Wereldreizigers.nl
madeira tips 66 | madeira | Wereldreizigers.nl

Madeira | 17x the most beautiful places + things to do

Welcome to the breathtaking Portuguese Island Madeira! With its extreme landscapes, vibrant culture and untouched nature, Madeira offers an unforgettable travel experience. In this article, we have collected 17 must-see things to see and do during your visit to this enchanting island. From breathtaking viewpoints and idyllic beaches to green flower gardens and adventures at sea. Be inspired and discover the hidden gems of this jewel in the Atlantic Ocean.

Our advice for traveling to Madeira
Holiday Madeira | Travel to the 'Hawaii of Europe'

As World Travelers we have seen many islands in the world and few can compare to Madeira. Nature in the Portuguese 'Flower Island' is unprecedentedly green thanks to the mild climate. Steep cliffs, turquoise waters, waterfalls, jungles, micro climates and Portuguese gastronomy, that's what you come for.

The island is also known as the 'Hawaii of Europe' and Madeira is rightly allowed one of the most beautiful islands in the world be mentioned. Find out for yourself!

Pros:
  • Very affordable
  • The "Hawaii of Europe"
  • Special nature
  • Portuguese gastronomy
View TUI offer View Elizawashere offer
Want to support us? We earn a small commission if you make a purchase via our link(s), at no additional cost to you. Win win!

Plan your holiday in Europe here

About Madeira

Madeira is an archipelago belonging to Portugal and is located in the Atlantic Ocean, about 1000 kilometers southwest of the mainland of Portugal and 600 kilometers east of Morocco. It is a popular destination because of its beautiful green nature, mild climate and vibrant culture. Below are some useful facts before you leave for the island:

  • Currency: The official currency of Madeira is the Euro (EUR). So you can pay with euros in Madeira.
  • Language: The official language of Madeira is Portuguese. Most of the local population speaks Portuguese. However, due to tourism, reasonable English is also spoken in the tourist areas.
  • Flight time from Amsterdam: The flight time from Amsterdam to Madeira usually varies between 3,5 and 4 hours, depending on the specific flight and weather conditions.
  • Capital city: The capital of Madeira is Funchal. Funchal is a beautiful city known for its colorful houses, historic buildings, beautiful parks and lively markets. It also has an attractive old town with narrow streets and cozy restaurants and cafes.

Madeira is also known for its natural beauty. Beautiful landscapes and breathtaking views alternate here. It is a great destination for hiking, mountaineering and water sports enthusiasts. Finally, Madeira is also known for its wine production, especially the sweet Madeira wine is something you absolutely must taste here.

Madeira seen from Miradouro da Quinta do Furão
Madeira seen from Miradouro da Quinta do Furão (more info at point 15)

The 17 most beautiful places to discover in Madeira

We are going to write several articles about Madeira, each with a different approach. In this article we first want to introduce you to the island and what you can see and do there. We therefore start with the 17 most beautiful places and things to do on Madeira. Are you traveling with us?

1. The Cliff of Cabo Girão (with Skywalk)

We kick off right away with something Madeira is known for: steep cliffs and great viewpoints! The cliff Cape Girão (Location here) is definitely worth a visit, despite being one of the most touristic hotspots on the island. Access to this glass viewing platform costs only two euros and the view can rightly be called phenomenal. Not suitable for people with a fear of heights!

Don't look down! | Cabo Girao (Skywalk)
Madeira | 17x the most beautiful places + things to do 57

2. Lift Fajã dos Padres (cable car)

A short distance away there is also a special cable car: Lift Faja dos Padres (Location here). This is one of the steepest cable cars in the world! A ride in this cable car costs only a few euros. To get an idea of ​​what a ride in this extreme cable car looks like, watch the videos below.

What is also nice about this cable car: You reach a unique restaurant (Restaurante Faja dos Padres - Location here). This restaurant is only accessible by boat next to the cable car. This lovely restaurant is the perfect place to enjoy the view and a good lunch.

