Visiting Madeira
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About the author: The HRC team have a sound, collective knowledge of holiday destinations around the world. They have pooled their holiday experiences, ideas, travel facts, other resources including available public information, for the benefit of visitors to this website.

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Madeira - 'Holiday in Madeira'

by Holiday Rental Centre Team
August 2007


Madeira – a subtropical paradise…..

The island of Madeira and its’ neighbour Porto Santo, is Portuguese owned and situated in the Atlantic Ocean some 300 miles from the North African coast of Morocco. Named ‘The Pearl of the Atlantic’, Madeira is an extremely pretty and scenic island, not known for too many spectacular beaches, but more for breath-taking scenery, floral displays and great places to walk.

Madeira offers visitors a contrast of botanical gardens with verdant coastal and mountainous regions and it’s an island that’s also rich in history. Those holidaymakers travelling up towards the mountains would normally pass through vineyards and vegetable growing areas, eventually reaching dense misty forests of eucalyptus, mimosa and mahogany trees. The higher reaches of Madeira's central spine are covered with a floor of heather, whilst the humid north of the island is covered with a jungle of laurel trees, shrubs, ferns and mosses. For those seeking to explore Madeira, on foot is certainly a most enjoyable way.

One of the most popular walks is the extensive ancient network of irrigation channels called Levada’s. The Levada "Walks" as they are known locally, date back to around the 15th century and are walking trails along the maintenance paths beside the Levadas.

Although they were originally designed and built primarily for agricultural and some industrial use, they are just as important today for tourists and local residents who wish to enjoy outdoor pursuits and activities. A "Levada" is a Portuguese word for a mini-canal. These mini-canals which cover a total distance of approximately 2500 km are irrigation systems that were developed to distribute some of the heavy rainfall water from wet regions in the north, to the much drier, sun-baked regions in the south of the island. The water is generally collected in reservoirs or storage tanks, and is captured from natural fountains ready to be redirected and channelled across a huge network of narrow canals. These winding water channels deliver the precious rainwater needed for banana plantations, vineyards, fruit orchards and vegetable growing regions. Some rainwater is distributed also to hydro-electric power stations all around Madeira.

Madeira's location close to Morocco gives the island a natural climate, with very mild, well balanced and fairly moderate year- round temperatures. Along the south coast, banana plantations are to be found growing densely against very steep, stone-walled terraces.

Visitors to Madeira have a splendid choice of holiday rental accommodation. There are elegant hotels renowned for their wonderful hospitality and exotic cuisine. Others, like smaller hotels offer more traditional standards of service and comfort, possibly with reduced costs, but with just as exciting menus and some famous named visiting chefs!

Self catering is growing rapidly with an expansion in the holiday rental Property market by those seeking alternative style holidays but with the benefits of a sound Property investment.

Apartments to rent are increasing in quieter locations away from the main towns of Funchal and Porto Moniz. Madeira now has more opportunities for villa rentals than ever and new developments are appearing around the island, many with pools. One such place is the fashionable district of Garajau, which is a good location from where you can hike & walk or just laze around and soak up the hot Mediterranean sun.
Garajau is on the dry, sunny southern coast of Madeira and if you are golf lovers, as there is the spectacular 27-hole course nearby at Santo da Serra, which is home to the Madeira Island Open.

Luxury built apartments for rent can also be found at Casa Serena which is close to Arco da Calheta.  Calheta village has a nearby beach, marina, supermarket, hotel, restaurants and shops, all within a 5 minute drive. It is also very close to the nearest levada walk.

Further information about tourism and discovering Madeira, can be found at:

http://www.holidayrentalcentre.com/browse/europe/c_242/Madeira

alternatively please visit:

www.madeiratourism.com
www.discovermadeira.homestead.com

S Johnston
August 2007