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50 Best Things To Do in Madeira Portugal – 2024 Guide

This 2024 guide to the best things to do in Madeira Portugal will save you precious time in creating your itinerary for the best places to visit. Madeira is a paradise island with many different activities to do and landscapes to explore. Madeira is also called ‘ The Hawaii of Europe’ or ‘the island of eternal spring’. And we understand why!

After living for 7 months on Madeira Island, we have explored every corner and all the best places of the island experiencing all different seasons and weather conditions. This enables us to create this ultimate guide for you with the 50 best things to do in Madeira. From watching the sunrise above the clouds to walking along the rugged cliffs, Madeira has it all. Find here all the best things to do in MadeiraStart exploring the local culture, the city center of Funchal, and the incredible nature and sandy beaches. 

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Table of Contents


What is Madeira famous for?

This top 50 of the best things to do in Madeira Portugal is a collection of what Madeira is famous for. The island has many best places to visit and offers adventurous outdoor activities, cultural visits, and beautiful easy viewpoints. Madeira is noted for its Madeira wine, flora, and fauna, with its pre-historic laurel forest, classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Is Madeira worth the Hype?

Madeira is still one of the best European destinations as it again received the award of Europe’s Leading Destination in 2023. It’s easy to fly there with a direct flight from mainland Portugal and it is still worth a visit!

The Best Things to do in Madeira – TOP 50

If you are specifically looking for the best hikes in Madeira, the best levada walks, or the best viewpoints, then head over to our detailed guides about these subjects. However, in this comprehensive guide, you will find all the best picks from these specified guides. Per activity, I also refer to the in-depth guides for all the destinations mentioned.

Hike Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

Hiking the famous Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo trail in Madeira is one of the top things to do for nature lovers. The 11-kilometer out-and-back trail is tough with over 1000 meters of incline, but the views and experience on itself are so worth it. It is one of the most beautiful hikes on Madeira. You will walk from the third-highest peak of Madeira to the highest peak, Pico Ruivo at 1862 meters which is a unique experience. The total hike will take you anywhere between 3 to 5 hours of hiking depending on your pace. The best time to start hiking is in the morning. It’s a great way to start your day to combine watching the sunrise at Pico do Arieiro before setting off for the hike.

Book here your private Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo guided hike

Book here your transfer to Pico do Arieiro with pick up at Achada do Teixeira

Read here all the details you need to know about one of the best hiking trails the Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo hike


Stand above the clouds at Pico do Arieiro

Pico do Arieiro is one of the places in Madeira you can’t miss. It is one of the most popular viewpoints for sunrise in Madeira, and the start of the Pico to Pico hike. The best time to visit Pico do Arieiro is at sunrise, but on a day with great circumstances, there will be low-hanging clouds throughout the day. There are several viewpoints at Pico do Arieiro from where you can watch the sunrise. Miradouro Juncal, Miradouro do Ninho da Manta and Miradouro da Pedra Rija are a few kilometers into the hike to the highest point Pico Ruivo which is a great spot for sunset.

Book here your private tour to Pico do Arieiro with sunrise

Read in our complete guide all the details you need to know about Pico do Arieiro


​Relax at the beautiful black sand beach of Seixal

Seixal Beach is one of the best beaches on the Island of Madeira. This black sand beach has an impressive backdrop of green cliffs with a waterfall in the distance pouring into the ocean. Seixal Beach provides everything for beachgoers, photographers, and surfers! It is also a great spot to watch the sunrise and you can even explore some caves along the shore. Close to Seixal Beach are also the Seixal Natural Pools, so you have a good reason to visit these as you can perfectly combine a visit.

Book here your day tour to Seixal including a visit to Porto Moniz, Fanal, and Cabo Girao skywalk

Read in our complete guide all the details you need to know about Seixal Beach


Walk underneath a waterfall at Levada do Moinho

Have you ever walked underneath a waterfall? Most likely not, but that can change along the Levada do Moinho hike in Madeira! This 9-kilometer circular hike along the water channels is quite easy with only about 150 meters of incline via concrete stairs. The main point of interest during this hike is the part of the trail that has been carved into the cliff wall and where the waterfall pours over the path. The rest of the hike is along the two Levadas with valley views. It’s one of the unique waterfalls in Madeira that you can’t miss visiting!

Read in our complete guide all the details you need to know about Levada do Moinho


Visit the traditional Madeira houses in Santana

The traditional Santana houses are some of the most popular tourist attractions of the island. These small, colorful triangular traditional houses represent Madeira’s heritage and are made of straw and wood. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the Santana houses are very photogenic and some of the most popular photo spots in Madeira. You can also visit some of the Santana houses inside to see how they are equipped. But capturing them from outside is the most Instagrammable.

Book here your tour to East Madeira including a visit to these Santana houses


Hike the volcanic landscape of Ponta de São Lourenço

The Vereda Ponta de São Lourenço hike is a beautiful coastal hike on Madeira Island. It is one of the most popular hikes on Madeira as it can be easily a great family activity. There’s not much incline and the 7-kilometer out and back trail isn’t too heavy. This rugged coastal trail takes you along the volcanic cliffs of Ponta de São Lourenço with stunning viewpoints along the way. You can perfectly combine this Madeira walk after watching the sunrise at Ponta do Rosto, as hiking in Madeira during the morning is most advisable.

