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Madeira

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Travel Guide Europe Portugal Madeira

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Introduction

The Natural east

The Natural east

© All Rights Reserved erodrigo

Madeira is a Portugese archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, roughly between Portugal and the Canary Islands. The archipelago contains Madeira Island and Porto Santo Islands, as well as smaller uninhabited islands. It is an one of the autonomous regions of Portugal, but part of the European Union. About 250,000 people call Madeira their home.

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Brief History

The first settlers began colonizing the islands around 1420 or 1425. In 23 September 1433, the name Ilha da Madeira (English: Madeira Island, or literally island of wood) began to appear in the first documents and maps. The name given to the islands corresponded to the large dense forests of native laurisilva trees that populated the island during the settlement. In 1617, Algerian pirates, having enslaved Europeans along the Mediterranean coasts, captured 1,200 men and women in Porto Santo. After the 17th century, as sugar production shifted to Brazil, São Tomé and Príncipe and elsewhere, Madeira's most important product became its wine. The British occupied Madeira as a result of the Napoleonic Wars, a consented occupation starting in 1807 and concluding in 1814 when the island was returned to Portugal
On 1 July 1976, following the democratic revolution of 1974, Portugal granted political autonomy to Madeira, celebrated on Madeira Day. The region now has its own government and legislative assembly.

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Geography

The archipelago of Madeira is located 520 kilometres from the African coast and 1,000 kilometres from the European continent. Madeira not only contains the main island but also other islands. The main island chains are Madeira (including Ilhéu de Agostinho, Ilhéu de São Lourenço, Ilhéu Mole), Porto Santo (Ilhéu de Baixo ou da Cal, Ilhéu de Ferro, Ilhéu das Cenouras, Ilhéu de Fora, Ilhéu de Cima, Desertas Islands (including the three uninhabited islands: Deserta Grande Island, Bugio Island and Ilhéu de Chão),
Savage Islands, the latter containing two groups again: the Northwest Group (Selvagem Grande Island, Ilhéu de Palheiro da Terra, Ilhéu de Palheiro do Mar) and the Southeast Group (Selvagem Pequena Island, Ilhéu Grande, Ilhéu Sul, Ilhéu Pequeno, Ilhéu Fora, Ilhéu Alto, Ilhéu Comprido, Ilhéu Redondo, Ilhéu Norte).

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Cities and Towns

  • Funchal
  • Câmara de Lobos
  • Santa Cruz
  • Machico
  • Ribeira Brava
  • Calheta
  • Ponta do Sol
  • Santana
  • São Vicente
  • Porto Muniz

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Weather

Madeira has roughly the same climate as much of the Mediterranean or the Canary Islands, though the influence of the Atlantic Ocean means that differences between the highest and lowest temperatures are (much) smaller. Summers last from May to September with daytime temperatures averaging between 22 °C and 24 °C, nights around 19 °C. Winters last from December to April with days of around 19 °C and nights averaging 14 °C. The lowest and highest recorded temperature ever (at sea level) is 4 °C and 39 °C respectively.
The winter months are the wettest months, with from October to March around 80 mm of rain at lower levels but much more at higher levels, and stormy and cloudy conditions may last for a few days sometimes. That said, there are fine periods with settled weather during winter as well. From May until September it is usually dry, especially at sea level, but occasional light rain may fall and fog can occur. Higher in the mountains rain is more heavy during this time.

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Getting There

By Plane

Madeira Airport (airport code: FNC) is located on the island of Madeira and receives international flights. About 20 airlines have flights to and from Madeira, mainly to Portugal, Spain and most of the countries in the west and north of Europe. It also receives flights from the Azores.
The smaller Porto Santo Airport (airport code: PXO) has some seasonal charters from Italy, the UK, Spain, Germany, Tangier and Casablanca, as well as regular connections to the Azores and mainland Portugal (Lisbon, Faro and Porto)

By Boat

Naviera Armas runs weekly services between Portimao in mainland Portugal and on to Tenerife, with connections to other Canary Islands, like Gran Canaria and Lanzarote.

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Getting Around

By Plane

SATA Air Acores has flights between Madeira and Porto Santo.

By Car

On Madeira there is one road (101) that circles the island. On the west and the east other roads make connections to the other side of the island easy. In the middle there are no roads, as the landscape it too mountainous.

By Bus

The are island busses, but getting around by bus needs some planning, as their are infrequent. More information can be found here.

By Boat

Porto Santo Line operates a modern ferry, the Lobo Marinho, carrying passengers and vehicles between Madeira and Porto Santo every day. The crossing takes about 2 hrs 10 min.

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Eat

  • Restaurante Arsénio's - Rua de Santa Maria 169 Funchal. A very nice restaurant in the historic part of the capital, Funchal, with live music and traditional Portuguese dishes but it is a little bit pricey. It is situated in the central street of the old town of Funchal, where the most famous restaurants of the capital are situated and you can find multilingual friendly service.
  • O Avo - Rua da Praia, 49, Funchal. This small bar restaurant is situated in a small street in the heart of Funchal. There is a limited choice of delicious Portuguese dishes accompanied with beer in a very good price. The friendly owner of O Avo welcomes you in his place with a shot of beer where you can find many locals having their lunch.
  • Muralhas Bar - Rua da Pedra d'Eira, Canical. An excellent choice for having a nice seafood meal in Canical, Madeira. Canical is a small fishing village, where you can find fresh seafood in a very affordable price. This restaurant offers a very nice atmosphere, where you can find original madeiran food and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Canical.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Aquela BandaSitio da Igreja, Paul do Mar, MadeiraGuesthouse-
Estalagem Pico da UrzeSitio do Ovil - Paul da Serra CalhetaHotel-
Quinta Splendida Wellness & SpaEstrada da Ponta da Oliveira 11 Canico de Baixo,FunchalHotel-
Solar da BicaLameiros São VicenteGuesthouse-

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Drink

There are dozens of special drinks to try including good wines. One drink you surely have to try though is the famous Poncha, Madeira’s traditional white-rum lemon juice and Bee's honey drink.

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Health

See also Travel Health

There are no vaccinations legally required to travel to Madeira. There is one exception though. You need a yellow fever vaccination if you have travelled to a country (7 days or less before entering Madeira) where that disease is widely prevalent.

Finally, other possible health issues include diarrhea and other general travellers' diseases like motion sickness. Watch what you eat and drink and in case you get it, drink plenty of fluids (to prevent dehydration) and bring ORS.

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Safety

See also Travel Safety

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Post

Post offices (correios) have varying opening hours, but in general post offices are open on weekdays from 08:30-18:00 and on Saturday mornings until 12:30. More information about offices, costs and other details can be found at the CTT Portuguese Post website. It's a relatively efficient but also relatively slow postal service. Costs for sending a standard letter/postcard are €0.32 within Portugal, €0.68 within Europe and €0.80 outside Europe.

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This is version 31. Last edited at 7:47 on Jul 12, 13 by Utrecht. 27 articles link to this page.

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