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Levada Walks

Madeira Island, set in the Atlantic Ocean c.350 miles (560 km) off the coast of Morocco, Madeira, the largest island, and Porto Santo are inhabited; the Desertas and Selvagens (the latter being somewhat closer to Africa) are not. Known to the Romans as the Purple Islands, they were rediscovered in the (15th cent.) under HENRY THE NAVIGATOR. The volcanic origins of Madeira can still be seen, the amphitheatre that surrounds Funchal was once a caldera. The Island is surprisingly mountainous with peaks of 1,860 meters; over 6,100 feet high! Fortunately for the tourists, volcanic activity stopped about 6,500 years ago. This activity has endowed the island with a fertile landscape where much of the island was, until comparatively recently covered in ancient subtropical rainforest.

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