"The Pearl of the Atlantic..." Madeira Island by sailornappo

Madeira Island Travel Guide: 786 reviews and 1,936 photos

... but this has probably been said many times. And is it ever true, because one never is far from the most exotic flowers almost anywhere. Reason for this beauty is the rich soil created by the volcanic ashes and broken lava.

The island is not as small as I had visualized It actually is a group of islands. The others being called Selvageno, Deserta and Porto Santo. 57 Km long and 22 Km wide and in 2001 with a population of 245,000, of which just over 100,000 live in the capital of Funchal, and about 4,500 on the other popular island of Porto Santo which has a regular ferry service that takes just a little over 2 hrs one way.

Madeira is situated 545 miles from North Africa and 625 miles from Portugal. The rainy days seem to be more in Jan, Feb, and some in March, then again in Oct, Nov and Dec.

Driving in Funchal seems to be a bit of a challenge due to the steep and winding VERY narrow roads that require your attention every moment behind the wheel. I first had planned to rent a car but gave up this idea soon as one could not take in the scenery AND drive at the same time.

There are many interesting tours available which in my opinion are a better investment money- and timewise if time is limiting factor. Been on the island for 10 days made it possible to see most attractions without having to rush.

Unfortunately, could not make it to the island of PORTO SANTO, due to engine problems of the ferry as mentioned elsewhere on my pages. .

As much as these straw-covered houses are typical for Madeira, the few that are left can be seen in the town of Santana.
As we were part of a small group (8 people) on an organized tour, it was arranged with the owner of the home he lived in for 40 years to see the inside, to taste his home-made Madeira wine and cookies.

With the "Teleferico" up to the mountainous "Monte Palace Tropical Garden".
Round trip incl. the garden about Eu 13.00/pers.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great climate, friendly people, wonderful scenery
  • Cons:Steep narrow roads, some tours not cheap - but worth it.
  • Last visit to Madeira Island: Apr 2005
  • Intro Updated Apr 18, 2005
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Comments (5)

  • pikuu's Profile Photo
    Jul 3, 2007 at 1:26 AM

    Your photos (and colours collections) remind me of my 14 superb days on Madeira. Thanx :))

  • Hermanater's Profile Photo
    Jun 13, 2007 at 11:59 AM

    Happy Birthday...what a neat little place to visit....minus the (cruise ships)

  • JessH's Profile Photo
    Mar 21, 2007 at 2:05 AM

    Hello Norbert. Portugal must be one of my all-time-favourite countries. Great tips and photos here, my ratings are definitely with you. All the best / Jess :-)

  • Sininen's Profile Photo
    Jun 13, 2006 at 1:06 PM

    Hallo Norbert! Madeira is a wonderful place, isn't it? Great page, enjoyed it. Happy birthdya from Finland!

  • bijo69's Profile Photo
    Apr 17, 2005 at 9:27 AM

    Great start! Madeira is really a nice place...

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