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Madeira Information
The autonomous region of Madeira comprises a number of islands of which only Madeira and Porto Santo are inhabited. Situated some 650 kilometres from the North African coast and about 955 kilometres from the European mainland, Madeira is part of Portugal having been discovered by Portuguese explorers between 1418 and 1420.

The island of Madeira is some 57 kilometres long and about 22 kilometres wide, and is dominated by a central mountain chain, the highest point reaching 1,867 metres. From the mountains radiate deep ravines down to the coast where there are cliffs and mainly rocky beaches, the cliffs at Cabo Girao being the second highest in the world. Originally covered by the 'Laurisilva' sub tropical rain forest, today only remnants remain in the north of the island. There are a number of 'Levadas' on the island - these used to carry water for irrigation but are now used for walking. The capital of the island is Funchal on the southern coast. Due to its mountainous landscape and its geographical position the island enjoys a pleasant climate, with the south of the island enjoying an average annual temperature of 20C.

Today the main income of the island is derived from tourism and Madeira wine.


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