Characterized by a diverse vegetation, Madeira is also called “Flower Island“. Ideal for people who love being active outdoors, but enjoy tranquility and relaxation at the same time.
Situated off the coast of Morocco, but part of Portugal, Madeira awaits with a stunning mix of mountains, canyons, cliffs, forests, rock formations and beaches. Due to its generally very mild and moderate subtropical climate, Madeira is home to a huge variety of flowers and plants and a pre-historic laurel forest which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site. A true paradise for nature lovers and hikers! Folklore music is widespread in Madeira and the dance “bailinho“, performed in traditional costumes, a real experience to watch. The best time to travel Madeira is from April to October. During these months it is mostly dry with about 25 degrees during the summer. The rain period kicks in from November and is most prevalent throughout January and February with temperatures around 17 degrees. The Atlantic Ocean reaches a temperature between 18 degrees in the winter and 22 in the summer. Due its location fresh fish is a major part of the local cuisine.
The Autonomous Region of Madeira is, besides the Azores, the second autonomous region of Portugal. Geographically it is located on the African Tectonic Plate, but belongs politically, culturally and economically to Europe. The Archipelago of Madeira consists of 4 main regions named Madeira, Porto Santo, The Desertas and The Selvagens. Altogether the archipelago comprises 8 islands and 16 islets of which only Madeira and Porto Santo are inhabited. With 741 square kilometers (56 km in length and 21 km in width) Madeira is the biggest of the islands. Its capital Funchal is located in the south of the island and starting point for most tourists arriving into Madeira. The island of Madeira rises above a vast undersea plain within the African plate, forming a volcanic massif over 5500 meters high of which only one third is visible. It is characterized by very rugged terrain with the highest peaks being Pico Ruivo (1,862 m), the Pico das Torres (1,851 m) and Pico do Arieiro (1,818 m). The island has evolved through successive phases of intense volcanic activity separated by periods of domineering erosion which drastically reduced the size of the volcanic structure.
ADVENTURES, ACTIVITIES AND MORE
With its perfect mix of volcanic rugged terrain with high mountains, deep valleys and an exciting coastline, Madeira is a dream destination for any outdoor enthusiast. From beautiful Levada walks, thrilling canyoning adventures or exciting whale-watching tours, poke through our selection of exciting activities, authentic experiences and family fun that will make your trip to Madeira an adventure to remember for a lifetime.
REGIONS OF MADEIRA
Funchal is the capital and the largest city on the island. With its location on the south coast it is a popular port of call for cruise ships. The city itself attracts visitors with its relaxed atmosphere and virtually no crime rate despite its cosmopolitan feel. It also offers a rich historical and cultural heritage like the Sé Cathedral, wonderful museums, galleries and monuments. All over the city you can enjoy fantastic views of the mountains and the stunning coastline. Funchal is also the main centre of trade which you can get an impression of in the vibrant “Mercado dos Lavradores“ with local crafts, tropical fruit & vegetable and fresh fish on offer.
Whilst the popular south coast is sheltered from the prevailing breezes, the north coast is rugged with cliffs, secluded bays and coves. Hardly anywhere else nature offers such diversity in a comparatively small area like the on island of Madeira.
Only a few kilometers from the sunny coastline, Madeira‘s mountains form a little micro-cosmos of their own with a very special climate. With over 1800 meters in altitude their peaks are often shrouded in mist, giving off an almost mystic vibe and overlooking the lush and diverse flora of the island. There are plenty of opportunities to hike on easy, medium and hard terrain and enjoy spectacular views while physically challenging yourself to your own liking.
Porto Santo is part of the Archipelago of Madeira, but differs a lot from the main island. Whilst Madeira is mostly green and a rocky with a steep coastline, its smaller neighbour Porto Santo comprises of mostly sandy, “golden“ beaches, despite their origin being volcanic. Porto Santo is considered one of the few “undiscovered“ European resorts and therefore the perfect get-away. It can be reached by boat and airplane.
The so called “Desertas“ is a group of uninhabited islands, namely Deserta Grande, Bugio, Ilhéu Chão and Prego do Mar. They are situated about 35km southeast of Funchal. They are a Nature Reserve and, among others, refuge to the Mediterranean monk seal, one of the most endangered animals species on the planet.
The Selvagen Islands are a group of three deserted islands with the names Selvagem Grande, Selvagem Pequena and Ilhéu de Fora. Whilst they belong to the Archipelago of Madeira they are - with a distance of ca. 290 km - quite far away from the main island Madeira. In 1971 they were declared nature reserve because of their extraordinary diversity in flora and fauna. With ideal nesting conditions the Selvagens are an important seabird sanctuary and home to some of the most significant colonies in the world.
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