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My Escapes Portugal Madeira Escape to Lush Green Madeira Madeira's Impressive Infrastructure

Madeira's Impressive Infrastructure

January 23, 2014

Madeira has an impressively well-developed infrastructure.
I was surprised to see the large number of modern bridges, tunnels and to even find out about the extended network of levadas...

One particular thing I found attractive was this developed infrastructure of the little island. The excellent condition of roads, even highways (!), the sheer number of massive suspended bridges, viaducts and tunnels running under entire neighbourhoods was shocking...

I saw such things in Japan, but nothing similar on continental Europe! Not at this scale!

Bridges, tunnels, highway...

Infrastructure gets very complicated

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The Levadas

The levadas are aqueducts used for agricultural irrigation. They gather the water of mountain streams and also, during rainy periods, they transport even larger amount of water.

Of course, the function of the levadas is primarily for the sake of irrigation, but in realit they also protect the land and inhabited areas from floods that could occur.

In addition, many levadas are used to provide hydro-electric power as well!

The network stretches over 2,170 km (1,350 mi).

The first levadas were constructed in the 16th century, while the last ones in the 1940's. Many of them were built by slaves, detainees, criminals.

Roads, Bridges, Tunnels

The most impressive were the huge viaducts and long tunnels carved into hard volcanic rock!

Funchal alone is impressive...

Large bridge in Funchal

Notice the huge bridge spanning across the valley in the distance

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Many of these tunnels are modern or at least, seem very new, but in fact plenty of them were built in the 19th and early 20th century with human physical effort.

Madeira has over 100 tunnels and vastly more bridges. The total highway network is of 140 km!

All this on a relatively small island that measures roughly 57.5 km in length, 23 km in width!

Tunnel in Funchal

Tunnel in central Funchal

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The Airport

Located near Santa Cruz, the airport is officially known as Madeira Airport, but its IATA code of FNC suggests "Funchal". Although, it's 13.2 km (8.2 mi) away from the capital city.

I was build in 1964 with 2 runways and a length of 1,600 m, but has since been extended to 2,781 m. Much of the runway is supported by concrete pylons (70 m tall and there are 180 of them!).

According to the History Channel's "Most Extreme Reports", the Funchal Airport is considered the 9th most dangerous airport in the World!

Escape Hunter

About the Author:

Escape Hunter, the young solo traveler in his early 30's explores the World driven by curiosity, thirst for adventure, deep passion for beauty, love for freedom and diversity.
With a nuanced, even humorous approach to travel, an obsession for art and design, Escape Hunter prefers to travel slowly, in order to learn and "soak up" the local atmosphere...


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