Pinterest Hidden Image Pinterest Hidden Image

15 Best Things To Do In Madeira

Madeira is a Portuguese archipelago located in the North Atlantic Ocean. Home to pristine landscapes and dramatic views, it's no wonder why so many tourists flock to this paradise every year. With its rich history, culture, and activities, there are plenty of exciting things to do in Madeira. From scenic hikes to relaxing spas, visitors can find something that suits their interests. This Madeira travel guide will highlight the best things to do in Madeira for an unforgettable vacation experience.

1. Funchal

Funchal city in Madeira,Portugal

Funchal is the capital of the Portuguese island of Madeira and is an incredibly picturesque city. It sits on the south coast of the island, surrounded by breathtaking mountains and filled with a vibrant atmosphere. One of its main attractions is the harbor, which has been part of Funchal's culture for centuries. Boats bob about in calm waters, offering incredible views across the ocean to nearby Porto Santo Island.

The city itself offers much to see and do, and is a great starting point to explore Madeira - it has beautiful gardens as well as shops, galleries and restaurants along cobbled streets that date back hundreds of years. There's even a cable car ride up to Monte Palace Tropical Garden where vacationers can admire stunning vistas that stretch out over all four sides of Madeira Island, including a panoramic view from 800 meters high!

2. Ponta de São Lourenço

Ponta de São Lourenço on the island of Madeira

Ponta de São Lourenço in Madeira is an iconic place to visit for tourists and locals alike. The stunning landscape of rugged cliffs, jagged rocks and crashing waves make this place a paradise. Located on the north-easternmost tip of Madeira, Ponta de São Lourenço offers unparalleled vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. It's also home to a variety of wildlife including dolphins, whales and seabirds.

The draw of this part of Madeira is not only its physical beauty but its cultural significance as well. This area has been linked with fishing villages since the 16th century and it remains one of the most sought after spots for traditional seafood dishes such as caldeirada fish stew or espetada meat skewers. Tourists can come here to appreciate the unique history and culture while enjoying breathtaking views over the island from every angle.


Address: ER109, Estr. de São Lourenço, 9200-044 Caniçal, Portugal

Phone: +351 910 308 804

3. Cabo Girão

Cabo Girão viewpoint in Madeira

Cabo Girão in Madeira is a stunning piece of nature that is awe-inspiring and awe-worthy. Located near the town of Câmara de Lobos, Cabo Girão stands at an astounding 589 meters tall, making it one of the highest cliffs in Europe and offering unparalleled views of the magnificent ocean. The cliff itself can be reached by a glass skywalk with a unique viewing platform that allows visitors to take in the breathtaking landscape without leaving their feet on solid ground. This makes it an ideal spot for photographers, sightseers, or anyone looking to get away from it all.

The view from Cabo Girão is truly breathtaking; one can see up to 22 kilometers out into the Atlantic Ocean, giving them a chance to witness some of the most beautiful sunsets imaginable in the archipelago of Madeira.

4. Pico Ruivo

Pico Ruivo

Pico Ruivo is the highest point in all of Madeira, Portugal at 1,862 meters above sea level, and one of the best places to go when you visit Madeira. This towering mountain has long been a source of inspiration and admiration for locals and travelers alike. It’s home to several species of birds, as well as unique vegetation that can only be found here. Pico Ruivo also offers some of the best views from its peak – on a clear day you can see both sides of the island!

The path to the top is quite steep and challenging – there are steps carved out of rock which lead to a few viewing platforms with breathtaking views across the landscape below. The hike up isn’t for everyone though – it’s best suited for those who have experience hiking in mountainous terrain.

5. Santa Clara Convent

Santa Clara Convent

Santa Clara Convent in Madeira, Portugal is a wonderful place to explore the history and culture of the country. It was built in the 15th century and is located on a hill overlooking Funchal Bay. This convent has been well preserved since its construction and offers visitors an authentic insight into its past.

The interior of this remarkable structure contains many interesting artifacts, such as religious paintings, sculptures, furniture, and ancient manuscripts. Its ceiling is decorated with gold-leafed ornaments that add to the grandeur of the convent hallways. Guests can also explore the church which contains intricate works of art like stained glass windows showing scenes from Portuguese history and architecture inspired by different periods in time.


