Madeira, an island southwest of Portugal and an easy flight from Lisbon or Porto, is characterized by immense and wild natural beauty, ripe for exploration. Massive natural reserves (including rare laurel forests) and tiny towns snugly nestled into valleys, carpet the mountainous landscape. Madeira might be the perfect way to begin or end your exploration of Portugal.
Madeira’s importance dates from the late 15th century, when it served as a port of call for Portuguese ships heading to the New World or the East Indies.
It is world-famous for its over-the-top New Year’s fireworks; some believe they are the best in the world – and yes, we can score you a prime viewing spot from a private yacht.
It is equally famous and for its numerous exotic botanical gardens, beautiful year-round, and its eponymous fortified wine.
At its Madeira houses, you will learn from our experts how the island’s winemaking industry dates from the Age of the Portuguese Explorations. The local wines were fortified for the long journeys, during which the heat and movement in the ships’ holds transformed them.
The whole family will enjoy the cable car that rises over the island to take in a glorious bird’s-eye view at rustic and relatively untouched mountaintop village of Monte, before descending by toboggan or on foot.
Drive along Madeira’s many hilly coastal roads, and watch a landscape of breathtaking beauty unfold—vistas, waterfalls, diverse greenery, all against the backdrop of Madeira’s volcanic mountains.
Hike the island along one of its most beautiful levadas (aqueducts whose network extends all over the island). The contrast between the lush, mossy greenery and the island’s stark volcanic rock is remarkable.
You may wish to visit the far north of the island, stopping in Porto Moniz, which is specially known for its natural rock swimming pool. The series of natural rock pools in volcanic reefs, joined by concrete paths, are constantly refreshed by the waters of the Atlantic as the waves break against the rocks, showering those who are swimming or paddling.
If time allows, take the ferry from Madeira to smaller Porto Santo, with its long stretch of unspoiled sand. Perfect for beach lovers and surfers, it is very popular during the summer.