Camping (OK, Glamping) On A Cliff Edge: Find Madeira’s Stunning Secret Spot

By Amy Everett | 6th October 2021

You might’ve noticed we’ve been banging on about Madeira lately. We clearly can’t get enough of the place. And who can blame us?

With year-round sunshine, a burgeoning food scene, tropical surrounds, jaw-dropping views… there are more than a few reasons we keep returning to this lush little Portuguese island.

But did you know it’s home to a gorgeous, grown up glamping spot unlike anywhere else you’ve stayed? We stumbled across Canto das Fontes this summer and have thought of nothing else since.

If you crave blistering sunrises and cooling dips in the great big blue – a real chance to get back to nature – this is your spot.

It’s difficult to put the beautiful soul of Canto das Fontes into words. Built from scratch by owner Roberto, the glamping site has been a true labour of love, slowly growing over the course of several years.

Arriving at your tipi is an adventure in itself (and that’s not counting the hairy coastal drive from the airport – Madeira’s winding hillside roads are…interesting).

Parking at the base of a dramatic, steep cliff, it’s not immediately obvious what – or where – this mythical place is. A poke around the entrance reveals a rickety-looking elevator shooting skywards, next to a waterfall. This has to be some sort of practical joke, right?

Wrong. You can ride it if you’re brave (or really have trouble with stairs) but we do recommend the steep stone stairway next to it, hidden by foliage. You were looking for an adventure, and you got one, so no complaining now…

Puffing your way upwards and trying not to look down, thoughts turn to more traditional hotel options. Ones with lifts. And walls. And ceilings. Where your luggage isn’t following you up a mountain on a separate, equally rickety-looking metal contraption. Whose idea was this?!

Get to the top, turn around, and all worries dissolve. Miles of uninterrupted Atlantic ocean wrap around the lush, jungle-like paradise you’re now immersed in.

Surrounded by the sounds of nature, the experience is totally disarming. Butterflies dart around while frogs croak, birds cheep and the waterfall pours. Manicured grass, a swinging egg chair and a gate denotes the reception area, home to the couple of live-in managers (what a life).

Breathtaking scenery comes at you from every angle, as you’re led along secluded, leaf-covered pathways to your lodgings.

We were lucky to spend two heavenly nights in the Mango Yurt, the boujiest of the options, complete with a KITCHEN, proper bed, compost loo and private garden overlooking the water.

Talk about paradise. Imagine waking up to the sound of birdsong, then wandering into your sunlight-soaked garden to pick fresh bananas, figs and papayas for breakfast. You might idly fix yourself a coffee, then add yoghurt to your bowl of foraged breakfast goods.

Enjoy a restorative hot shower, followed by sunbathing or a dip in the cliffside swimming pool. Days are spent reading, staring out to sea and hitting local cafes for a Sagres and pinchos.

Nights are for watching the sunset from the newly-built open air bar, making friends at the table and chairs carved from local wood.

Itching to see humans after a few days of total relaxation? Funchal is just a twenty minute drive, offering a bunch of excellent restaurants, bars and whale watching trips.

Our perfect day in town? Breakfast at Threehouse hotel, then a spa treatment and swim at Savoy Palace’s Laurea Spa.

Grab the cable car up to Monte Palace Tropical Gardens, then take the island’s famous toboggan ride back down. Grab dinner at AKUA, before retreating from civilisation, back to your secret clifftop paradise. Bliss.

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