Let me tell you a little about these magnificent volcanic islands in the atlantic ocean. The archipelago of Madeira is formed by Madeira island, Porto Santo island, Desertas Islands and Selvagens islands. Of the eight islands only Madeira and Porto Santo are inhabited and can be accessed via Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport and Porto Santo airport. These are portuguese islands and they are closer to Africa than to Portugal, so it’s quite warm all year!
Due to the excellent geographical location and mountains we have a balmy weather and pleasant average temperatures of 25ºC in the summer and 17ºC in the winter. Thanks to the warm Gulf Stream, the sea temperature is also very mild, averaging 22ºC in the summer and 18ºC in the winter.
Because of the temperatures, Madeira Island is also known by its vineyards and wine, (which is very good indeed). Madeira wine has traveled the world to India, the Americas, Great Britain, and more. Important events were celebrated with Madeira Wine, like when George Washington became president in 1789 , he toast with Madeira wine. In 2009 Barack Obama honored other historic presidents and also toasted with Madeira wine as he became president of the United States of America.
Madeira translated to english it means wood, and we have a lot of it! History tells that when Madeira was rediscovered back in 1419 by Captains João Gonçalves Zarco, Tristão Vaz Teixeira and Bartolomeu Perestrelo it was such a dense island full of trees and vegetations that they couldn’t get in. So they set it on fire and the island burned for 7 years.
Nowadays “the Laurisilva of Madeira is an outstanding relict of a previously widespread laurel forest type. It is the largest surviving area of laurel forest and is believed to be 90% primary forest. It contains a unique suite of plants and animals, including many endemic species such as the madeiran long-toed pigeon.” (UNESCO website quote). The Laurisilva of Madeira island is protected by UNESCO being part of the World Heritage list.
The island is also known as the pearl of the Atlantic or the island of flowers, because of the average temperatures, the island blossoms all year round. The beaches are made of black rocks due to the origin of the island – that is volcanic – but don’t worry our volcanoes are extinct! We also have beaches with black sand, no white or yellow sand here. Well if you want yellow sand you can travel by ferry for two and a half hours, and arrive in Porto Santo Island to find 9 kilometers of yellow sand over there!
Funchal is the capital city and Cristiano Ronaldo was born here did you know that? He grew up in Santo António and also played football here first then anywhere else! So there is a museum and a big statue of CR7 to visit in Funchal!
As you see there are plenty of reasons to visit Madeira!