Book here your guided hike including transfer to Ponta de São Lourenço

Read in our complete guide all the details you need to know about Ponta de São Lourenço hike


Explore the magical Fanal Forest

Fanal Forest is a magical fairytale forest in the northern part of Madeira Island and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Often, but not always, there is mysterious fog in the forest amongst the 600-year-old trees, creating scenes straight out of a movie! The lush greenery of twisted tree branches with layers of moss on them has such interesting forms that it almost looks as if they’re alive. Whether you’re a tourist, amateur photographer, or professional photographer, you have to experience Fanal Forest with fog at least once! But with all the weather circumstances in Madeira, you have to be lucky to get the perfect conditions so try to check the weather forecast! Sometimes the fog can be too wet, too thick, or there is no fog at all. Anyhow, Fanal Forest is one of the must-visit destinations in Madeira.

Book here your day tour to Fanal including a visit to Porto Moniz, Seixal, and Cabo Girao skywalk

Read in our complete guide all the details you need to know about before visiting Fanal forest


Hike the wild but short levada path to Cascata Agua d’Alto

For a more off-the-beaten-path waterfall experience in Madeira, head over to this hidden gem in Faial. Água d’Alto waterfall is located in a lush canyon and is about 150 meters high. The short 10-minute levada walk brings you to the waterfall which is perfectly tucked away into a small canyon surrounded by lush greens.

Read in our complete guide all the details you need to know about Cascata Água d’Alto


Watch the sunrise from Bica da Cana viewpoint

One of the most impressive viewpoints in Madeira is Bica da Cana. This amazing sunrise viewpoint is located at a height of 1,560m above sea level and will blow your mind! With views on the highest peaks of Madeira Island and continuously changing weather, Bica da Cana will always deliver different views and for us, it’s one of the best places to watch sunrise. With the right weather circumstances, there will be a sea of clouds in the valley below. This is impressive and something to always remember. Watching the sunrise at Bica da Cana can be perfectly combined with the Bica da Cana hike. A great morning adventure and worth visiting!

Read in our complete guide all the details you need to know about Bica da Cana viewpoint


Do a wine tasting at Blandy’s Wine Lodge

Madeira is one of the most beautiful and exotic wine-growing regions in the world and has a long history in winemaking, dating back to the 15th century. Until today, Madeira is known for its unique winemaking process which involves oxidizing the wine through heat and aging. There are a few different cellars and wine museums in the city of Funchal to visit. But the most famous one with the longest history and prettiest museum is The Old Blandy Wine Lodge. Here you can experience Madeira Wine in the making. A guided tour will lead you through some history of the wine, its development and evolution, as well as the opportunity to taste the various Madeira wines. One of the must things to do in Madeira if you love wine!

Book here your guided food and wine walking tour through Funchal including a visit to Blandy’s Wine Lodge

Read in our complete guide all the details you need to know about Madeira wine


Go on an off-the-beaten-path adventure exploring Poço das Pulgas

The Poco das Pulgas waterfall hike in Ponta Delgada is an 8-kilometer off-the-beaten-path loop. You are completely immersed in Madeira’s jungle and will pass along several waterfalls and enchanting streams surrounded by lush greens. This hike is quite technical and challenging, so I would only advise it if you have experience with hiking. The waterfalls you will see along the way are stunning though. So if you’re in for a little adventure then this hike is a must do. 

Read in our complete guide all the details you need to know about Poço das Pulgas


Look out over Nuns Valley from Eira do Serrada viewpoint

Eira do Serrado viewpoint offers impressive panoramic views overlooking the Curral das Freiras valley. Located at an elevation of 1095 meters, it shows the ‘heart’ of the island surrounded by the majestic mountains of the central massif. The beautiful platform is a short walk from the parking lot with only a 5-minute walk. Eira do Serrado is also one of the wheelchair-friendly viewpoints in Madeira with an equal floor. Access to the viewpoint starts from the parking lot of Estalagem Eira do Serrado which is also a hotel and restaurant. Visiting Eira do Serrado’s viewpoint is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Madeira for the whole family. 


See the beautiful reflections in Fanal Pond

The Fanal Pond is just a little bit further along the road located in Fanal Forest. This beautiful lake only appears after heavy rainfall, but if it’s there, it is a magical location to explore. The water in Fanal Lake is so still that you can see every reflection in it. You can walk around the pond, take pictures, and just enjoy the quiet surroundings. If Fanal Forest is a bit busy as it is a very popular spot, then this is a great alternative.  


Watch the sunrise at Pico Ruivo

Another fantastic viewpoint in Madeira to watch the sunrise from is Pico Ruivo. The highest peak of the island. But in contrast to Pico do Arieiro where you can just drive to, walk 5 minutes, and be at the viewpoint, you have to hike for about 30 minutes to get to the summit of Pico Ruivo. The best way to get there before sunrise is from the Achada do Teixeira side. This is the shorter and flatter route to Pico Ruivo than from Pico do Arieiro. But it is also with a little less epic views along the way. However, if you want to experience watching the sunrise from the highest peak in Madeira, then add this activity one of the best things to do in Madeira to your list and depart from Achada do Teixeira


Swim in the natural pools of Porto Moniz

The Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools are a perfect way to relax and enjoy the ocean water. Located on the northwestern tip of the main island, the Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools are lava rock formations where small lagoons are created by the salty ocean water. It is a very family-friendly location with shallow pools for the kids and larger pools and even diving boards for the adults. You can perfectly relax here for half a day and enjoy the clear waters. The entrance fee is only €3. 

