Madeira Island Review

Madeira Island Review

The island of Madeira has a surface area of 459 square miles (741 km2), (35 miles long and 13 miles wide).

Thanks to their excellent geographical location and mountainous relief, these islands have surprisingly balmy weather, with moderate humidity and pleasant average temperatures of 25ºC in the summer and 17ºC in the winter.

The sea temperature is also very mild, thanks to the influence of the warm Gulf Stream, averaging 22ºC in the summer and 18ºC in the winter.

The archipelago is located in the African Plate in the Atlantic Ocean between latitude 30 ° and 33 °N, basically at the same latitude as Casablanca, 978 km southwest of Lisbon, about 700 km west of the African coast, and 450 km north of the Canary Islands.

This archipelago is formed by the Madeira Island with an area of 741 km², Porto Santo with 42.5 km², the Desertas Islands with a total of 14.2 km² comprising the three uninhabited islands, and by the Selvagens Islands whose set of 3 islands and sixteen uninhabited islets make up an area of 3.6 km². Of the eight islands, only the two largest (Madeira and Porto Santo) are inhabited and can be accessed via the Madeira Airport in Funchal and Porto Santo Airport.

Funchal, the capital city of Madeira, has access by sea, through a port with a modern station that stands out on the national scene, with regard to cruising. More than half a million passengers disembark here per year. The remaining islands are nature reserves.

For hundreds of years, Funchal was the only city of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, until 5 other cities gained this status between the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the next century: Câmara de Lobos, Caniço, Machico, Santana and Vila Baleira.

The island of Madeira has a very rugged terrain, with the highest point being Pico Ruivo (1,862 m), the Pico das Torres (1,851 m) and Pico do Arieiro (1,818 m), respectively the third, fourth and fifth highest points of Portugal. The northern coast is dominated by high cliffs and in the western part of the island you find a plateau region, the Paul da Serra with altitudes between 1,300 and 1,500 m.

The population of the Autonomous Region of Madeira is traditionally follows Roman Catholicism.

The Diocese of Funchal was created on 12 June 1514 and its current bishop is D. Nuno Brás da Silva Martins.

In 1991, Pope John Paul II visited the island of Madeira and, to this day, he was the only Pope to visit the island.

Protestantism is practiced by few natural inhabitants and in small groups. To serve this cult, there is, in Funchal, a temple for the Anglican rite, the English Church, and another one for the Scottish rite, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Funchal.


The accessibilities on the island of Madeira are a little varied, we have places where we can go easily, without major problems, but many of them are not accessible.

The downtown Funchal, where the port is easy, it’s all flat, problems start when we need to enter the shops of shopping, shopping (elevators of small dimensions), restaurants. The old area, it’s almost all in ancient stone, it’s not hard, but it becomes a problem.

The cable car is highly sought after, for those who will visit the Monte. The cable car stops to get someone in a wheelchair, scooter, but you need to be careful with the measurements of the cabin and doors.

When we get to the Monte, there’s a garden. Monte Palace Garden, is extremely large, and we take about 4h to see. It is not fully accessible, but it has a golf cart, paying an extra price, they can come and seek it there is a doorway and leave it at the end of the garden while waiting for your family.

The botanical garden is one of the most visited gardens of the island of Madeira, but it is not accessible for wheelchair, the floor is stone, has enough uneven but through the chair for all the land that my company uses, this garden can be visited.

It is possible to visit the Monte Palace Garden using the same equipment.


Much of the museums are accessible, it depends of course on the location of each.

Some use ramps for manual chairs to enter, elevators, depends a lot on the size of each equipment (chairs) and not all authorize the electric chairs and scooters enter because it can damage the floor or hit what is exposed.


Transport is only possible in the Funchal area, some buses are equipped with electric ramp, on the side, but do not always work, and the measurements are for manual chairs, if it is a larger chair / scooter, may not fit. As they are public transport, no accessories are used to fix the equipment, I remind you that we have many descents and climbs.

There are some tour buses that make some trips in the center of funchal and surroundings, are prepared to wheelchair with manual ramp, but again I warn, which are not fixed with accessories, and we have many ups and downs. The experience can be good as bad.

Food And Beverage Tasting Venues

There are many traditional places for wine tasting, sweets and traditional delicacies, some are accessible via elevator, or we put access ramps.


Many viewpoints are wheelchair accessible, without major problems, highlights the viewpoint of Cabo Girão, which has restaurant and adapted toilet. The viewpoint of the Bride’s Veil, one of the very famous viewpoints of our island. These are ones that stand out.

There are others that are part of our tours.


Many restaurants are accessible, through elevators, ramps, etc.

They are places where you can taste our traditional food, such as fried corn with tuna, shard cake, meat skewers and fried corn and other delicacies that we can taste and cry for more.

Some have the traditional Madeiran dancer to discover a little more about our culture.

And many other sites, attractions such as the Madeira Theme Park, the Caves of São Vicente (only the center of volcanism, the caves themselves, are not), the Aquarium of Porto Moniz.

But for those who do not know my company, here is the description, so do not have to worry about accessibility, and we take care of everything.

