The only way to get to this island is by plane. Okay, there is a ferry that operates during the summer months between Portugal mainland, Madeira and Canary Islands, but by plane is usually the better choice.
Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport
Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport (which is the full name of Madeira Airport) is located in the civil parish of Santa Cruz on the east side of the island. As some of you might have heard, the Madeira’s airport is frequently listed among the scariest airports on the planet! Now why is that?
Madeira Airport – is it dangerous?
Well, it has to do with the airport’s location and the way it was built. It is located right between the hills and cliffs of the island and the ocean. Therefore the landing strip looks like just a thin line between the cliffs and the blue water from the sky. The runway had to be expanded into the ocean by building a platform and there are over 180 columns holding the expanded runway. What is interesting is that parts of the highway are beneath the runway – in fact, when you leave the airport in direction Porto da Cruz (north, not direction of Funchal) you will drive on this part of the highway. Below, you can see that there is a small harbor and also some sort of gym. It’s amazing! But back to the dangerous landings.
It’s not like they really are dangerous. But sometimes the conditions are bad and you cannot land. The second time we visited Madeira, we had one of these landings. It took us three attempts until we actually could land. This had something to do with the changing wind on the island, so first we came from the east side, but then had to turn and pass by Funchal, but then this also did not quite work. I thought we would land in the ocean 🙂 Anyway, only a limited amoung of pilots actually is qualified to fly into this airport after completing some sort of advanced training with a flight simulator. But, as far as I know, nothing serious ever really has happened.
Is it cool?
I would like to describe the landing on the island as the first touristic adventure everybody has to experience. When there is nice weather you really have the best view over the island. From afar the buildings look like lego houses in a jungle and the closer you get to the island, the more you believe you will land on one of those houses. Below you can see a video of one of our smooth landings.
Let me know if you have similar or completely different experiences with this airport! Peace out and lotsa love, Hana.
FOLLOW OUR BLOG
Receive notifications of new content directly by email.