3rd European Conference on Scientific Diving
Funchal, Madeira - Portugal  
III European Conference on Scientific Diving 1017 About Madeira Island

About Madeira

Funchal is the capital of the Madeiran Autonomous Region. This Portuguese volcanic archipelago is made up of two inhabited Islands, Madeira and Porto Santo, as well as the Desertas and Selvagens Islands, with both these sub-archipelagos classified as Nature Reserves.

Madeira archipelago has a sub-tropical climate, with a mild weather most of the time. Funchal has mostly sunny days and the average temperature in March is 16 ºC, with a maximum of 19 ºC and a minimum of 13 ºC. The sea water temperature is around 18 ºC.

Madeira is the archipelago’s main island with 255,000 inhabitants and tourism is its main economic activity. Tourists tend to mingle with the locals, who have a friendly and welcoming attitude towards them. Although the language spoken in Madeira is Portuguese, English is widely spoken by the Madeirans, especially the younger generation.

Madeira has a rich history going back to the epic Portuguese discoveries of Porto Santo and Madeira Islands in 1419. Testifying the rich cultural heritage, there are numerous museums and monuments that can be visited. There are also many cultural activities in the island, from music festivals, concerts, theatre plays and so on.

Thanks to their excellent geographical location and mountainous relief, these islands have surprisingly balmy weather, with moderate humidity and pleasant average temperatures of 25 ºC in the summer and 17 ºC in the winter.

One of the greatest tourist attractions of the Island of Madeira lies in its spectacular landscape. Its luxurious vegetation continues to fascinate all those closely drawn to nature.

This archipelago, included in the bio-geographic region of Macaronesia, retains a natural heritage of great scientific value, distinguished by UNESCO as World Natural Heritage.

Madeira's indigenous Laurissilva forest, occupying an area of 15 thousand hectares, forms part of this vast layer of vegetation that covers the island. This ancient forest dates back to the Tertiary Era and includes very large trees amongst which is the Til, (Ocotea foetens), the Laurel-Tree, (Laurus novo canariensis) and the Brazilian Mahogany, (Persea indica). Surrounding the trees are mosses and many other bushes, including heather and ferns.

Amongst the bird life there are rare species such as the Long-toed pigeon, (Columba trocaz) and Zino's petrel or the Madeira Freira petrel, (Pterodroma madeira).

Considered a living relic, almost all of it has been classified as part of the Madeira Nature Reserve, and is deemed a Total Preservation Area.

How to get to Madeira

Getting to Madeira is both easy and affordable. Connected to the Portuguese mainland via Lisbon and Porto, and with the Azores via Ponta Delgada, there are more than 100 national flights/week to and from Madeira International Airport. Several flight exists between European countries such as Germany, Norway, United Kingdom, France, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Poland and Finland, both regular and chartered.

Travellers from outside Europe can get to Madeira either through Lisbon, Porto or through one of the main European cities with direct flights to Madeira.

Upon arrival at Madeira Airport there are several transport options to Funchal, the capital of Madeira:

Where to stay

Being such a popular tourist destination, Madeira has accommodations suitable for all budgets and preferences. From youth hostels in the heart of Funchal (around 20€/night) to 3 and 4-star hotels around Lido (nearby the conference location), with prices ranging from 30-90€/night, there will be no lack of options.

More information: http://www.visitmadeira.pt/en-gb/where-to-stay

DorisolConference Accommodation partners

The Dorisol group has agreed to be our partner in the conference.

They have 4 hotels around the conference venue (Hotels Florasol, Estrelícia, Buganvilia and Mimosa).

By mentioning the our reference ESDC Madeira, you'll the the discount prices:

What to do

Diving

Scuba diving in Madeira has gained more importance among visitors to the island during the last years.

A mild climate all year round, water temperatures of 18 to 23°C, crystal clear waters and the likelihood of viewing species like barracudas, dolphins, rays and even mantas are the main reasons why divers consider the island of Madeira more and more for their diving holidays.

There are several diving schools or leisure companies, located mainly in Funchal and Caniço de Baixo, which provide courses for all levels, diving excursions for more experienced divers and also equipment hire.

Scorpio Madeira

Pedro Gomes: +351 916 498 101

www.scorpiomadeira.com

Explora Madeira Diving Center

Emanuele Gloder: +351 962 672 251

Hotel Orca Praia - Funchal

Hotel Quinta de Penha de França Mar - Funchal

www.facebook.com/exploramadeira

www.exploramadeira.net

Madeira Divepoint

PADI Five Star Dive Resort # 798430

Hotel Madeira Carlton

Madeira/Portugal

Phone: +351 291 239 579

Mobile: +351 917 736 396

www.madeiradivepoint.com/a>

Other activities

There are plenty of activities to do in Madeira before and after the conference. You can go up in the mountains and explore the high peaks or go deep into the laurel forest following the “levadas” (water irrigation channels that cross the island bringing water from the north to the south and from higher up in the mountains to the agriculture fields down closer by the sea). There are over 900 km of levadas and walking trails all over the island. Many of these levadas and trails pass by the Madeira Natural Park, an area that covers two thirds of Madeira Island. There is also trekking, canyoning, geocaching, mountain biking, trail running, climbing, sightseeing or golf, just to name a few activities.

But being an island the sea is always present and calling. You can enjoy the mild sea water temperature and its oceanic clear waters by going to one of the pebble natural beaches around the island. You also have the opportunity to see some oceanic species that you have not seen before, twenty eight cetacean species are recorded to Madeira archipelago waters and there are several whale-watching companies operating from different localities such as Funchal, Calheta, Machico and Caniçal. If you are more interested in action, sports and adventure then you find many different options, such as, sailing, windsurfing, surfing, stand up paddling, coastering, boat rides or big game fishing. If you want to have a different perspective then we recommend you try hang-gliding or paragliding.

Porto Santo Island is only 2:30 hours away by ferry. With a small population of less than 5,000 people most of the year, it is a place of quietness, sea, nature and a beautiful long sandy beach.

The Desertas Islands are located 20 km Southeast of Madeira and can be easily seen from Funchal. Although they are a Nature Reserve with areas of restricted access, there are areas that can be visited and several companies doing one-day trips from Funchal to Desertas

The Selvagens Islands are located 300 km South of Madeira and are an area of Integral Nature Reserve, with visits being allowed only under a special permit. They constitute a sanctuary for marine birds and many endangered species use them for nesting.

Madeira has also its gastronomy to offer – from Espetada to peixe-espada-preto, bolo do caco, lapas, sopa de trigo or fresh fish – you should try these different delicacies and see which best fits your taste. You should also, of course, taste the different types of eponymous Madeira wine and Poncha, which Madeira is also famous for.

To find how more about these visit: www.visitmadeira.pt/en-gb/what-to-do/culture

Also download the map which contains important information about the conference location and several points of interest in Funchal.