Address: Calçada de Santa Clara 15, 9000-036 Funchal, Portugal

Phone: +351 291 742 602

Best Flights To Madeira

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Madeira. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Madeira.

6. Mercado Dos Lavradores

Mercado Dos Lavradores in Madeira

Mercado Dos Lavradores is one of the oldest and most iconic markets in the entire area. Located on the north side of Funchal, it has been a vibrant part of daily life since its inception in 1894. Everything from fresh fruits, vegetables and fish to handmade crafts are sold here by local farmers and artisans. Each morning, vendors fill up the market with colorful displays of their goods, creating an inviting atmosphere for locals to purchase quality produce and goods.

The market has grown from its humble beginnings as a way for farmers to sell their wares into a bustling hub for all things Madeira-related. Visitors can find traditional regional foods like marmalades made with local fruits and spices, as well as artisan crafted jewelry and home decor items that reflect what life is like on this beautiful island.


Address: Mercado dos Lavradores, 9060-158 Funchal, Portugal

Phone: +351 291 098 756

7. Madeira Whale Museum

Madeira Whale Museum

The Madeira Whale Museum is located in Caniçal, a small fishing village on the Madeira island. Established in 2011, the museum offers visitors a chance to learn about whales and dolphins while enjoying the beautiful natural scenery of the island. The museum has a wide variety of information and activities designed to help people understand more about cetaceans.

Through interactive displays and audio-visual presentations, tourists can learn about whale behavior and biology as well as their current conservation status. In addition to educational resources, there are also opportunities for whale watching trips that allow people to get up close to these majestic creatures in their natural environment.

The museum also hosts numerous events throughout the year such as lectures from scientists and experts, film screenings, guided tours around the exhibits and other fun activities appropriate for all ages.


Address: R. Garcia Moniz nº1, 9200-031 Caniçal, Portugal

Phone: +351 291 961 858

8. Parque Forestal de Queimadas

Parque Forestal de Queimadas

Parque Forestal de Queimadas is a breathtaking nature reserve that offers its visitors a memorable experience. Located near the city of Santana, it covers an area of 1,200 hectares and features lush vegetation and stunning views of Funchal. It's a great spot for nature lovers looking to explore the beauty of Madeira.

The park is home to several different species of birds and animals such as eagles, falcons, rabbits and squirrels. Its trails make it easy for guests to navigate their way through the forest while discovering its hidden secrets. Besides exploring the natural environment, there are many recreational activities available such as swimming in natural pools and even climbing up one of the nearby hills where you can take in some panoramic views of the island.

9. Monte Palace Tropical Garden

Monte Palace Tropical Garden in madeira

Monte Palace Tropical Garden is a paradise I was fortunate to experience this past summer. Located on the sunny side of the island, this Madeira botanical garden is home to an incredible variety of trees, flowers, plants and sculptures. Its terraced gardens are truly breathtaking, and you can easily lose track of time while wandering through them. From ancient fountains surrounded by palms to native orchids and exotic birds, there’s so much beauty here that one can only dream of.

One of Monte Palace Tropical Garden's most impressive features is its sculpture garden. You'll find centuries-old statues from around the world alongside contemporary works by local artists. There’s also a Japanese temple tucked away in the garden where visitors can explore its tranquil pathways lined with bonsai trees and other inspiring vistas.


Address: Caminho do Monte 174, 9050-288 Funchal, Portugal

Phone: +351 291 780 800

10. Vereda dos Balcões

Vereda dos Balcões in Madeira

Vereda dos Balcões in Madeira is a breathtaking sight. With its lush green forest, unique Balcões viewpoint and its stunning views of the coastline, this route has become one of the most popular paths in Madeira. It is a 5.5 km long path, with a steep climb from Ponta do Pargo to Eira do Serrado at an altitude of 1,050 meters above sea level. With its panoramic views overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and rugged landscape filled with endemic flora and fauna, it's no wonder why Vereda dos Balcões is so popular among tourists.

The journey begins at Ponta do Pargo with a gentle but steady ascent up the mountain trail before reaching the viewpoint of Ravina das Lagoas.

Best Flights To Madeira

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Madeira. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Madeira.

11. Palheiro Gardens

Palheiro Gardens in Funchal

The Palheiro Gardens in Funchal, Madeira, are an enchanting escape from bustling city life and one of the top things to see in Madeira. Located in the middle of Funchal, these gardens provide visitors with a place to stroll through blooming flowers and lush green lawns.

