Find a travel buddy in Madeira

Madeira is a lush haven in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This verdant island boasts year-round beautiful weather and tall mountains covered in tropical forest. Visit and immerse yourself in the culture of the area.

Find a travel buddy in Madeira

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Plan your next trip to Madeira

Here, you will find all the answers to your questions. What to eat in Madeira? Where to stay? What to do?

With this Madeira destination guide, you will become an expert on Portugal's volcanic region. You might even end up giving a tour of Madeira one day!

Top 5 Things to do in Madeira

Let's have a look at some of the top things to do in Madeira:

1. Go waterfall hunting

The 25 Fontes hike, arguably the most popular on the island, is one of the best things to do on Madeira since it includes several beautiful waterfalls and is fairly level following a paved road drop into the valley.

2. Chase sunsets the sunset in Pico de Arieiro 

Pico do Arieiro, Madeira's third-highest summit is a must-see viewpoint. These breathtaking views are only a minute's walk from a parking lot! This makes it a great option for those who don't want to hike. For wheelchair users or those who are unable to climb stairs, there is even a stairlift.

3. Head to camara de lobos 

The Valley of the Nuns is a well-known location. Pirates used to cleanse and pillage the islands to the point where local nuns opted to hide within the valley itself, giving the place its name. If you enjoy the outdoors, this is one of the best things to do in Madeira.

4. Marvel at the sight of  Pico de Ana Ferreira 

This magnificent geological formation is the consequence of volcanic heating and cooling many thousands of years ago, resulting in these impressive pillars.

It's easier to arrive here by vehicle, transfer, or rental bike, as it's perched on the edge of the mountains.

5. Ride a monte sledge

A pretty thrilling ride on a Monte Sledge is a must-do on every trip to Madeira Island. You are pushed down the hill inside a wicker basket with no wheels (only skis) that glide down the road by the will and strength of two 'drivers.'

The best Instagram Spots in Madeira

your Instagram account will be filled with images of the best instagrammable sites in Madeira, you'll need your phone and plenty of memory because these places are just beyond beautiful! 

Ponta de sao lourenco 

The most convenient method to get there is to drive to the "Ponta de Sao Lourenço" car park. You may either take a selfie in front of this breathtaking view or walk 40 minutes to "Casa do Sardinha," one of the world's top lunch spots.

Santana houses 

The municipality of Santana presently manages these ancient houses. The entrance is free, and inside you may learn about and purchase local products and Santana crafts. The houses are open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.

Ribeira da Janela 

From the sea, black basalt boulders emerge, pointing to the sky. Ilheus da Ribeira da Janela, located in the northwest of the island, is a must-see after visiting Porto Moniz. Make a pit stop at Seixal along the way to photograph the beach, which has been named one of Madeira's best.

Cabo girao 

It has a spectacular view of the ocean and Madeira. Cabo Girao is one of Madeira's most Instagrammable places, located 20 minutes by vehicle from Funchal - it's a fully clear glass platform, you'll feel as if you're floating in mid-air.

The Best Travel Itinerary for Madeira

Do you only have 5 days or a week to visit the beautiful viewpoints this archipelago has to offer? check-out this compact itinerary and discover what Madeira has to offer.

A 5-day itinerary: how to visit the highlights 

Day 1 

Arriving in Funchal, the capital city of Madeira. Start the trip by either rent a car at the airport or in the city and discover the Monte Palaca Tropical gardens, The Funchal Farmers market and splurge on fresh produce, or head over to Funchal’s old town and 

Day 2 - Time to hike

Get up early on the second day of your Madeira itinerary and go to Pico do Arieiro to enjoy the sunrise. It's the third-highest mountain on the island, at 1,818 meters (5,965 feet), and it takes around 45 minutes to travel there from Funchal.

Once there, make your way to the Miradouro do Juncal viewpoint and prepare to enjoy spectacular dawn above the clouds.

Day 3 -  North coast 

So Vicente is a charming tiny village nestled between steep green mountains that is well worth a quick trip.

Seixal, a little seaside village east of So Vicente with some of Madeira's best vistas, is only a short drive away.

Then go to Seixal Beach, which is one of the island's few naturally sandy beaches. It's a remarkably gorgeous place, with its black beach, blue water, and green mountains rising abruptly from the sea.

Day 4 - Head west

Explore the beautiful nature of the Paul da Serra plateau in the western portion of Madeira as part of your 7-day Madeira tour. Because the plateau receives a lot of rain, it has a lot of waterfalls and Levada trails.

Day 5 - East coast

The island's easternmost point, Ponta de So Lourenço, is a must-see on any Madeira road trip. The "tail of Madeira," a long, narrow peninsula with beautiful volcanic cliffs, rock formations, and panoramic vistas of the Atlantic Ocean, is also known as the "tail of Madeira."

Best time to visit Madeira

Madeira's climate is subtropical, with hot summers and mild winters, and year-round sunshine. The best time to visit Madeira is between August and September for the warmest temperatures, yet the subtropical environment ensures sunshine all year and travelers flock to the island during the winter months as well.

August is the hottest month of the year, with average daily highs of 27°C and lows of 21°C.

February is the coolest month of the year, with average daily highs of 18°C and lows of 14°C.

When is the best time to go to the beach?

From June to October, you should be able to enjoy the beach with sea temperatures of 23 C or higher.

