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The Madeira archipelago is in the Atlantic Ocean, 500 km west of the Moroccan coast.
It is made up of the islands of Madeira and Porto Santom but also of 2 wild and uninhabited islands: Selvagens and Desertas.
Worth seeing near Ponta Delgada:
- Laurisilva Forest (16 km): A UNESCO- listed World Heritage Site
- The São Vicente caves (8 km)
Worth seeing in Madeira:
Funchal, the capital and Madeira's main tourist city, is located on the south coast of the island, 23 km from the airport.
It is a city full of history - cosmopolitan, lively and modern. Its name comes from the word "funcho" (fennel), a wild herb that originally grew abundantly on the island.
The town is formed in the shape of an amphitheatre on the water's edge and clings to the hill behind it. Steep slopes abloom with lush gardens and a swathe of houses with red tile roofs lead up the mountainside.
Funchal continues to bear witness to its colonial past and there's nothing better than a stroll along the narrow streets and tiny squares of the old town, past the baroque churches which evoke Portugal's rich heritage.
Worth seeing in Funchal:
- The Mercado dos Lavradores: one of the town's landmarks. The market is located right in the city's historic centre. Colours, aromas and tradition come together here to welcome and delight visitors.
- The old town: Creativity flourishes all year round in this part of town, with lively events making it the place to be to get a feel for the city. Its many restaurants and wide choice of evening entertainment also mean that this part of town offers different experiences and a different feel.
- The Botanical Garden: Located in Caminho do Meio, the fabulous garden features more than 2,000 exotic plants from all over the world. It features decorative trees and shrubs, an area of orchids, lawns, gazebos and an amphitheatre hosting fun activities.
- Monte Palace Tropical Gardens: These gardens are on at the top of the hill at Monte with stunning views over Funchal Bay. Monte, with a history dating back to the 18th century, was transformed into an enchanting garden and museum belonging to the Berardo Foundation.
- Plus: The cathedral, the Santa Clara convent, São Tiago Fort, Saõ Lourenço Palace, the Frederico de Freitas museum (magnificent collection of azulejos/ceramics), the CR7 Museum dedicated to Cristiano Ronaldo.
Things to do in Funchal: a Carros de Cesto ride (wicker sleds) - one of the most famous tourist attractions in Funchal. An unusual and authentic form of transport, which the inhabitants of the town of Monte once used to travel to the centre of Funchal. It's a descent like no other: 1.5 km at 40 km per hour. For information, telephone: +351 291 783 919
Things to do on the island: On the south coast - Cabo Girão and wonderful cliffs, to the north west - the natural bathing pools of Porto Moniz.