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The Island of Eternal Spring: 600 years after Madeira was discovered by the Portuguese

July 2019 marks 600 years since the Atlantic archipelago of Madeira was discovered by Portuguese explorers, and a year-long programme of events, shows and exhibitions is taking place throughout 2019 to mark the anniversary.

It was in July 1419 when Portuguese explorers João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz, originally heading to the coast of West Africa, came across the islands of Madeira while looking for shelter from a storm. Fast forward 600 years and the so-called ‘Island of Eternal Spring’ has become a popular tourist destination. 
 

Walking among Madeira's peaks (Photo: Visit Portugal/Francisco Correia)
 
Walking in Madeira
Walking in Madeira (photo by Visit Portugal/Francisco Correia)

Visitors are attracted by Madeira’s dramatic scenery, lush nature and perfect temperatures – and our walking holiday on the island is an ideal way to experience everything that it has to offer, especially if you’re looking for a winter walking destination.
 

Madeira Island Walking

Rising steeply from the Atlantic Ocean off the coasts of Europe and Africa, Madeira offers both a mild year-round climate and a 1,350-mile network of ‘levadas’ – man-made channels created to carry water for irrigation.
 
Volcanic in origin, Madeira’s rugged interior rises abruptly to over 1,800 metres (6,000 ft), with forests of pine and laurel flanking its jagged peaks.
 
Walking in Madeira

Follow levadas through a peaceful pastoral countryside, or traverse terraced hillsides. Dating back to the 16th century, these irrigation channels or aqueducts are specific to Madeira, originally built to carry water to the agricultural regions.
 
Walking along Madeira's Levadas
Walking along Madeira's levadas (photo: Visit Portugal/Tiago Sousa)

Climb up to Pico Ruivo, the island’s highest peak. Many of the levadas can be followed on foot, which, together with a network of local trails, make even the most remote parts of the island accessible.
 
Madeira's Pico Ruivo
Walking up to Pico Ruivo (Photo: Visit Portugal/AP Madeira)
 
Discover a myriad of colourful flowers - jasmine, begonias, freesias, magnolia and camellias form just a part of the spectacular flora, while the dedicated Orchid Garden is home to more than 7,500 species.
 
Madeira Flowers
 
Spend time in the bustling capital of Funchal – visit a Madeira wine lodge, explore colourful food and flower markets and enjoy superb seafood restaurants.
 
Funchal, Madeira
Funchal (Photo: Visit Portugal/Francisco Correia)

Madeira Market at Christmas
Funchal Market at Christmas (Photo: Visit Portugal/Franciso Correia


For more information on walking in Madeira, click here.
 
 

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