Madeira is a Portuguese subtropical archipelago – a group of islands. It is situated in the north of the Atlantic Ocean (310 miles away from African coast, 620 miles from the European continent) and is the outermost region in the European Union. This archipelago of Madeira includes the island of Madeira, the Desertas, the Porto Santo, which together make a major part of the Autonomous region of Portugal. The archipelago of Madeira is known to be the first discovery of the Portuguese Age of Discovery which was the exploratory period. This place is visited by a million tourists every year and has become a popular resort. This place is very much popular globally as “Ilha Jardim” meaning ‘Garden Island and also by the name “Pearl of Atlantic” because of the location and shape. These islands are collectively termed as “Islands of eternal spring” because of the mild climate (temperature from 18 degrees to 24 degrees Celsius) in this archipelago each day of the year. This is a magical destination with the natural beauty of the colors on the land and the water. The capital of Madeira is Funchal and other cities are Santa Cruz, Machico, Santana, Camara do Lobos, and a few others.
The scenery of Madeira:
The islands of Madeira are a combination of various pieces of nature including mountains, islands, oceans, gardens, etc. The main attraction of the place is, thus, the one where you can view all the nature and its pieces. There are many viewpoints or Miradouros in the Madeira which offers the view of the islands. These are ‘Pico dos Barcelos’ (from where you can see the entire capital city – Funchal), ‘Pico de Facho’, Pico do Arieiro’, Monte and Curral das Freiras.
The coastline of Madeira is amazingly beautiful and has volcanic black sand at the coastline which is very unusual and looks strikingly distinctive and stunning. Going to the coastal regions in Madeira can make you day a very adventurous one with all the beautiful scenery all around you. While you are there, visit ‘Sao Vicente Volcano and Caves Centre’ where you can learn about the volcanic origins of this island. They offer walks all the way down to the lava tubes and shows the formation of ‘Lava cakes’.
Beach, beach activities and water sports:
The beaches of Calheta and Machino are popular for the golden sand all over the land. The city of Porto Santo is a similar trip where you must see the ‘Golden Island’ with a beach, 9 kilometers long, having while sand all over the place which is compared to paradise. You can reach to this place in just two hours after the introduction of new ferry system. All those who love water sports will love the place because of the enormous opportunity to surf, sail and enjoy jet skiing. Especially at Porto Moniz, the tides are in the favor of the water sports enthusiasts. As the tides reaches the beach, they leave natural pools on the rocks which make it the best place for swimming.
Diving is also very much popular in Madeira. The best place for diving in Madeira is the Garajau Underwater Nature Reserve where the crystal clear water let you spot the dolphins, the barracudas and the manta ray easily. Such amazing creatures are found in large numbers near the islands itself due the depth of the water of Atlantic Ocean is very much, not just in the ocean but even in the space close to the island. There are whale and dolphin spotting trips organized every now and then which can be a very exciting trip for the complete family and will give you an unforgettable experience. People are also allowed to try fishing in the area. Due to the clear waters, you can easily spot a big fish, even a Blue Marlin weighing 1000lbs, and catch it.
Adventures apart from water sports:
Madeira is a lot more than just water activities. The mountains of the place are equally supportive for the adventure-lovers. The eastern region of Madeira is a natural reserve offering panoramic views of the vast Atlantic Ocean and has spectacular rock formations sue to the volcanoes. You can see many unusual flora species such as the Ice Plant, Cardoon, the Ever Lasting, and many such others. There is a hiking trail which is upgraded recently by adding some stone steps and railings for safety. People can put on the hiking boots now easily enjoy the experience of hiking comfortably. The full walk of hiking at Ponta de Sao Lourenco includes a circuit of the natural reserve and can take several hours. There is also a beach named Prainha which is the only beach on the island with black sand. This beach is located at the trail head down the cliff. The beach is great for swimming and other beach activities.
Apart from beaches and mountains, Madeira has some beautiful gardens with colorful flora. Jardim Botanico is botanical gardens in the capital city of Madeira and is a major tourist attraction. Another such magnificent garden is Jardim do Monte Palace. There is a garden with only orchid flowers by the name Jardim Orquidea. The archipelago of Madeira is a very impressive combination of nature and city. Madeira is more than you might expect it to be.