Madeira is a volcanic island in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean whose last eruptions date back to about 6000 years ago. The subtropical climate makes it a dream destination where you can alternate between coasts, cliffs and the heart of the island in the mountains. Madeira Island has the particularity of being very green: the primary forest covers a large part of the island with its lush vegetation and numerous springs and waterfalls.
This Portuguese archipelago was discovered in 1420 by the navigator and explorer João Gonçalves Zarco da Câmara, and subsequently colonised. An autonomous region of Portugal, the archipelago has more than 267,000 inhabitants spread over all the coasts of the island, including 112,000 Madeirans in the capital: Funchal.
> all the important dates in Madeira
> discovering the archipelago
> Understanding Madeira's climate
In this guide you will discover the most beautiful spots on the Flower Island: São Lourenço Point, Cabo Girão or Ponta do Pargo. You will also discover the levadas, the famous irrigation channels that criss-cross the island. Not forgetting the Picos or of course the primary forest: the laurisilva, a UNESCO World Heritage treasure. Madeira is a real paradise for nature lovers and hikers!
Madeira is also its capital: the city of Funchal. A very special atmosphere and a very lively city! The charm of the old town, or the Monte district, accessible by cable car. Don't hesitate to discover its market to taste the local produce: fruit and vegetables, fish, or stop in one of the bars to enjoy a glass of Madeira wine or the local poncha. Funchal is also the place to visit the gardens: the botanical garden, but also the gardens of the old quintas like the tropical garden of Monte Palace.
The many towns and Freguesia (villages) each with their own charm. You can stay in hotels, guest houses or even with local people, depending on your taste.
The many other villages all around the Portuguese island, along the coast, are places to visit outside of Funchal. Almost every village is worth a visit: for example Porto Da Cruz, Seixal or Santana in the north, Jardim do Mar, Câmara de lobos in the south... without forgetting one of the few villages in the centre of the island: Curral Das Freiras literally surrounded by mountains.
You'll have understood: Madeira is a favourite destination for an amazing holiday in one of the most beautiful European islands: an eternal springtime so rich that it takes time to discover the most beautiful spots, but also the more secret corners to spend a relaxing stay away from the crowd, and why not do amazing activities, such as meeting whales, dolphins, but also monk seals, protected species.