Welcome to the flower island of Madeira!
The flower island of Madeira is located in the Atlantic Ocean. It is 57 km long, 22 km wide, and comprises an area of 741 sq km. The island is located approx. 500 km away from the African coast, and approx. 1000 km away from the Portuguese coast. Together with the smaller island of Porto Santo and two uninhabited island groups, the Ilhas Desertas and the Ilhas Selvagens, Madeira forms the Madeira archipelago. At 1862 m, the Pico Ruivo is the highest mountain. Together with the Pico Arieiro, the Pico das Torres, and the Pica Grande, the Pico Ruivo forms the island’s high mountains.
Many stories and legends surround the discovery of the Madeira archipelago. It is almost certain that the island was discovered by the Portuguese in 1419. As it had the ideal location, the island was used for discovery excursions to Africa. Madeira became world famous for a short while due to its sugar cane cultivation, but sank into oblivion after the discovery of Brazil. It merely became the cue ball between Spain and England. Due to its spectacular scenery and the mild climate, the English fell in love with this beautiful island. Numerous writers, poets, business men, and politicians spent the winter months on this island – even Winston Churchill did. The so-called Madeira wine made the Blandy family, who to this day belong to the island’s aristocracy, is world-famous. The English also brought with them to the island fine, English tea. Besides the English, further European aristocrats visited the island, among them Empress ‘Sissi’ and Emperor Charles I from Austria, who was buried in the church of Monte.
Madeira’s scenic beauty is especially appealing, and one can find a diverse landscape. Besides enchanted laurel woods, mosses, and ferns there are steep cliffs such as the Cabo Girão Cabo Girão; one can find exotic trees and plants that shine in all colors of the rainbow and admire crimson sunsets. In 1999, the “Laurisilva” laurel forest was declared a world natural habitat by the UNESCO.
Even though Madeira is not a ‘beach island’, one does not have to forgo swimming. There are numerous natural ocean pools in which one can relax from the day-to-day stress.
Besides being home to very hospitable inhabitants, Madeira also has a lot of delicacies to offer. The culinary-demanding visitors can expect a variety of delicacies. The island-cuisine’s pillars are formed by the traditional Espada fish, the aromatic beef skewers (Espetadas), and the imaginative desserts.