Geography

There are many ways of getting to Madeira, but a good start is to locate it on a map. This is sometimes easier said than done, since the great cartographers of the world deem the mid-Atlantic to be of little interest to the mass of humanity. It doesn't help the cause of lost Atlantic island solidarity that the other land masses dotted around the ocean are, like Madeira, mere pin pricks in the swath of blue that fills up two pages of the Times Atlas of the World.

Try tracing a route from Lisbon south-by-south west for approximately 1000 kilometres and you will come across the Madeiran Archipelago, consisting of two inhabited islands (Madeira and Porto Santo) and two groups of uninhabited rock formations (‘Ilhas Desertas’ and ‘Ilhas Selvagens’).

For greater detail you must locate Portugal, on the Atlantic side of the Iberian Peninsula. A healthy majority of map makers, when not re-colouring the Commonwealth of Independent States, recognise that Madeira is an integral part of Portugal, and so include it and its sister islands of the Azores in rather inconvenient insert boxes.

Your plane will land at Madeira’s Airport on the eastern end of the island. This is about thirty minutes drive from Funchal. Anyone arriving by sea will dock directly in the beautiful natural harbour of Funchal. Anyone planning to arrive by train will be disappointed. The nearest railway station is Agadir, in Morocco!

To see where Madeira is located on the map click here.