Tip:: Order 'limpets' as a starter to share. These are the crustaceans in the left picture. The tuna steak (photo on the right) was truly divine, also a must to order.

If you want to stay longer, you can also choose to do a short 'Madeira wine' tour here. You can also book an overnight stay (link here). Both the vineyard, the small-scale hotel and the restaurant are owned by the same owner.

Tip:: Do you want to know more about good food in Madeira? Then read our article: Madeira | 6x particularly delicious food in the best restaurants.

3. Funchal old town

Funchal is the capital from Madeira. Admire the historic cathedral, take relaxing walks along the promenade or enjoy spectacular views from the cable car.

Funchal from the water
Funchal from the water

But there's more! The city also has an old part called Old Town. History and modern charm come together here. Stroll through narrow cobbled streets, admire colorful facades and taste the local gastronomy. Especially when the sun goes down, these streets come to life. Full terraces, good food and lots of fun.

Funchal Old Town
Funchal Old Town
Funchal Old Town
Funchal Old Town

4. Pico do Arieiro

Let yourself be enchanted by the breathtaking view from Arieiro Peak, the third highest point in Madeira. As you follow the winding road to the top, your amazement grows as the landscapes unfold before you.

Once at the top you will be rewarded with a panoramic view that will take your breath away. The majestic mountains stretch to the horizon, while the clouds dance playfully with the peaks of the mountain range. This place invites you to pause, reflect and connect with the majesty of nature around you.

Arieiro Peak
Arieiro Peak
Arieiro Peak
Arieiro Peak

We even felt it necessary to take a cheesy couple photo here. With those beautiful peaks and clouds in the background, we couldn't resist!

Rugged peaks and clouds at Pico do Arieiro
Rugged peaks and clouds at Pico do Arieiro

5. Madeira levadas

Something that is also unique in Madeira: the Levadas. The unique charm of Madeira's levadas is that the winding irrigation canals run like walking paths through the green landscape. As you walk along the levadas, surrounded by green vegetation and the soothing sound of running water, you become one with nature. Breathtaking views reveal themselves as you explore deeper into the heart of the island.

madeira tips 31 | madeira | Wereldreizigers.nl
Green path during a Levada walk
madeira tips 30 | madeira | Wereldreizigers.nl
Beautiful view at a coffee shop during the levada walk

The levadas offer a unique way to discover Madeira's hidden treasures. Opt for the famous walk to the levada van Green Cauldron or follow another popular route, for example the Levada dos Balcoes. At the latter you will be treated to a beautiful balcony (a viewpoint) at the end.

Levada dos Balcoes
Levada dos Balcoes
Beautiful view from Levada dos Balcões
Beautiful view from Levada dos Balcões
madeira tips 36 | madeira | Wereldreizigers.nl
The birds eat out of your hand | Levada dos Balcoes

6. Botanical Garden

Enter a world of beauty and tranquility at the Madeira Botanical Garden. Surrounded by lush greenery, you will discover an enchanting landscape full of rare and exotic plants and flowers from all over the world. As you walk the paths, every corner seems to reveal a new hidden gem to you. From colorful orchids to majestic palm trees. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and feel the peace and serenity that this beautiful garden exudes.

madeira tips 07 | madeira | Wereldreizigers.nl
Madeira | 17x the most beautiful places + things to do 58

7. Mercado dos Lavradores (market halls)

Dive into the local atmosphere of the Farmers Market (Location here), or the Farmer's Market. Immerse yourself in the colors and scents of the locals who sell fresh fish, meat, herbs, flowers, fruits and vegetables. As you stroll through the vibrant market stalls, friendly local vendors greet you and offer their fresh produce. Taste exotic fruits such as the famous Madeira pineapple and enjoy the sweet aromas of tropical flowers. And while you're there: treat yourself to the world-famous artisanal chocolate from UauCacau.

The courtyard of Mercado dos Lavradores (market halls)
The courtyard of Mercado dos Lavradores (market halls)

8. Funchal funicular

Funchal Cable Car (Location here) starts near the sea directly on the boulevard. This cable car takes you in a few minutes, kilometers up. The terminus takes you almost directly to the Monte Palace Tropical Garden (more on that at point 9). Enjoy the unique view as you silently zoom up over the rooftops.

