Madeira is an island of eternal spring, beautiful mountains, rocky cliffs, laurel forests, and a wealth of flowers and fruit. 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. The original humid subtropical laurel forests are on the UNESCO heritage list. Madeira's archipelago consists 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 city Funchal's name 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. Narrow streets surrounded by picturesque tenement houses, romantic cafes, and restaurants, as well as local wineries and a handful of monuments, await you. You will find historic churches, museums, cultural centers, and atmospheric taverns and entertainment venues in Funchal's old town. Places that you must see when visiting Funchal are the Fortress of St. John the Baptist - Fortaleza de São Tiago, Farmers Market, and the famous Lido district. An exciting 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 diverse landscape - the meager and sun-scorched flora of the island looks utterly different from Madeira's green. 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 seawater temperature varies between 19º C and 25º C, which turns it into a trendy destination for those who also want to do beach tourism. The island's southern side 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.
You can reach the desert inhabited islands Desertas and Selvagens within a few dozen kilometers southeast of Funchal. They are classified as a Nature Reserve by the Portuguese State and an abiogenetic reserve by the European Council due to their natural and ecological value. We found the need to protect these islands due to their wild animals, birds, and unique flora, covering several rare and endemic species. The Selvagens Islands are within 250 km south of Funchal and also are a Nature Reserve.