Explore MADEIRA

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Welcome to Madeira, an enchanting Portuguese archipelago nestled in the Atlantic Ocean, renowned for its natural beauty and adventure. Renowned for its lush greenery, rugged landscapes, and dramatic cliffs plunging into the azure sea, Madeira offers a captivating blend of outdoor activities and serene relaxation. Explore its charming capital, Funchal, where cobblestone streets lead to historic churches, bustling markets, and vibrant cafes. Embark on thrilling hikes along levadas, ancient irrigation channels winding through emerald forests, or ascend to Pico Ruivo, the island’s highest peak, for panoramic views that will leave you breathless. Indulge in Madeira’s culinary delights, from fresh seafood delicacies to world-famous Madeira wine, produced from grapes grown on terraced hillsides. Whether you’re seeking adrenaline-fueled adventures or tranquil moments surrounded by nature, Madeira promises an unforgettable escape.

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WHERE TO STAY IN MADEIRA

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Hotel The Cliff Bay

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Porto Mare Hotel

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Quinta Jardins do Lago

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Quinta do Furao

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Aqua Natura Bay

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Savoy Palace

BEST MADEIRA TOUR PACKAGES

A vacation in Madeira is an amazing mix of adventure, relaxation, and culture! Start in charming Funchal, where you can wander historic streets, try delicious local food, and explore colorful markets. Don’t miss the botanical gardens bursting with exotic plants!

Venture out to discover Madeira’s stunning landscapes with scenic hikes, thrilling canyoning, or mountain biking adventures. Explore the ocean with whale watching or try snorkeling and surfing along the coast.

Immerse yourself in Madeira’s culture with traditional music, tasty treats at bustling markets, and visits to historic sites.

End your days relaxing in luxurious accommodations with ocean views, soaking in the island’s tranquil vibe. Whether you’re into adventure, relaxation, or culture, Madeira promises an unforgettable experience full of warmth and beauty!

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Funchal: Sunrise Hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

Explore the highest mountains on Madeira on a self-guided sunrise hike. Enjoy a convenient transfer from your Funchal hotel to the start of the trail and get picked up and driven back at the end.

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Full-Day Ponta de São Lourenço – Natural Reserve

Named after the caravel sailed by João Gonçalvez Zarco, who upon approaching this piece of land shouted to his shipmates, “São Lourenço, that’s enough!” Go on an amazing walk with breathtaking views of the landscape and ocean.

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Caldeirão Verde Levada: Roundtrip Transfer & Hike

Explore the magical Laurissilva Forest in Madeira (Caldeirão Verde) on a self-guided hike. Enjoy a convenient transfer to the start of the trail and get picked up and driven back at the end.

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Madeira: Skywalk, Porto Moniz Volcanic Pools & Fanal Forest

Discover the stunning northwest: volcanic pools in Porto Moniz, hidden Poças das Lesmas, ancient Fanal Laurissilva forest, unique Paul da Serra plateau, and Europe’s highest sea cliff.

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Madeira: Western Madeira Guided Trip & Fanal Mystic Forest

Explore the wonderful west side of Madeira Island on a day trip from Funchal. Discover a picturesque fishing village, admire panoramic views from Cabo Girao, and enter the Laurisilva of Madeira.

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From Funchal: Nuns Valley, Monte and Sleigh Ride Tour

Discover the island of Madeira on a sightseeing tour from the capital of Funchal. Journey to Nuns Valley and across to Monte with its breathtaking views.

GETTING AROUND MADEIRA

Madeira, a stunning Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean, offers a variety of transportation options for visitors to explore its natural beauty, charming towns, and scenic landscapes. From traditional methods to modern conveniences, here are some ways to navigate this picturesque island:

1. Rental Cars: Renting a car is one of the most popular choices for exploring Madeira. Several rental companies operate on the island, offering a range of vehicles to suit different needs and budgets. With well-maintained roads and highways, driving around Madeira provides flexibility and freedom to explore remote areas at your own pace.

2. Public Buses: Madeira boasts an efficient public bus system, operated by Horários do Funchal, which serves various routes across the island. Buses are a cost-effective option for traveling between towns and villages, with regular schedules and comfortable seating. Travelers can purchase tickets onboard or at designated ticket outlets.

