Sporting the nickname “Floating Garden of the Atlantic,” Madeira Island is a fertile oasis in the Atlantic Ocean between Portugal and North Africa, popular for its lush green landscapes, flower gardens, wines and annual New Year celebrations, which feature one of the world’s largest displays of fireworks.
One of Europe’s most beautiful travel destinations, Madeira Island is the largest island of the Madeira archipelago, an autonomous region of Portugal. The island’s natural beauty, year-round mild climate and virtually crime-free status attract tourists from all over the world. While Madeira can be reached by plane, cruise ship and ferry, tourists can easily get around the island by bus and rental cars.
Madeira’s main attraction is its wealth of verdant landscapes that range from lush parks, colorful gardens, enchanting forests and nature reserves to lofty mountains and pebbled beaches lapped by blue ocean waves. Must-see places include the Orchid Garden and the Laurissilva Forest, which harbors the world’s largest concentration of laurel. Other places not to miss are the levadas, an impressive system of canals and aqueducts, which provide walking paths that wind through beautiful scenery.
The island’s coastline offers pebbled beaches, crystal clear water, natural rock pools and activities like fishing, snorkeling, diving, sailing, surfing and dolphin and whale watching.
The capital and largest city on Madeira is Funchal, home to historic churches, palaces, fortresses, tourist resorts, museums, restaurants, shops and markets as well as the tree-lined Lido Promenade, which presents spectacular ocean views.