Madeira is known as the "Island of flowers" due to its wide array of flowers and lush vegetation. The volcanic landscape provides visitors with steep mountains and valleys to explore, as well as dense forests and beautiful lagoons. Apart from nature onshore, Madeira is also popular for its (crystal clear) water-sports. Diving in Madeira is popular and whale and dolphin watching even more so. There is a surprisingly interesting diversity of marine life, including Manta Ray, Barracuda and large Groupers.

The Garajau Nature Reserve is well known, see the “where to go section” to read more about this reserve. The nature reserve Ilhas Desertas are a short boatride from Madeira where you can see a small colony of Monk seals.

Apart from Madeira Island, Porto Santo Island is the smaller of the inhabited islands of the Madeira Archipelago. It is located about 43 kilometers (27 mi) northeast of Madeira and it is the northernmost and easternmost island of the archipelago of Madeira. The main industry on the island of Porto Santo is tourism, based on the attractive beach and mild climate. The island is less crowdy and less developed than Madeira Island. Madeira has the best diving and diving facilities, but scuba diving at Porto Santo is becoming more popular.

The Madeirense, a cargo vessel that was sunk in 2000 to create an artifical reef and to put Porto Santo on the map for diving. It’s a great wreck dive for intermediate divers.


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