3. Taxis: Taxis are readily available in Madeira and offer a convenient way to travel, especially for shorter distances or when exploring areas not easily accessible by public transport. While slightly more expensive than buses, taxis provide door-to-door service and can be hailed on the street or booked in advance.

4. Hiking Trails: For the adventurous traveler, exploring Madeira’s extensive network of hiking trails is an excellent way to experience the island’s rugged terrain and breathtaking scenery. From leisurely coastal walks to challenging mountain treks, hikers can immerse themselves in Madeira’s natural beauty while discovering hidden gems along the way.

5. Cable Cars and Funiculars: Madeira features several cable cars and funiculars that offer panoramic views of the island’s coastline and landscapes. These scenic rides provide a unique perspective of Madeira’s topography, including its dramatic cliffs, lush valleys, and sparkling blue waters.

6. Tuk-Tuks and Tours: For a more guided experience, consider taking a tuk-tuk tour or joining organized excursions offered by local operators. These tours often include visits to popular attractions, such as botanical gardens, historic sites, and viewpoints, providing insights into Madeira’s culture, history, and natural wonders.

7. Bicycles and Scooters: Cycling enthusiasts can explore Madeira’s picturesque roads and trails by renting bicycles or scooters from various rental outlets. With its mild climate and diverse terrain, Madeira offers fantastic opportunities for cycling adventures, whether along coastal routes or through mountainous landscapes.

8. Boat Tours: To experience Madeira from a different perspective, consider taking a boat tour around the island’s coastline or venturing out to sea for dolphin and whale watching excursions. These maritime adventures allow travelers to appreciate Madeira’s marine life and coastal scenery while enjoying the tranquility of the open waters.

Regardless of your preferred mode of transportation, navigating Madeira is a rewarding experience, offering endless opportunities for exploration and discovery amidst its stunning natural landscapes and cultural attractions.

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THINGS TO DO IN MADEIRA

   Explore Funchal

Funchal, the vibrant capital city of Madeira, offers a delightful blend of culture, history, and natural beauty, making it an ideal destination for a memorable vacation. Here’s a guide to exploring Funchal and experiencing its unique cha 

1. Old Town (Zona Velha): Begin your exploration of Funchal in the picturesque Old Town, where narrow cobblestone streets are lined with colorful buildings adorned with traditional azulejos (hand-painted tiles). Stroll through the charming alleys filled with quaint shops, cozy cafes, and authentic restaurants offering local delicacies.

2. Funchal Marina: Head to Funchal Marina, a bustling waterfront area dotted with luxury yachts, fishing boats, and waterfront cafes. Take a leisurely stroll along the promenade, soak in the scenic views of the harbor, and perhaps embark on a boat tour to explore the coastline or indulge in some dolphin and whale watching.

3. Mercado dos Lavradores (Farmers’ Market): Immerse yourself in Madeira’s culinary delights at Mercado dos Lavradores, the island’s bustling farmers’ market. Browse stalls brimming with fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and locally made handicrafts. Don’t miss the opportunity to sample exotic fruits like passion fruit, custard apple, and Madeira’s famous bananas.

4. Monte Toboggan Ride: Experience a thrilling ride on the Monte Toboggan sledges, a unique tradition dating back to the 19th century. Board a wicker toboggan and descend from Monte to Livramento, guided by experienced “carreiros” who navigate the steep streets using their wooden sledges. It’s an exhilarating adventure offering panoramic views of Funchal and the surrounding landscapes.

5. Funchal Cathedral (Sé Cathedral): Marvel at the architectural beauty of Funchal Cathedral, a historic landmark dating back to the 15th century. Admire its impressive facade adorned with intricate stonework and step inside to explore its ornate interior, featuring beautiful stained glass windows, intricate wood carvings, and religious artifacts.

6. Teleférico do Funchal (Funchal Cable Car): Take a scenic ride on the Funchal Cable Car for panoramic views of the city and its stunning coastline. Glide high above Funchal as you ascend to Monte, enjoying breathtaking vistas of the cityscape, harbor, and surrounding mountains along the way.

7. Cultural Attractions: Discover Funchal’s rich cultural heritage by visiting museums and galleries showcasing Madeira’s art, history, and traditions. Highlights include the Museum of Sacred Art, Frederico de Freitas Museum, and Contemporary Art Museum.

