Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Madeira is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, about 700 km west of Africa and 1000 km southwest of the Portuguese coast.  Together with Porto Santo and Ilhas Desertas and the Ilhas Selvagens more south it forms the archipelago and autonomous region of Madeira in Portugal. The Azores have the same status in Portugal.  The biggest city and also the capital of the autonomous region is Funchal.

Madeira has a very mild climate (temperature is almost always between 16 and 22 °C) and is very popular between hikers and people who enjoy nature because of the beautiful nature and the high amount of woods and mountains. Madeira doesn’t have mass tourism because the coast mostly consists of scarps and you can’t really find a sandy beach. The islands have a volcanic origine. The highest mountain is the Pico Ruivo (1862 m).

The most famous specialty of Madeira is the strong wine which is named after it. Except for this Madeira wine, the island is also known for the espada; a long black fish which is cooked in many different ways.

The many exotic flowers growing in the wild there characterize the island in a way that Madeira is also called the flower island. Except the Canary Islands Madeira is the only place where you find canaries in the wild. Besides that you see the Laurisilva a lot on Madeira, which is on the UNESCO world heritage list.

Madeira is characterized by its unique network of levadas: narrow irrigation channels constructed over the whole island through the mountains.  Because of the steep north coast, the colonisation of the island started south, where also the capital Funchal is.  The water from the mountain in the north is brought to the dryer south through the levadas. Along the levadas there’s a sidewalk to make repairs easier. At certain places those sidewalks are only 20 cm wide and go along a precipice.  At other places they are almost 2 m wide. If you pay enough attention to the signs and follow the advice of the local people those could be suitable to walk along.

You can find more pictures here.

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