Funchal from the funicular
Funchal from the funicular
madeira 10 | madeira | Wereldreizigers.nl
Madeira | 17x the most beautiful places + things to do 59

9. Monte Palace Tropical Garden

Let yourself be enchanted by the splendor of the Monte Palace Tropical Garden (Location here). This breathtaking tropical garden is an oasis of peace and beauty. As you walk among the exotic plants, animals and colorful flowers, you are surrounded by the scent of tropical paradises. Enjoy the beautiful ponds, impressive waterfalls and admire the tiled panels that reflect the rich history of the island.

But that's not all. From the tropical garden you have a panoramic view of the city of Funchal and the glittering ocean in the background. It is a place where the natural splendor of Madeira really comes to life. We unexpectedly stayed here a lot longer than we expected, this park is so beautiful.

9. Natural Pools

If you fancy a refreshing adventure, discover one of Madeira's natural pools. The natural pools are formed by volcanic rock and therefore offer a unique swimming experience. Immerse yourself in the crystal clear waters while enjoying the setting sun. Surrounded by rugged cliffs overgrown with green vegetation, you feel at one with the elements.

Natural pools in Madeira
Natural pools in Madeira

10. Dolphin and whale watching

Madeira is the perfect place to spot dolphins and whales. There are various dolphin and whale watching tours to book, from private to groups on a large catamaran. This is nice because you have something to choose from. With a private tour you get closer and see more, but with the catamaran tour the costs remain low. For only 35 euros per person you can go out for three hours with a large catamaran. The chance of seeing dolphins is very high, all year round. Whales are a bit more difficult to see, but the private tours with fast boats give a guarantee all year round that you will see them and if you don't succeed, you can go again for free the next day.

Dolphin watching in Madeira
Dolphin watching in Madeira


11. Carros de Cesto do Monte

De Monte Toboggan Run is a unique and iconic attraction in Madeira. It is a traditional method of transportation where you sit in a wicker sleigh pulled by local riders, known as “Carreiros”. The ride starts in Monte and ends in the Livramento district of Funchal. It is an exciting experience that gives you the chance to explore the steep and winding streets of Madeira.

Carros de Cesto do Monte
Carros de Cesto do Monte

In the past, merchandise was transported down from the top of the mountain in this way. Nowadays it is really a tourist thing, but a very unique one. For 25 euros you can go down with these men!

12. Fanal Forest

Fanal Forest (location here) is a fairytale, ancient laurel forest high in the mountains of Madeira. The unique forest is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as it is one of the last laurel forests in the world. Strangely enough, it is almost always foggy here, even when it is clear and sunny on the coast. This place is a real must see in Madeira!

Fanal Forest
Fanal Forest
Fanal Forest
Fanal Forest

The trees, grasses and mosses mainly get their water from the fog that rushes by at a rapid pace. The videos below clearly show how extreme the weather conditions can be here. One video I shot in the forest itself, the other on the way there. And to think that 30 minutes earlier we were still in the sun on the coast!

13. Experience a magical sunset

Bask in the warm light of the setting sun as you enjoy spectacular views. On the south side of Madeira you will find many beautiful places to enjoy the sunset. It is a breathtaking display of colors as the sun slowly sinks below the horizon. The sky fills with shades of orange, pink and purple as the waves of the ocean gently break on the cliffs. Take a moment to relax and enjoy the moment when day turns to night. It is a magical scene that leaves you in awe and connects you with the beauty of nature.

Madeira sunset
Madeira sunset

Tip:: Book a 4×4 + Sunset Tour just like us (more info here). The tour operators have some unique locations, often with a swing and of course a delicious bottle of wine to make it complete.

madeira tips 43 | madeira | Wereldreizigers.nl
Madeira | 17x the most beautiful places + things to do 60

Note: curious what I shoot with? Check out the display below!