Book here your private tour to explore West Madeira including Porto Moniz, São Vicente, Cabo Girao, and more

Book here your day tour to Porto Moniz but also include a visit to Seixal, Fanal, and the Skywalk

Read in our complete guide all the details you need to know about Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools


Walk along the impressive coastal cliffs of Vereda do Larano

The Vereda do Larano hike along the east side of Madeira turned out to be our favorite coastal hike of the entire island. This easy but beautiful cliffside trail offers some amazing views of the rugged coastline with impressive vertical cliff drops into the ocean. Besides these impressive coastal views, you’ll also pass waterfalls and walk through the forest. There are a few options to do this hike with the official route leading you from Levada do Caniçal to Vereda do Larano with Porto da Cruz as the finish point. This is 13 kilometers one way, with the 5-kilometer Vereda do Larano trail as the highlight. But there is also another, shorter option, where you will only see the best part of the hike. 

Read in our complete guide all you need to know about Vereda do Larano hike


Visit the CR7 museum of Madeira’s pride Cristiano Ronaldo

If you’re a football lover you can’t miss a visit to the Cristiano Ronaldo Museum. The CR7 hotel is located above the small museum which is a very nice and luxury hotel to stay in Madeira. In the museum, you can see all the prizes Ronaldo has won and his achievements. It’s packed with trophies, medals, and statues of Cristiano Ronaldo. If you only want to see the big statue of Ronaldo you can visit it at any time because it is located right outside of the CR7 museum which is located along the waterfront of Funchal Bay where you can see the cruise ships. 

Read in our complete guide about more things to do in Funchal


Go paragliding in Porto da Cruz

Paragliding is one of the super epic things to do in Madeira. There are a few spots on the island where you can go paragliding such as Calheta, Funchal (Praia Formosa) and Porto da Cruz. The last named option is in our opinion the best spot for paragliding in Madeira because you have a view on the highest peaks of the entire island, the beautiful valley of Porto da Cruz, Penha D’Águia rock, and the ocean. An unforgettable experience to fly above these epic landscapes. You will literally feel like a bird! We had this experience with Madeira Wings and can recommend them! 


Watch the sunrise at Ponta do Rosto

Another fantastic spot to watch the sunrise in Madeira is the Ponta do Rosto viewpoint. Located on the eastern tail of the island of Madeira, this is a perfect sunrise spot with impressive views on the cliffs of Ponta de São Lourenço. Miradouro da Ponta do Rosto is located right before the Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço hike. Therefore you can perfectly combine these two for a morning of exploring. However, for the official trail of Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço you have to drive a bit back on the ER109 towards the last roundabout where the official trail starts. From Ponta do Rosto you can also make a short hike to a second viewpoint which is called the São Lourenço photoshoot spot. 

Read in our complete guide everything you need to know about Ponta do Rosto


Visit the Botanical Gardens

The Madeira botanical gardens are some of the most popular tourist attractions and best things to do in Madeira. The only way to get to the beautiful Madeira botanical garden is by a cable car ride. The Madeira Botanical Gardens have a collection of 2500 exotic plants from all continents in five different areas. The views from the Botanical Gardens are marvellous overlooking Funchal and the Atlantic Ocean. You can either choose to go up with the Monte cable car from Funchal, or go by car or bus to the cable car station and get on the cable car ride to the Botanical Gardens from there.

Read in our complete guide everything you need to know about the Madeira Botanical Gardens


Hike Vereda dos Balcões to one of the most beautiful viewpoints 

One of the easiest hikes in Madeira but with some of the best views! If that doesn’t sound like a must-do in Madeira, then I don’t know! The short but beautiful walk of Vereda dos Balcões goes through a fairytale-like forest and is rewarded on a sunny and clear day with an incredible view on the highest peaks of Madeira. From the balcony, you’ll have a beautiful view on the Ribeira da Metade valley, the island’s central mountain range and towards the ocean with the Penha D’Águia cliff as another landmark.

Read in our complete guide everything you need to know about Vereda dos Balcões


Go surfing in Jardim do Mar, Porto da Cruz or Seixal

Madeira has excellent conditions for surfing and if you’re a beginner or professional surfer, there is a spot for everyone. The waves are perfect, clear waters, and with characteristic “point breaks”. The surf’s high season in Madeira runs from September to May. And the very best months when also surf competitions are being held, are from November to January. The climate in Madeira is mild throughout the year. Seawater temperature ranges from 18º to 24º C, which means that you can surf almost every day of the year! Some of the best spots for surfing in Madeira are Jardim do Mar, Porto da Cruz, and Seixal. 


