No-one can deny that Portugal is a wonderful gem of a country, but quite possibly its most amazing - and most poetic trump is the island of Madeira. Imagine a beautiful volcanic island, completely isolated in the Atlantic, but blessed with a mild subtropical climate - no doubt one of the world's most magical places!
It is not exactly known when and by whom Madeira was first discovered - but the Portuguese started to settle it in the early 15th century (previously, it had never been inhabited). It has belonged to that nation ever since, and Portuguese is also the language of the island. Madeira has about 245 thousand residents, and it is about three times the size of Malta, but Madeira's population density is three times lower. Indeed, the island is far away from everything: The distance to Portugal is 861 kilometers, but Morocco is a bit closer - it is 580 km away.
Belonging to Portugal and through it to the European Union, Madeira is as welcoming to foreigners as the whole of Western Europe. Obviously, tourism is a major factor, but since most of the visitors come to enjoy the islands' stunning natural beauty, the authorities are very anxious to keep their island green. Nevertheless, a lot of construction is going on at the present, albeit in a very nature-conscious manner. Since any citizen of the EU has the right to reside on Madeira, the market for permanent housing is also very well-developed.
In Madeira, you will find a lot of history as well, especially in Funchal, the island's capital, which has a famous and lovely old town. With its population of over a hundred thousand, it provides you with the option of real urban life on Madeira.