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Madeira, Portugal


Madeira, Portugal

The heart of the Atlantic ocean halfway between Portugal and Africa, you'll find the subtropical islands of Madeira. Here tranquil beaches are lapped by a sea whose warmth attracts dolphins, whales and a wealth of other marine life from miles around. These small islands are awash with bright and beautiful flowers all year around earning Madeira the nickname of 'the floating garden'.

The islands' turbulent and volcanic birth has left them with a dramatic landscape of towering sea cliffs, rugged peaks and plateaus, deep gorges, waterfalls and river valleys and a rich soil perfect for cultivating fruit such as vines, cherries and bananas. The dense primeval forest has been designated a world heritage site by UNESCO and there are six other nature reserves and parks that are home to some of the most unusual fauna and flora in the world.

Madeira enjoys warm summers and mild winters with average temperatures around 20oC. There is plenty of sunshine but obviously as island they can also be windy or rainy.

Things to do in Madeira

Madeira's mild climate means that you can enjoy being outside all year round. The natural beauty and tranquility of these islands lends themselves to quiet exploration. So to get to the heart of the islands why not leave the car behind and set out on foot, by bike or horseback? The islands are famous for their levada walks- narrow winding pathways that follow the old watercourses over hilltops, through terraced orchards and down steep valleys. A head for heights is sometimes a good thing but the views from these unusual walks are breathtaking and well worth the effort.

Adrenalin junkies may know that Madeira is one of Europe's top destinations for canyoning. In canyoning your aim is to make your way down the steep canyons and gorges of mountain rivers by any means possible- scrambling, jumping, swimming, climbing, abseiling you name it! The coastline, with its deserted beaches, coves and islands, offers some of the world's best diving, big game fishing and dolphin and whale watching or just take a boat out and enjoy the spectacular scenery.
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