Where is Madeira Island?

Where is Madeira Island?

I often get asked not only where is Madeira but also what is Madeira. So, today, I bring you the answer to help you find it, based on reliable resources. I hope it helps you find the best flight to visit us someday.

Indeed, the Madeira Islands are closer to the African Continent than to the European Continent itself:

  • 700 km (434 miles) west of Morocco, Africa;
  • 850 km (528 miles) southwest of mainland Portugal and the European mainland;
  • 1000 km (621 miles) southwest of Lisbon, Portugal.

It lies less than four hours’ flight from London or Paris and around four hours from Germany.

What is Madeira island?

Madeira refers to both the archipelago of volcanic origin in the eastern part of the North Atlantic Ocean (Arquipélago da Madeira) and Madeira Island in Portugal. Also, Madeira is a fortified wine made on the island with the same name, and which will be the subject of another post.

In short, when we talk about Madeira, we talk about an archipelago, an island, and the wine produced there.

As shown above, the archipelagos of Madeira and Selvagens include seven islands: not only the two inhabited islands of Madeira and Porto Santo but also the five uninhabited islands of Selvagens (Selvagem Grande and Selvagem Pequena) and Desertas (Ilhéu Chão, Deserta Grande and Bugio).

Furthermore, Madeira’s island territory corresponds to the emerged summit of a volcanic mountain that rises from the ocean floor, from depths of about 4000 m (13,123 ft), up to 1861 meters (6,105 ft) above sea level (Pico Ruivo).

We assign the volcanic origin of these forms of relief to a hotspot track. You’ll see a mantle plume, from where the magma rose to form these islands, on the next video.

Where is Porto Santo Madeira?

The Portuguese explorers got off course on an expedition to Africa and landed on Porto Santo island in 1418. They discovered Madeira only a year later.

Porto Santo Island is 60 km (37 miles) northeast of Madeira. Its central city is Vila Baleira, and the highest mountain, Facho Peak, reaches 510 meters (1,673 ft).

On the whole, the island gets the epithet of “Golden Island” because of Porto Santo beach with its 9 km long of fine yellow sand. Also, famous for being one of the best beaches in Europe, its sands are renowned for healing sore aches and pains.


  • Porto Santo Hotels – most of which are on the sea frontline.
  • Porto Santo Golf
  • Porto Santo AirportClick here for Porto Santo flights.
  • Porto Santo Marina – Porto Santo Line is the company that operates Porto Santo ferry. The trip Porto Santo Funchal takes about 2:15. Contact us or chat with us here for more information about the tickets.


  • Porto Santo excursions
  • Porto Santo diving
  • Porto Santo boat trips
  • Porto Santo horse riding
  • Porto Santo jeep safari
  • Porto Santo nightlife

You can download Porto Santo Portugal map here.

Madeira vs Porto Santo

Compared to Porto Santo, Madeira island is mountainous, luxuriant and green, and has various micro-climates (Madeira weather here). Unlike, Porto Santo Portugal is smaller, almost flat, desert-like, and gets brief rain (Porto Santo weather here).

Both Madeira and Porto Santo holidays are perfect for either a relaxing beach getaway or for an adventure in the mountains any time of the year.

Madeira Mountains

About the uninhabited islands

The Desertas islands lie about 40 km (24 miles) southeast of Madeira. In contrast, the Selvagens islands, Selvagens islands nature reserve or Salvage Islands, are located 300 km (186 miles) south of Madeira, and 150 km (93 miles) of the Canary Islands.

Of course, access to these islands is only by sea. We can arrange Desertas islands boat trip and Desertas islands tour here, but the law limits visitors’ number. On the other hand, there are no regular trips to the Salvage Islands, and the Government authorize only specific groups such as scientists.

Both are nature reserves as they are home to some of the rarest plants on the planet and are a perfect sanctuary for birds.

Equally important, Desertas islands Madeira, is a refuge of the Mediterranean monk seal (Monachus monachus), the world’s rarest seal, and Desertas islands spiders, Hogna ingens, endemism of these islands.

Where is Funchal Madeira Portugal?

Funchal City is Madeira’s capital and covers ancient volcano slopes with the sea on one side and the other’s mountains.

Madeira airport is at least a 20-minute drive from Funchal.

Funchal’s harbour continues to be an essential stop-over for cruise ships, especially in winter.

The Funchal city centre houses preserved churches, appealing museums, beautiful gardens and parks, restaurants, narrow streets, casinos, and nightclubs to enumerate.

Besides, the food is exquisite. Some events are fantastic: without reservation, the Flower Festival with trucks loaded with flowers welcoming spring and the New Year’s Eve whose pyrotechnic show entered the Guinness Book of World Records, and many others.

Moreover, some Funchal city centre hotels are world-class hotels.

Funchal city break packages for families here.

Funchal city guide here.

Download Funchal city map here.

Who owns Madeira island?

Madeira island owner is Portugal.

Madeira islands form the Autonomous Region of Madeira with 254,254 inhabitants.

The capital city, Funchal, has 104,024 inhabitants, and the Porto Santo population is 5,202.

Eight thousand five hundred eighty-six (8,586) are foreign residents, explicitly coming from Venezuela (24.1%), United Kingdom (12.8%), Brazil (10.1%), and Germany (6.4%).

Source: INE Data for 2019, published in November 2020.

How big is Madeira island?

  • Madeira island size 736 sq. km
  • Porto Santo 43 sq. km
  • Desertas 14 sq. km
  • Selvagens 4 sq. km.

Madeira is the largest island of the group with 36 miles (58 km) long, a maximum width of 14 miles (23 km), and a coastline of about 90 miles (144 km).

You can download Madeira map here.

Madeira island time zone

Madeira island Portugal time zone is Western European Time (WET, UTC±00:00), also known as Greenwich Mean Time. In truth, the same time as in London, United Kingdom.

Are the Madeira Islands part of Europe or Africa?

Although politically they are part of Portugal, the Madeira Islands are closer to Africa than they are to Europe, and so geographically they are part of the African Continent. Selvagens is the closest island to Africa, at only 367 km (228 miles) from Morocco.

Madeira how to get there?

Madeira island flights from Cristiano Ronaldo Airport Madeira Portugal (FNC).

Direct flights to 20 cities and flight hours:

Chechnya: Prague, 4:30

France: Paris 3:40

Germany: Frankfurt 4:10, Düsseldorf 4:05, Berlin 4:45, Hanover 4:15, Hamburg 4:20, Munich 4:10,

Stuttgart 4:00, Cologne 4:05

Spain: Las Palmas 1:30

Luxembourg 3:50

Portugal: Lisbon 1:40, Oporto 2:00, Porto Santo, an island near Madeira 00:25, Ponta Delgada, Azores 2:05

Switzerland: Zurich 3:55

The Netherlands: Amsterdam 4:10

United Kingdom: London 3:40, Bristol 3:35


I hope you’ve enjoyed this post about Madeira in the world or where Madeira is situated.

I also hope you’re able to visit us someday when the time is right.

See you soon! *\(^o^✿)/*

The Adventures of Boo in Madeira

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