Madeira is a stunning and fascinating place. An autonomous region of Portugal, it is an archipelago comprising 4 islands, situated in the Atlantic Ocean. Located off the coast of Africa, just under 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Tenerife and the Canary Islands, it includes the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo, and the Desertas.
Due to its mild climate, Madeira is a popular year-round destination for tourists and those looking for their dream home abroad. Despite a vibrant tourist industry, much of these beautiful islands remains untouched and unspoilt.
The people of the island are friendly, hospitable and welcoming of children. Whilst Portuguese is the first language, and locals will appreciate the effort to communicate in it, English is also widely spoken.
This small and lush bit of paradise in the Atlantic is perfect for those looking for a bit more than a holiday by the pool. At the same time, the attraction of a slower pace of life, cheap travel options and living costs, makes Madeira the perfect place for people looking for their dream getaway.
CLIMATE & GEOGRAPHY
Due to its location, Madeira has the perfect climate for visitors throughout the year. Warm summers and mild winters result in an average temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius. Rainfall varies across the island, with the North typically seeing much more than the South. Some snowfall does occurs in the mountainous areas.
Madeira island is situated at the top of a huge underwater volcano, with the interior itself also formed by extinct volcanic ranges. Its highest peak, Pico Ruivo, reaches 1,850m. Crisscrossed by valleys and ravines, much of the interior is accessible by car, making for some stunning scenery and points of interest.
Madeira is also well-known for its Levadas - irrigation channels made by early islanders to allow water to flow from the wetter parts of the island to the drier southeast. Traditionally, their purpose was to promote agriculture, such as the production of sugarcane. Nowadays, the Levadas provide a perfect way for the more intrepid visitor to explore the island and take in its amazing views.
GASTRONOMY & CULTURE
As an island situated in the Atlantic Ocean, the cuisine of Madeira is a seafood-lovers dream. Typical dishes include skewered bay stew, fish stew, tuna steaks, black scabbardfish (espada), and grilled limpets, to name a few.
Meat dishes are also highly popular, including perhaps the most well-known - espetada. This mouth-watering dish is made from skewered chunks of beef, marinated and cooked over laurel wood chips. For those with a sweeter tooth, there are plenty of pastry option, including bolo de mel, a rich cake using sugarcane molasses.
Ask most people about Madeira, and they'll probably know the wine of the same name. A fortified wine with sweet and dry varieties, it was discovered by producers when an unsold shipment of wine was transformed by exposure to heat and oxidation. Another popular drink locally is poncha, a punch made with aguardente de cana (sugarcane distilled spirit), honey, lemon and orange juice.
Folklore music is widespread in Madeira, and uses local instruments such as the machete, rajao, brinquinho and cavaquinho. These are also used in the traditional folkloric dance of the island, the bailinho de Madeira. Wicker work and embroidery are also popular local crafts.
Around half of Madeira's population live in the vibrant capital city of Funchal, located on the south coast of the main island. It is here that visitors to the island arrive, either via cruise liner to the main harbour, or the international Cristiano Ronaldo Airport - the Portuguese international footballer arguably being Madeira's most famous export.
Funchal is a stylish and cosmopolitan city, characterised by its mix of old and new, interspersed with picturesque parks and gardens blooming with flowers all year round. One of the safest and cleanest cities in Europe, it was settled by Portuguese explorers in the 15th Century, with its names derived from the abundance of fennel (funcho) that grew there.
Visitors to the city will never struggle for things to do. From the famous cable cars running into the stunning mountain backdrop, to the lively markets, cafes and restaurants, art galleries and crafts, and regular boat trips to the nearby smaller islands - there's something for everyone.
PONTA DO SOL
Ponta do Sol is where you'll find the offices of Dream Home Madeira. A municipality on the southwest of Madeira island, with a population of around 9,000, it is situated between Ribeira Brava and Calheta.
Literally translated as "Sun Point", as its name implies, Ponta do Sol sees more of the sun throughout the year than any other part of the island. It has a subtropical climate, with pebbled beaches and a beautiful, rugged landscape. This makes it an attractive proposition for those looking for their dream home in Madeira.
The settlement of Ponta do Sol occurred around 1425, shortly after the discovery of the island, by Portuguese settlers from Minho, Beiras and the Algarve. Due to the fertility of its soils, it has always been one of the most active centres of agricultural production.
Ponta do Sol also boasts the island's only plateau, the Paul de Serra, at an altitude of 1,500m. A truly unique feature, it is home to much of the indigenous vegetation and wildlife population. It also provides the main water source feeding the many streams that run through the parish, allowing the cultivation of banana and sugarcane.
Dream Home Madeira is located on the Estrada Regional 222, nº 164, 9360-511 Ponta do Sol, Madeira.