The island of Madeira or the island of Wood has only been inhabited since the 15th century. Sheltering the biggest laurel forest in the world, the island offers an astonishing contrast between the sea and the land. With its forests which are so much sought after by hikers, its fine sandy beaches, its fishing villages like Camara de Lobos, its white houses and colored boats, Madeira is heaven on Earth. Property in Madeira is very well priced, from the apartments in Funchal, to the villas with swimming pools on the high cliffs. If you prefer peace and quiet, you will also find many houses for sale in Porto Santos, the second biggest island in the archipelago.