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LAST UPDATED 11/02/2008
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Bemoeial2: Location of Madeira, 21 August 2005

Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago in the north Atlantic Ocean. And although it is located about 650km off the North African coast in the African Plate, Madeira belongs ethnically, culturally, economically, and politically to Europe.

Madeira Island's sits on a very pleasant position resulting in a climate which varies between the north side, south side, and smaller islands groups like Porto Santo and Savages. The average annual temperature on the coastline can reach more than 20°C in the south. With its mild humidity, the weather of the island is classified as oceanic subtropical and with its low rain level, desertic on the Savages. Sea water temperature varies between 17°C to 26°C.

Tourism is an important sector in the region's economy since it contributes 20% to the region's GDP,. Visitors are mainly from the European Union, with German, British, Scandinavian and Portuguese tourists providing the main contingents.


Ordep: Porto Santo; 2007

Like the Canaries and the Azores, Madeira enjoys all the swell exposure you would imagine that an island sitting in the middle of the North Atlantic would. In a lot of ways, Madeira is like a Hawaiian island that didn’t quite have warm enough water to grow the coral reefs linking the deep volcanic basalt to the shoreline. Accordingly, Madeira’s breaks really only work in larger swells – those swells that have the depth of energy to feel the volcanic bottom and reach critical incident before they smash against the rocky shore.

Hence, Madeira is rapidly becoming well known as a big wave European destination. Due to the islands position well to the south of Europe, many of the storm cells that descend from the far north during Winter have the opportunity to arrange themselves into well groomed lines of swell. The north and western shores of Madeira accommodate these swells with several world class breaks including Paul do Mar and Ponta Pequena. Be warned however, these are serious big wave spots. If you need to warm up try the more sheltered Machico on the east coast before you put it all on the line.

where to stay

Neeta Lind: Luxury Resort, 15 December 2007

There are so many different accommodation options available in Madeira.
Suiting your own budget, you can choose to go during the low season (winter) when prices drop significantly, or high season (during Christmas).

If you have communication issues with the locals, you may want to stay at Crowne Plaza. All rooms have ocean front views facing east. Another nice option is to stay at Villa Koala. The Koala is a small run hotel on the south side of the island.

If you aren't on a budget, The Cliff Bay is a 5 star hotel owned by the Porto Bay group. It is the most awarded 5 star hotel in Madeira and voted in the top 100 World Luxury Hotels.

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