The Island of Madeira, Portugal
For Sipping Wine While Watching the Sun Set Over the Sea
The pretty little island of Madeira feels delightfully British, despite the fact that it actually belongs to Portugal. No matter who owns it, you can’t beat its relatively steady 80-something degree weather, its quiet elegance, and of course, its eponymous wine. Reids Palace Madeira, an Orient Express property, is the place to stay if romance is on the agenda. The hotel is ringed by lush gardens, and offers spectacular views of the Atlantic and sublime spa packages. While it may be hard to leave, do head to the Saint Francis Wine Lodge in Funchal to taste the local wines, some more than 150 years old. Visit the Botanical Garden and see the city panorama from the cable car there. Explore the shops in Funchal’s old port. Locals say that Porto Santo is the best beach on the island—it goes on forever. If you’re feeling energetic, take a guided hike along the “Levados,” the open-air canal system that dates back to the 16th century. It will take you through the island’s green heart, and into Europe’s oldest laurel forest.