Located in the Atlantic Ocean and with a pleasant climate throughout the year, Madeira is assumed to be the first historical destiny of Europe outside the old continent and is now one of the most respected destinies in the world.
The island of Madeira was discovered in the fifteenth century by Portuguese navigators Tristão Vaz Teixeira and João Gonçalves Zarco. Madeira’s name came from the lush vegetation that still covers most of the island, making nature one of the high points of this destination.
In fact, Madeira has been visited by illustrious names over the centuries: from the famous explorer Christopher Columbus to Elizabeth the Empress of Austria, better known as Sissi. Historic leaders like Charles I, Austria’s last Emperor, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, were also frequent visitors of this island, along with names like Bernard Shaw, the writer, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, former monarchs of Spain, Juan Carlos and Sofia and even Pope John Paul II.
Over the years, Madeira has welcomed tourists and benefited from foreign acculturation. For example, the first football game ever held in Portugal occurred in 1875, in Madeira, in the parish of Camacha. It was a British, Harry Hinton, who during a vacation brought a soccer ball and the game rules of football to Madeira. Today, football is the most popular sport on the island, which is also the birthplace of the most famous footballer of our time: Cristiano Ronaldo. Cristiano Ronaldo was born in Funchal and has won for three times the Best Player of the World award.
Today the main tourism gateway to Madeira is Madeira Airport, a modern, safe and functional infrastructure that is connected to more than fifty international airports. Madeira is at one hour and a half flight distance from the Portuguese capital, Lisbon. Flights usually take about three hours from major European capitals to Madeira. Madeira Airport has non stop flights from Portugal’s mainland, Spain, France, Germany, United Kingdom, Belgium, Netherlands, among other countries.
Another gateway to Madeira is the seaport of Funchal. This is a wide infrastructure that welcomes every day, some of the most impressive and well-known cruise ships of the most important companies in the world.
The World Centre of Excellence for Destinations (CED), institution regulated by the World Tourism Organization (WTO), evaluated Madeira as a tourist destination equating 15 parameters and awarded this island with an excellent quality grade.
Madeira Islands were also elected Europe's Leading Island Destination in the years 2013 and 2014 by the World Travel Awards. Madeira competed in this category next to major tourist destinations such as the Canary Islands, Balearic Islands, Sardinia, Malta and Cyprus.
Madeira has been for many years an excellent destination with first-class hotels and services which has given this island some international projection.
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