Transport in Madeira

Transport in Madeira

The Madeira islands and Funchal has an extensive public transportation system. Transport between the two main islands is done by plane or by ferries, the latter also allowing for the transportation of vehicles. Visiting the interior of the islands is now very easy, due to major road developments, known as the Vias rápidas, on the islands during Portugal's economic boom.

The islands have two airports, one in Santa Cruz (known as Funchal Airport (FNC)) on the Island of Madeira and the other in the city of Vila Baleira on Porto Santo Island. Flights to the islands are mostly made from Lisbon and Porto, but there are also direct flights from other major European cities and other countries, like Brazil, Venezuela and South Africa.

In the past Funchal airport was infamous for its short runway, and was built on a high embankment but which fell away abruptly to the sea and was often troubled by difficult upwinds which tended to uplift aircraft when landing. In the past the largest airliners that were able to use the airport were the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, but recently the runway has been realigned and extended from 1.0km to 2.7km, enabling almost any modern airliner to visit the island, including the Boeing 747-400, one of the biggest airliners today.

European Union citizens of the Schengen Treaty area can enter the islands freely, while those from other regions need identification.

Bus companies, including Horarios do Funchal which has been operating for over one hundred years, have regularly scheduled routes to all points of interest on the island.The "Direcção Regional dos Transportes Terrestres" is the department of the regional government responsible for land transportation in the autonomous region. [pt icon cite web |url= |title=Direcção Regional dos Transportes Terrestres |accessdate=2008-04-12 |work= [ Portal do Cidadão] ]


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