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Nuno Serrão’s Madeira
words - nuno serrão
location - madeira, portugal
At boom saloon, we’re incredibly privileged to collaborate with a community of hundreds of talented creatives all around the world, stretching from Ecuador to Egypt, China to Canada, Austria to Angola. Our strong relations have afforded us a wealth of insider insights into the best places to visit, eat and stay, all around the world. Now, we want to share this information with our members as we work with our community to map the world and share their best recommendations of how to enjoy destinations both near and far. Our version of a city guide, delivered interactively and in real time – simply click the link at the bottom of the page to save the map and bookmark a wealth of future adventures.
Born on the island of Madeira, photographer and cinematographer Nuno Serrão revisits his roots for this special list of the best restaurants, bars, bookstores and nature spots to enjoy on the semi-tropical island. Speaking of his homeland, Serrão notes how often “fog fills the landscape, teasing curiosity and imagination in a place caught in the penumbra; between Europe and Africa, the 21st century and an older way of life. What’s not to love?”
01_The Three House Restaurant & Rooftop bar
When travelling, I need a great place to eat and work without being disturbed. If you are like me, this is the place. This restaurant has tasty food, it’s surrounded by a relaxed and cosy atmosphere, and has a good wi-fi connection. After dessert, go to the rooftop to take your coffee and enjoy the view.
After a busy day, whatever that day may have been, sometimes you just want to be surrounded by nothing but good food and friendly people. KAMPO has both in abundance. If you prefer fish, check AKUA. It’s from the same chef, has the same concept, and has the same friendly atmosphere.
03_Mini Eco Bar
This place was designed to have the smallest footprint possible. It’s mini, it’s eco, and it’s a bar. It has electronic music and art installations and, most importantly, it is so small that it isn’t suitable for big crowds – and that is why it’s the perfect spot to start or finish your evening.
I remember visiting this place when I was 11 or 12 years old. It was a long way from my house and the only bookstore with books from my favourite author, Isaac Asimov. Nowadays, it still is the best place to find books in Madeira. This bookstore has more than 100, 000 titles. Yes, you read that correctly. One hundred thousand books, all displaying their cover, making it one of the biggest bookstores in the world. It’s the perfect place to find a unique book or get lost between the covers.
My late grandmother used to embroider. I remember spending afternoons beside her, near an old window, reading while she embroidered under the sunlight. Bordal is the place that reminds all Madeirans of their grandmothers. It’s Madeira’s leading embroidery company, and on its first floor, you can visit their factory, where everything happens like it did a hundred years ago. Women still go there daily to pick up and drop off work they complete at home.
06_Engenho do Porto da Cruz
Located on the island’s North side, this factory has the only working steam-powered sugar cane rum distillery in Europe. I recommend a visit, especially if you go during harvest season when you can see the engine in all its glory.
Have you noticed that I haven’t singled out any nature spots? Let’s be honest; if you are visiting Madeira, you already know about its stunning nature. But I’ll helpfully drop some names: Fanal, Pico do Areeiro, Chão da Ribeira at Seixal, Ponta do Pargo, plus any Levada and any waterfall. Be sure to dress accordingly and stay safe; Madeira’s nature is rough and unpredictable. Also, rent a car, and stay off the expressway. Madeira has some fantastic scenic roads where you will be surrounded by nothing more than extraordinary nature.
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