Whale watching 

Between April and October, around 20 species of whale and dolphin can be seen in the sea off the coast of Madeira. Small boat cruises go from Funchal harbour, or you may have a blast bouncing through the waves in a RIB boat with a marine biologist onboard.

Hidden gems in Madeira

Tired of queuing for a photo op and wanting a more off the beaten track around the island? Here are a few hidden gems for you to explore.

Poco Dos Chefes

The 'Poco Dos Chefes' are a series of natural swimming holes in Curral das Freiras' valley. The water is very clear, making it an ideal spot for cooling off on a hot summer day.

Jardim do mar 

It's a lovely village nestled at the base of the cliffs on the south coast. You'll have to park your car at the village's entrance and tour the area on foot. Take your time strolling around the charming paved alleys, admiring the fig and mango trees that grow between the houses.

Vereda dos Balcões

On Madeira, there are literally hundreds of Levada walks. The levadas are an open water canal system made up of small stone walls that runs along highways and hills. They are one of Madeira's most distinctive and appealing characteristics. There are numerous walking pathways that follow the levadas as they wind their way up and down the slopes.

Calhau da lapa 

Because it is only accessible by foot (700 stairs) or by boat, the number of people who visit it is limited. The descent leads to a waterfall and finally to the beach at the base of the volcanic cliffs. The cave-houses of the fisherman inside those colorful rocks is one the highlight of calhau da lapa

Achadas da Cruz cable car 

Many visitors come to Porto Moniz for the natural pools, especially if they are on a day vacation. Most people, however, avoid the Porto Moniz area. There's still so much more to see. The Achadas da Cruz cable car is one of the attractions (which is now being promoted more in the town of Porto Moniz).

Getting around Madeira

Rent a car

The best way to discover the island is by renting a car, the terrain in Madeira is quite challenging with steep cliffs and narrow roads - if you’re not 100% confident in driving within these conditions then do not force yourself to.

Walking 

On foot, you may easily view the main landmarks of Funchal and the neighboring areas when exploring the Funchal area. Remember that you can ride the cable car up to Monte, so there are no excuses for not viewing it during your vacation!

Coach tour 

We recommend asking your accommodation whether they provide any day-long coach tours. These are rather common, so you should be able to find them!

What does it cost to travel to Madeira?

Your holiday in the Madeira Islands should cost roughly €76 ($84) per day, which is the average daily price based on the spending of other guests. 

Previous tourists have spent an average of €27 ($30) on meals and €7.89 ($8.73) on local transportation in a single day.

Accommodation:

  • A budget trip to Madeira for 7 days costs €579
  • A one-week comfortable stay in Madeira costs €864
  • A week of luxury holidays in Madeira costs €2,400

Must-Try Foods in Madeira

Espetada Madeirense

​​The "Espetada," which is grilled with beef cubes on a laurel skewer over wood or charcoal. Many restaurants feature tables with iron constructions in the middle where long laurel skewers are used to broil the meat.

Prego no Bolo do Caco

The "Prego" or steak sandwich is made with grilled steak and served on Madeiran Bolo do Caco which is a traditional Madeiran bread. The sandwich is then filled with Lettuce, tomato, ham, and cheese to make up the 'Special Prego,' which is sometimes served with fries. Lunch is a low-cost and popular option.

Polvo

Although it is not a traditional Madeiran meal, octopus is a popular dish in Madeira. It's good as a "dentinho," an entrée, a marinade, or with rice. We recommend trying this dish at the "Many" restaurant in So Vicente.

Castanhetas 

This fish dish is salted and fried in extremely hot oil. When serving, season with lemon juice and serve with anything you choose. The "Amarelo" restaurant in Caniçal is the perfect place to try this delectable delicacy.

Tropical fruits

Madeira is home to tropical fruits such as papayas and mangoes - so why not try something different and opt for tabaibos, often known as "devil's figs"? These fruits, which come from a cactus variety, are prized for their delicious freshness. Sample some of these fruits for free at the Farmers Market. 

Madeira travel tips

In this section, we want to provide travelers with all the necessary Tips & Tricks they could need for a trip to their destination. This can include cultural & political things but also what to pack and what kind of currency is used in the country. 

Rent a car 

Some areas can be explored without a car, you can always opt for guided tours, and taxi tours - which can take you to the most famous locations. There are numerous viewpoints, beautiful roads, and hidden jewels to be discovered.

Accommodation 

It’s best to not stay in one area and try to split your time between the east and west side since each area has multiple activities to do. Especially if you’re chasing the sunrise.

Be aware of tourist traps

Madeira is generally a safe destination, but it doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. When using taxis be sure to ask the taxi driver to use the meter and don't be afraid to bargain in local market stalls.

Hiking

Madeira is home to multiple hiking trails that leads to majestic viewpoints - owever, the majority of them are located along levadas, or irrigation systems. The paths aren't particularly broad, and the walks aren't circular. Not only for the weather, but also to avoid the majority of the other tourists, we recommend hiking early or late.

Keep cash on hand 

On the island, credit cards are widely accepted. But keep in mind that there are a few instances where cash is required especially to use the machines around the South Coast to pay for parking (Ponta do Sol, Ribeira Brava, Camara dos Lobos), to pay for some of the cable cars, and a few off-the-beaten-path restaurants

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