Exploring Funchal promises a delightful mix of sightseeing, culinary delights, and cultural experiences, providing a memorable vacation in Madeira’s vibrant capital city.

    Visit Monte Palace Tropical Garden

Nestled amidst the verdant hills of Monte, the Monte Palace Tropical Garden spans over 70,000 square meters and is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and diverse plant collections. Established in 1987, the garden is a testament to the vision and passion of its creators, who transformed an abandoned estate into a botanical paradise.

Highlights of the Garden:

1. Exotic Flora: Wander through a botanical wonderland featuring a diverse array of exotic plants and trees from all corners of the globe. Marvel at towering palms, vibrant orchids, majestic cycads, and rare species of ferns, creating a tapestry of colors and textures that delight the senses.

2. Japanese Garden: Explore the tranquil oasis of the Japanese Garden, inspired by the serene landscapes of Japan. Admire meticulously landscaped bonsai trees, tranquil ponds adorned with koi fish, and traditional Japanese architecture, including pagodas, bridges, and stone lanterns.

3. Tropical Bird Park: Embark on a fascinating journey through the Tropical Bird Park, home to a dazzling array of colorful birds from tropical regions around the world. Witness graceful flamingos, playful parrots, and majestic peacocks in their natural habitat, adding a touch of vibrancy to the garden.

4. Tile Panels: Discover the beauty of Portuguese azulejos (hand-painted tiles) displayed throughout the garden, depicting scenes from Madeira’s history, culture, and natural landscapes. These intricately crafted panels add a unique charm to the garden and provide insights into the island’s rich heritage.

5. Panoramic Views: Ascend to higher vantage points within the garden to enjoy panoramic views of Funchal, the surrounding mountains, and the sparkling Atlantic Ocean. Capture unforgettable moments amidst the breathtaking scenery, offering a perfect backdrop for photography enthusiasts.

  Visit Fanal

Fanal, nestled amidst the verdant forests of Madeira, is a serene and captivating destination renowned for its enchanting beauty and tranquil ambiance. Located in the heart of the Laurisilva Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Fanal offers visitors a glimpse into the island’s pristine natural landscapes and unique biodiversity.

Fanal is characterized by its ancient laurel trees, some of which are believed to be over 800 years old, towering overhead and creating a magical canopy of greenery. The area is adorned with lush vegetation, moss-covered rocks, and winding paths, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature.

Highlights:

1. Laurisilva Forest: Fanal is situated within the Laurisilva Forest, a primeval forest that has remained virtually unchanged for millions of years. This ancient woodland is home to a rich diversity of plant and animal species, including endemic flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth.

2. Walking Trails: Explore Fanal’s pristine surroundings by following the network of walking trails that meander through the forest. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll or a more challenging hike, there are routes available to suit all fitness levels, allowing you to discover hidden waterfalls, panoramic viewpoints, and secluded picnic spots along the way.

3. Stargazing: As night falls, Fanal transforms into a magical realm illuminated by thousands of twinkling stars overhead. Away from the city lights, the night sky above Fanal offers unparalleled opportunities for stargazing and astrophotography, providing a mesmerizing experience for astronomy enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

4. Picnic Area: Take advantage of the designated picnic area in Fanal, where you can enjoy a leisurely meal surrounded by the beauty of nature. Situated amidst ancient trees and verdant vegetation, this tranquil spot is the perfect place to unwind, relax, and savor the sights and sounds of the forest.

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 PR1.2 Trail: Vereda do Areeiro to Vereda do Pico Ruivo

The PR1.2 trail, also known as Vereda do Areeiro to Vereda do Pico Ruivo, is a breathtaking hiking route that offers adventurers an exhilarating journey through some of Madeira’s most stunning landscapes. This trail is part of the extensive network of “levadas” and footpaths that crisscross the island, providing hikers with access to its diverse terrain and natural wonders.

The PR1.2 trail begins at Pico do Areeiro, the third-highest peak in Madeira, offering panoramic views of the island’s rugged terrain and dramatic coastline. From here, hikers embark on a thrilling ascent along a narrow footpath that winds its way through rocky outcrops, towering cliffs, and lush vegetation.

