Madeira is a perfect alternative to your traditional beach holiday. The island, often called the "Jewel of the Atlantic" is also known as the "Floating Garden." Majestic mountains are carpeted in vineyards, plantations, and exuberant flowers and an old-world charm is still evident in traditional villages such as Santana as well as its capital, Funchal.
Set in the Eastern Atlantic, Madeira lies 1,000km from Lisbon and 600km from Morocco (the nearest mainland). Click on the map to the right to take a closer view. The island measures 54km by 23km and has a population of 300,000. Madeira is the product of volcanic eruptions some 20 million years ago. Some of Madeira's volcanic peaks rise over 1,800m and can attract snow during the winter.
What is Madeira famous for?
What's the weather like in Madeira?
Live weather feed.
Madeira's fortune was built on sugar production in the 15th to 17th centuries, switching to the production of Madeira wine in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today the biggest revenue generator is tourism and, of course, production of Madeira wine.
Belonging to Portugal, the language is Portuguese, currency is the Euro, and electrics are 220/240v on a 2 pin continental socket.
The climate is sub-tropical with warm frost free winters and cooling Atlantic winds to take the edge off the intense heat of summer. Temperatures average 26°C in the summer and only drop to around 18°C in the winter.
The best month to visit Madeira?
Any, it is rarely too hot and almost never cold.
How old is the population of Madeira?
Madeira was claimed by the Portuguese in 1491, a great prize given its fertile hills, enriched by the former volcanic soils. Settlers soon landed and started to call the island home.
The capital of Madeira, Funchal, was named after a wild Fennel which once carpeted the Southside of the island. Funchal is the island’s only true city, with a population of just over 100,000 residents.
The total population of the island is just under 250,000, which represents around 2.5% of the total of Portugal's population. In terms of density, Madeira has 323 persons/km². For more on the history of Madeira, by Mark Blezard, read this.