The primary airport for international flights to the Madeira Islands is at Funchal. There are few airports in the Madeira Islands. Not all airstrips have regularly scheduled flights. We do not list the smallest Portugal airports, since there is no way to provide you flights from those airports. AirGorilla offers flights, hotels, and rental car reservations for Portugal.
Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago in the north Atlantic Ocean that lies westward of the Straits of Gibraltar about 360 miles from the coast of Africa. It is one of the Autonomous regions of Portugal, with Madeira Island and Porto Santo being the only inhabited islands. It is also part of the European Union. The islands are of volcanic origin.
Madeira, known originally to the Romans as the Purple Islands, was rediscovered, possibly accidentally, by Portuguese sailors and settled by Portugal in 1418. It is a popular year-round resort, famed worldwide for its Madeira wine, a perfect climate, striking scenery, flowers, sub-tropical fruits, plazas (placas) with many gardens, embroidery artisans, historical monuments, small towns, and New Years' Eve celebrations with a spectacular fireworks show.
The Autonomous Region of Madeira is composed by Madeira Island, Porto Santo Island, Desertas Islands and Savage Islands. Funchal, the capital of Madeira Island, is on the south coast of the principal island. Other main cities are: Porto Santo Town also known as Vila Baleira, Ribeira Brava, Machico, Camara de Lobos, Santa Cruz, Canico, Ponta do Sol and Calheta.
Madeira Island is the largest island and has a length of 30 geographical miles (57 km) and a coastline of 80 or 90 miles. Its longer axis lies east and west, in which direction it is traversed by a mountain chain, the backbone of the island, having a mean altitude of 4000 feet (1220 metres), from which many deep ravines radiate outward to the coast.
On the south there is very little left of the indigenous laurisilva forest which once clothed the whole island (until the original settlers decided to clear the land for farming by setting most of the island on fire) and gave it the name it bears (Madeira means "wood" in Portuguese), but on the north the valleys contain native trees of fine growth, where they form one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.
Its geographical position and mountainous landscape permit a very pleasing climate. Temperatures are about 22 C (72 F) in the summer and about 16 C (61 F) during the winter. With its mild humidity, the weather of the island is classified as subtropical. Influenced by the Gulf Stream, sea water temperature is 22 C during the summer and 16 °C in the winter. The island of Madeira is wet in the northwest but dry in the southeast.
Funchal is located in a unique area; the natural geological features form an "amphitheatre" surrounding the city, which begins at the harbour and rises almost 1200 metres high on gentle slopes. This provides a natural shelter and was what attracted the first settlers.
Tourism is an important sector in the region's economy since it contributes 20% to the region's GDP, providing support throughout the year for commercial, transport and other activities and constituting a significant market for local products. The share in Gross Value Added of hotels and restaurants (9%) also highlights this phenomenon. The island of Porto Santo, with its 9 km long beach and its climate, is totally devoted to tourism. ()