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What to see, where to visit. A guide to Madeira


Also known as the "Pearl of the Atlantic", it lies around 600 miles west of mainland Portugal, and around 300 miles west of Morocco. The island is often described as a "floating garden", a description which reflects centuries of cultivation.

What to see, where to visit. A guide to Madeira
What to see, where to visit. A guide to Madeira

The rich volcanic soil, mild climate and abundant rainfall have created contrasting landscapes: lush river valleys, terraced hillsides planted with vines and bananas and dense primeval forest. Although geographically part of the African plate, it was discovered by Portuguese sailors in the 15th century and has been intrinsically connected to Portugal ever since.

The island is traditionally seen as a destination for retirees, but that reputation is changing. EU money has paid for new highways and brought theme parks, supermarkets and swish restaurants, although the island is still a haven of rhododendron gardens and golf courses. The island is also famous for Madeira wine, which Britain has been importing since the 17th century.


Funchal – Europe's most picturesque and cleanest capital.

What to see, where to visit. A guide to Madeira

The Funchal city of today is very different from its fennel growing, pirate days of old. It is in fact a modern, cosmopolitan, rejuvenated city, well known for its many top class restaurants, stunning new 4 & 5 star hotels and warm all year round climate and of course its most famous export, world class footballer Cristiano Ronaldo. In short, it is now known for its style as well as its substance.

The city itself is nestled in a great natural amphitheatre, facing the blue Atlantic with a backdrop of dramatic mountains. Located in the stunning south of Madeira, on it's sunniest coast amidst banana plantations and wonderful gardens where flowers bloom all year round in the shelter of the verdant mountains, it is an extremely lush, green and relaxed city by day but scratch Funchal's surface and you will find it to have a vibrant and varied nightlife scene with multiple personalities.

Funchal has also for many years been one of the Atlantic Cruise-ship's main ports of call; with the Liner harbour right in the middle of the town. The approach to Funchal Harbour is well documented as one of the two most spectacular in the world, being on a par with Rio de Janeiro. It has now become a tradition that most European Liners, on their maiden voyage, call here; it is quite usual to see upwards of four cruise ships in at any one time. Once ashore, the cafés, restaurants and history that mark this famed capital are just a stroll away.

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