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Madeira - Island of eternal springAll About Travelling
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Madeira – Island of eternal spring

Oct, 25 || 1 Comment | Tags: ,

Madeira Archipelago is known more for fortified wine produced in this region than tourist attractions it offers. However, these islands belonging to Portugal every year attracts over a million tourists from around the world. For the benefit of a favorable climate throughout the year, they are nicknamed Islands of Eternal Spring. Rich flora and Madeira island of Ilha drew its name Jardim (Island-garden).

The archipelago covers 810 km 2 and consists of two main islands, Madeira and Porto Santo, and several smaller islands, uninhabited, grouped under the names Ilhas desert and Selvagens.
Porto Santo Island and was named in 1418, when two Portuguese explorers were carried by a storm on its shores. Grateful for the Strip who owed their survival, they called the island of Porto Santo (holy harbor) and declared a Portuguese territory. A year later, the explorers were able to reach the main island and the archipelago. Since 1425, Madeira was colonized and in a few decades become the leading sugar producer in Europe. Once Europe began to import increasingly more sugar from the Caribbean and Brazil, the middle of the sixteenth century, Madeira shifted to wine for which it is famous today.

A natural paradise

Located 1,000 kilometers from the European continent, islands forming the archipelago of Madeira is a natural paradise with lush vegetation and fauna unique in the world. The Azores archipelago formed with the Canary Islands and Macaronesian region. The name given to this group of volcanic islands comes from the Greek geographers, who named the islands located west of the Strait of Gibraltar Makaron nesoi, meaning “island of happiness”. This land, described by Pliny the Elder as “abundant in fruits and birds of all kinds” was reached where the heroes of Greek mythology. The Romans believed that the islands were Elysian Fields, located beyond the sunset heavenly realm where virtuous people arrived after death.

Even though the island has no religious connotations today, heavenly appearance is maintained and biodiversity mentioned by Pliny is recognized by the authorities. Thus, although Macaronesian volcanic islands that form is only 0.2% of the European Union, they host more than a quarter of flora protected by European legislation.

The most important part of the archipelago is the island of Madeira, a word that means “wood” in Portuguese. This name was given because, at times, all over the island was covered with a forest of laurel. Much was destroyed but the first people who lived on the island, who set fire to gain the necessary space agriculture. However, the northern island laurel forest preserves inscribed in 1999 on the list of world cultural and natural heritage of UNESCO. Covering 20% ??of the island, it is the largest laurel forest in the world. It houses a number of own species this habitat, including 4 species of bird bay. They play an important role in forest regeneration by spreading seeds that bay.

Laurel forest is threatened by invasive plant species, Hedychium gardenerianum, originating in the Himalayas. It was introduced to the island in 1934 in the gardens, but now threatens to spread to the native plants and laurel forest. The only way that this plant can be eradicated from the earth is pulling it, the task is even more difficult as the ground is uneven. Officials charged with protecting ecosystem made efforts to remove it from near forests, establishing a cordon sanitaire to prevent further invasions.
Madeira island is extremely rich in endemic species so far been identified over 120 species of plants that can be found only on the volcanic island. Also in Madeira can be found rarest seabird, Zino’s petrel (Madeira petrel). This species, popularized by Paul Alexander Zino Portuguese ornithologist, more are now only 130-160 copies. On the island of Porto Santo are found 36 species endemic snails, of which 13 are protected by European legislation.

Uninhabited islands of the archipelago living monk seal some of the few that survive today, this species is critically endangered species. Here Fea’s petrel lives and (Pterodroma feae), a species threatened with extinction globally.

To protect these rare species, the authorities created in 1982 National Park Madeira, which covers about two thirds of the island.
Madeira, always a popular celebrities
Throughout history, Madeira was a popular place among prominent people, for various flora and fauna as well as pleasant climate.
In 1815, the vessel that bore it Napoleon in exile on the island of Saint Helena, stopped in Funchal, capital of Madeira. The former king was persuaded by the British consul to take with him a few hundred gallons of Madeira wine production in 1792. Because he had stomach problems, Napoleon not consumed and the wine returned to the island in 1822. In 1840 it was moved to the carboys, which have become extremely valuable (especially for Madeira wine keeps well). One of those who had the chance to taste the wine of Napoleon was Winston Churchill, who was offered a demijohn during a visit to the island made after the Second World War. Gift excited, the prime minister personally poured a glass of wine everyone at the table, telling them that they had to drink was produced from the time when Marie Antoinette was still alive.

Churchill was impressed by the beauty of the archipelago, Madeira spending enough time to write a book of memoirs in hotel Reid in 1949. He was not, however, the only British prime minister visiting the island. In 1951, Margaret Thatcher spent their honeymoon at the Hotel Savoy in Madeira.
Throughout history, many famous names have been attracted by the beauty of Madeira: Christopher Columbus, Emperor Charles I of Austria, Empress Sissi of Austria, George Bernard Shaw and even members of the Cuban government exiled Castro’s revolution.
Place not only attracted celebrities but also many of the pirates that dominated the oceans hundreds of years ago. In fact, one of the stories circulating among locals argues that today there is a precious treasure buried somewhere on one of the islands of the archipelago.
In recent times the island has given the world one of football’s biggest stars: Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the most awarded players of the moment, who was born in Funchal in 1985.
Unique experience of descending the hill Monte in Funchal
In the most important city of Madeira, Funchal, tourists have the chance to experience unique, fun and transportation that combine to provide a unique sensation.

