Area : 320 square miles km2
Population : The island has a population of 275,000 inhabitants
Count at least 5 hours for a flight to Madeira from the UK. With its growing popularity as a holiday destination, more and more airlines are opening up routes to Funchal (the capital).
The airport is 14 miles outside of the city of Funchal. It takes about half an hour to get to the centre of town by taxi. There is no bus service from the airport aside from the shuttle buses chartered by tour operators.
You should remain vigilant on the road in Madeira. At various points the bends and ravines can be dangerous.
The language is Portuguese however, English may be more common in the touristic areas.
For European citizens, a passport that has a validity of at least 6 months is sufficient.
84.5% of the Portuguese population is Roman Catholic, with another 2.2% belonging to different Christian faiths. There are also small minorities of Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and atheists.
The currency is the Euro. Travellers cheques and international credit cards are accepted (American Express, Visa, Eurocard, etc). Most banks are open during the week from 8:30am to 3:00pm and closed on Saturdays.
Portugal's international airports are Lisbon, Porto, Faro, Funchal (the island of Madeira) and Ponta Delgada in the Azores Islands and are used by a wide number of airlines, low cost and otherwise. To get to the centre of Lisbon from the airport, a bus provides regular trips every 20 minutes from Praça de Restauradores. In Porto, the number 56 will take you from the airport to the centre, taking no more than 15 minutes. For Faro airport, a bus service is also provided from outside the terminal building, as well as bus numbers 17 and 18, to take you the 5 miles into the city. Taxis are also available from all airports and differ in cost, but are not hugely expensive.
A national network of coaches called the Rodoviária Nacional provides extremely good travel throughout Portugal, especially on the more popular routes and those not accessible by train. In the larger cities, coaches provide many excellent local excursions.
In Lisbon, the metro system is not particularly extensive but still extremely easy to use and cheap. The stations have recently been refurbished and are now decorated with works from contemporary Portuguese artists, well worth a visit for fans of art as well as those just wanting to get around!
The railway, Caminhos de Ferro Portuguese, is state owned and provides very reasonable transport around the country. Lines connect all major cities as well as some smaller towns and all are efficient and comfortable.
For the islands of Portugal:
Aviation links ensure transportation between all islands. But be careful as certain flights operate only twice a week.
During the summer ships operate under a regular schedule linking the islands of Faial, Graciosa, Pico, São Jorge and Terceira. Make sure you know the duration of the trip before setting off.
If you wish to sightsee around the islands' interiors, it is highly recommended that you rent a car. In this case, you would need a driving license, nationally or internationally recognised.
By bus: A bus service is provided only on certain islands
No particular vaccine is required but it's not a bad idea to get a European Health Insurance card. It replaced the E111 form in 2004; it is valid for one year and works in all EU countries.
Voltage of 220 V. Bring an adaptor.
In 2010, Portugal welcomed 6,756,000 tourists.
Tips of about 10% are always appreciated, especially in restaurants and taxis.
To call Madeira from the UK dial 00 (international code) +351 (country code for Portugal) +291 (code for Madeira) + the rest of the phone number.
To call the UK from Madeira dial 00 (international code) +44 (country code for the UK) + the rest of the phone number, minus the first 0.
Portuguese National Tourist Office
11 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8PP.
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 9:00am to 1:30pm by appointment only. Closed during UK and Portuguese bank holidays.
Telephone: 0845 355 1212
The Portuguese Embassy
11 Belgrave Square, London, SW1X 8PP
Telephone: (020) 7235 5331
Fax: (020) 7245 1287
British Embassy in Portugal
Rua de Sao Bernardo 33, 1249-082 Lisbon
Telephone: +35 1 21 392 4000