(00351) 913 988 888
ARE E Madeira Islands E Madeira Island

Madeira Island

In this article, you'll find...

Madeira is a large island in the Atlantic Ocean, part of Portugal, and the biggest one in the Madeira Archipelago. Imagine it as the top of a huge underwater volcano that started forming over 5 million years ago. It’s pretty old!

The island is around 57 kilometers (35 miles) long and 22 kilometers (14 miles) wide at its widest part. That’s like driving a car for almost half an hour from one end to the other! Madeira has a big mountain range running through its center, kind of like a backbone. The highest peak is Pico Ruivo, towering at 1,862 meters (6,109 feet). So, it’s really high and you could see a lot from up there.

People mostly live in towns near the sea because the mountains in the middle make it hard to live there. The main city is Funchal, and it’s where a lot of the island’s 267,785 people live. The island has steep cliffs right by the ocean and deep valleys.

Most people live in towns near the coast because the middle of the island is very mountainous. The main city and capital is Funchal, where many of the island’s 267,785 residents live. Funchal is known for its colorful gardens, lively markets, and historical buildings. It’s a place where you can really feel the unique culture of Madeira, which includes traditional music, dances, and festivals.

One of the most exciting things you can do in Madeira, especially in Funchal, is ride in a “toboggan” basket. It’s a traditional form of transport where you sit in a wicker basket and slide down the steep hills. It’s like a fun and fast ride, guided by two people who steer the basket. This activity has been around for over a century and is a really fun way to experience the local culture and the thrill of zooming down the hills of Madeira!

In the Madeira Archipelago, besides the main island of Madeira, there are several other islands and islets. The most notable ones include:

  • Porto Santo Island: This is the second largest island in the Madeira Archipelago. It’s known for its long sandy beaches and warmer, drier climate compared to Madeira. Porto Santo is smaller and less mountainous, offering a different landscape.
  • Desertas Islands: This is a group of three uninhabited islands: Deserta Grande, Bugio, and Ilhéu Chão. They are important for wildlife conservation, particularly for the endangered Mediterranean monk seal.
  • Savage Islands (Ilhas Selvagens): These are a small group of islands and islets that are also uninhabited and are a nature reserve. They are geographically closer to the Canary Islands than to Madeira and are important for their unique flora and fauna.

While Madeira and Porto Santo are inhabited and have developed tourism infrastructures, the Desertas and Savage Islands are primarily nature reserves with restricted access to protect their ecosystems and wildlife.

ARE E Madeira Islands E Madeira Island