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Madeira is Portugal's tropical getaway known for its warm climate, white Porto Santos beaches and rich underwater world.

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Madeira is Portugal's tropical getaway known for its warm climate, white Porto Santos beaches and rich underwater world.
- Madeira
- Porto Santo

Madeira is together with Porto Santo, the Desertas Islands and the Selvagens Islands (Savage Islands) a nice getaway of Portugal located in the Atlantic Ocean at almost 1000 km from Lisbon. Discovered and inhabited by Portugese sailors around 1418 it was named after its large laurisilva forests (Madeira translates as wood), a UNESCO World Heritage Area today. Its scenic landscapes and its many subtropical flowers and plants have given it the nickname floating garden.

Funchal is the capital of Madeira's main island, nicely built on the slopes of high hills with pretty streets and excellent views across the bay. Its picturesque harbor is one of the main access points for cruise ships traveling between Europe and the Caribbean. Porto Santos is another inhabited island and famous for the nine kilometer long golden beach between Vila Baleira and Ponta de Calheta. The Desertas Islands (Ilhas Desertas) as well as the Selvagens Islands (Ilhas Selvagens) are known for its adventurous open ocean trips particularly for bird enthusiasts but also divers will love its underwater marine world. Inhabitants you can see are a resident colony of Monk Seals and birds such as Shearwater and several species of Petrel. Madeira is a popular destination for vacationers of all ages, tourists escaping the cold in their residential villas but also scuba divers and those interested in getting a nice taint.

The warm Atlantic Gulf Stream provides the region with warm waters often between 17 and 24 degrees Celsius. Visibilities are often good except right after severe winter storms when the water gets murky. Popular dive sites are the wreck O Madeirense near Porto Santos and the reef and rich underwater marine world inside the Madeira's Garajau Marine Nature Reserve and Rocha do Navio. You can snorkel and dive on these tropical coral reefs filled with fish and invertebrates, making it one of the best dive locations in Europe.