help_outline Skip to main content
Add Me To Your Mailing List

News / Articles

Madeira Island

George Moudry

In 2016 we visited the beautiful Madeira island, the largest island in the Madeira archipelago. These Portuguese islands are in the Atlantic ocean, 450 miles SW of Portugal and 320 miles west of Morocco, with population of 260,500.  The island is a top of massive submerged volcano that rises 3.7 miles from the ocean floor. The whole island is basically a ragged mountain peak cresting at 6,200 feet above the ocean. It is 35 miles long and 14 miles wide.

The capitol city Funchal has a large and busy port, and the city itself is glued on the steep slopes of the mountain. The main economies are wine production and tourism.

The many coastal coves of Funchal are full of colorful fishing and pleasure boats. The white houses with red tile roofs make a pleasant mosaic in the greenery of tropical vegetation.



The city has many picturesque churches, like this starkly black and white Santa Maria church.


One unique tourist attraction is to sit visitors into these basket sleds, and let them slide down the sloping street.


City botanical gardens are on two long terraces and are a riot of color and exotic flora.


A stroll along paths hemmed by these sculpted trees and hedges is like floating in a fairytale.


I liked the horny and thorny and prickly and blooming succulents the best!


A typical mountain slope has wine and vegetable fields and olive orchards. The farm houses are strewn on the green hills like so many white diamonds.


Our bus stopped at the top of the island’s mountain spine crest. We took a long walk along the ridges and marveled at the rugged and colorful scenery. Red, white, black, and orange cliffs gleamed in the afternoon sun.

The ocean-born wind was fierce and howled in the sharp crevasses.  Fantastic !


These high topography peaks, needles and sheer walls are ancient lava; scoria and cider cones.


The trail is at many places a narrow hallway between rocks or a slanted staircase but  well-maintained. This far out Gwen and I are the only hikers but there is one solitary person on the trail way ahead of us.


The north cost is full of jagged rocks sticking out from the water and twisty narrow inlets, rugged and wild.