Resting on the African shelf of the Atlantic Ocean and just 450 miles from the coast of Morocco lies the volcanic archipelago of Madeira. It’s hard to believe that Madeira and the chain of islands that share the same name were accidentally discovered by Portuguese explorers towards the end of the 15th century. Since being settled by the Portuguese in the 15th century, Madeira and its neighbor, Porto Santo, have become popular vacation spots frequented by travelers from around the world. Thanks to the agreeable weather conditions that allow natural beauty to thrive on their shores, flights to Madeira are packed year-round with travelers looking to escape the cold winter months. Funchal, the capital city of Madeira, is a cultural haven with ample opportunity for cultural exploration if roughing it in nature isn’t quite your style. Whether you choose to enjoy a glass of Madeira in a crowded tavern downtown while listening to some fado on the jukebox, mosey along the paths of the ancient stone waterways that once nourished the vineyards and orchards of the island, or ogle the imported tiles and antique Portuguese silverware on display at the Frederico de Freitas Museum, you’re sure to find something to suit your tastes on this quaint island that embraces its fascinating past.