Hike Levada das 25 Fontes to the impressive Risco waterfall

25 Fontes waterfall and Risco waterfall are located along the Levada das 25 Fontes and are some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Madeira. Both waterfalls are highly influenced by rainfall, so during the summer months and peak season, you can expect both waterfalls to be very dry. However after some weeks of rain or in the winter months both waterfalls are very impressive and photogenic. Nevertheless, the Levada das 25 Fontes is a beautiful hike and one of the most popular Levada walks in Madeira. So definitely some of the best things to do in Madeira!

Read everything about Levada das 25 Fontes in our complete guide


Explore Fishermen’s town Camara de Lobos with its colorful boats

Only a 15-minute drive away from Funchal’s city center is the fishermen’s town, Camara de Lobos. This town was one of Madeira’s earliest settlements in the 15th century. Nowadays the small town is still a fishermen’s place despite the influx of tourists. During the day you can see the colourful boats bobbing in the waters. At night they go out on the ocean to catch the typical and weird-looking black scabbard fish. A fun thing to know is that Poncha originated in Camara de Lobos. It was the first place where Poncha was made by fishermen to keep themselves warm during cold nights. So for a complete Camara de Lobos experience, you have to drink a Poncha here!

Book here your private tour to explore this town and the best of West Madeira


Visit the impressive rock formations at Illeus da Ribeira da Janela

Ilheus da Ribeira da Janela is a collection of two unique rock formations located a few meters from the coast in North Madeira. This epic spot with rocky beach is still one of the hidden gems on the island and therefore definitely worth it to add to your best things to do in Madeira’s itinerary. Facing northeast, you can watch the sunrise here in the summer season. During the winter months, the sun disappears behind the mountains. With the stunning backdrop of these two impressive and uniquely formed rock formations, you can’t miss this spot when exploring Madeira’s north coast. Located close to Porto Moniz, you can easily combine it with a visit to the Porto Moniz Natural Pools. 

Read in our complete guide everything you need to know about the Illeus da Ribeira da Janela rocks


Explore the charming city center of Funchal

Funchal is the capital city of Madeira and is a gem on its own to explore. Strolling through the atmospheric town during the night feels like walking in a modern fairytale. There are many cobbled narrow streets to explore with beautiful authentic buildings, street art, a fort, pebble beaches, very lush parks, and a lot of great restaurants in Funchal. Many tourists base themselves in Funchal to explore Madeira Island. That’s a great choice if you want to be centrally located on the island and have enough facilities around you.

Book here some great tours in Funchal

Read in our complete guide about more things to do in Funchal


Float in the Seixal natural pools

Visiting the Seixal Natural Pools is one of the best things to do in Madeira. This collection of volcanic tidal rock pools is filled with clean and clear waters. In contrast to the more famous Porto Moniz Natural Pools, the Seixal Natural Pools are less visited. This makes it a perfect getaway from the crowds and in our opinion some of the best Madeira Natural Pools to experience. You might not think about it in the first place, but the Seixal Natural Pools are also a great spot to watch the sunrise. For photography lovers, there are some great spots as well to take beautiful pictures.

Book here your day tour to Seixal including a visit to Porto Moniz, Fanal and Cabo Girao skywalk

Read in our complete guide everything you need to know about the Seixal Natural Pools


Watch sunrise at Miradouro do Guindaste

Miradouro do Guindaste, also known as Crane viewpoint, is a beautiful coastal sunrise viewpoint in Madeira. Located on the Northeastern side of the island in the district of Santana, Crane Viewpoint offers some of the most spectacular views on the rugged cliffs of Madeira Island. A small headland sticks out above the ocean where the waves crash against. When you have a good sunrise here, you can make some of the most amazing sunrise pictures. 

Read in our complete guide everything you need to know about Miradouro do Guindaste


Take the Cable car up to the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens

Monte Palace Tropical Garden is a multi-level garden with about 100,000 different plant species varying from exotic trees & flowers. But it has way more to offer than only plants and trees! Within the garden is the Monte Palace Museum. Here you can see the exhibition of Zimbabwean sculptures and a unique collection of minerals from all over the world. Furthermore, you can see the most important collections of Portuguese tiles from the 15th and 16th centuries. They are placed throughout the walkways and vegetation and represent social, cultural, and religious events in the history of Portugal. One of the best things to do in Madeira when you love exploring tropical gardens! And together with the cable car ride it’s one of fun things to do when staying in Funchal. 

Book here your tour to Monte and lide with the Toboggan ride down back to Funchal

Read in our complete guide everything you need to know about Monte Palace Tropical Gardens


Watch the traditional Madeira Embroideries being made

Bordal is one of the main manufacturers and exporters of the famous Madeira embroidery. Bordados da Madeira was founded in 1962 and is until today specialized in pieces for tables, bed linens, and clothing with over 40.000 different designs! They use the finest linens and cottons and every single piece is handmade. It is absolutely worth it to see and learn about the history of Madeira embroidery. Someone said once ‘Going to Madeira without visiting the typical embroidery is like going to Rome without visiting the pope’. So if you have the time, you should see the process of Madeira embroidery and learn about its history. Bordal is located along the Rua Dr. Fernгo de Ornelas 77 and the tour through their factory is free of charge.


