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The region known as Madeira comprises the islands of Madeira and Porto Santo, situated in the Atlantic Ocean, some 545 km off the west coast of Africa and 978 km from continental Portugal.




By Air Madeira has an international airport near Funchal. The journey between Madeira and Porto Santo can be by air (15 minutes flying time) or by boat.
By Road The ideal way to see the whole of Madeira is by road. You can rent a self-drive car at your hotel, take a coach tour or even hire a taxi to show you the island.


Average temperatures


Madeira's climate is very amenable, and the variation in temperature is from 21''C/70F in summer to 16C/60F in winter.


Tourist offer


Because of its geographical situation, ships have always stopped here on their way to and from America, Africa, Asia and the Far East, leaving exotic plants and flowers. Owing to the volcanic soil and the ideal climate, they have flourished, and today the whole island is full of luxuriant vegetation that, bathed in radiant light, forms dazzling landscapes.
In Madeira, you are surrounded by nature everywhere you look. In the mountains, which appear to drop directly into the sea, water tumbles in steep cascades over the rocky outcrops. The sunset beyond the peaks is an unforgettable sight. In Porto Moniz, natural swimming pools with warm water were formed among the ' volcanic rocks, Porto Santo has a marvellous sandy beach, 9 km long, bathed by calm waters, while the Selvagens and the Desertas (two small groups of islets forming part of the same archipelago) are an ecological reserve for nesting marine birds.
Madeira was discovered by two Portuguese navigators. Its privileged position allowed it to develop as a port and a trading post from the 16th century. Of prime importance was the trading between Portugal and Flanders, and testimony to this period is borne out by the rich collections of Flemish art that can be seen in the museums on the island. The wonderful climate and the beauty of its natural resources have always attracted visitors from all over the world, including many celebrities, such as the Austrian Empress Sissi, Sarah Bernhardt, Bernard Shaw and Winston Churchill. The prosperity of the island can be seen in the beautiful manor houses in Funchal, the Cathedral and the treasures in the Museum of Sacred Art. The house where Christopher Columbus lived is still to be seen in Porto Santo.

One of the best ways of exploring the island is by walking through the mountains or by taking one of the trips using the "levadas" (old irrigation canals). Water sports are very popular here, and mention should be made of deep sea fishing, underwater fishing, diving, sailing, water skiing and windsurfing. For golf players, there are two golf courses, from which there are views of rare beauty.
Cosmopolitan life in Funchal is very entertaining in numerous bars, discos and the International Casino. The most important festivity is on New Year's Eve - the Festivity of St. Sylvester - with a truly magnificent firework display over the Bay of Funchal.
On the gastronomic side, fish dishes, such as scabbard fish, fresh tuna steaks, fish stew or dishes cooked in the cataplana (thightly closed pan) are often accompanied by fried maize. Also famous is veal on laurel spits and the celebrated honey cake The Madeira wine is famous all over the world. It has been so since the 1 7th century, and the different varieties can be drunk before, during and after a meal. To add to the exotic flowers , the local handicraft is exquisite and produces tapestries, wickerwork, lace and embroidery, just a few of the things that may please the visitor.


Suggested trips


1. Funchal /Sao Vicente/Camacha

Most of the island's hotels are in Funchal. The market is well worth visiting for the amazing colour of the enormous variety of flowers and exotic local fruit, sold by people wearing traditional costumes.
Wandering along the old, winding streets, you will see fine houses and churches with doors and windows framed in black basalt. The Cathedral, built between 1485 and 1514, is considered to be the finest church in Madeira and has a Manueline pulpit. The Town Hall is housed in an old palace dating back to the 18th century and the Nazareth Chapel, from the 17th century, has walls covered with valuable glazed tiles.
The Museum of Sacred Art contains many Portuguese and Flemish masterworks and gold and silver objects from the 15th and 16th centuries. Beautiful examples of furniture from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries are on display in the Quinta das Cruzes Museum.
After visiting Funchal, take the Estrada Monumental, travelling along the coast, towards Camara de Lobos, a small fishing village, with brightly coloured boats. Nearby, Cabo Girao is the second highest cliff in the world. On the other side of the island, Sao Vicente offers a magnificent view from Encumeada, 1000 m above sea level, of the north and south coasts of the island.
Santana is famous for its triangular houses, with thatched roofs and red painted doors, one of the most typical sights on the island. Camacha is the centre for basketry, where you can watch the weavers at work.

2. Funchal/Curral das Freiras/Santo da Serra/Monte

Leaving Funchal by the western road, 6 km away is the Pico dos Barcelos, from where there is a fine view over the coast and mountains. Towards Curral das Freiras there are well signposted places that should not be missed for their natural beauty and views. Curral das Freiras is a village at the bottom of an extinct volcanic crater. Before returning to Funchal, branch off to Santo da Serra, where you will find the largest of the Madeira golf courses, situated among some of the prettiest houses and estates which dot the island. From Monte, a great adventure awaits you - the descent to Funchal in a cart steered down a very steep slope by two men. Nearby is Terreiro da Luta, a belvedere with a superb view over Funchal, and the Nossa Senhora do Monte Church, built in the 18th century.

3. Funchal / Porto Moniz / Ponta do Sol

From Funchal, proceed towards Paul da Serra and Porto Moniz, one of the most picturesque villages on the island, famous for its natural swimming pools in volcanic rocks. Afterwards, take the straight road along the coast to Ponta do Sol, from where there is a magnificent view. In Ponta do Sol, built on either side of a deep ravine, you can visit the Sao Joao Chapel. The centre of the village has narrow, twisting alleys and is overlooked by the Nossa Senhora da Luz Church. The village is so named because it gets more sun than any other in the whole island.




Madeira has a hundred and eight hotel units, of which 40 percent are of 4 or 5 stars. You can choose between ancient historical hotels, beautifully preserved, or the most modern ones, with every kind of amenity and facility that is why Madeira is an ideal place to hold incentives. There are also eight tourist villages (aldeamentos turisticos), all first-class.
The Madeira wine cellars are excellent places for social gatherings.


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