In the suburb of Monte (mountain in Portuguese), which is situated on a steep hill, use a unique vehicle to descend the hill: a strange combination between a woven wicker basket and a sled. This sled is handled by two Carreira (carriers) dressed in traditional costume and wearing a white hat typical site. Lowering spans 2 kilometers and the basket can reach speeds of 50 km / h This means of transport dates back to 1850, before being built on this hill funicular and gondola that operates today.
Here’s what it looks like such an experience:

Cabo Girao – a breathtaking view

At 25 kilometers from Funchal is Cabo Girao, a steep cliff that rises 580 feet above the ocean. Massive stone is one of the highest cliffs, providing overwhelming view of the bay of Funchal.

Imposing rock is not only known for spectacular scenery, but also because it is a popular place among extreme sports enthusiasts. One of the most famous base jumper in the world, Mario Pardo, Cabo Girao used to make a spectacular motorcycle jump. Here his experience:

Relaxing in and around Funchal

If you do not adventurous spirit, but prefer a vacation to relax, Maideira is perfect. A walk through Funchal will allow you to admire the hundreds of gardens filled with lush greenery in a place where historical monuments endures to this day. The cathedral is one of the most important points of interest in Funchal, located at the intersection of four streets in the historic center. Inaugurated in 1508, when Funchal was declared a city, the cathedral reflects the architectural style of the sixteenth century, and the ceiling made of carved cypress is one of the best achievements of alfarge style that combines Moorish and European stylistic elements.

Another key point is the town of Mercado dos Lavradores (Square workers), which for centuries was the favorite meeting place of people. Ideally morning to visit when fish, seafood and various vegetables and fresh fruits are grown on the island. You will have the chance to taste exotic fruits from maracuja the Pitanga (Brazilian cherry), guava, papaya, cherimoya, Japanese medlar and pomegranate.
Once you taste buds delighted oldest market in the city, a good idea to enjoy the other senses. Two great gardens of the city, and Quinta do Jardim Botânico Palheiro Ferreiro, are ideal places for this purpose. First you can enjoy all plants that grow on the island, and a park with parrots, which are numerous exotic species. Being situated on a hill botanical garden is a very popular place among couples for stunning views can be admired from special places in its upper part.

Quinta do Palheiro Ferreiro is a spectacular and extensive garden which belonged to an English wine merchant. Vast collection of exotic plants and many interesting facts that can be found here make this garden one of the most visited in Funchal.

If you cultural inclinations, Museu de Arte Sacra in you will find a collection of paintings belonging Portuguese and Flemish schools, dating from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. If you prefer to relax in the sun, Praia Formosa (“beautiful beach” in Portuguese) is ideal.
A special experience is the walks along irrigation channels that can be found only on the island of Madeira. Called levadas (meaning “to lead”), they were built over a hundred years to carry water from the north of the island in the south, which gets much less rain. In time it was over 2,000 miles of such channels used today mostly for hiking, the easiest way to discover the beauty of the island close.

Another popular activity among tourists is the observation of dolphins and whales that live in the marine sanctuary around the island. Several local companies offer, for a fee of around 40 €, offshore expeditions to observe the spectacular marine life near the archipelago.

A tiring day ends best with a visit to one of the many taverns of the island, where you can taste wine gave Madeira reputation it enjoys today. Not to be missed place Adegas de Sao Francisco, located in a building dating from the sixteenth century. Since it is a museum of wine and also a tavern, you can see how Madeira wine is kept in the tour with the opportunity to taste different varieties of Madeira wine while a guide explains the history of this special potions. The oldest wine cellar you can purchase bottled premises was now more than 100 years, dating from 1908, but the cost is as: 700 € for a bottle.
At dinner, feel free to try Espada com banana (banana swordfish), preparation extremely popular with the locals.

When and how to visit Madeira

From Bucharest there are direct flights to Funchal, so you have to make at least one call. In Germany, TUI Fly fly to Madeira from Stuttgart, Cologne and Frankfurt. You can fly to Funchal in Brussels or London (Luton Airport).

Madeira enjoys a friendly atmosphere, maintaining temperatures between 20 and 27 degrees Celsius, so that the island attracts tourists throughout the year. The best times to visit Madeira are April-May and September-October. In June and august capacete phenomenon takes place locally called when the clouds descend and cover the island.

Outside, Funchalul worth visiting during New Year because between 30 December and 1 January has been a spectacular festival streets. The party culminates with an impressive fireworks New Year, which is certified specialists from Guinness World Records as the largest fireworks show in the world.

Biodiversity enthusiasts, history, trekking or extreme sports will find that Madeira is the ideal destination, as well as those who want a holiday enjoyed at leisure, on an island with a friendly atmosphere, impressive landscapes and preserve their cultural identity built over a hundred years.

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