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Madeira Island, Portugal

Madeira Island, Portugal
Region: Africa
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Madeira is an archipelago made up of several islands, mainly the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo, the Desertas and the Savage Islands. Madeira is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, less than 400km away from Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands. The Canary Islands, also known as the Canaries, are located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa, 100 km west of the border between Morocco and the Western Sahara.

Madeira Island is well known among surfing enthusiasts as being a world glass surfing venue. It should also be known among windsurfing enthusiasts for being a properly good windsurfing venue. Here are the main bits and pieces you need to know about the island of Madeira, should you decide to go there to windsurf:

Madeira gets steady northerly to north-easterly trade winds during the summer and winds generated by storms during the winter. The summer trades blow at an average Force 5; the winter winds are all over the place.

The best months to go to Madeira for wind are May, June, July, August and September (the summer)

If summer is the best time to go to Madeira for wind, winter is the best time to go for swell. If it’s swell you’re looking for, go to the island of Madeira anytime from October until March. Please note that the conditions in winter are suited only for the expert windsurfer with plenty of time on his hands – time he will spend going from one spot to another. You should also note that the winter is the perfect time for surfing and waves sailing.

If you plan on going in the summer, pack your boardies; if you plan on going in the summer, pack your winter wetsuit. 

The climate in Madeira is subtropical-Mediterranean. The islands that make up the Madeira archipelago are strongly influenced by the Gulf Stream; thanks to the Gulf Stream the temperature in Madeira is mild all year long. Along the coastline, the average annual temperature is between 15º and 22°C while the average water temperature is of about 20°C. In the summer, the air temperature is between 25 ºC and 28 ºC white the water temperature is between 20 ºC and 22 ºC.

Windsurfing spots
You can try these windsurfing spots in Madeira: Canico, Funchal, Achadas da Cruz, Canical, Paul do Mar, CAbo Giroa.

Other useful information
Madeira Island is suitable for big kit riders willing to go out in offshore winds and expert riders wiling to ride some gnarly wave breaks. The high cliffs of Madeira make a lot of the beaches unsailable – that is unless on big kit and prepared to sail offshore. Madeira Island is a big mountain in the middle of the ocean; the wind doesn’t blow past it, it blows around it, being accelerated at the extremities. This means only some spots get wind and the wind only blows from one direction.

You will have to take your own gear. There’s no place to rent windsurfing gear in Madeira.

There’s no accommodation near the windsurfing spots, and accommodation in a hotel on tourist beaches can prove to be a bit expensive (that’s because tourism on the island of Madeira is mainly aimed at the rich travelers). If money is tight, you can stay at one of the two campsites available on the island, one at Porto Moniz and one at Montado do Pereiro.

You will need to rent a car to lug your gear around. Driving around the entire island takes about 4 hours. If you already know where you’re going, getting to your spot of choice should take about 30 minutes only.

Finding food will not be a problem. There are all sorts of places to eat out, from cheap cafes that do a mean stake sandwich to expensive harbourside restaurants aimed at the super rich.

Madeira Island has a vibrant nightlife.

Other outdoor activities
Apart from windsurfing, you can enjoy these other outdoor activities in Tenerife: surfing, hiking, mountain biking, scuba diving.

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