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Madeira Islands: where they are, when to go and what to see

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Martí Micolau
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In addition to the famous Azores islands, which attract thousands of tourists every year thanks to their natural beauty, Portugal also has two other equally beautiful islands, which however often remain in the shadows. We are talking about the Madeira Islands, natural oasis of rare beauty, which promises to give you unrepeatable emotions. Let's find out together in this guide, which will also tell you everything you need to expect in terms of climate and temperatures.

Index

  1. Travel informed: useful information
  2. Where are
  3. When to go? Info on climate and best time
  4. Which island to go to?
  5. 10 things to see: beaches and places of interest
  6. What to do in the Madeira Islands: excursions and tours
  7. How much does a Madeira holiday cost? Prices, offers and advice
  8. User questions and comments

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants: 267.785
  • Capital: Funchal
  • Languages: Portuguese
  • Local currency: EUR
  • Weather: oceanic, with temperatures between 13 ° and 25 °
  • vaccinations: no vaccination required
  • Entry requirements: identity card
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

    Where are


    The Madeira Islands are located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, south-west of Portugal, and overlook the coast of Morocco. This archipelago, together with the Azores, the Canaries and Cape Verde, forms Macaronesia.



    How to reach us

    • From Milan or Rome: Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Swiss International Airlines and TAP Portugal provide flights from Milan and Rome to Funchal Cristiano Ronaldo airport, which necessarily have a stopover in Lisbon. The flights have a duration ranging from 6 to 16 hours.
      Compare flights from Rome or Milan - from € 166,00
    • From the main European capitals: from London there are flights to the capital of the archipelago, organized by Tap Portugl, British Airways, easyJet and lasting 13-15 hours. A stopover in Lisbon is scheduled for all flights. The same route and duration applies to the routes departing from Paris (Airfrance, Tap Portugl, British Airways, easyJet). From Frankfurt, on the other hand, Condor has direct flights lasting about 4 hours.
      Compare flights to Funchal - from € 128,00

    When to go? Info on climate and best time

    • Weather: mild throughout the year, which never drops below 13 °. Precisely this has allowed this archipelago to be known as "the islands of eternal spring".
    • Best time: from July to September, when rainfall is less.
    • Period to avoid: better not to go in the months from October to April, when the rains are more frequent.
    • Advice: sunscreen, raincoat and hiking shoes are essential.

    Which island to go to?

    The archipelago consists of 2 main islands: Madeira (or Madeira) and Porto Santo, to which are added 3 other smaller islands completely uninhabited and called Desertas and two islands always uninhabited, called Wild Islands.



    1. Madeira Island: it is the largest island of the archipelago, with an area of ​​741 sq km. Here is its airport, dedicated to its most famous citizen, the footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, and the capital Funchal, full of tourist facilities.
    2. Porto Santo: the island, which is located about 50 km from Madeira, has very little to offer compared to the main island. Here, nature is decidedly more barren, given the almost total absence of buildings for its 5.000 inhabitants.

    10 things to see: beaches and places of interest

    1. Cathedral of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary: built in the th century, it is one of the best examples of Lusitanian sacred architecture in the archipelago. Not to be missed, in addition to its bell tower, the ceiling in cedar, ivory and shells, and the Gothic altar.
    2. Funchal, Zona Velha and Mercado dos Lavoradores: the old part of Funchal, once a fishing district, is now one of the main areas of the city, the center of nightlife and nightlife thanks to the large number of bars, restaurants and clubs. Equally interesting is the farmers market, this means its name, it is a marvel of scents and colors, today a real tourist attraction.
    3. Jardim Botanico and Louro Parque: 3 km from Funchal stands the Jardim Botanico, a park of priceless beauty, which contains the largest collection of exotic plants in the world. We are talking about 80.000 square meters of green of medicinal plants, palm trees and cactaceae plants. In the same area you will also find the Louro Parque, a park dedicated to the local avian fauna: parrots and canaries are just two of the many species of birds you will find here.
    4. Frente Mar, Jardim Panoramico, Doca do Cavacas and Praia Formosa: In contrast to the unspoiled nature of the hinterland, Frente Mar, Funchal's seafront, is a real exception. The peculiarity of this area is in fact given by the quantity of hotels that follow one another, interspersed with bars, restaurants and everything that can make the stay in these islands more pleasant for tourists. In addition to the beach, there is also the viewpoint of the Jardim Panoramico, an oasis of peace and greenery in a particularly modern area. Also part of the promenade is Doca do Cavacaz, a group of natural pools of volcanic origin, located just before reaching Praia Formosa, the largest public beach in Madeira, actually made up of 4 different beaches: Praia Nova, Praia Formosa , Praia Dos Namorados and Praia do Areero
    5. Curral das Freiras and Santana: the town of Curral das Freiras is located a few kilometers from the capital. Set in the volcanic valley of the island, at an altitude of 300 meters, it is rich in chestnut trees, a fundamental source of livelihood for the community. Equally characteristic is the village of Santana, with its 8.000 inhabitants. Located in the north-east of Madeira, famous for its houses dating back to the th century, made of stone, with a particular triangular shape, with thatched roofs and bright colors.
    6. Porto Santo beach and Praia le Laje: on the island of the same name you will find a very long beach, which extends for over 7 km and connects the port to Punta da Calheta. If the Porto Santo beach is famous for its very light sand, it is worth noting Praia de Laje, also known as Jamaica, characteristic for its color: the sand and pebbles that form it are in fact black .
    7. Porto Moniz swimming pools: Among the many natural pools in Madeira, the Porto Moniz pools are absolutely worth mentioning. Always of volcanic origin, these natural pools can be reached through paths which also enjoy a beautiful panorama.
    8. Seixal, Chao da Ribeira and Veu de Novia: chosen to be part of the Unesco heritage, this area of ​​the Laurissilva fufresta looks like a paradise on earth. In addition to dense vegetation, here you will also find streams of clear water, where trout live, and many species of birds. Also in the Seixal area you will find the Veu de Novia viewpoint, located next to the natural waterfall of the same name.
    9. Funchal Sacred Art Museum: in this museum are collected the greatest examples of sacred art of the islands, with particular attention to Flemish works and the Renaissance period
    10. CR7 Museum: dedicated to its most famous citizen, the footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, the CR7 Museum aims to tell the private and working history of the bomber, complete with trophies and awards.

    What to do in the Madeira Islands: excursions and tours

    How much does a Madeira holiday cost? Prices, offers and advice

    Madeira is quite cheap, especially when it comes to food. If the costs for a hotel stay are around € 70,00 on average, you shouldn't spend more than € 25,00 for a daily expense.
    It must be said that a lot also depends on the area in which you decide to stay: the promenade of Funchal, for example, full of hotels and tourist facilities, is a very expensive area, and therefore not recommended for those who want to keep their expenses under control. As for transport and activities, you have a wide choice: in Funchal, for example, there is a cable car that allows you to reach the areas of Monte and the Jardim Botanico, or you can opt for buses and taxis, with a fare of € 2,70 respectively. and € 3,70 per ride.
    One of the best ways to visit the Madeira Islands, however, is to rely on a tour, especially if you are a beginner with a vagueness of this kind. Of the many routes available, very few also concern the transfer from Funchal airport, but rather focus on tours dedicated to whale watching or exploration of the hinterland, with a cost of € 16,00 upwards.
    Instead, you can find different solutions that combine flights to get to the Madeira Islands and overnight stays, at very low prices, ranging from € 431,00 upwards, updated in February, a period in which costs are lower than in the period summer.



    • Hotel and b & b starting from € 22,00 per room -
    • starting from € 166,00 -

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