Madeira

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Madeira

Madeira (map) is a sub-tropical archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean and is an autonomous region of Portugal. The archipelago is made up of two populated islands, Madeira and Porto Santo (map).

Known worldwide as the Islands of eternal spring, Madeira, “Ilha Jardim” (Garden Island) or “Pearl of the Atlantic”, has a mild climate throughout the entire year.

Madeira has the same immigration laws as the rest of Portugal, and is therefore part of the Schengen Area. Madeira island is 500 km from the African coast and 1,000 km from the European continent, a 1½-hr flight from mainland Portugal and about 3 hr from all the main countries in Europe.

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*Funchal (map) – Island capital and largest city in Madeira, home to tourist resorts, gorgeous panoramas, and local color.

Madeira Botanical Garden (Jardim Botânico da Madeira, map). The more than 2000 plants of these hillside gardens, plus the view of Funchal make this one of the major attractions of the whole island. The gardens also feature a collection of parakeets and parrots.

Mercado Dos Lavradores (Farmers’ Market, map). This historic building, with an open patio, offers, on two levels, fresh fruits and vegetables from all over the island. On the lower level is a separate hall where fish vendors sell fresh-caught fish. Eat and buy local fruits like the small Madeiran mangos, bananas, philodendres and plenty kinds of maracujas.

Cabo Girão (map) — One of the world’s highest ocean cliffs, in Câmara de Lobos.

Public transport

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+ GETTING AROUND  (visitmadeira.pt) • Getting to Portugal (visitportugal.com)

 BUS >   Horarios do Funchal – Within the city of Funchal, yellow buses. / Rodoeste – Connecting the west side of Madeira. / S.A.M. – Connecting the east side of Madeira.

Rede Expressos is one of the largest inter-city bus companies.

 RAIL >   Comboios de Portugal. As a rule of thumb, if one is traveling by rail within Portugal or internationally, the main railway junction is in Entroncamento (map), from here all lines branch out and all trains make a stop.

 AIRPORTS >   Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport – about 30 minutes from Funchal, in Santa Cruz municipality.

Lisbon Portela Airport is the main aviation hub. Porto Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport, serving Portugal’s second-largest city and the entire northern part of the country. Madeira Airport in Funchal serves the green island in the Atlantic. João Paulo II Airport in Ponta Delgada serves the Azores archipelago.

 WATERWAYS >   There is a car ferry between Porto Santo and Madeira, two hours one way. Ferry Service Funchal-Porto Santo.

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