Located in the African Plate, a major equatorial tectonic plate, Madeira is sometimes referred to as “The pearl in the Atlantic”. Madeira’s climate is delightfully warm all year round and the island itself is outstandingly beautiful, rugged at points but surrounded by an impressive waterfront plus wonderful flora and fauna. The landscape includes sheer mountains that scrape the sky, enormous cliffs, rustic villages and a beauteous shoreline just begging for visitors. Many tourists will visit Madeira simply for its postcard beaches, but to do this is to miss out on many of the island’s fabulous highlights.
Madeira’s highlights are numerous, but are often the buildings’ architectural features and areas of natural beauty. The Cathedral of Funchal has survived almost wholly intact for over 500 years and makes for a very pleasant visit, while the traditional street markets offer as much of an experience as they provide produce.
Although the newer buildings have all been built to include disabled facilities, it still may be an idea to pack an extra cushion if you are a wheelchair user to ensure a comfortable journey across the attractive cobblestones. The cable car is now suitable for people with reduced mobility and will cater for people using wheelchairs.
Food in Madeira is based on peasant traditions, where simple ingredients are prepared with generations-old techniques that taste just fantastic. Grilled meat dishes are popular, with one of the highlights being the “espetada”, which is made of chunks of grilled beef rubbed in garlic and salt and skewered on a branch of bay leaves.
Madeira is a sub-tropical Portuguese island with gorgeously warm summers that reach an average temperature of 23 degrees Celsius in August and little to no rainfall.
Places of interest include the ancient cathedral, theatre, town hall and attractive waterfront. The Madeira Story Centre also makes an enjoyable visit, and depending on your level of mobility, you may even fancy taking flight on a cable-car to enjoy a panoramic ride to Monte, in the cool mountains that stand proud above Funchal.
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