As the trail progresses, hikers are treated to awe-inspiring vistas of the surrounding mountains and valleys, with glimpses of distant villages nestled amidst the verdant landscape. The path is well-marked and relatively well-maintained, although some sections may be steep and challenging, requiring careful footing and a moderate level of fitness.

As hikers approach the summit of Pico Ruivo, the highest peak in Madeira, they are rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views stretching as far as the eye can see. On a clear day, it’s possible to see neighboring islands on the horizon, adding to the sense of awe and wonder inspired by the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Highlights:

1. Spectacular Scenery: The PR1.2 trail traverses some of Madeira’s most spectacular landscapes, including rugged mountains, deep valleys, and lush forests, providing hikers with unparalleled opportunities to immerse themselves in the island’s natural beauty.

2. Challenging Terrain: While the trail offers stunning views, it also presents hikers with challenging terrain, including steep ascents, rocky pathways, and narrow ridges. However, the effort is rewarded with breathtaking scenery and a sense of accomplishment upon reaching the summit of Pico Ruivo.

3. Rich Biodiversity: Along the way, hikers will encounter a rich diversity of flora and fauna, including endemic species found nowhere else on Earth. Keep an eye out for colorful wildflowers, rare birds, and unique plant species that thrive in Madeira’s pristine wilderness.

4. Cultural Heritage: In addition to its natural beauty, the PR1.2 trail also offers insights into Madeira’s cultural heritage, with occasional glimpses of traditional villages, ancient agricultural terraces, and historic landmarks along the way.

 In conclusion, the PR1.2 trail from Vereda do Areeiro to Vereda do Pico Ruivo is a thrilling hiking adventure that showcases the breathtaking beauty of Madeira’s mountainous landscapes. Whether you’re an experienced hiker seeking a challenge or a nature lover in search of awe-inspiring scenery, this trail promises an unforgettable journey through one of Europe’s most enchanting destinations.

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PR9 Trail: Levada do Caldeirão Verde

The PR9 trail, known as Levada do Caldeirão Verde, is a captivating hiking route that takes adventurers on a mesmerizing journey through the lush landscapes of Madeira. This trail is renowned for its scenic beauty, tranquil surroundings, and unique cultural heritage, making it a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

 The PR9 trail begins at the Queimadas Forestry Park, nestled in the heart of Madeira’s Laurisilva Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From here, hikers follow the Levada do Caldeirão Verde, an ancient irrigation channel that winds its way through dense forests, rugged cliffs, and verdant valleys.

As hikers progress along the trail, they are treated to breathtaking views of cascading waterfalls, pristine streams, and towering peaks that dominate the horizon. The path is relatively flat and well-maintained, making it suitable for hikers of all skill levels, although some sections may be narrow and require careful footing.

Highlights:

1. Spectacular Waterfalls: The PR9 trail is renowned for its spectacular waterfalls, including the iconic Caldeirão Verde waterfall, which plunges into a serene pool surrounded by lush greenery. This natural wonder is a photographer’s paradise and a perfect spot for a refreshing dip on a hot day.

2. Lush Vegetation: As hikers traverse the Levada do Caldeirão Verde, they will be surrounded by a diverse array of flora and fauna, including ancient laurel trees, colorful wildflowers, and rare endemic species. The trail offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in Madeira’s rich biodiversity and pristine wilderness.

3. Cultural Heritage: Along the way, hikers will encounter remnants of Madeira’s agricultural heritage, including terraced fields, irrigation channels, and traditional water mills. These cultural landmarks provide insights into the island’s history and the ingenuity of its people in harnessing the natural resources of the land.

4. Tranquil Atmosphere: The PR9 trail offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere, allowing hikers to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life and reconnect with nature. The sound of birdsong, the gentle rustle of leaves, and the soothing flow of water create a sense of harmony and tranquility that is truly rejuvenating.

 In conclusion, the PR9 trail, Levada do Caldeirão Verde, is a captivating hiking experience that showcases the breathtaking beauty of Madeira’s natural landscapes. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a deeper connection with nature, this trail promises an unforgettable journey through one of Europe’s most enchanting destinations.

