Madeira Overview

Madeira – island of eternal spring

Madeira belongs to Portugal and thus to the European Union. Since the uprisings of Madeira’s residents in the 1970s after the so-called “Carnation Revolution” in Portugal, the island has been an autonomous region of Portugal, but still politically and militarily dependent on the mother country.
Madeira, together with the smaller island of Porto Santo and the two uninhabited islands – Ilhas Desertas and Ilhas Selvagens – forms the autonomous province of Madeira. The archipelago was discovered by Portuguese sailors in 1418.
The “Island of Eternal Spring”, as Madeira is also called, is located in the Atlantic, around 500 km from the African coast and around 1,000 km from Europe.

The island became famous for its important visitors, including Empress Sisi of Austria and Winston Churchill, who stayed for a long time on this beautiful island full of flowers and plants.
But on 19.20. In February 2010, the island fell victim to one of the worst natural disasters in living memory. As a result of tropical precipitation and severe storms, there were heavy floods and mudslides.
Entire streets were turned into raging rivers and destroyed houses, streets, cars and bridges. At least 42 people were likely killed.

Name of the country Madeira
Form of government Autonomous Region of Portugal
Geographical location Island in the Atlantic Ocean, about 500 km west of Morocco
National anthem Anthem of Portugal “A Portugesa”
Population approx. 213,000
Religions approx. 95% Roman Catholic
Languages Portuguese
Capital or administrative center Funchal
Surface 794 km²
Highest mountain Pico Ruivo with a height of 1,862 m
International license plate P
National currency Euro
Time difference to CET -1 h
International phone code 00351
Mains voltage, frequency 220 volts, 50 hertz
Internet Top Level Domain (TLD) .pt

Population and cities


Madeira has around 230,000 residents.

About 95% of Madeira’s residents belong to the Roman Catholic Church.

National languages

In Madeira, as in the motherland Portugal, Portuguese is spoken.

Administrative center, other cities

The administrative center of Madeira is Funchal with a population of approx. 112,000.
Other cities are:

  • Machico with around 12,000 residents
  • Monte with around 9,000 residents
  • Santa Cruz with around 10,000 residents
  • Sao Vicente with around 6,000 residents

Madeira map


Madeira has a coast to the Atlantic with a length of around 150 km.

Madeira: geography


The landscape of Madeira is very different and extremely impressive. The coast is partly very steep and is dominated by rugged rocky cliffs, the interior is predominantly mountainous and heavily overgrown. The valleys of Madeira are very lush and fertile in their vegetation.

Area and national borders

Madeira covers an area of ​​794 km².
Of these:

Fields and fields

The most important part of Madeira’s agriculture is viticulture. In addition, potatoes and bananas are grown on a large scale.

Madeira is an island belonging to Portugal in the middle of the Atlantic and therefore has no common border with any state.


Madeira has a coast to the Atlantic with a length of around 150 km.

Tidal range

In Funchal, the mean tidal range is around 2 m.
(For a detailed explanation of ebb and flow, see tides, ebb and flow).

The world’s highest tidal range can be found in the Bay of Fundy in Canada, where it is up to 16 m, and at spring tide even over 20 m. The Bay of Fundy is located on the Atlantic between the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, which is called Nova Scotia in German and whose capital is Halifax. On the German North Sea coast it varies between 1 m and 3 m. In the western Baltic Sea, on the other hand, the tidal range is only 0.3 m, while it is barely noticeable in the eastern Baltic Sea.

Longitude and latitude

Madeira extends (from the island of Selvagens) over the following geographical latitude (abbreviation Δφ) and geographical longitude (abbreviation Δλ):

Δφ = from 33 ° 07 ‘to 30 ° 01’ north latitude
Δλ = from 15 ° 51 ‘to 17 ° 15’ west longitude

You can find detailed information on this subject under Longitude and Latitude.


For Madeira, the following value applies to Central European Time (CET), i.e. the time without summer time. A minus sign means that it is earlier there and a plus sign that it is later than after CET:

Δt (CET) = – 1 h

Further and detailed explanations of the time can be found under Time zones, time.

The highest point of the sun in Funchal

Funchal lies at a north latitude of around φ = 32.5 °.
If the sun is at the tropic, i.e. at δ = 23.5 °, summer starts in Funchal on June 21st. Then, for the highest position of the sun at noon, according to Eq. 1 (see position of the sun):

32.5 ° = (90 ° – h) + 23.5 °


H = 81 °

This is the highest level above the horizon (exactly: above the chimney) that the sun occupies within the year in Funchal.


Pico Ruivo
The highest mountain in the country is the Pico Ruivo with a height of 1,862 m.


The following smaller islands are in front of Madeira Island:

  • Porto Santomit
  • Ilhas Desertas
  • Ilhas Selvagens

Madeira Overview