Madeira

Madeira


Madeira, the island of eternal spring, beautiful mountains, rocky cliffs, laurel forests, a wealth of flowers and fruit, and the surrounding ocean full of fish. The name Madeira, given by explorers, means wood in Portuguese because of the lush forests. Two-thirds of the island is a protected natural park, and the original humid subtropical laurel forests are on the UNESCO heritage list. The archipelago of Madeira consists of the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo and a set of small islands called Desertas and Selvagens Islands, inhabited only by a team of guards of the Madeira Natural Park. The island is a real paradise for hiking and wildlife lovers. You can also observe whales in the surrounding waters. 

The characteristic name of the city Funchal comes from fennel, funcho in Portuguese, which densely overgrows the island. It is also worth knowing that Funchal is an internationally recognized spa center. A beautiful promenade stretches around the Atlantic beach. It is worth taking a walk there because it leads straight to the center of Funchal, where narrow streets surrounded by picturesque tenement houses, romantic cafes and restaurants, as well as local wineries and a handful of monuments await you. Historic churches, museums and cultural centers, and atmospheric taverns and entertainment venues are located in the old town of Funchal. Places that you must see when visiting Funchal are the Fortress of St. John the Baptist - Fortaleza de São Tiago, Farmers Market - Mercado dos Lavradores, and the famous Lido district.  A very interesting idea for visiting Funchal is a several-minute cable car ride. Football fans can take a souvenir selfie at the monument of Cristiano Ronaldo, next to the Sea Square.

Despite the proximity to Madeira, Porto Santo is radically different from it due to the different landscape - the meager and sun-scorched flora of the island looks completely different from the green in Madeira. Colonizers that had cut trees for settlement and construction are responsible for this landscape. Despite this, Porto Santo attracts many tourists, residents from Madeira and mainland Portugal thanks to its sandy beaches of warm and clear waters. In the Archipelago of Madeira, the sea water temperature varies between 19º C and 25º C, what turns it into a very popular destination for those who also want to do beach tourism. The southern side of the island creates a 10 km sand strip with dunes and vineyards in the background, making it resemble known beaches from European resorts. Vila Baleira is the capital and lies between the two twin peaks of the island.

Two uninhabited islands: Desertas  and Selvagens. The deserted islands can be reached within a few dozen kilometers southeast of Funchal. They are classified as a Nature Reserve by the Portuguese State and as a biogenetic reserve by the European Council, in recognition of their natural and ecological value. The need to protect these islands was justified by the necessity to protect the sea monk, currently undergoing on population recovery, and other wild animals, birds and unique flora, which covers several rare and endemic species. The Selvagens Islands are within 250 km south of Funchal and also are a Nature Reserve.