Madeira is located off the coast of Africa to the north of the Canary Islands and is one of two autonomous regions of Portugal located away from the mainland.
Made up of a small selection of islands, Madeira is a popular destination with tourists who are drawn in by the favourable conditions that exist throughout the year.
Hot and dry summers are a feature of life on the island with temperatures that regularly run into the 30s whilst the winter months still see temperatures that hit the 20s.
During the winter months however, there is the chance of encountering rain showers whilst you can expect to see notable differences in the weather depending on whether you are heading for the coast or for the some of the more mountainous areas.
One of the main places of interest for visitors to the island is the capital Funchal, which sits in a natural valley overlooking the ocean.
Here, there is plenty of opportunity to take in the sights and to uncover the history of the island through a number of museums. Stroll through the cobbled streets and you’ll also find plenty of bars and restaurants, whilst Funchal is known around the world for its impressive public gardens – which are the ideal place to relax.
Boarding Funchal’s cable car provides the chance to head out of town to the village of Monte, where you can marvel at the spectacular island landscapes that are to be found below.
Head away from the capital and you’ll find a range of scenic towns and villages that line the coast and provide the opportunity to explore traditional Madeiran life.
You could head inland to explore the scenic beauty of the mountains and forests or board a boat to take a trip out to see and marvel at the beauty of the coastal areas.
Despite the relatively small size of the island, Madeira packs a real punch for visitors and is one of those destinations that will draw you back in again and again.
Praia do Garajau
A black sandy beach that sits close to Canico, Praia do Garajau is a great place to sit back and take in the sun, or to take a refreshing dip in the sea. It’s also one of the best places on the island to visit if you fancy trying your hand at scuba diving, with a cable car that provides easy access from the cliffs above.
The trip up to the village of Monte is one of the most popular attractions in Funchal, with a cable car running from the Old Town up to the mountaintop village that overlooks the city. As well as being able to take in stunning views across Funchal, you can spend some time visiting the old church and could even make the return trip on one of the famous Monte toboggans; which date back to the 19th century.
Maderia is known for the network of small canals that cross the island and which were used to carry water down from the mountains and to help with the local crops. Alongside these irrigation channels are a number of footpaths and Levada Nova is one near to Calheta that is worth exploring as it winds through hills and forests, taking in local villages and some of the most impressive scenery on the island.
Miradouro do Cristo Rei do Garajau
Perhaps better known as Christ the King, the Miradouro do Cristo Rei do Garajau is an art deco statue that is located on the cliffs in Garajau – a short distance away from Canico. Actually finished before the famous Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil, it was built to remember those non-Catholic people who had their bodies thrown from the cliffs back in the days when only Catholic people could be buried on the island.
Cathedral of Funchal
The cathedral within Funchal is one of the most historic buildings in the city and is famous for its breathtaking design, which includes a gothic canopy and a range of sculptures and paintings that date back hundreds of years. It’s certainly worth a visit whilst exploring the old part of the city.
Hit the beach in Calheta
The golden sands that make up the beach in Calheta have been brought in from Morocco and it means that the beach in the resort is a world away from most of those seen in Madeira – which tend to be made up of a mixture of stone and shingle. The beach is protected by the sea walls and can get busy during the summer months as people look to make the most of the favourable weather conditions.
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