Madeira Acessível By Wheelchair

We are a company based in Madeira Island, Portugal. We focus our services on people with reduced mobility. Our concept is based on the finding of the physical barriers that people in wheelchairs face on a daily basis. From stairs to high walks.

Our role is to minimize these barriers and provide transport services and carry out activities that have been difficult or even impossible for people with difficulty in getting around, such as Levadas. Our motto is THE IMPOSSIBLE WILL BE POSSIBLE.

In order to achieve this goal we have given ourselves specific equipment, such as an adapted vehicle, fold-out ramps and an all-terrain wheelchair, unique in Portugal.

Our island is a land with enormous beauty, mountains and sea. In these mountains there are the “Levadas”, a designation given to an irrigation channel or aqueduct flanked by a pedestrian path and are specific to the island. These channels have an extension of more than 2000 km and are likely to be covered on foot. Due to their landscape beauty, and their surroundings in nature, they are highly sought after by those who visit us.

Most have no width, no wheelchair access, but we managed to list and make two levadas with our all-terrain wheelchair, these being the Balcões and the Queimadas. The first has a duration of 1h30 m and at the end, has a viewpoint overlooking the mountains, where we can feed the birds (which simply come to our hands) and contemplate the silence. The second has an average duration of also 1h30m and at the end has access to a small park with ducks, plants and a café with some cakes and drinks (Parque das Queimadas).

But we do not stay here, we also do the normal tourist tours, where people can visit several emblematic places of Madeira, such as the viewpoint of Cabo Girão or the Lighthouse of Ponta do Pargo.

In addition to these two places, we have more variety of places to visit, such as museums, wicker factory, wine and embroidery, distilleries, gardens, such as the

Botanical garden (Jardim Botânico). This last on, only with the feature of the off-road chair. All are part of our portfolio, and always contemplate accessibility for our customers and the certainty that they can discover them in total safety.

All our routes go through adapted toilets.

Our car is adapted up to 3 wheelchairs and up to 7 people (always depending on the size and quantity of the wheelchairs).

Ending with a description of our services (with driver and a guide except for transfers where only the driver goes):

Routes in specific levadas

Sightseeing tours around the island

Airport or port/hotel transfers

Pickup and drop off (example: going to dinners or specific locations)

Um Caminho Para Todos

Queimadas, A Way For All

A Path That Begins At Pico Das Pedras And Ending In The Queimadas Forest Park

One Of The Only Paths Prepared For People With Reduced Mobility And Blind People.

It’s A Pretty Long Way, Passing Through Nature.

This Path Can Do With An Electric Chair, Always Have Some Attention, Which Although They Say It Is Prepared, Some Passage Areas Have Enough Leaves, Earth, Lameiro And Roots Of The Trees, Which Along The Route Can Become Uncomfortable And The Chair Get Stuck. It’s Not Any Kind Of Electric Chair, Or Scooter.

(It Is Recommended To Use Equipment With Some Power To Not Get Stuck).

Can Be Done With The Help Of Front-wheel Drive Equipment

It Is Possible To Make This Journey With A Blind Person, Clinging To The Varandim, Having The Support Of A Person. The Floor Is Quite Uneven. To Make This Route We Took About 1h30 In A Wheelchair To Each Side.

Along The Way, The Silence Of Nature Rules, We Appreciate The Birds Around Us, We Smell The Trees.

A Quiet Place…

When It’s Morning, We Feel It In The Air, Still The Morning Dew.

At The End Of This Route, We Find The Parque Das Queimadas.

In This Park Has Chairs And Tables, Where We Can Have A Small Picnic

It Has A Small Support Café, Where It Has Cakes And Other Madeiran Delicacies

In This Place Has A House, The House Of The Burned Is Linked To The Construction Of The Levada Of The Green Cauldron, Whose Beginning Is Between 1877 And Its Conclusion Around 1904. It Is Thus Related To The Cyclopic Task That Crossed The Island Centuries, Since About 1425 , To Tame Nature And Enjoy Its Riches, Such As The Abundant Water That Should Be Water That Should Be Channeled And Used In Agriculture. In Addition To The Extensive, And Often Dangerous, Work Of Canalizing The Water And Building The Levadas, Especially Since The 19th Century, Many Outsider Hikers Were Ecstatic With The Abrupt Beauty Of The Ravines And Mountains Of The North Coast, Making Especially The Quinta Hotels Acciaolly And Figueira, First On The North Coast And Nerve Points, Home Of The Attack On The Difficult And Amazing Views Of The Misty North. These Landscapes Were Then Often Drawn And Engraved Throughout The 19th Century, Especially By The English, Creating Travel Albums.

It Has An Adapted Bathroom.

In The Park Itself, There Is A Space Where There Are Ducklings, We Can See And Feed, Many Birds Usually Appear, Especially To Steal The Crumbs We Leave Behind.

The Company, Madeira Acessivel By Wheelchair, Has This Route As The Best, For Those Who Want To Enjoy Nature, It Is Possible To Do With Our Chair Of All Terrain, Where You Will Not Have Major Problems In Doing It Safely.

When You Arrive At The Queimadas Park, You Can Have A Snack, Relax, Be With Your Family.

We Are Not A Simple Company, We Are The Company That Cares About You, Taking Accessibility Further Than Normal.

Published in Travel


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