Gorgeous and stunning, this archipelago is one of those unforgettable destinations that are worth visiting at least several times.
As an archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Madeira has some very interesting geography. It’s comprised of several different islands and islets, all with their own unique charm and character, but all of them are primarily volcanic islands with a scenery that can leave and person breathless. With many forested areas, pebbled beaches, mountains – and even volcanoes, like the shield volcano on Madeira Island – the landscape of Madeira is simply breathtaking.
Due to its unique locations in the middle of the Atlantic, the cuisine of Madeira was always bound to become interesting. Influences from many different countries and regions can be easily felt in local dishes, but there’s always a traditional old world feeling always present in most meals. While fish is a staple of any island nation – and that’s the case with Madeira – there unique meat-based dishes that can trace their roots back to Europe. Potent alcoholic spirits are a mainstay in Madeiran cuisine, like unique liqueurs and wines that are absolutely delicious.
As an autonomous Portuguese region, Madeira’s modern culture is primarily influenced by Portugal, but traditionally it had fallen under the influence of many different cultures, especially seafaring ones that have passed through Madeira. Madeirans are religious peoples, and one of the most fascinating aspects of this is their veneration of Christmas – since arts and crafts are a mainstay of the local culture, there are festivals with song and dance that start on Christmas Eve and continue well into the New Year. Many of Madeiran celebrations are religion based, but as a people, they’re lively and quite prone to relaxing, yet entrancing, displays of song and dance.
Every single aspect that’s related to nature on Madeira is absolutely fascinating. Its biodiversity count is through the roof – it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site – and many of its forests and forested regions are so old that they can barely be dated. The scenery of Madeira has rooted into the Prehistoric area from millions of years ago, and the virginal beauty of the archipelago is arguably its biggest draw.
Madeira is an absolutely fine destination that downright deserves several visits. There are numerous things to do and see that simply shouldn’t be skipped.
Know Before You Go
There's so much to explore and discover in Madeira, that it's hard to choose what to see. From relaxing in soothing lava pools to spotting rare wildlife as you cruise the open sea, to the infamous “carro de cesto” taboggan ride in Monte. Careering down the steep countryside in a wicker basket at 48km an hour is certainly a thrill ride.
The cities in Madeira are full of charm. Inviting you into cosy cafes, full of vibrant life and warm locals with a zest for life. The Old Town in Funchal has an enigmatic appeal that will have you getting lost among its cobbled streets and striking hand-painted doors.
Nature here is truly something. The road is never dull on this diverse archipelago, it's also never in a straight line. Exploring the islands and islets is like walking the tracks of a roller coaster, and the sheer cliffs go straight up. Cabo Girão boasts some of the highest cliffs in Europe. Exploring the North of the main island is a must for Intrepid travellers. you'll enter a world of national parks, waterfalls and wild horses. A surreal island getaway from the tasks of everyday life.
Best Time To Visit
The weather in Madeira is pleasant all year round, making it a great getaway at any time. May to August have an abundance of warm, sunny days in the high 20s with few rainy days.
April to mid-June is the cheapest time to enjoy the summer with hiking and outdoor activities among the lush vegetation on the island. It's also the best time to see Madeira's favourite flower in bloom. Echium - the pride of Maderia, casting glorious purple hues across the countryside. Madeira is often known as the Flower Island, with hordes of beautiful indigenous plants that frame the countryside.
June to September is the peak season when accommodations and prices hike up.
What To Expect
Can't wait to jet off to Madeira? Here are just a few things to think about when planning your trip.
Currency - The official currency of Madeira is the Euro
Language - The official language is Portuguese
ATMs - ATM's are found easily in the cities and accept foreign cards. Avoid any machine marked with the 'Euronet' logo found all over Europe. As these machines are known to charge hidden withdrawal fees for foreign cards.
Plugs & Sockets - Madeira uses the Europlug, or Type C style plug with 2 round pins. As well as the Type F plug with 2 round pins and 2 earth clips. The standard voltage is 230v and 50Hz frequency.
Safety - Madeira is considered very safe. The crime rate in Madeira is very low for both violent crime and petty thefts.
Climate - Madeira has a temperate climate all year round, with August being the hottest month reaching temperatures averaging 23 degrees celsius, and January the coldest averaging 16 degrees.
September is the best month for swimming when the water reaches a cosy 24 degrees celsius.