Play Golf at one of the Golf Clubs in Madeira

Madeira offers two golf courses with great facilities, spectacular views and the perfect climate all year round. So if you love golf you can experience some of the most breathtaking views of the island with beautiful views on the ocean and the highest peaks of the island. Santo da Serra Golf Club and Palheiro Golf Club are the options on Madeira Island. Next to that is another golf club on Porto Santo Island which is the smaller island close to Madeira.


Hike to the waterfall viewpoint Garganta Funda

The Garganta Funda waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Madeira. Located in Ponta do Pargo on the west coast, it’s a bit off the normal tourist route but worth a visit. Especially in the winter season when the waterfall has actually water flowing down. You have to keep in mind that during the summer months, the waterfall can be dried up. The kettle-shaped rock around the waterfall is fascinating and reminds us of the Caldeirao Verde waterfall. Both have a waterfall flowing down in a gorge with lots of green vines and moss attached to the rock walls. But Garganta Funda has one more great feature which is the stunning views on the Atlantic Ocean. 

Read more in our complete guide about Garganta Funda waterfall 


Go whale watching

The ocean around Madeira island is a perfect place to spot dolphins and sperm whales. The best time to go on a whale watching tour in Madeira is from April to October. During this time there are the most species around in the area. Usually, these boat trips leave the harbor two times a day. In the morning and midday, so you can choose a time that suits your schedule. The towns from where the whale watching tours leave are Calheta, Funchal and Caniço. You can either book a tour directly at the whale watching tour company or book online.  


Visit Faja dos Padres with the cable car

Fajã dos Padres is a huge organic farm located by the Atlantic Ocean and is only accessible by cable car or boat. Once you arrive at the bottom of the cliff with the cable car, you will walk in between the fruit trees, banana trees, and different herbs and vegetables towards the ocean side. There you will get to the restaurant where you can taste the organic ingredients from their garden, and enjoy the private beach of Faja dos Padres. It is a fun day trip and besides getting there by cable car you can also get to Faja dos Padres by boat.

Read everything about Faja dos Padres in this complete guide.


Swim and relax at Poço das Chefes

If you want to get away from the tourist spots and experience a hidden gem in Madeira, then go to Poço das Chefes in Nuns Valley. The river that runs through the valley comes from a spring. And because locals built a dam, it is now possible to swim and jump in the river. With amazing views on the surrounding green mountains and serene vibes, this place provides the perfect ingredients for a relaxing afternoon in nature.


Try the traditional Poncha drink

Poncha is the traditional alcoholic drink from Madeira made with the typical sugar cane rum called Aguardente. The rest of the ingredients are honey or sugar and either orange juice or lemon juice which are mixed with the so-called Caralhinho. If you visit Madeira, and you haven’t had a Poncha, you haven’t been on Madeira! This traditional drink is a must-try and many Madeireans we spoke to actually told us it’s the best medicine. You will see many tabernas, which are Poncha bars, scattered around Madeira Island where you should try this drink! 

Book here a Poncha tasting tour including a visit to Cabo Girao in a classic VW

Read in our complete guide everything about Poncha


Visit São Vicente

São Vicente is a beautiful valley where a little chapel is perched on a hill overlooking the mesmerizing valley. This chapel is called ‘Capelinha de Nossa Senhora de Fatima’ and you can only get up by climbing the stairs for 5-10 minutes. But the view from the top is absolutely worth it. In the early morning, you can have the chance of magical golden light that will light up the valley. If you have a drone you can take some interesting pictures from the chapel with the valley around. But in Sao Vicente you can explore more such as the Sao Vicente caves and some hikes like Levada Faja do Rodrigues

Book here your private tour to explore São Vicente and more of West Madeira


Explore the Sao Tiago fort in Funchal

The Sao Tiago Fort is a beautiful authentic 18th-century fort located in the old town of Funchal. It tells the story of its previous purpose to defend Funchal from attacks by pirates and privateers. Nowadays the fortress is a beautiful attraction to visit in the old town of Funchal and serves as a wedding location and restaurant. You can wander around the fortress for free or grab something to eat or drink at the restaurant with wonderful views over the ocean and Funchal City. One of the must things to do in Funchal


Stand on the highest cliff of Europe at the Cabo Girão Skywalk

The highest cape in Europe is 580 meters above sea level and is located on a 20-minute drive from Funchal. Here you can step on the glass skywalk and look down to the ocean. The incredible views from the highest cliff are well worth a visit, which is why the Cabo Girão skywalk is one of the most popular and free tourist activities in Madeira. There is also a gift shop, coffee shop, and restrooms on the site. Free parking is available on the road.

Book here your private tour to explore West Madeira including Cabo Girao, Porto Moniz, São Vicente and more

Secure here your private tour in a classic VW visiting Cabo Girao and a Poncha tasting tour

Book here your day tour to Cabo Girao skywalk including a visit to Porto Moniz Seixal and Fanal

Read more in our complete guide about Cabo Girão skywalk


Hike along the many waterfalls of Caldeirão Verde

Levada Caldeirão Verde is one of the most popular and beautiful levada walks on Madeira. The hike is known for the many waterfalls you will see along the way in combination with the beautiful lush jungle surroundings. You’ll have to pass a few tunnels and walk underneath little waterfalls. So be prepared with a rain jacket, flashlight or headlamp. The total distance of this flat levada walk is 12 kilometers out and back. With only a little 100 meters of incline, this hike is perfect for all ages, providing some of the best valley views and waterfalls on Madeira! 

