Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago, located 700 km off the African west coast in the Atlantic Ocean, roughly between the Azores and the Canary Islands. It is made up of the main island of Madeira, Porto Santo, Ilhas Desertas and Ilhas Selvagens. The last two are uninhabited and only accessible for scientific research. All islands have volcanic origins.
The main island of Madeira is subtropical, forested and steeply mountainous, with a mild climate throughout the year. April-May are busiest with tourists. August-September are hottest. Between april and september there is less rain than in winter. The island is renowned for its flowers and has many endemic species of fauna and birds. The size is 740 km, about the same as La Palma (Canarias) or São Miguel (largest of the Azores).
Hiking in Madeira is popular, and done mostly along the so-called levada's (narrow irrigation channels), built to transport water from the north to the south of the island. The footpaths alongside the levada's can be very narrow, sometimes lead through dark and slippery tunnels and along very, very steep and high mountainsides. Bring a flashlight and use anti-slip footwear! Your reward is a marvellous landscape with gorgeous lush valleys, blooming flowers and great views of the Atlantic Ocean in the distance. Marked trails are numbered PR1 - PR23.