We visited Madeira in early March and it was still really winter. Even in that season it makes its reputation as "Flower Island" to honor, with clear blue skies, a blue sea that is always and everywhere to be seen, abundant flowers. We can hardly imagine that it is winter here.
We opted for an 'active' visit to Madeira, on a fly & drive. This enabled us to decide when and where we would be going. A luxury situation, because even though the island is only 45 to 20 km, the weather conditions may be totally different in the south and the north. We therefore made our program on the spot, depending on the weather conditions. On our walk to the Pico Ariero we even had the extreme good fortune to sit completely above the clouds. A unique experience.
Madeira is of volcanic origin. In two places this is clearly visible. The walk to Ponte do Castelo goes to the colorful basaltic rocks in the far northeast of the island. In the neighborhood of São Vicente you can go underground in the Centro do Volcanismo, in the bed of the ancient lava flows.
Hikers come especially to Madeira for the levadas. These were, already some centuries ago, built to irrigate the island. Narrow channels are bringing water down from high in the mountains. Along the Levada's there are walking trails which are in some places no wider than 15 inches and with a deep pit next to it