If you’re planning a tour for yourself and intend to visit Portugal, there are a few places that are a must-go. On that list, Madeira Island is arguably on the top. Boasting a long and illustrious history that goes back several hundred years, Madeira Island is an archipelago which comprises of 4 distinct islands off of the coast of North Africa.
Records of early settlements date back to the 1400s, and after being granted autonomy, Madeira Island is now a haven for culture enthusiasts and tourist. Here are five interesting things you should know about Madeira Island that makes it different from the rest!
It’s not an ‘island.’
Several guidebooks and uninformed guides mention this place in the context of an island – a single piece of land adrift. This cannot be more wrong. It is archipelagos, which is basically a group of different islands in the same locality and is often under the jurisdiction of the same government, due to their proximity. Furthermore, these islands are roughly more close to Africa than they are to Europe!
Celebrations all year round!
These islands are famous for having a lot of festivals and celebrations. Notable are the fireworks on New Years’ eve. Hosting one of the biggest fireworks in the world, Madeira Island was even featured in Guinness book of world records in 2006. Other festivals that are famous in the locality are the Atlantic Festival and the Funchal International Film Festival.
Being inhabited back in the 1400s, the residents had to make a good method of transport. This led to about a total of 25 miles of tunnels, most of which were made 500 years ago. The latest ones have been made and refurbished back in the 1940s. This is a cultural heritage and reflects the lifestyle of the early settlers.
You can climb up to the clouds
Hosting about 1300 miles of hiking trail, a few particular ones lead up to regions as high as the sky goes. Pico do Ariero is notable for having tourists all year round for this purpose!
The wine is exquisite!
The name for the famous Madeira wine comes exactly from where you think it does – the Madeira Islands! Local ingredients and techniques have set it a class apart, and it is believed that after signing the declaration of independence, the founding fathers had Madeira wine!