Introduction to Madeira Islands

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Situated 622 miles from the Portuguese capital city of Lisbon and 600 km off the west coast of Morocco, the “island of paradise”, Madeira, offers unique and delicate experience to its visitors. Its spectacular landscape of wild mountains and sheer cliffs, miles long lavadas, botanical gardens, rich history and mild climate makes Madeira an ideal tourist destination. Although its mild climate and wonderful hotel facilities attract older visitors, today due to the island’s healthy credentials, younger visitors also prefer to visit Madeira. These include spectacular lavada walks and a growing number of sports such as golf, diving and surfing.

Although Madeira’s less reputed island, Porto Santo does not have some of the world’s highest cliffs, the island offers nine-kilometer-long beach.

Funchal: Madeira’s historic capital hosts a good number of museums, sights, restaurants, bars and shops. Very Portuguese in its architecture and character, Funchal is close to most of the island’s top tourist attractions and makes the perfect start to explore the island.

Eastern Madeira:Eastern Madeira’s attractions include the island’s first capital, Machico; the island’s only sandy beach Ponta de São Lourenço and the island’s top golf course, Santo da Serra.

Western Madeira: In this pristine western coastline Ribeira Brava and Calheta are the principal resorts. While surfers enjoy Paul do Mar and Jardim do Mar, Calheta boasts an artificial sandy beach to its visitors.

Northeastern Madeira: World-wide famous peaks of Pico Arieiro and Pico Ruivo are the greatest highlights in northeastern Madeira. Also, reputed for its triangular houses, Santana, and beautiful village of Porto da Cruz are among other attractions.

Northwestern Madeira: This part of the island is quite inhibited. The main attractions are Porto Moniz and São Vicente.

Porto Santo: Madeira’s neighboring island can easily be reached by ferry or place. It hosts wonderful sandy beaches.

Geography and Climate

Situated in Atlantic Ocean, Madeira is 1,000 km (620 miles) away from Lisbon and 600 km (372 miles) from Morocco.

Madeira archipelago is composed of Madeira Island (population of 255,000), Porto Santo Island (population 5,000) and two inhibited islands: Desertas Islands (ilhas Desertas) and Savage islands (ilhas Selvagens).

Madeira Island is the largest island of the group with an area of 741 km, measures 54 km by 23 km.

Its most famous sea cliff, the Cabo Girão, is the world’s second highest. The highest point on the island is Pico Ruivo, at 1,862 meters (6,107 ft).

The forests on the northern slopes of Madeira Island, are specified a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

A product of volcanic eruptions, volcanic peaks are a major feature of the island.

Due to its geographical features, Madeira Island has a very mild climate, which can be named sub-tropical: Cool summers and warm winters. The average temperature in summer is 23º and in winter 17ºC. This mild climate makes Madeira an all-year destination.

The Island is influenced by the Gulf Stream, sea water temperature varies between 22°C during the summer and 18°C in the winter.

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