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MADEIRA
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MADEIRA map
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regional overview

The volcanic sister islands of Madeira and Porto Santo lie 600 km off the Moroccan coast, with an enviable climate and sunny winters. Madeira first appeared on navigation charts in 1351 and was colonized by Portuguese, English and Dutch. It became an important stop-off in the early days of Atlantic trade and became famous for its unique fortified wine. Mountainous and scenic, Madeira is ideal for hiking, and is renowned for sailing, scuba-diving, surfing and deep-sea fishing. Porto Santo is smaller and drier, more of a beach destination, reached in 15 minutes by plane from Madeira.

properties in MADEIRA

On Madeira, there are beautiful holiday rental properties and small hotels around the island. Our accommodation listings include secluded villas with their own access to the sea and historic wine estates high in the hills. Peaceful locations and beautiful natural settings make these places ideal for those wanting to unwind, recharge the batteries and get away from it all. There is much to see on the island, and after a day exploring, nothing better than returning to the comfort of a beautiful holiday home or small hotel.

the great outdoors

One could visit Madeira to relax and do nothing except read a book, or alternatively spend all day in the mountains and on the sea, enjoying the many outdoor pursuits. Hiking on Madeira is a unique experience, with impressive views and trails following narrow levada aqueducts high in the mountains. Here, one sees geysers, craters, waterfalls and some of the highest cliffs in Europe. Pico Ruivo, at 1861m is a particularly good climb. On the sea, the choice is surfing, sailing, scuba diving, and fishing. If that is too much, one could quite easily spend all day soaking in natural salt water pools amongst lava rocks.

historic towns & local culture

Madeira has a good combination of historic towns, vineyards and local festivals- plenty to see and do. Funchal, the capital, was founded in 15th century and has a historic port, mansions and fishermen's houses, a cathedral, museums, botanic gardens, convents, markets and Madeira wine cellars. For something original, catch a traditional wooden toboggan 2km down from the Monte. Around the island, there are old fishing villages and whaling museums. Out in the countryside, one sees small villages living off agriculture, including bananas, vineyards and exotic flowers.

best times to visit

Madeira is truly a year-round destination. This is a good place for winter sun and for celebrating New Year with fireworks in Funchal. Amongst other dates, April has the Madeira flower festival, May the PGA Open, August the Madeira car rally and September the Christopher Columbus Porto Santo festival. For long hikes in the mountains, the best time is outside the hottest months. The sea is calmest in the summer- a good time for scuba diving and fishing.

getting there & around

Madeira is easy to get to, with direct flights from several places of origin or via Portugal. The airport is 18 km outside Funchal, a taxi ride. There are camioneta public buses around the island, but the best way to get around and get to the start of the walks or specific locations is by hiring a car. From Madeira to the island of Porto Santo, there are two options- either the ferry (2:40 hrs) or a short flight (15 minutes). All in all, Madeira is a very easy place to get to and around.
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