 Visit Santana, Madeira

 Santana, nestled on the northern coast of Madeira, is a picturesque village renowned for its iconic triangular houses with thatched roofs. This traditional settlement offers visitors a glimpse into Madeira’s rural heritage and cultural identity.

Is characterized by its charming cluster of triangular-shaped houses, known as “palheiros,” which feature steeply pitched roofs made of thatch or straw. These unique dwellings, once common throughout Madeira, are now primarily found in Santana, where they have become a symbol of the village’s cultural heritage.

Highlights:

  1. Traditional Architecture: Wander through the streets of Santana to admire the quaint and colorful palheiros, each adorned with vibrant flowers and traditional wooden doors and windows. These charming houses provide a glimpse into Madeira’s rural past and offer a unique backdrop for photographs.
  2. Santana Theme Park: Explore the Santana Theme Park, an interactive cultural center that celebrates Madeira’s rural traditions and folk culture. Visitors can learn about traditional crafts, agricultural practices, and local customs through exhibitions, workshops, and demonstrations.
  3. Santana Market: Experience the vibrant atmosphere of Santana’s local market, where vendors sell fresh produce, handicrafts, and souvenirs. Sample traditional Madeiran delicacies, such as honey cake, local cheeses, and exotic fruits, while mingling with locals and fellow travelers.
  4. Levada Walks: Embark on a leisurely stroll along one of Santana’s nearby levada trails, offering scenic views of lush valleys, cascading waterfalls, and endemic flora and fauna. These hiking routes provide an opportunity to explore Madeira’s natural beauty and enjoy the tranquility of the countryside.

 In conclusion, Santana offers visitors a delightful blend of traditional architecture, cultural experiences, and natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination in Madeira. Whether you’re admiring the iconic triangular houses, immersing yourself in local traditions at the theme park, or exploring the surrounding countryside, Santana promises an authentic and memorable experience for all who visit.

WHERE TO EAT IN MADEIRA

Madeiran cuisine is characterized by its emphasis on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, including seafood, exotic fruits, vegetables, and spices. Fish and seafood play a prominent role in Madeiran gastronomy, with popular dishes such as “espada com banana” (scabbard fish with banana) and “lapas grelhadas” (grilled limpets) showcasing the island’s coastal bounty.

Meat dishes are also widely enjoyed in Madeira, with specialties like “espetada” (grilled skewered beef or chicken) and “bolo do caco com carne de vinha d’alhos” (garlic and wine marinated meat served on traditional bolo do caco bread) offering hearty and flavorful options for carnivores.

Vegetarians and vegans will find plenty to savor in Madeira’s cuisine as well, with dishes like “espetada de vegetais” (grilled vegetable skewers) and “milho frito” (fried maize) showcasing the island’s diverse produce and culinary creativity.

Restaurante Calhau De São Jorge

🍴Mediterranean, European, Contemporary

📍Complexo Balnear Calhau De São Jorge, Santana, Madeira 9230-145 Portugal

Come and enjoy this little paradise made up of three swimming pools (one of them for children) and a century-old natural freshwater lagoon. The gastronomy is in the hands of Chef Hugo Dória with a welcome from Head Chef José Manuel Ferreira.

Lido’s Tavern

🍴International, Healthy, Portuguese, Street Food, Bar, European

📍Estrada Monumental Building Lido View II, Funchal, Madeira 9000-100 Portugal

Little cosy kiosk with a terrace, offering warm and friendly customer service. We serve BOLO DO CACO, burgers, toasties, sandwiches, fresh fruits, and various snacks. Our drink selection includes several flavors of genuine PONCHA, made with top-quality rum, freshly prepared on the spot. We also offer a wide range of fresh fruit juices, coffee, tea, beer, soft drinks, and much more.

Casal Da Penha

🍴Seafood, Mediterranean, European, Healthy, Portuguese, International

📍Beco Ataide 1, Funchal, Madeira 9000-604 Portugal

A mix of sensations… a unique space. For a serene meal and excellent service in Funchal, Madeira Island, Casal da Penha offers a refined interior room and two outdoor spaces where you can enjoy our specialties. A family business for over 30 years, where we strive to serve traditional, honest, and homemade food made with love. “We don’t cook fast food. We cook good and honest homemade food… as fast as we can.”

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