The gardens have been lovingly designed and cared for over many years, resulting in a beautiful display of flora that changes throughout the seasons. You can easily spend an entire day exploring this paradise; made up of twenty-five hectares of landscaped grounds that include exotic plants from both Europe and Macaronesia as well as some native species to the island.

In addition to plant life, Palheiro Gardens also feature majestic lakes and enchanting pathways which make it feel like you’ve stepped into a fairytale world.


Address: Caminho da Quinta do Palheiro , 32 São Gonçalo, 9060-255 Funchal, Portugal

Phone: +351 291 793 044

12. Camara de Lobos

Camara de Lobos on the volcanic island of Madeira in Portugal

Camara de Lobos is a municipality and port town situated on the south coast of the volcanic island, near its capital Funchal. It has a beautiful natural environment with dramatic ocean views, volcanic mountains, and lush green hillsides. Visitors to Camara de Lobos can enjoy swimming and snorkeling at Praia Formosa beach or take a boat trip around the bay for whale watching opportunities. There’s also plenty of opportunity for outdoor activities such as cycling and hiking in nearby nature reserves like Garajau Natural Park or Cabo Girao National Park.

The local cuisine features fresh seafood from the surrounding seas and ingredients from local farms around the island.

13. Monte Cable Car

Monte Cable Car with views of Funchal

The Monte Cable Car is a fun and unique transportation option for travelers looking to explore the area during their stay in Madeira. Located in Funchal, the cable car takes riders from the city up to the peak of Monte, one of the highest mountains on this Portuguese island. The ride offers breathtaking views of colorful botanical gardens, terraced hillsides that stretch down to the Atlantic Ocean, and an array of vibrant flowers that line each path. Once at the top of Monte, travelers can explore lush forests and a charming chapel before descending back into Funchal in style.

The cable car itself is both efficient and comfortable, with enough space for both standing passengers or those who wish to sit down during the ride.

Get The Ultimate Travel Planner Notion Template!

Notion travel planner countries page

Discover Madeira with ease using the Ultimate Travel Planner for Notion, your all-in-one solution for crafting personalized itineraries, managing budgets, and ensuring you never forget a thing with our detailed packing checklists. Transform your travel experiences with our customizable template that not only helps you plan efficiently but also includes a travel journal feature to capture and cherish every memorable moment.

14. Pico Do Arieiro

Pico Do Arieiro mountain

Being one of the best things to visit in Madeira, the Pico do Arieiro is a mountain peak with amazing views located in the Madeira archipelago of Portugal. At an elevation of 1,818 meters, it is the third highest peak in Madeira and a popular spot for hikers from all over the world. The trail to its summit begins at Pico do Arieiro car park and leads to an area known as 'Mira de Aire'. Along the route, you will pass through various ecosystems including moorlands, forests and rocky terrain before reaching your final destination.

Upon reaching the top of Pico do Arieiro, one can take in stunning views of neighboring Madeira islands such as the island of Porto Santo, Deserta Grande and Ilhéu de Cima.

15. Madeira Wine Tasting

Madeira Wine tasting

A Madeira wine tasting is an experience worth having when visiting Madeira. The island of Madeira is known for being home to some of the most unique and rare wines in the world. Experiencing these wines can be a truly enlightening experience for anyone who loves a good glass of wine.

A Madeira wine tasting offers an opportunity to explore some of the oldest and best wines in Europe while also discovering new flavors and aromas that can only be found in this region. The winemakers use traditional methods such as aging the wines over a period of years, often using different types of wood or oak barrels to create unique profiles. As you taste each vintage, you’ll get to try a variety that range from dry and oxidative styles like Buals and Verdelhos to sweeter styles like Malmsey's or Terrantez's.

Best Flights To Madeira

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Madeira. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Madeira.


Q: How many days is good in Madeira?

A: If you're a first-time visitor to Madeira, we recommend spending at least 5 days on the island to fully experience all it has to offer. This will give you enough time to visit some of the top attractions such as Pico do Arieiro, Monte Palace Tropical Garden and Funchal's Old Town. You can also take part in some exciting outdoor activities like hiking along the Levadas or surfing in Porto da Cruz.

