Madeira – this is an archipelago of volcanic origin, although there are no active volcanoes for a long time. The islands are, in fact, the tops of underwater rock formations. Some lava tubes (tunnels under the hardened lava flow) have formed caves accessible to the public. The most interesting caves are located on the left bank of the Sao Vicente river (northern coast). The caves consist of several parallel lava tubes descending from the Paul da Serra plateau to the sea and connected by artificial passages. The route through the caves is 700 m long and takes about 30 minutes. Along the way, you can see numerous bizarre lava formations. Many of the craters on the surface eventually filled with water, forming beautiful lakes. West of Madeira there is the Rabaсal valley, where a large number of lakes are concentrated, connected by waterfalls. There is a gorge in the valley where water falls from all sides. It was named “Valley of 25 Fountains”. Throughout the island, natural pools of ocean water have formed in volcanic rocks.
According to Acronym Monster, beach holidays are developed mainly in Porto Santo, where sandy beaches stretch for 9 km. On Madeira itself, the beaches are covered with pebbles, in some places there are stairs to descend into the ocean. But there are natural pools in the rocks filled with sea water.
Waters of Madeira are home to many endemic species of fish and shellfish, as well as a landscape of rocky reefs, underwater caves and sunken ships. The Parcial do Garajau marine park is the most popular diving site in Madeira. It is located on the south coast of the island. Here you can see sea bass, barracuda, mackerel, tuna and manta rays (the largest rays). Another interesting place is located 400 meters from Parcial do Garajau – T-reef. It consists of two rocks, the foot of which is under water, and the peaks rise 12 m above the water. Here you can see barracudas, stingrays, mackerels. cave tunnel has a length of 50 m and is located at a depth of only 12 m, so it is suitable for beginners. Eel and perch live in the caves. The Bowbelle sank in 1996 off Ponto del Sol. It lies at a depth of 30 m and has become a habitat for many living organisms. In Machico, diving can be practiced close to the coast without having to take a boat out to the ocean. Here, at a depth of 40 m, unique black corals grow. 10 minutes from Machico is Quinta do Lorde, where you can see all kinds of fish that live in the waters of Madeira. Reis Magos is the most popular place for night diving. You can dive right from the shore. On the edge of the reef there is a huge number of marine organisms active at night.
EXCURSIONS (in detail).
Funchal is the capital of the island of Madeira. It is rich in monuments of religious architecture, most of which were built in the 15th – 16th centuries. In the civil architecture of the city, the City Hall (XVIII century), the Customs building (XVI century), the fortress-palace of St. Lawrence (XVI century), the forts do Pico and Santiago (XVII-XVIII centuries) are noteworthy. Of the museums, it is worth noting the Museum of Ecclesiastical Art (Flemish and Portuguese paintings of the 16th century, jewelry and statues), the Cruzes estate (furniture and decorative art), the Vicente Museum of Photography and the House Museum of Frederico de Freitas. In the capital, you should definitely admire the gardens, especially the Botanical one, and the estates where you can ride in a traditional bull sled.
Santana is a picturesque village with traditional triangular thatched houses. Here it is good to make a walking tour to the highest point of Madeira – Aree Pico.
In the old seaside town of Machico, it is worth visiting the 15th century cathedral. with a collection of paintings and tiles, the chapel of Nossa Señora dos Milagres, the fountain of San Roque and the forts of Nossa Señora do Amparu and St. John the Baptist of the 17th century.
The coastal village of Porto Moniz is famous for its natural reservoirs formed in volcanic reefs. Next to it is a fishing village where Winston Churchill painted his watercolors.
The center of the island of Porto Santois Vila Baleira with a magnificent thalassotherapy center. The main attractions of the island: the house of Christopher Columbus (XV century), the Cathedral (XV century), Fort St. Joseph (XVIII century), as well as the peaks of Atalaia, Castelo and Fashu. Madeira
has a large number of parks. It is worth visiting the Botanical Garden, where more than 200 species of plants grow from all over the world; Parrot Park, Funchal Ecological Park, Ribeiro Frio Forest Park, Queimadas Forest Reserve, Quinta das Cruzes, Quinta da Magnólia and Quinta da Boa Vista Gardens with a large number of unique plants, Monte Palace Tropical Garden, Quinta do Arco Rose Garden, which grows about 100 types of roses, city park in the center of Funchal. One of the most interesting places for walking is the Laurissilva Forest, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It covers an area of 15 thousand hectares, and its age is calculated in thousands of years. In the preglacial era, all of Europe was covered with such forests.
Recently, Madeira has become increasingly popular with deep sea fishing enthusiasts. The depth of the ocean reaches 2000 m already close to the coast. From May to October, giant Atlantic Blue Marlin or tuna fish are caught. You can rent a boat for fishing. Madeira has
created ample opportunities for practicing various sports – paragliding, rock climbing, mountain biking, horseback riding, tennis, water skiing, surfing.
VISAS, ENTRY RULES, CUSTOMS REGULATIONS in Madeira Islands, Portugal
When visiting Madeira, you need to apply for a visa, for which you must submit the following documents to the Portuguese Embassy:
– a passport with a validity period of at least 3.5 months after the end date of the trip;
– a copy of the ticket or its reservation;
– hotel voucher with payment confirmation;
– 2 color photographs 3 by 4 in size, taken no more than 6 months before the trip; children under 14 years of age must have a photo in their parents’ passport; upon reaching 14 years of age, children must have their own passport;
– 2 copies of the completed questionnaire in English;
– a photocopy of all pages of the general civil Russian passport;
– a photocopy of the previous passport (pages with visas);
– the original certificate from the place of work on the letterhead of the organization (where the address and phone number are indicated) with the obligatory indication of: position, salary and the period of paid leave, which must coincide with the period of the proposed trip to Portugal. In the case of a small tourist salary, as well as for students, schoolchildren, housewives, pensioners, a certificate from work is required indicating the income of the person they are dependent on, or from the person who pays for the trip, indicating the degree of relationship and documents certifying this relationship;
– for schoolchildren – a certificate from the school, for students – a certificate from the institute and a copy of a student card, for pensioners – a pension certificate;
– for pensioners, when submitting documents to the Consulate, an original certificate of purchase of currency is required (at the rate of 50 euros / day). A certificate of purchase of currency can be replaced by an account statement on a credit card. A certificate or extract must be issued no earlier than 1 month before the start of the trip;
– for children traveling with their parents – a notarized copy of the birth certificate with an apostille, a certificate from the place of study (if the child attends school);
– for children traveling without parents or with one of the parents – a notarized copy of the birth certificate with an apostille, a certificate from the place of study (if the child attends school), a notarized copy of the permission to export the child with an apostille.
The term for issuing a visa is a week. Consular fee for visa processing – 50 euros, regardless of age.
The import of foreign and national currency in cash and traveler’s checks is not limited. However, if the amount of imported foreign currency exceeds EUR 4987.98, it must be declared. The export of the national currency from the country is limited – the amount should not exceed 498.80 euros. There are no restrictions on the export of foreign currency, however, if the amount exceeds 4987.98 euros, a certificate from the exchange office may be required.
Madeira is allowed duty-free importation of personal effects and food, in the amount necessary for personal consumption; cigarettes – 200 pcs., strong drinks – 1 l, strong wine – 2 l, dry – 2 l. It is forbidden to import drugs, gold in the form of ingots, coins, plates without the permission of the country’s bank, illegally published printed materials. Upon import, weapons, antiquities and art, items made of precious metals are subject to mandatory customs inspection.
What to See in Madeira Islands, Portugal