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.

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. Made up of a series of dramatic volcanic peaks rising from the sea around 600 km (373 miles) off the west coast of Morocco, the island has an alluring, balmy year-round temperature, ensured by warm Atlantic currents. 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.

Thanks to its position on shipping routes between Europe, Africa, and the Americas, Madeira grew up as an important trading post. The British have had strong ties to the island thanks to a 16th-century royal marriage. Today they still flock to Madeira, mainly over winter, as do other northern Europeans, especially Germans and Scandinavians. In summer, the island is also 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.

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

View Details

Recommended Fodor’s Video

Carreiros do Monte
Tour–Sight Local Interest–Sight
View Tours and Activities
Teleférico da Madeira
Transportation Site (Airport, Bus, Ferry, Train)
Pico do Arieiro
Viewpoint/Scenic Overlook Local Interest–Sight
View Tours and Activities
Monte Palace Tropical Garden
Garden/Arboretum
Mercado dos Lavradores
Building/Architectural Site Market/Bazaar
Blandy's Wine Lodge
Winery/Brewery/Distillery
Praia de Machico
Beach–Sight
Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools
Beach–Sight

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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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