Book here your guided Levada Caldeirão Verde hike

Read all the details about this hike in our complete guide about Caldeirão Verde


Visit the only steam-powered rum distillery on the island

If you want to see the ancient rum distillery of Madeira, you have to visit Engenhos do Norte in Porto da Cruz. This is the only rum distillery left on the island that is steam-operated. However, you can only see the production process of sugarcane rum in the months between March and May. Those are the harvest months of sugarcane and the only period the machines are in use.  The rest of the year you can see the industrial architecture and authentic machines and learn more about the process of sugarcane rum during a free tour. In their shop, you can buy many different products made from sugarcane. Of course the famous sugarcane rum. But also other products made with sugarcane such as the honey cake, also known as Bolo de Mel.

Book here your private wine tasting tour

Book here your full day tour to Madeira’s wine estates


Watch sunset at Ponta do Tristão

One of the best spots to watch sunset in Madeira is from Ponta do Tristao. It is the northernmost point of Madeira Island, located in the Porto Moniz parish. The viewpoint of Ponta do Tristão offers another incredible ocean view with the rugged cliffs of Madeira’s north coast on the left side.  


Visit the Mercado dos Lavradores (Farmers Market)

The Farmers Market is a fruit, vegetable, herb, flower, and fish market located in the city center of Funchal. Here you can experience the bustling local atmosphere with colorful stalls and all sorts of sounds, smells, and various nationalities. The beautiful building of Mercado dos Lavradores was designed by Edmundo Tavares and opened in November 1940. Inside there are different areas, also known as Plazas that are connected by passages and staircases. Come here for the experience and to see (and taste) fruits you’ve probably never seen before. But don’t buy your fruits, veggies or herbs here because it is way overpriced. Tourists often feel ripped off when buying on the Farmers Market, so don’t fall into this tourist trap!

Book here your guided food and wine walking tour through Funchal including a visit to the Farmers Market


Get the thrill of canyoneering

If you want to explore Madeira’s remote gorges and waterfalls, then you have to book a canyoneering adventure. There are tours available for all sorts of levels, from beginners to experts. You will have an adrenaline-filled experience through the most remote spots in Madeira Island which will be an unforgettable experience for the adventure seekers. 

Book here your canyoneering adventure from Funchal


Drive or walk underneath Cascata dos Anjos

Cascata dos Anjos in Ponta do Sol is a very unique spot in Madeira. Located on the old coastal road, this waterfall pours straight out of the clifftop onto the street. So you can even drive your car underneath it, but always be careful! On this side of the main island, you can also watch the sunset, so especially during this time it’s the best time to get to this spot. 


Eat Espetada

Espetada is a traditional dish in Portugal that is prepared with different types of meat, as well as squid or fish. If you love to eat meat or fish, you have to try this dish! In Madeira, the typical Espetada includes cubes of beef on laurel skewers which are then seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and bay leaf. It is then cooked over hot coals or wood chips. The meal is complete when you eat it with Bolo do Caco and, or Milo Frito.

Read in our complete guide which are the best restaurants in Madeira


Visit Achada das Cruz

The small parish of Achadas das Cruz is located on the west coast of the island. The village is called Fajã da Quebrada Nova and is uninhabited. You can only get down by cable car or foot. From this piece of land close to the ocean you’ll have a fantastic sunset view accompanied by the towering cliffs of Madeira’s west coast. Achadas das Cruz is one of the more hidden spots in Madeira to visit. 


See a waterfall pouring into the ocean at Miradouro do Véu da Noiva

Véu da Noiva waterfall viewpoint is an incredible spot on the north coast of Madeira between Seixal and São Vicente. You can’t miss this place when you’re exploring Madeira’s northwest coast. This beautiful waterfall, known as the Bride Veil, runs down the mountain and flows straight into the Atlantic Ocean. The viewing platform is very easy to reach from the road and is even wheelchair friendly. You can easily combine the Véu da Noiva waterfall viewpoint with a visit to Seixal Beach and the Seixal Natural Pools. 

Book here your private west Madeira tour including a visit to Seixal

Read in our complete guide everything about Véu da Noiva waterfall viewpoint


Watch the sunset at Ponta do Pargo and visit the lighthouse

Located on the far western point of Madeira Island you will find Ponta do Pargo and the lighthouse. Situated on a 300-meter-high cliff above sea level, this viewpoint is a fantastic sunset spot. It is a pretty well-known spot and very easy to access. With unobstructed ocean views you can see the sun setting on the horizon on a clear day. Ponta do Pargo viewpoint is situated along the rugged coastline approximately two kilometers outside the town of Ponta do Pargo. There are no seats around so bring a towel if you want to sit down to enjoy the sunset.

