Madeira flourished as a tourist destination in the 19th and 20th centuries. Since then, it has become known as a refuge of natural beauty in the middle of the Atlantic. The blue sea, green vegetation and colourful flowers come together in a group of islands of which two-thirds is a protected area. Holidaymakers will find peace and tranquillity in the hotels in Madeira, and they will fall in love with the stunning climate offered by this destination.
One of the main attractions of Madeira, both the island and the archipelago, is its lush natural landscape that combines characteristics of tropical climates and the Mediterranean, creating a spectacular mosaic of vegetation.
One of the most emblematic places amidst this lush vegetation is the fascinating Laurisilva of Madeira, recognised as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 1999. This laurel forest is considered a great natural treasure and almost the entire area it covers is included in the Madeira Natural Park.
One of the best ways to discover this ecological paradise is by walking along the paths and «levadas» that traverse the heart of this forest, and enjoy direct contact with the native flora and fauna.
Along with the Madeira Natural Park, the destination offers visitors the chance to visit nature reserves such as the Santana Biosphere Reserve, recognised as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in June 2011; Desertas Islands Nature Reserve, the last Atlantic sanctuary of the monk seal; Selvagens Islands Nature Reserve, one of the oldest in Portugal; Garajau Parcial Nature Reserve, a fantastic marine reserve created in 1986; and Rocha do Navio Nature Reserve.
Despite its relatively small size, Madeira boasts a huge variety of stunning landscapes and charming towns.The archipelago is ideal for discovering extraordinary places surrounded by exuberant nature.
The hotel Allegro Madeira offers the perfect opportunity to discover Funchal, the capital of the archipelago and the ideal holiday destination offering a pleasant climate and plenty of places to visit, including Sé, the Jesuit church (Igreja do Colégio), the main square (Praça do Município) and the farmers' market (Mercado dos Lavradores), among others.
To continue the tour, visitors can choose from places of interest such as Cabo Girão, the second highest cliff in the world; Curral das Freiras, with one of the most impressive landscapes on the island; Paul da Serra, the largest plateau in Madeira; the Encumeada pass, an obligatory stop to observe the spectacular vegetation of the Laurisilva forest; and Ponta de São Lourenço, the most easterly point on the island.
But if Madeira has one thing that makes it stand out, it is the volcanic beaches. Madeira's beaches are black because the sand is of volcanic origin and this is precisely what makes them so special. Porto Santo, Ribeira Brava, Formosa and Fajã dos Padres are among the best black sand beaches of the whole Atlantic.