The archipelago situated in the northeast Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Portugal is known as the Islands of Madeira (or the Madeira Islands). Offering some of the most spectacular landscapes and stunning panoramas that you will find anywhere in the country, this archipelago is oftentimes referred to as the “Pearl of the Atlantic Ocean.” The archipelago is actually formed by the two inhabited islands of Madeira and Porto Santo, and by Desertas and Selvagens which are two smaller uninhabited islands.
The traveler needs to be aware that these islands were created by volcanic lava flows and as a result, all of the Madeira Islands have three things in common – beaches with no sand (the narrow seashores are composed of a rugged volcanic material), deep ravines, and rugged mountains. The climate is pleasant here all year round. Winter temperatures rarely fall below 16°C (61° F) while in summer they rarely rise above 22°C (72° F). Additionally, the Gulf Stream holds a great deal of influence over the water temperature which usually varies between 17° (63° and 70° F).
1. Bird Watching in Madeira Island
Oftentimes referred to as the “Seabirds treasure”, there are a variety of species that you can observe here, such as Bulwer’s Petrel, Cory’s Shearwater, Little Shearwater, and the Madeira Storm Petrel. In addition to these, the Zino’s Petrel is an endangered species that is indigenous to the Madeira Mountains.
2. “Bonita da Madeira”
An original caravel (sailing vessel) constructed entirely from wood. When venturing out onto the ocean in this vessel, you are afforded views of some of the more beautiful bays as well as the ocean’s crystal blue waters.
3. Funchal Balloon Trips
For stunning aerial panoramas of the island from 150 meters (500 feet) above Funchal, this is the ticket. The museum serves as the base station and is also worthy of visiting as it provides a historical perspective of Madeira.
4. Quinta das Palmeiras
A bird park and a mini-botanical garden are the key features of this beautiful tourist destination is a patch of verdant greenery in an arid, dry plain west of the local airport. Quinta das Palmeiras is alive with species of flowers such as Angel’s Trumpets, hibiscus, and roses.
5. Porto Santo Markets
Though the growing population and the tourism industry have forced Madeira Island to construct supermarkets, Porto Santo still have some amazingly enticing street markets. These are a must-see destination when visiting the island.
Photo of Porto Moniz, Madeira by Jsome1