The ultimate world travel camera
Fujifilm X-T5 Silver + 16-80mm
5.0

The Fujifilm X-T5 with 16-80 is the ultimate all-round world travel camera† This camera has been declared several times by both the consumer association and Tweakers.net the best system camera you can buy.

Even on the automatic mode you suddenly feel like a professional photographer! You can effortlessly shoot the most beautiful photos, and thanks to the versatile zoom range of the 16-80 lens, you can easily get closer to the action anywhere in the world.

Pros:
  • The best tested camera
  • Fantastic photos
  • 6.2K video
  • IBIS image stabilization
  • 5 year warranty
View prices Our review
Want to support us? We earn a small commission if you make a purchase via our link(s), at no additional cost to you. Win win!

14. Beaches of Madeira

Leave the worries of everyday life behind and relax on the (black!) beaches of Madeira. As you lie on the soft sand, feel the warmth of the sun on your skin and hear the soothing sound of the waves. Take a refreshing dip in the crystal clear water and feel how the sea embraces your body. Whether you choose the gray-gold sand of Calheta Beach or the quiet Machico Beach, these beaches provide the perfect opportunity to enjoy the beauty of nature and relax completely.

The unique beaches of Madeira
The unique beaches of Madeira

15. Ponta do Sol (Digital Nomads)

Madeira has a unique little village located on the beach where many Digital Nomads from all over the world stay for long periods. Ponta do Sol is a nice place to have a cup of coffee. It's hard to see in the photo below because of the low-hanging sun, but from the cliff on the left a huge waterfall thunders into the sea. I took the photo from the balcony of restaurant Sol Poente (location here). This is the view when you enjoy a cup of coffee here.

Ponta do Sol | Digital Nomad village in Madeira
Ponta do Sol | Digital Nomad village in Madeira

After seeing this beautiful place with my own eyes, I can see myself spending the winter here. Rooms and apartments can be booked here for next to nothing, especially in the winter months. Worth considering if you can work online!

16. Day tour to Porto Santo

Madeira only has black sand beaches, but the island is 2 hours away by ferry from Funchal Porto Santo. This island has no green forests and high mountains, but a natural white sandy beach of no less than 9 kilometers long! It may sound strange, but after all that green, rugged natural violence on Madeira, we were also ready for a day of sun, sea and beach. And that is exactly what a day or multi-day tour to Porto Santo can offer you.

Beach of Porto Santo
Beach of Porto Santo
The ferry from Maderia to Porto Santo
The ferry from Maderia to Porto Santo
Beach of Porto Santo
Beach of Porto Santo

We were told on Porto Santo that the underwater world here is fantastic. Besides enjoying the sandy beach, scuba diving and snorkeling are popular activities to enjoy here. From the air with my drone, I immediately saw why. The water here is crystal clear and there are many reefs on the west side of Porto Santo, which you can discover while snorkeling or diving. See the drone photos of these snorkeling spots below.

The reefs of Porto Santo
The reefs of Porto Santo
The reefs of Porto Santo
The reefs of Porto Santo
Must have for drone pilots
EU Drone License | Drone Class
5.0
€ 99,00

Since January 1, 2021, it is mandatory for private individuals and companies to obtain an EU drone license. You can realize this quickly and easily through the online courses with exams from Drone Class. This allows you to fly in a responsible manner.

The 'EU drone driving license' is also accepted outside the EU in most cases, so it is advisable to have it with you at all times when you take your drone into the air, anywhere in the world.

Pros:
  • 100% success rate
  • profitable price
  • online training
Go to website
Want to support us? We earn a small commission if you make a purchase via our link(s), at no additional cost to you. Win win!

17. Miradouro da Quinta do Furao

It is not for nothing that I end with this special place. As far as I am concerned, it is the most beautiful place in Madeira. It is a breathtaking place where I really came to realize that Madeira is one of the most rugged and very green islands I have ever been to. The photo below looks like a scene from the movie Avatar, but nothing could be further from the truth. This is simply Madeira!

