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Located in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 530 miles west of Portugal, Madeira is a volcanic archipelago discovered by Portuguese explorers in 1419. The beautiful island is only small but has stunning natural scenery with a rugged coastline and dramatic cliffs. A good option for exploring the island is cheap Madeira car hire.
The capital city of Funchal is filled with historical buildings and monuments. The charming streets of the city are well laid out and have plenty of green landscaping. Funchal has a beautiful harbour, which is a major stop over for cruise liners en route to the Caribbean islands from Europe.
Situated on the northern coast and easily reached by cheap Madeira car rental is the charming village of Sao Vicente, which is home to the Volcanism Centre, an educational museum for volcanic eruptions. There are also some volcanic caves to explore that have been formed by lava flow from over 400,000 years ago.
Madeira is renowned for its vineyards, which produce premium quality wines. You can see the wine production centres in Cabo Girao and Estreito de Camara dos Lobos. There are daily tours showing the wine making process from start to finish, with dinner and wine tasting included at the end.
For a fun daytrip you can venture 22 miles north of Funchal to the mountain village of Pico do Arieiro. Pico do Arieiro offers fantastic views over Funchal city and the surrounding area and Atlantic Ocean. You can easily drive to the village by Madeira car hire, stopping off at other places along the way.