From The Madeira Island Web Site

The Geography of the Island of Madeira
By Jorge Barbosa
Apr 22, 2007 - 9:56:07 PM

The island of Madeira is situated in the North Atlantic, some 550 kilometres (340 miles) from Essaouira (also called Mogador in older - especially Portuguese - texts) the nearest point on the African coast. It is 2140 kilometres (1330 miles) from Southampton and 860 kilometres (535 miles) from mainland Portugal and approximately 1000 kilometres from the capital Lisbon. Interestingly enough, the distance to mainland Portugal is about the same distance to Santa Maria in the Azores (the other major archipelago and autonomous region) under the Portuguese flag.

The island of Madeira should not be confused with the archipelago of Madeira, which is constituted not only of the principal island of Madeira itself but also the only other inhabited island of Porto Santo and a further two sets of uninhabited islands called the Desertas (the “deserted” islands) some 16 kilometres south-east of the main island and the Selvagens (the “savage” or “wild” islands) some 216 kilometres south.

The island of Madeira lies between the parallels of 32º 49’ 44’’ and 32º 37’ 18’’ north latitude, and between longitude of 16º 39’ 30’’ and 17º 16’ 38’’ west of Greenwich. The island’s orientation is principally developed along a WNW to ESE direction. By great fortuitousness this orientation falls along the more expansive and most pleasantly liveable part of the coast of Madeira.

Madeira Island ’s length is 58 kilometres (36 miles) in length from the point where sits the lighthouse at Ponta do Pargo to Ponta do Barlavento. It is 23 kilometres (14 miles) wide, measured from Ponta da Cruz to Ponta de São Jorge.

The coastline has a total length of 153 kilometres (95 miles) which circumscribes an area of 737 square kilometres (458 square miles).

The terrain structure of Madeira may be described as a mountain chain or ridge stretching roughly east and west, forming the backbone of the Island. This mountain chain, interrupted only by the former volcano and crater hole of “ Curral das Freiras”, throws off lateral spurs, between which are great ravines running north and south, which terminate in mighty precipices and awesome sea-cliffs. Several of the central peaks reach a height of approximately 1800 metres (6000 feet), or a little less, forming a jagged and broken outline which is singularly impressive and picturesque.


Some interesting facts:

Alexandria ( Egypt), Mount Carmel ( Israel), Isfahan ( Iran) and Charleston ( U.S.A.) are all on the same parallel.

Bermuda is very nearly on the same parallel as Madeira.

Jerusalem (Israel/Palestine), Lahore ( India) and Marrakech ( Morocco) are only about one degree further south.

Madeira is about 400 kilometres (250 miles) from Tenerife (Canary Islands, Spain)

The "Selvagens" islands are closer to the Canary Islands than it is to Madeira Island itself.

The island of Madeira is about the same size as Singapore. But unlike Singapore a journey around the island will take more than half a day by car due to the irregular and winding roads along craggy and steep hills. In Singapore it takes an hour to do the same.

© Copyright 2007 by The Madeira Island Web Site