Madeira Island: Information

Madeira is a wonderful Portuguese archipelago located 500 km from the African coast. It takes its name from its main island, Madeira, a lesser known tropical destination than the neighboring Canary Islands but well worth a visit.

Warm climate during most of the year, the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean, stunning landscapes, rich vegetation and a large number of nature trails make Madeira the perfect island for nature lovers.

If you are planning a holiday in Madeira, you are in the right place. I have lived on the island of Madeira for almost 2 months, that's why I decided to share with you all the information you need to visit the island: where Madeira is, how to reach it, when to go, what to do, where to sleep and much more.

Madeira Island

Madeira Island: Information

Madeira, also known as the floating garden, is a lush oasis in the heart of the Atlantic Ocean, a unique tourist destination in Europe with incredible landscapes, tropical forests and a calm and relaxing atmosphere.

Madeira's highlight is right there Foresta Laurisilva, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. An uncontaminated nature with a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna, breathtaking landscapes and many trekking routes between waterfalls and lakes.

Funchal, the capital of the island, is a real jewel, a town to be seen absolutely, nice and well kept, with the beautiful old town overlooking the ocean.

Where is Madeira located

Madeira is a Portuguese island, although it is actually closer to mainland Africa. It is located precisely 545 km from the Moroccan coast and about 400 km from the Canaries.

How to get to Madeira

The most convenient way to reach Madeira is by plane. The best option is generally with Tap Portugal which connects to Madeira with frequent flights at low cost, with a stopover in Lisbon.

By booking directly on the airline's website you can also stay in Lisbon for up to 5 nights at no additional cost, taking advantage of the free stop-overs, as I explain in the guide Save Flight.

Madeira Weather: When to Walk

Madeira can be visited all year round, the climate is mild with average temperatures of 25 ° C in summer and 17 ° C in winter. The winter months are generally the wettest ones, especially in the north of the island; Funchal located in the south has a drier climate.

That said, for a holiday in the sun it is better to choose the period from April to November, also perfect for hiking in nature and to admire the lush vegetation in all its splendor.

Keep in mind that the water, being Oceano, is always quite cold, better for swimming in July or August; I also did it in March but I'm not cold!

Madeira Getting Around

Even if it is the largest island of the archipelago, Madeira is not that extensive, we are talking about 70 km in length and 22 km in width. Although there are some local bus lines, the best way to get around the island is to rent a car, there are several options at affordable prices even for a few days.

How many days in Madeira

In my opinion, at least a week is necessary to fully appreciate the island of Madeira and in any case you will not be able to see everything. And if you plan to go to Porto Santo too, it takes several days.

Madeira: Where to sleep

The perfect base for exploring the island is certainly hers capital Funchal, convenient to reach any point of the island and full of things to do and see. If you are looking for a purely seaside stay, the southern part is better, while the north is more suitable for trekking lovers.

In any case, for more information on the various locations I suggest you read the article where to stay in Madeira, in which I explain in depth how to choose the best area.

Why Visit Madeira

Madeira Island: Information

Madeira is the perfect island for lovers of trekking and excursions, considered a paradise for hikers, with trails for all levels.

It is a very safe island, with high level accommodation facilities and very good value for money. This is why it is a particularly recommended destination for a couple or family holiday, thanks also to the presence of many parks and gardens.

It must be considered that in Madeira there are no real sandy beaches, but there are some artificial coves and some natural pools.

But if you really don't want to give up the sandy beaches, the alternative is Porto Santo, an island located about 50 km from Madeira reachable in about 2 and a half hours by ferry or 25 minutes by plane. Porto Santo is known for its 9 km of sandy beach bathed by crystal clear waters.

What to do in Madeira

Madeira Island: Information

As I just told you, the main attraction of Madeira are the many trekking routes and nature excursions. Don't miss the Path of Balcoes, Path of Ponta de São Lourenço and Levada do 25 Fontes, 3 beautiful routes suitable for everyone.

Also Madeira is ideal for surfers with many spots for all levels even for beginners, in particular Porto Cruz is the best place on the island to learn how to surf.

Another wonderful experience to do in Madeira is it snorkeling with dolphins or whale watching, whale watching.

Then there are characteristic villages where to stop, one of them is Santana, with its typical colored houses with thatched roofs.

Finally, the capital Funchal is an unmissable attraction during a holiday in Madeira. The city is not big but it is full of things to see, it is easily accessible on foot and in addition to cultural visits it offers some beaches where you can relax, such as Playa Formosa, the largest free beach in the city.

Spiagge wood

Madeira Island: Information

As I told you, in Madeira there is a lack of natural sandy beaches and perhaps this is also why the island has not been invaded by mass tourism.

Most are volcanic pebble and rocky beaches. However there are two artificial beaches with imported light sand: Calheta Beach e Machico Beach. Both are sheltered by small breakwaters, protected from currents and ideal for bathing.

Then there are the famous ones natural pools of Porto Moniz, certainly one of the most famous attractions on the island.

A very beautiful and little known beach is Canical Beach one of the few natural beaches with volcanic black sand. Seixal beach is also beautiful, with dark sand and a fascinating natural setting.

Visit Madeira: Language and Currency

Madeira's primary language is Portuguese, but English is widely spoken. The currency is the Euro and shops and restaurants accept major credit cards.

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