Madeira, Porto Santo, Desertas (deserted) and Selvagens (wild) Islands, you won't be short in choices. Located 1000 km from Europe and just 500 km from Africa, this subtropical Island Chain goes from urban, hip landscapes to virgin, natural territories inhabited by monk seals (Monachus monachus, the rarest seal in the world) in just a few Kms.
Never too hot nor too cold (maximum temperature rarely exceeds 30ºC, with the average being 24ºC in the Summer and 17ºC in the Winter), both during the day and night, Madeira's warm climate is actually composed of several micro-climates that allow for very different experiences just a few Kms away, with the south being more sunny and dry, and the north more wet and windy.
To speak of Madeira is to speak of Nature. Pure, unadulterated, amazing, breath taking Nature, fully represented by the Laurissilva Forest. A true natural treasure (it is classified as Natural World Heritage by the UNESCO), this kind of sub-tropical forest disappeared almost completely from the face of the Earth some 20 million years ago, during the Ice Age. The Madeira's Laurissilva Forest, predominantly in the north of the island, is one of the few that survived and is the widest and better preserved of its kind in the whole world.
Because of its warm weather and varied landscape, you can do almost all kinds of outdoor actives throughout the year (including winter).
Bird Watching, Trekking, Climbing, Canyoning, Jeep Safari, Mountain Biking, Paragliding - the truth is, there's virtually nothing you can't do along Madeira's Mountains, Hills, Valleys and Plains. Including being mesmerised by the view.
With and average temperature of 18ºC to 22ºC, Madeira's sea is perfect for Snorkeling, Scuba Diving (with dolphins, turtles and manta rays), whale watching, sailing, surfing, windsurfing, stand up paddling and canoeing, amongst other possibilities. And for those who love fishing, there's a lot to be said, but we'll stick to two simple words: "blue" and "marlin".
And then the Levadas. These typical Madeira water courses were created in the XVth century to "carry" the rainwater from the wet north of the island, to the more dry, sunny south, where the banana, sugar cane and grape production flourished. Built during the course of the last five centuries in the steep hills and valleys of Madeira, the Levadas are a complex and beautiful system of nearly 200 rock carved water courses and paths that run more than 2000Km long, all across the island. Breath-taking sceneries? Just follow the path(s).
Intrigued? Take a look at our Madeira destination guide for an even more in-depth look at this beautiful island.