The archipelago lies in the Atlantic Ocean. 900 kilometres southwest of the Portuguese mainland and 550 kilometres north of Tenerife. Madeira is of volcanic origin. The “Flower Island” has many springs. These supply the country by means of a widely branched canal system (Levadas). In the north, the island of Porto Santo belongs to the Madeira archipelago. As well as the uninhabited four Illhas Desertas and the two Selvagens. The main island is mountainous with only a few narrow valley incisions. The capital of the island is Funchal.
Arrival: e.g. via Lisbon or from many airports by charter in about four hours to Funchal.
Travel time: due to the mild subtropical climate all year round.
Accommodation: Madeira disposes of wide range of hotels.
Other activities: Hiking e.g. at Cabo Girao or at the high plateau Paul da Sierrra. Sightseeing in Funchal.
Blessed Fish World
Suddenly the fat one’s there. Suddenly he appears between the rocks. Despite his body fullness, he floats surprisingly majestically past the group of divers and “parks” his 200 kilograms in the sandy bottom. His big eyes roll curiously. With obvious interest, the thick one examines the divers. “Fish with masks? How absurd,” he seems to think. Good that groupers can’t talk…
The groupers of Cap Garajau are the attraction of the underwater park of Madeira. The rocky outcrop in the south of the island, which extends far into the Atlantic Ocean, is dominated by the statue of “Christo Rei”, erected in 1927. A smaller image of the landmark of Rio de Janeiro. Perhaps a special magic emanates from the extended arms of the statue. How else can it be that Garajau Bay is home to the richest fish population on the volcano island? Beside the perches, many moray eels and barracudas cavort around the towering boulders. Even large stingrays occasionally dig for prey in the sandy bottom. The many crevices and caves in the rocks are also home to a variety of submarine crawling animals.
The Annual Highlight
The house reef of some diving bases represents with the “Lava Finger” a fish-rich precinct. It is also very spectacular with its steep drops, caves and towering boulders. The marine animals know about the daily visits of the divers. They like to show themselves and get photographed. 🙂 Even a specimen of the rare monk seal often visits this stretch of coast. The cave on the left hand side of the house reef seems to be very nice for the animal.
Wreck Fans listen up!
Wreck fans also like the “Pronto”. Their remains lie 33 metres deep in the harbour entrance of the island capital Funchal. Due to its depth, only experienced divers can explore the steam supply ship sunk during the 2nd World War. They will also find an abundant fish soup.
A biological peculiarity is offered to the divers at the shallow “Machico East”. A unique accumulation of black corals in the waters off Madeira populates the bottom around the towering rock group. Due to frequent strong currents and poor visibility, this site is rarely diveable.
Top 5 Dive Sites in Madeira
House Reef: Lava Finger, Cave and Arena are the three completely different house reef dive sites. You can find it in Madeira’s only underwater park. There moray eels, bear crabs and manta rays are looking forward to a visit.
Cap Garajau: In the midst of huge boulders, big fish and sea bass find shelter. Many schools of fish, moray eels and many small animals ensure exciting dives. In late summer there are also encounters with manta rays.
T-Reef: Two bizarre rocks rising from a 30 meter deep sandy bottom in front of the nearby steep coast. They are home to a rich fauna, especially in the range of 15 to 30 metres. Among others, moray eels and flatfish.
Wreck of the Pronto: A steamboat torpedoed during the Second World War. You can find it in front of the port of Funchal at a depth of 30 to 33 metres. The wreck is badly damaged. Which does not seem to bother Zackis, Conger, rays and moray eels. Barracudas, tunas and mackerels also love the spot.
Machico East: A rocky outcrop rising a few meters below the water surface. Covered on the shady side with crust anemones. The very demanding dive site is often surrounded by currents and reaches down to a depth of 35 meters. It shines with black corals.
Sledging under sausage trees
In view of the many top dive sites it would be a pity to forget the charms of Madeira on land. So get in your rented car and off you go to sightseeing!
Funchal, the island capital, is an absolute must. Flower lovers can admire the export hit of Madeira, the Strelizie, high above Funchal in the Botanical Garden. As well as all the other floral splendours of the Atlantic island, such as the secret of the “sausage trees”. Or how about a little sleigh ride? Without snow of course, because that is scarce on the flower island. From Monte, a noble place of residence with stately villas high above Funchal, it goes down in sledge-like baskets to the capital. Five rapid kilometres of pistes with a high fun factor that should not be missed.
A Hikers Paradise
Madeira is also very good to explore on foot, provided you are in good shape. Those who ever walked out of Canical to the Ponta de Sao Lorenco will know what bizarre rock formations and steep cliffs that drop into the sea look like. The way between the Pico do Ariero (1818 metres) and the Pico das Torres (1847 metres) is spectacular. And yet completely different. The two highest elevations of the Atlantic island covered with magnificent flowers.
You feel like being in an airplane when you look over the sea from the 580 metres high Cabo Girao. Or into the valley basin Curral das Freias. Madeira became famous above all by the Levada hikes. Levadas are the watercourses that meander through the island. Due to their moderate gradient, they are more or less easy to walk on. But beware, one should be free of vertigo on this hiking tour already. The impassable paths on the valley side are seldom secured. The moments in which the course of north and south coast can be seen at the same time from hills are amazing. Sometimes Christo Rei greets us with his extended arms. Almost as if he wanted to remind us that the thick groupers of Cap Garajau are already waiting. For the next visit of the “Fish with masks”.
Want to dive in Madeira?
We will select the right diving schools for you according to your specifications.
They will then send you free and non-binding offers within a few days.
Simply compare and book. 🙂
We only forward your request to selected dive centres.
Your details will not be stored and you will not receive any advertising. Promise! 🙂