-unes des meilleures vues sur la côte que l’on trouve sur l'île. L’excursion, qui inclut un repas de trois plats, s’effectue dans la langue de votre choix, à bord d’un minibus moderne et climatisé pour 8 personnes maximum en plus de votre guide/chauffeur.
Nous avons fait cette excursion le lendemain de notre arrivée et je la conseille dans ce cadre. C'est une belle découverte de l'est de l'île avec un guide sympathique parlant très bien français qui prend le temps de nous expliquer l'histoire, la vie de l'île mais aussi son expérience de l'île. Le tour est assez touristique mais c'est assumé et non caché par le guide, il s'agit bien d'une découverte de l'île qui peut vous permettre de repérer des points d'intérêt et de voir le temps d'une journée ce qui a forgé l'île.
The views were wonderful because we were lucky to have a clear day. We felt that the tour was more driver to take you places, but we were happy to not drive on this island so we recommend the tour. It just was a lot of climbing in and out of a small Renault van - not the space of a Mercedes or bus.
This was a great tour, which included lots of great stops. The lunch far exceeded our expectations, and we loved the cave setting. The driver's English was heavily accented and was at times difficult to understand.
I was collected from the hotel at 8.30 by our guide Luis. After collecting other travellers the tour began. First stop was Camacha, famous for being the place where the first football match was played in Portugal. Camacha is also home to a wicker factory and we were able to look at traditionally crafted pieces. As it was a bank holiday there were no craft demonstrations which was a shame.
Leaving Camacha we climbed into the mountains and stopped at Pico Ribeiro 1800 metres above sea level and the third highest peak on the island. We were high above the clouds and got some spectacular photos. We stayed here for half an hour but this was too short as there were plenty of walkways to explore.
Next stop was a section of the Laurel Forest Levada walk where we walked to a viewpoint that looked across the peaks. We returned to the minibus and were taken to Restaurant Grutas for lunch. The restaurant is built inside a cave and our three course meal with wine was delicious.
Feeling refreshed it was back to the minibus and on to Santana to see the typical triangular houses. Another viewpoint outside Marocos was followed by our last stop in Machico, the second largest city on the island and the place where the first settlers landed. We were given 40 minutes here which was too long as you could easily walk the length of the seafront in 20 minutes.
Luis was very knowledgeable and filled us in on the history and culture of everywhere we went. The only thing I would have changed was the timings of the stops on the mountain and in Machico. All in all this was a great trip.
This tour was a full van of 16 people speaking three different languages. The guide spoke all three languages but by doing so it was very hard to understand your own language. The tour consisted of driving all around the island but had very little depth but rather quick points of interest. The lunch was the best part of the day. The tour ended with 40 minutes at our last location which was way too long at the beach. I would not recommend this tour.