Madeira

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Floral scents fill Madeira's sea-washed air. Bird-of-paradise flowers grow wild, pink and purple fuchsia weave lacy patterns up pastel walls, and jacaranda trees create purple canopies over roads and avenues. The natural beauty of this island is like no other, from the cliffs that plummet seaward to mountain summits cloaked in silent fog. The magic has captivated travelers for centuries.

The colorful island of Madeira is one of Portugal's most enchanting regions, made up of a series of dramatic volcanic peaks rising from the sea. It lies around 600 km (373 miles) off the west coast of Morocco, ensuring an alluring, balmy year-round temperature, only enhanced by the warm Atlantic currents. You'll find everything from black-sand beaches to thundering waterfalls, manicured gardens to wild, rugged volcanos. It's a place for hiking, but also for relaxing on the beach with a book; a place for gorging yourself on seafood, and then working it off with a swim in the inviting ocean.

Wine connoisseurs have always savored Madeira's eponymous export, but a sip of this heady elixir provides only a taste of the island's many delights. Other draws include the promise of clear skies, the carpets of flowers, the waterfalls that cascade down green canyons, and the great hiking along the island's famous network of levadas. These irrigation canals have been adapted into superb walking trails, many of them passing along the dramatic coast or through an Alpine-like interior of lush woodlands and towering peaks.

Thanks to its position on shipping routes between Europe, Africa, and the Americas, Madeira grew up as an important trading post. The British have also had strong ties to the island thanks to a 16th-century royal marriage. Today they still flock to Madeira, as do other northern Europeans, especially Germans and Scandinavians. In summer, the island is especially popular with visitors from mainland Portugal, when an adventurous crowd puts Madeira's magnificent blend of sun and seascapes to good use. The island also has some excellent museums, tranquil gardens, and a range of good restaurants.

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Language

Portuguese

Electrical Outlets

220-240V; electrical plugs have two round prongs

Currency

Euro

Language

Portuguese

Electrical Outlets

220-240V; electrical plugs have two round prongs

Currency

Euro

The island's lower elevations are blessed by constant soft, warm breezes, and subtropical vegetation that perfumes the air year-round. Every...Read More

Discover the best neighborhoods in Madeira with curated recommendations from our editors.

Explore All

The island's lower elevations are blessed by constant soft, warm breezes, and subtropical vegetation that perfumes the air year-round. Every...Read More

Discover the best neighborhoods in Madeira with curated recommendations from our editors.

Explore All

The island's lower elevations are blessed by constant soft, warm breezes, and subtropical vegetation that perfumes the air year-round. Every...Read More

Discover the best neighborhoods in Madeira with curated recommendations from our editors.

Explore All

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Fodor's Essential Portugal
Whether you want to explore trendy Lisbon, go on a wine-tasting trip in the Douro Valley,...

View Details

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