The island is located in the Atlantic Ocean. Its distance from Madeira to mainland Europe (Portugal is the closet one) is about 1000 km. The distance to Africa is around 700 km. The person who had discovered Madeira was Joao Goncalves Zarco. In 1419 he landed on this island while escaping from a huge storm. In those days the island was completely covered by impenetrable forests and this fact gave the name to the island as "Madeira" means "a tree, a forest". Near this island are located other islands of the archipelago - Porto Santo and several wild uninhabited islands like Selvagens and Desertas. Both islands are turned into nature reserves.
Visitors will also find a unique ancient forest named Laurisilva in Madeira. The forest appeared yet during the Tertiary era and managed to survive thanks to the moderate and mild climate.
: guide to Madeira with maps, photos and weather conditions
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