Madeira – everything you need to know

Madeira – everything you need to know

The island of Madeira is a stunning place on the map of Europe. We both fell in love with it at first sight, and the initial infatuation turned into a love affair that lasted almost six months. Over the course of six months, we explored Madeira’s well-known and lesser-known places and gained a unique insight into what life is like in Madeira.

In the article below, you will not only find practical information about Madeira, but also many interesting facts that will make your stay on the island of eternal spring truly unique!

Madeira – practical information

* Portuguese autonomous region partly under Portuguese administration,

* The autonomous archipelago of Madeira comprises: the island of Madeira, the island of Porto Santo, the islands of Desertas and Selvagens. Desertas includes three uninhabited
islets: Bugio, Deserta Grande and Chão.

* Madeira’s archipelago lies in the Atlantic Ocean close to the coast of Africa,

* it is considered part of what is known as Macaronesia, which also includes Cape Verde, the Azores and the Canary Islands, among others,

* volcanic origin,

* area of the island of Madeira: 801 km²,

* the population of the Madeira archipelago is 250 000 inhabitants, almost half of whom live in the capital Funchal,

* Madeira is known as the island of eternal spring due to its mild climate,

* Madeira’s highest peak (Pico Ruivo) is 1,862 m above sea level,

* the islanders speak Portuguese,

* the symbol of the island is the royal strelitzia, which is commonly known as the bird of paradise.

Interesting history of Madeira

The year 1418 is considered to be the official discovery of Madeira. It was then that a group of Portuguese sailors carried away by a storm discovered a small island, which they named Porto Santo a year later. In the 15th century, intensive colonisation of the island began.

Madeira was an investment for the Portuguese, as it was very forested and had a small supply of sugar cane. The enterprising colonists began producing sugar from the cane, which was known as white gold.

Were the Portuguese definitely the first colonists of Madeira?

During our visit to Madeira, we learned quite a few interesting facts about the history of this green island. One of them is a refutation of the official story that the Portuguese discovered Madeira. Apparently, the island was already known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and before the 15th century it was also visited by the Vikings – as confirmed by the DNA remains of rats found on the island.

Interesting fact:

The word Madeira comes from the Portuguese phrase ‘Ilha Madeira’, meaning ‘Island of Wood’ or ‘Wooded Island’.

 When to go to Madeira?

This is the question most often asked when Madeira is the subject – when to go to catch the best weather?
The answer to this question is not so simple, as the weather here can be very fickle.

In theory, you will find two seasons in Madeira – winter (end and beginning of the year) and summer. But rest assured! Winter here bears no resemblance to the Polish frosts. For a Madeerian, winter is 15-20 degrees Celsius. Interestingly, when temperatures drop to a dozen degrees the islanders don down jackets! It was quite a funny feeling when we were walking around in our flip-flops, and the Madeerian next to us looked at us in amazement while sitting in his winter jacket.

You will find the warmer part of the year from April to September. This is when the whole island should have a truly summer atmosphere.

In our opinion, the best time to go to Madeira is in April or May. The average temperature is 20 degrees Celsius, but this is not the greatest asset of these months. With the end of winter, all nature is reborn and the island is covered in green and flowery landscapes. Madeira in April and May looks stunning! If you visit during this period you will certainly not be surprised why it is also known as the Green Island.

Interesting fact:

Although the average annual temperature in winter is 20 degrees Celsius, you may find snow in the mountains of Madeira! Completely different weather can be waiting for you in the mountainous areas of the island compared to the coast, so it is better to be prepared for any situation!

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