Sights of Madeira: the rocky beaches

View from Cabo do Girão

Where I come from beaches are made of ocean and yellow sand. Sometimes thinner, sometimes thicker. But mostly sand. For years I couldn’t imagine any other kind of beach, of course, before moving to the UK. It is when you travel that you start to understand how small your own world is. How differently people do the exact same things. In the UK, often going to the beach means having to stand or lay down in stones. And well, it is pretty much the same thing in Madeira.

It is a volcanic island. Geology was never my favourite subject in school, but I do have a weird fascination for volcanos and the idea (fact) that at all times we stand in moving plaques of earth, floating in hot lava. It is strange to know that. That we’re literally standing on fire. All. The. Time.

In fact, Madeira has the same origins of the Canary Islands, Cape Verde and Azores. They are from the same happy family. It was formed during many volcanic phases, explaining why there is a single crater – there are multiple high mountains, a complete rugged surface, a rocky coastline.

This is a great deal responsible for the unique beauty of the island. The contrast of the dark stone with the blue ocean it’s a sight for sore eyes. The beaches, whilst uncomfortable for you feet, are beautiful. I’d get in some sort of trance just observing the waves coming in and out of the rocks, the water bravely invading the land, and then escaping through the rugged surface.

Doesn’t it look like paradise? It does, because it is. The perfect place to escape and simply be. The weather was warm, as the water. These photos were taken in Ponta do Sol, not too far away from Funchal (the capital of the island and the place where we stayed).

Then, we moved to Madalena do Mar, another well known fishing village, where you can once more access to a long stone beach and admire the majestic cliff coming from the deepest bottom of the ocean.

There is a walkaway that was empty when we went. It was already late September and the pandemic has massively impacted tourism in the islands. It was strange to see it so empty, maybe even sad, but at the same time I felt I could breath. The silence was welcoming.

If in you were only imagining palm trees in flat white sanded beaches, think – or imagine – again. Isn’t even prettier when the background showcases so much history? The massive cliffs behind these palm trees were formed through thousands of years, born from the pressures, the tempests of earth itself. The different layers of colours belong to different times, different conditions. How incredible is that?

Stay tuned for more posts about Madeira.

Read here how my first day in the island was.

Love

Nic

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