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Julie Knapp -
Madeira specialist - Kenilworth,01926 858434Email Julie
From what I saw of Madeira I thought it was very nice, lovely Hotels, scenery was lovely and plenty to do and see or just relax.
Would recommend it to all clients and just look to tailor the accommodation to their needs.
Resorts in Madeira
Madeira is quite literally an exotic Floating Garden. Discovered in 1419 by Portuguese navigators it is located 560km off the West African coast in the Atlantic Ocean and is approximately 57km in length and 26km wide. Madeira offers many places of historical interest and natural beauty, from small undiscovered villages, churches and museums to immense mountains with lush plantations, flora and fauna.
The Madeiran Archipelago consists of the exotic floating garden of Madeira, the sand and sea worshippers' island of Porto Santo and the uninhabited islands of the Selvagens and Desertas.
The Island of Eternal Springtime, Lovers' Isle, Pearl of the Atlantic, Floating Garden of the Atlantic are just a few of the epithets awarded to Madeira, the largest of the islands. Madeira is the tip of a gigantic mountain protruding from the ocean depths and the variations in altitude provide a variety of natural habitats from stunning coastal scenery to soaring mountainous peaks. The central area is volcanic in origin although you need have no fears - the last eruption is thought to have occurred 1.7 million years ago!
Madeira is an island of exceptional natural beauty and has always been recognised as a walkers' paradise. Two thirds of the island is designated a conservation area where rare flora and fauna abound and in 1999 UNESCO classified the ancient Laurissilva Forest as a World Heritage Site.
Exotic species including strelitzia, authurium, cymbidium orchid, wild camellia, mimosa, agapanthus, poinsettia and hydrangea are among the thousands of flowers that bloom each year and for tree lovers' there are jacarandas, frangipanis, eucalyptus and australian flame trees. Vineyards and banana plantations abound alongside avocado, fig, guava, pineapple and market vegetables.
To appreciate fully Madeira's spectacular scenery and varied topography, you really need to walk a part of the levadas; a 500-mile network of irrigation channels that feed water down from the mountains. Paths and steps were built alongside the man-made water channels for maintenance purposes and it is these tracks that now form the island wide web of levada walks. Yoo can simply buy a map and follow your own trail but you may find it easier and more enjoyable to join a walking tour organised and led by professional hikers. Levada walks are graded from simple strolls to more challenging and longer walks. Please note that stout walking shoes are recommended.
Madeira's subtropical climate plus a wonderful combination of indigenous and imported plants combine to produce gardens that are the envy of horticulturists from all over the world. Garden-lovers must visit the Botanical Gardens in Funchal, the public gardens and the Tropical Gardens at Monte, and the beautiful Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro gardens.
A cable car from Funchal rises high above the city to Monte where you can visit the twin towered Church of our Lady of Monte and the beautiful public gardens. Return to Funchal by traditional toboggan, cable-car or on foot. Most of the wicker products sold in Funchal are made in and around the sleepy village of Camacha where you can watch weavers at work before purchasing picture frames, baskets and peacock-thrones!
There are various routes around this beautiful island. An eastern island tour includes Pico de Arieiro, the third highest peak offering magnificent views, the village of Santana famous for its traditional thatched roofed houses, the vineyards at Quinta do Furao, and the small fishing village of Machico. A western island tour takes in Camara de Lobos, a picturesque village once captured on canvas by Sir Winston Churchill, Cabo Girao, reportedly the highest sea cliff in Europe, Paul da Serra, a magnificent plateau at 1,600 metres and Porto Moniz, famed for its natural rock pools.
Madeira is home to two championship golf courses and both offer stunning yet very different views. The Palheiro course looks out over the Bay of Funchal and gardens, and the Santo da Serra course has views over the neighbouring islands and valleys below