The waterfall seen from Miradouro da Quinta do Furão
The waterfall seen from Miradouro da Quinta do Furão

Tip:: Who an overnight stay in the four-star Hotel Quinta do Furao literally has this as a view from the balcony. The viewpoint is simply the path that runs around the garden of the hotel, along the cliff.

I left my drone in the air at this spot to get another perfective of the viewpoint itself, the waterfall, the coastline and of course the hotel and the surroundings. It is unreal beautiful here - it resulted in special pictures.

The waterfall | Drone photo
The waterfall | Drone photo
madeira tips 69 | madeira | Wereldreizigers.nl
Drone photo of Madeira
madeira tips 70 | madeira | Wereldreizigers.nl
Drone photo of Madeira
The falls up close (photo taken with a drone)
The falls up close (photo taken with a drone)
Hotel Quinta do Furão seen from the air
Hotel Quinta do Furão seen from the air
The location of Hotel Quinta do Furão seen from the air
The location of Hotel Quinta do Furão seen from the air

Practical tips for Madeira

Flight tickets

The capital of Madeira is Funchal and there is also the only airport on the island. Funchal airport is easily accessible with direct flights from Amsterdam (The Netherlands). Through Eindhoven is also available with Ryanair in the summer period, but with a transfer. Düsseldorf (Germany) and Brussels (Belgium) are possible good options to divert to. You can also find good offers there.

More detailed information regarding airline tickets, cheapest travel time and tips to score cheap airline tickets can be found in our full article with practical tips for Madeira.

Best time to travel

Madeira has a mild climate all year round. The warm sea around the island ensures moderate temperatures, both in summer and winter. In winter the average temperature in Funchal is 17 degrees. In the summer months the temperature hovers around 26 degrees with peaks up to about 32 degrees. A large part of the year the weather is pleasant and nice on Madeira. You do have to take into account (heavy) rain showers and fog throughout the year.

Malou on the green Madeira
Malou on the green Madeira

Due to the unspoilt nature and the enormous height differences, moving yourself is quite time-consuming. The height differences also cause micro-climates, very diverse weather conditions and diverse landscapes. Those who want to discover Madeira should therefore prepare themselves well. If you want to know the best time to travel to Madeira, how to score cheap flights to Madeira and what you should or should not pack, read our article with practical tips for Madeira.

Conclusion

The island of Madeira is truly a paradise waiting to be discovered. With its diverse landscapes, rich culture and hospitable people, it is a destination that will capture your heart. Whether you are looking for adventure, relaxation or an immersion in nature, Madeira offers it all. Be amazed by the breathtaking views, taste the flavors of the local cuisine and let yourself be carried away by the magic of this island. Pack your bags, get ready for an unforgettable trip to Madeira and live an experience that will stay with you forever.

Our advice for traveling to Madeira
Holiday Madeira | Travel to the 'Hawaii of Europe'

As World Travelers we have seen many islands in the world and few can compare to Madeira. Nature in the Portuguese 'Flower Island' is unprecedentedly green thanks to the mild climate. Steep cliffs, turquoise waters, waterfalls, jungles, micro climates and Portuguese gastronomy, that's what you come for.

The island is also known as the 'Hawaii of Europe' and Madeira is rightly allowed one of the most beautiful islands in the world be mentioned. Find out for yourself!

Pros:
  • Very affordable
  • The "Hawaii of Europe"
  • Special nature
  • Portuguese gastronomy
View TUI offer View Elizawashere offer
Want to support us? We earn a small commission if you make a purchase via our link(s), at no additional cost to you. Win win!

Plan your holiday in Europe here

Avatar picture

Chris

Owner of Wereldreizigers.nl † Discover the world!
- Full-time blogging world traveler.
- Writes about travel, photography, sustainability and gadgets.
- Likes to discover extreme and unknown places.

Seen a mistake? Ask? Remark? Let us know in the comments!

Would you like to receive great travel tips and benefits every month?

logo-world travelers-grey-1
Translate »
25 Shares
25 Shares
Copy link