Ilhatours is a tourism leisure company whose main goal is to provide excellent service through high quality products. This is how Ilhatours intends to succeed in such a highly competitive sector of tourism in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.
We wish to attract clients, as well as companies, organizations and public institutions, with recognized credibility and integrity.
We are committed to provide excellent services on our excursions around the Madeira Island, transfers from and to the airport (private and luxurious), levada walks and mountain hikes, all lead by professional and experienced guides.
Madeira Island was discovered in 1419 by the Portuguese explorers Tristão Vaz Teixeira, Bartolomeu Perestrelo e João Gonçalves Zarco, who gave the island the name “Madeira” (en: “Wood”) due to the abundance of wood in the island. Even though Madeira Island was not marked on the map then, corsairs had already been using this island for supplies during their trade routes. Due to the archipelago’s clear potentials, as well as its strategic importance, around 1425 marked the beginning of colonization.
During the start of Madeira’s settlement, agriculture was introduced, amongst them the sugarcane, which rapidly became a prosperous addition to Funchal’s metropolis. During the late 15th century, this lead to Funchal becoming an obligatory port in European trade routes. The 17th and 18th centuries were marked by the development of a new tradition that would prospect Madeira’s economy: wine.
Throughout the 19th and 20th century, Madeira flourished into the touristic sector. Madeira rapidly became a preferred destination for European aristocrats to have temporary residence, attracted by the natural therapeutic qualities of the island.
Porto Santo Island, on the other hand, was accidentally discovered in 1418 by the same explorers, who were ordered by Henry the Navigator to discover new territory in West Africa. A storm got them off their route, and after many days in the high seas they see this small island, which they named Porto Santo (en: “Holy Harbour”) as it saved the crew from certain death.
In the 15th century, Madeira begins the cultivation of sugarcanes, imported from Sicily by Henry the Navigator. With the rapid expansion of the sugarcane industry, Funchal became the trade center of excellence, frequented by traders of various nationalities. During the 18th and 19th century, Madeira’s climatic qualities and therapeutic effects made this island distinguished. Thus, from the late 18th century, Madeira became a resort for this purpose, as the climate was considered the cure for tuberculosis.
In the 19th century, the Madeira’s visitors were summed up into four large groups: patients, travelers, tourists and scientists. The majority of the visitors belonged to the moneyed aristocracy, with an endless list of aristocrats, princes, princesses and monarchs.
In 1976, Madeira became an Autonomous Region of Portugal, thus gaining legislative power. This was a result of the 25th of April revolution in 1974, which marked the beginning of a new era. During the first part of the 20th century, there was an increased interest in air travel. With the world becoming more connected by these means, Aquila Airways start flying to Madeira on the 15th of May 1949.
Since then, and thanks to Portugal joining the European Union, the Autonomous Region of Madeira, through its Regional Government, developed great improvements over their transport networks throughout the whole island. Thus, routes that could take hours or even days, today takes only a few minutes. Madeira Airport, in Santa Cruz, also got improved as to facilitate the landing of larger aircrafts.
Nowadays Madeira is one of the best holiday destinations for holidays, recognised as the World's Leading Island Destination 2015.