About Madeira

A particularly charming island that is a top destination all year round

Madeira is much more than just one island

Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago located in the North Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Portugal. The total population was estimated at 267,785 in 2011. The capital of Madeira is Funchal, located on the south coast of the main island.

The archipelago is located just under 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Tenerife (Canary Islands). Since 1976, the archipelago has been one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal (the other one being the Azores, located in the northwest). The Madeira archipelago includes the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo and the Ilhas Desertas. Under the administration of Madeira are also the Ilhas Selvagens, which are located around 160 km above the Canary Islands.

The region enjoys political and administrative autonomy thanks to the administrative political statute of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, as stipulated in the Portuguese Constitution. The autonomous region is an integral part of the European Union and has been granted the status of the outermost region of the European Union.

One of the most important tourist destinations in Portugal

Madeira was claimed by Portuguese sailors in the service of Prince Henry the Navigator in 1419 and settled after 1420. The archipelago is considered the first territorial discovery of the exploration period of the Portuguese Age of Discovery that stretched from 1415 to 1542.

Today it is a popular holiday resort all year round and is visited by about one million tourists every year, three times the population. The region is known for its Madeira wine, gastronomy, historical and cultural value, flora and fauna, landscapes classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and embroidery artists. The annual New Years' celebration includes the largest fireworks display in the world, as officially recognized by Guinness World Records in 2006.

The main port of Funchal is the main Portuguese port for docking cruise ships and is an important stopover for commercial and transatlantic passengers on cruises between Europe, the Caribbean and North Africa. In addition, in the 1980s, the Madeira International Business Center, also known as the Madeira Free Trade Zone, was formally established as an instrument of regional economic policy. It consists of a series of incentives, mainly tax-related, that are granted with the aim of attracting foreign direct investment to Madeira based on international services.

Living in Madeira

Madeira is a particularly charming island all year round, where the average temperature ranges from 18 degrees in February to 27 degrees in August. This has allowed Madeira to develop into a top winter sun destination. The island is served year-round by direct European flights from airports in the UK, Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. The cosmopolitan capital of Funchal is blessed with a great number of diverse restaurants, coffee bars and modern shopping centres and, unlike many other destinations, the many restaurants are open all year round, ensuring an excellent lifestyle.

Madeira, one of the most beautiful island destinations in Europe, offers a year-round summer climate and beautiful flora and fauna. In addition, it is one of the safest locations in the world and offers a culturally rich and healthy lifestyle, with a vibrant nightlife, international restaurants, spectacular seascapes, a clear blue ocean with towering cliffs, as well as tranquil valleys and serene parks. The natural beauty, the temperate climate, the unique waterfalls and mountain sports, hand in hand with the popular festivals, local traditions, cultural and culinary highlights, make Madeira a versatile destination. Feel the energy pouring out of Funchal's cosmopolitan ambience, admire the breathtaking landscapes or enjoy a traditional gastronomic treat. For the more energetic and adventurous, there is scuba diving, surfing, windsurfing or jet skiing.

Need more information about Madeira?

Are you curious about what Madeira has to offer? Would you like to live there, go on holiday, or open this beautiful archipelago as a new destination for your travel organisation? Please feel free to contact us without any commitment!