Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal and archipelago consisting of four awe-inspiring islands. Although located off the northwest coast of Africa, and closer to Casablanca than Lisbon, it is a slice of Portuguese paradise with a subtropical climate.
Featured Madeira Hotel
What To Do
Trek to the top of Pico Ruivo, Madeira's highest peak. At over 6,000 feet it is no walk in the park, but is considered one of the world's most beautiful hikes and once at the top you are rewarded with inspirational coast-to-coast island views. Ride the Funchal Cable Car in the capital, where the views become more epic the higher the gondola lift climbs. Once at the top, visit the Monte Palace Tropical Garden, which is home to thousands of plant species, peaceful ponds, and the Monte Palace Museum. Ride back down the mountain in a traditional wicker toboggan, a custom dating back to the 1850s and a riveting ride guaranteed to create a lifelong memory. Bask in the sun on the therapeutic sands of 6-mile-long Porto Santo Beach. While on Porto Santo Island, visit the Christopher Columbus House Museum, which exhibits portraits, maps, and more.
Madeira's main island, also named Madeira, is green and rugged with towering seaside cliffs and majestic mountains, and home to the capital, Funchal. Madeira's other popular island, Porto Santo, is known as the "Golden Island" and renowned for its long, sandy beach, and was reputedly once the home of Christopher Columbus. Madeira is world-famous for its fortified wine, which was a favorite of Thomas Jefferson and was used to toast the Declaration of Independence. Madeira also contains the largest laurel forest in the world, a wealth of warm-water beaches, and a year-round mild climate, hence its nickname "The Island of Eternal Spring." It's no surprise that Madeira, more than once, has been named the best island destination in Europe as well as the world.
When To Go
Madeira, nicknamed "The Island of Eternal Spring," has a year-round mild climate and welcomes visitors in every season. However, the best time to visit is during the non-summer months in order to avoid the crowds.