After watching the sunset at Ponta do Pargo, I highly recommend having dinner at O’Forno in Ponta do Pargo which is one of our favorite restaurants in Madeira


Visit Porto Santo island

If you want to explore other islands in Madeira’s portuguese archipelago, then it’s highly recommended to travel to the small island of Porto Santo. This 14 million-year-old island is known for its turquoise warm waters with beautiful dive sites and the long golden sand of Porto Santo beach. Besides relaxing on the beach and doing water sports there are more things to do in Porto Santo such as some beautiful hikes. Pico de Ana Ferreira and Vereda Pico Branco & Terra Cha are some of the most beautiful hikes on the island. Porto Santo also has a golf course and many other activities. It’s one of the lesser-known destinations in Portugal making it a hidden gem to explore. 


Best Madeira island tours

If you want to explore the best of Madeira with a guide then here are some great tours I recommend. During these tours, you will pass by some of the best spots which I share in this complete guide. All of these tours include transport with hotel pick up and drop off and certified guides. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.

Island Tours

  • Customized 6 hour Madeira tour. On this six-hour tour, you can choose the different areas you want to visit on Madeira island. Pick the landmarks and iconic places to make your itinerary with the help of your local guide/driver.
  • West Madeira private tour. Starting in the fishing town of Câmara de Lobos you will drive via Cabo Girao, the highest cape in Europe, to the beautiful view of Serra d’Agua valley. From there you will head to São Vicente to explore the Laurisilva forest. Continuing north, you will visit Porto Moniz, known for its natural lava pools where you can swim. As the last stop, you will visit the famous rocks at Ribeira da Janela.
  • Ponta de São Lourenço hike with pick up in Funchal. Explore the most eastern tail of Madeira island with its unique volcanic rock formations. This will help you to understand how the island was created.
  • East Madeira tour. Visit Pico do Arieiro viewpoint, the Santana houses and the beautiful viewpoints at Porto da Cruz. Finish the day at the impressive volcanic landscape of Ponta de São Lourenço.
  • Canyoning adventure with transfer from Funchal. Get the thrill of canyoneering and explore Madeira’s untouched nature. Follow a river as you walk, rappel, slide and jump through hidden waterfalls with streams that cross endemic forests. A super fun and adventurous day!

Watersport Tours

Funchal Tours

  • Funchal Old Town walking tour. Learn about the history of Funchal and Madeira on a guided walk through the city’s medieval center. Visit the farmer’s market, the Campo Almirante Reis, the Fortress of St. James, and several other sites.
  • Sunset tour from Funchal by Catamaran. Watch the sunset off the coast of Madeira on a 3-hour evening catamaran cruise from Funchal. Spot dolphins (guaranteed, or you get a 2nd trip for free).
  • Tuk-Tuk tour to Monte Tropical Garden with Toboggan ride from Funchal. Explore Funchal Old Town with a Tuk Tuk before making your way to the mountains to the stunning Monte Tropical Garden. There you will explore over 70,000 square meters of exotic plants. At the end of the tour, you will enjoy the thrilling ride down the hill with a Toboggan ride.
  • Funchal 48-hour hop-on hop off bus tour. Explore the lush landscape of Madeira and the sights of Funchal at your own pace with a 2 or 5-day ticket for the hop-on, hop-off bus.

General travel must-haves for Madeira

Have you thought about how to get around in Madeira? A car is the easiest way to drive around the island. Read in our complete guide everything you need to know about Car hire in Madeira

  • Book your rental car here and compare the providers to get the best deal.
  • Book your scooter or motorbike here to get around in Madeira. Most of the scooters you can drive with driving license (A1/A2/A) from 18 years old, or from 25 years old with a car (B) license. The motorbikes have a minimum age of 20 or 21 with A (moto) license.

Do you prefer a private driver for the day and the freedom to create your own itinerary?

Did you already book your accommodation? 

Are you insured during your travels?

  • Buy your travel insurance here. Safetywing not only includes coverage for travel delay, lost checked luggage, emergency response, natural disasters and personal liability. But also covers all your medical expenses for hospitalization.

Madeira accommodations


Several towns in Madeira are great to stay in while exploring the island. Funchal is the capital town of the island with the most restaurants around. It has a charming old town and all sorts of facilities you might look for such as a boulevard, shopping centre, cafe’s and nightlife. It is a great place to base yourself with plenty of culture and beautiful old buildings and charming streets to explore. There are also a few beaches in Funchal to enjoy the ocean. However, these beaches are from pebble stones.

→ Check out this great tool to compare prices on hotels around the world and book your favorite hotel!

We have stayed in The Vine hotel and Okulus villa which are both beautiful locations. The Vine has the comforts of a hotel including breakfast and is located right in the city centre with great hotel rooms. Okulus villa is located in the Old Town with the most amazing ocean and city view.

→ Book your stay at Okulus villa here

→ Book your stay at The Vine hotel here



If you want to be based near a sandy beach in Madeira, then Calheta is a great place. While Funchal is more to the east of the island located, Calheta is more to the west of the island located. So eventually you can also stay a few days in both towns depending the total length of your stay in Madeira. Calheta has an atmospheric marine with restaurants offering great spots to watch the sunset and enjoy a meal.

We have stayed a few weeks at Calheta Boutique Houses during our 7 months living in Madeira. Highly recommend these private villas as you have all the amenities you have at home as well. The modern design and amazing ocean views make it a perfect vacation home.