However, if you have more time and want to explore Madeira further, we suggest extending your stay for up to 10 days.

Q: What is the most beautiful spot in Madeira?

A: For many visitors, the answer is Pico do Arieiro. At 1,818 meters (5,965 feet) above sea level, this mountain peak offers breathtaking views of Madeira's landscapes that are hard to match. On a clear day, you can see all the way to the neighboring island of Porto Santo and even catch a glimpse of the African continent in the distance.

Q: What is Madeira famous for?

A: One of the most famous aspects of Madeira is its wine. Madeira wine has been produced on the island for over 500 years, with some wineries still using traditional techniques such as foot treading to extract grape juice. The unique flavor of Madeira wine comes from being aged in barrels in hot temperatures, creating a sweet yet acidic taste that pairs perfectly with desserts or strong cheeses. It's no surprise that this delicious drink was even enjoyed by America's founding fathers during the signing of the Declaration of Independence!

Q: Can you walk around Madeira?

A: The answer is yes – with some preparation and planning. One of the most popular ways to explore Madeira on foot is through its levadas, or irrigation channels. These paths wind through the island's rugged terrain, offering spectacular views and showcasing the diverse flora and fauna of Madeira.

Q: Is Madeira Islands expensive?

A: The islands offer various options for accommodation, food, and activities that cater to different budgets. However, overall Madeira is considered slightly expensive compared to other European destinations.

The cost of living in Madeira is higher than in mainland Portugal due to its isolated location and reliance on imported goods. Accommodation can be pricier during peak seasons such as summer or Christmas holidays. However, there are affordable options like guesthouses or rentals in less central areas. Public transport is also reasonable and efficient with buses running throughout the island.

Food prices vary depending on where you dine; traditional restaurants tend to have lower prices compared to touristy areas or luxury dining venues.

Q: Can you swim in the sea in Madeira?

A: While Madeira has some picture-perfect beaches, not all of them are ideal for swimming. The sea around the island can be quite rough at times with strong currents, making it dangerous even for experienced swimmers. Some areas like Porto Santo Beach have shallow and calm waters that make them perfect for swimming all year round.

Recommended Hotels In Madeira

Reid's Palace, A Belmond Hotel in Funchal

Reid's Palace

Set on a cliff in 10 acres of subtropical gardens overlooking the Atlantic, this 5-star resort features an oceanfront spa, 3 swimming pools and direct access to oceanic waters.

All rooms at Reid's Palace are elegantly furnished and include a balcony and marble bathroom with amenities.

The Vine Hotel

Hotel The Vine

the luxurious Vine Hotel is located in Funchal and offers a fusion restaurant with stunning views, a Wine Therapy Spa, access to the fitness center and a rooftop infinity pool.

The spacious rooms are individually designed following the 4-seasons-of-the-year theme. Each features an LCD TV with in-room movies, free WiFi and a laptop-size safe.

Savoy Palace in Madeira

Savoy Palace

The Savoy Palace provides accommodations with an outdoor swimming pool, private parking, a fitness center and a garden. Featuring room service, this property also welcomes guests with a restaurant and a terrace. The property has a 24-hour front desk, airport transportation, a shared lounge and free WiFi throughout the property.


Book Your Hotel In Madeira

You can book your hotel in Madeira with as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hotel, they also return the cheapest rates for accommodations like guesthouses, hostels and apartments.

Book Your Flight To Madeira

Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights to Madeira. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know you get the best rates.

Need a Rental Car In Madeira?

Here is a budget-friendly car rental resource. No matter where you’re traveling, you’ll be able to find the best — and cheapest car rentals in Madeira here.

Looking for an Airport Transfer Service In Madeira?

If you are looking for a convenient and affordable option to get to and from the airport in Madeira, here you will find all the answers to book your next airport transfer in Madeira.

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance

Travel insurance will protect you against illnesses, an injury, luggage theft, and even trip cancellations. It’s a comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong during your trip. I never travel to Madeira without it as I’ve had to use it several times in the past. My favorite travel insurance companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the Best Travel Companies to Save Money With?

Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you visit Madeira. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m taking a trip. They will save you money when you travel too.

Want More Information on Portugal:

Be sure to visit our Portugal Travel Guide for even more travel tips.

More To Discover