Visit this dream-like island, home to lush vegetation, charming towns, haunting volcanic rock formations and mist-covered mountains.
Madeira Island offers truly spectacular natural scenery and warm temperatures year-round. Follow walking trails that run parallel to man-made irrigation channels and take in views of clear blue waters and green cliffs. Spot brightly colored and sweetly scented flowers in the spring. Chill out on sandy beaches, participate in exhilarating watersports or delve into the island’s fascinating cultural heritage.
One of the best ways to take in Madeira’s idyllic natural scenery is to enjoy a levada walk. The levadas are a series of mini-canals developed by early settlers to distribute water around the island. Explore a network of more than 870 miles (1,400 kilometers) of trails to find waterfalls and lagoons, as well as valleys, mountain ranges and laurel forests.
Brave the glass-floored skywalk at Cabo Girão, one of the highest ocean cliffs in the world. Standing 1,902 feet (580 meters) above the water, you can spot Funchal and Câmara de Lobos from this dramatic location.
Visit the gorgeous village of Santana, known for its multicolored A-framed cottages, called palheiros. These charming thatched-roof residences are unique to the island and well worth a visit.
See the ornate geometric patterns decorating the roof of Funchal's cathedral, Sé. Constructed in the 16th century, this Moorish-influenced cathedral also features beautiful Baroque altars, gilded choir stalls and intricate tiling.
Don’t miss the views over Funchal from Jardim Botanico, a beautiful botanical garden. Walk along the well-labeled paths and admire collections of cacti and anthuriums. Look for the overlapping roots of an ancient heather tree, which is said to be more than 10 million years old.
Calheta Beach may be man-made, but its golden sands and clear waters are nonetheless scenic. Canoe, windsurf, swim or stop for some fresh seafood at one of the restaurants found along the beach. Be sure to sample the region’s unique white rum called aguardente.
Madeira Island is located about 350 miles (563.3 kilometers) from Morocco. Regular flights leave daily from Lisbon.