With a very varied and rich natural space, with sea and mountains, the Autonomous Region of Madeira is an Outermost Region recognized for its large biodiversity.
In the calm of nature, a wide range of dazzling experiences from “levadas”, which are hikes along irrigation canals that transport water from the mountains, to playing golf or to enjoying a relaxing boat ride, are offered. In order to awaken the adrenaline, the challenge can take the form of canyoning, mountain biking, jeep riding or even paragliding.
In addition to the natural heritage, among which the Laurisilva forest -recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site- merits the highlight, its cultural heritage is a valuable testimony of its history and a legacy of the time when the region was one of the main trade routes in Europe. From back then we get a diversity of museums -guardians of those memories- and well-demarcated architectural styles such as the Gothic and the Manueline, particularly in the Cathedral of Funchal, whih reinforces the town’s attractiveness as a touristic spot.
The archipelago of Madeira, whose capital is Funchal, is located on the African plate, in the Atlantic Ocean, between 30 ° and 33 ° north latitude, almost at the same latitude as Casablanca; 978 km southwest of Lisbon, about 700 km west of the coast of Africa and 450 km north of the Canary Islands.
This archipelago is formed of the island of Madeira, with an area of 741 sq km; the island of Porto Santo, with 42.5 sq km; the Desertas Islands, with a total of sq 14.2 km in a set of three islands; and the Savage Islands, a set of three islands and sixteen small islets that make up for an area of 3.6 sq km. Only Madeira and Porto Santo are inhabited.
The Autonomous Region of Madeira also covers the surrounding sea and the seabed, in particular the territorial waters and the exclusive economic zone.
Its privileged geographical position and its mountainous orography confer on the island a climatic amenity characterized by very mild average temperatures – oscillating between 25 ° C in summer and 17 ° C in winter- and moderate humidity. Due to the influence of the warm Gulfstream, the sea is also pleaseantly warm, with water averages of 22 ° C in summer and 18 ° C in winter.
The Autonomous Region of Madeira has approximately 255,000 inhabitants and a population density of 318 inhabitants/sq km.
Madeira is an autonomous region of the Portuguese Republic enshrined in the Portuguese Constitution of 1976. Its political, administrative, financial, economic and tax autonomy does not affect the integrity of the sovereignty of the national state, and is exercised within the framework of the Constitution and the Political and Administrative Statute approved by Law No. 13/91, of June 5, and revised by Law No. 130/99, of August 21.
This Portuguese Outermost Region has its own governing bodies: the Legislative Assembly and the Regional Government.
Madeira’s economy is based on the services sector (85% of GDP), with tourism being the main driver and the largest source of income in the region due to the multiplier effect in several sectors of activity and, in particular, the contribution to job creation.
The regional industry is dominated by small and medium enterprises. Artisanal activities such as the famous embroidery, tapestries, and wickerwork coexist with the agri-food, beverage and tobacco industries. The important role played by the Free Trade Zone of Madeira in the diversification and modernization of the regional economy should always be highlighted.
In the primary sector (2% of the regional GDP), the production of bananas, flowers, subtropical fruits and grapes destined to the production of Madeira wine, one of the most emblematic products of this Region, stands out in agriculture. Agricultural production is hampered by its orographic characteristics, by the small size of the usable agricultural soil and by the predominance of small property.
Sea-related activity has an economic and social importance in some communities dependent on fishing. It is carried out by a fleet of small size, with emphasis on the fishing of black swordfish and tuna.
Taking into account the geographical restrictions, the Region had to make a strong investment in improving accessibility in order to boost economic development in Madeira: infrastructures supporting the road network -roads, viaducts, bridges and tunnels-, expansion of the Madeira Airport, and the new International Maritime Terminal of the Port of Funchal.
the Region had to make a strong investment in improving accessibility in order to boost economic development in Madeira.
Madeira’s economy is based on the services sector (85% of GDP), with tourism being the main driver and the largest source of income in the region
The regional industry is dominated by small and medium enterprises. Artisanal activities such as the famous embroidery, tapestries, and wickerwork coexist with the agri-food, beverage and tobacco industries.