Where is Madeira Island?

Where is Madeira Island?

I often get asked not only where is Madeira, but what is Madeira. So, today, I bring you the answer to help you find it, and I hope it can help 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 is less than a four-hour flight from London or Paris and about a four-hour flight from Germany.

What is Madeira island?

Madeira refers to both the volcanic archipelago (Arquipélago da Madeira) in the east of the North Atlantic and the Portuguese island of Madeira. In addition, Madeira is a fortified wine of the same name produced on the island, which will be the subject of another post.

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

As shown in the picture above, Madeira consists of seven islands: the two inhabited islands of Madeira and Porto Santo and five uninhabited islands:

  • Selvagens (Selvagem Grande and Selvagem Pequena)
  • Desertas (Ilhéu Chão, Deserta Grande and Bugio).

Furthermore, the territory of Madeira corresponds to the top of a volcano rising from the seafloor, with a depth of approximately 4000 meters (13,123 feet) and an altitude of 1,861 meters (6,105 feet) – Pico Ruivo.

We assign the volcanic origin of these forms of relief to a hotspot track. In the following video, you will see the mantle plume from where magma rises to form these islands.

Where is Porto Santo Madeira?

In 1418, Portuguese explorers deviated from their expedition to Africa and landed on Porto Santo Island. Only a year later, they discovered Madeira.

Porto Santo Island is located 60 kilometres (37 miles) northeast of Madeira Island. Its central city is Vila Baleira, and the highest mountain, Facho Peak, is 510 meters (1,673 feet) above sea level. The island is named “Golden Island” because of its 9-kilometre-long fine yellow sandy beach. In addition, it is known for having one of the best beaches in Europe, and its sand is famous for treating soreness and pain.


  • Porto Santo Hotels – most of which are on the sea frontline.
  • Porto Santo Golf
  • Porto Santo AirportYou can find Porto Santo flights here.
  • Porto Santo Marina – Porto Santo Line is the company that operates Porto Santo ferry. The trip Porto Santo Funchal takes approximately 2:15. For more information about tickets, please contact us or chat with us here.


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

Here is a list of things to do and see in Porto Santo.

You can download Porto Santo Portugal map here.

Madeira vs Porto Santo

Compared with Porto Santo, Madeira is mountainous, lush, green, and has a diverse microclimate (Weather in Madeira here). The difference is that Porto Santo Portugal, is small, almost flat, like a desert, and it rains very little (Porto Santo weather here).

Holidays in Madeira and Porto Santo are ideal for either a relaxing beach holiday or for a mountain adventure or city breaks Europe at any time of the year.

Madeira Mountains

About the uninhabited islands

The Desertas Islands are located approximately 40 kilometres (24 miles) southeast of Madeira Island. In contrast, the Selvagens islands, Selvagens Nature Reserve, or Salvage Islands are located 300 kilometres (186 miles) south of Madeira and 150 kilometres (93 miles) from the Canary Islands. Of course, access to these islands can only be by the sea. We can arrange Desertas islands boat trip and Desertas islands tour here, but the law restricts the number of tourists.

On the other hand, there are no regular trips to the Salvage Islands, and the Government only authorize certain groups such as scientists.

Both are nature reserves because they are home to some of the rarest plants on the planet and are also perfect refuges for birds.

Equally important, Desertas islands Madeira, is a refuge of the Mediterranean Monk Seal (Monachus monachus), the world’s rarest seal, and the Desertas islands spiders, Hogna ingens, which are endemic to these islands.

Where is Funchal Madeira Portugal?

The city of Funchal is the capital of Madeira and was built on top of ancient volcanic slopes, with the sea on one side and mountains on the other.

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

The harbour of Funchal is still an important stop-over for cruise ships, especially in winter. Funchal’s city centre has well-preserved churches, attractive museums, beautiful gardens and parks, restaurants, narrow streets, casinos and nightclubs. Perfect if you are planning to buy city breaks Europe.

Besides, the food is exquisite. Some events are inspiring: without reservation, the Flower Festival with trucks filled with flowers to welcome spring and the New Year’s Eve whose pyrotechnic show entered the Guinness Book of World Records, etc.

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

Funchal city breaks Europe packages for families here.

Funchal city guide here.

Download Funchal city map here.

Who owns Madeira island?

The owner of Madeira is Portugal.

The Madeira Islands form the Autonomous Region of Madeira, with 254,254 inhabitants.

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

Eight thousand five hundred and eighty-six (8,586) are foreign residents, specifically from Venezuela (24.1%), the 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 in the archipelago. It is 58 kilometres (36 miles) long, 23 kilometres (14 miles) wide, and has a coastline of approximately 144 kilometres (90 miles).

You can download the 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, at 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 Europe, so geographically they are part of the African continent. Selvagens is the closest island to Africa, only 367 kilometres (228 miles) from Morocco.

According to Wikipedia, Madeira territory is dependent and integrated into a state in another continent. But we are not the only ones! You can see the list of constituent parts of non-African states here.


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



Cristiano Ronaldo Airport Madeira Portugal

Luxury Travel Trends


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