The Madeira Archipelago, discovered by the Portuguese in 1418, is made up of the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo and the uninhabited islands of Desertas and Selvagens. The island of Madeira is 56 km long (35 miles) and 21 km’s wide (13 miles) and is the main island of these three. The uninhabited islands are natural reserves. The Desertas are 18km Southeast of Madeira and are partly accessible. The Selvagens are 280km south of Madeira (and even closer to the Canaries) and are a restricted area.
Madeira is known as the “Island of flowers” because of its wide array of flowers and lush vegetation. The volcanic landscape provides visitors with mountains and valleys to explore, as well as dense forests and beautiful lagoons. Add castles, churches, fortresses and historic monuments to make this autonomous region of Portugal a visually stunning place. Golden Porto Santo has what is considered to be the finest beach in Europe.
Mild average temperatures, 25ºC in the summer and 17ºC in the winter, and a moderate level of humidity, confer upon these islands exceptional subtropical features.