→ Book your stay at Calheta Boutique Houses here

Small villages in nature

If you want to experience really small towns to stay in Madeira, then check out the accommodations in Seixal, Porto da Cruz, Sao Vicente or Ribeiro Frio. Take into account that there will be fewer restaurants around but you will be completely immersed in the local life and nature.

→ Check here the available accommodations in Seixal, Porto da Cruz, Sao Vicente or Ribeiro Frio


Can you do Madeira without a car?

The best way to get around in Madeira is with a rental car. Public transport is not very convenient and doesn’t come to the best spots on the island. You can also rent a scooter in Madeira if you prefer that. However, with the ever-changing weather, especially in the mountains, renting a car is recommended. Another option is to book a tour, see in the next paragraph some of the best tours of Madeira Island.

Read in our complete guide everything you need to know about Car hire in Madeira


Best time to visit Madeira

Madeira is a great year-round destination to visit and every season has something different to offer. The climate in Madeira is also called the ‘eternal spring’ as even in the European winter months there are mild temperatures. We have lived on Madeira from August until March so we experienced the late summer months, autumn and winter months.

Pros and cons between the seasons

In December and January, you can still swim in the ocean and catch the warm sun rays with temperatures of around 18 – 20 degrees. This period is perfect for the Europeans wanting to escape their colder climate. During the summer months from May until August temperatures can go up to even 30 degrees. Rain appears more often from October until March which can affect hiking, but on the other hand, it results in the waterfalls flowing powerfully. During the summer months from June until August, you can expect the waterfalls to be mostly dried up. On the other hand, the summer months are great for relaxing along the coast and hiking in the morning. To see all the beautiful flowers in bloom you have to visit Madeira in spring, so from April to May. These are also some of the best months for whale watching in Madeira.

How many days in Madeira is enough?

Most people visit the island of Madeira for 7-14 days. Check here the option for a 7-day Madeira itinerary if that suits your trip planning! 

More Madeira travel inspiration

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about the 50 best things to do in Madeira.

For more in-depth information about Madeira, head over to our other travel blogs.

40 best photo spots in Madeira – The Ultimate Guide

30 best viewpoints in Madeira – The Ultimate Guide

30 best hikes in Madeira – The Ultimate Guide

15 best sunrise viewpoints in Madeira – The Complete Guide

15 best sunset viewpoints in Madeira – The Complete Guide

20 best levada walks in Madeira – The Complete Guide

25 best waterfalls in Madeira – The Ultimate Guide

25 best things to do in Funchal – The Ultimate Guide

12 best beaches in Madeira – The Complete Guide

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  1. Bruce McLeod says:

    Hi Ilse,

    Have to compliment you on your stunning photography, 10 points!!!!

    I have thoroughly enjoying reading your experiences in our forth coming trip to Madeira in 10 days. We certainly we will visiting lots of places that you have been to.-

    There is 1 point I would like to make. Would it not be easier for anyone reading your travel blog to start at one point and work your away around the island as opposed to jumping back and forwards to interesting points on the Island?

  2. Sandra Bywater says:

    Amazing photos and the best travel guide to Madeira that i have come across so far. Thank you

    1. Thank you so much Sandra, really appreciate your support and happy that this guide helped you to plan your trip to Madeira!

  3. Bea Adventurous says:

    Ilse.. You weren’t kidding when you put ultimate guide in your title!
    You’ve really covered everything here, which is so so so helpful and really fun to read.
    You have also included some stunning photographs from your time there and really left me wanting to explore more! I got to visit for less than a week a few weeks ago, but I would love to see more!

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Bea! Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Happy to hear this guide helped you exploring Madeira. A week is short but sweet, however there is so much to explore on the island that you can be busy for months! Hope you can visit Madeira again soon 🙂 Best, Ilse

  4. Hi guys, can you tell me which is the best place to rent an apartment on the island? Thank you!

    1. Hi Fabio, Sure! Either Funchal or Calheta are great places to stay. To explore more of the west coast of Madeira you can stay in Calheta, plus it has a sandy beach. But Funchal has more options in restaurants and is very centrally located.

  5. Joan Mercier Mercier says:

    I am moving to Madeira and your blog is sooo wonderful! I have seen so many sites but yours is so comprehensive and informative. I can’t wait to visit all the places you have recommended.

    1. Thank you that is so lovely to read! Very happy that it provides value for you to explore Madeira to the fullest! Enjoy!

  6. Tony Worrad says:

    Do you do an email update on your travels that I can subscribe to?
    I absolutely love ❤️ Madeira, and was gutted we had to cancel our holiday this December 😢
    I would love to retire to Madeira eventually!!

    1. Hi Tony! So sorry to hear you had to cancel your trip to Madeira this December.. We hope you can visit the beautiful island soon! We will put you on the email list with this email address if that’s okay? You gave us the motivation to get back to sending out travel updates by email, as that felt a bit weird to do the past year. We also have our Instagram @digitaltravelcouple and Facebook page where we post our pictures, new blog posts and travel stories. Hope to see you around there! All the best

  7. Hi Ilse, wow, we love your complete info about Madeira. Visiting this paradise island is still on our bucket list. And the only thing we need to take with us is……..your info and pictures ! Thank you very much.

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