Home » 50 EPIC THINGS TO DO IN MADEIRA – The Ultimate Guide
50 EPIC THINGS TO DO IN MADEIRA – The Ultimate Guide
Madeira is a paradise island with many different activities to do and landscapes to explore. The nickname for Madeira is ‘Hawaii of Europe’ or ‘the island of eternal spring’. And we totally understand why! After living for 7 months on Madeira Island, we have literally explored every corner on the island and experienced all different seasons. Therefore we can share with you this ultimate guide with 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 things to do in Madeira, from exploring the culture, epic nature to eating and drinking the best local cuisine.
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 being 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.
Pro’s and cons between the seasons
In December, 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.
Where to stay in Madeira
There are several towns in Madeira that are great to stay 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 lots 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.
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.
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 less restaurants around but you will be completely immersed in the local life and nature.
How to get around in Madeira
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. However, with the ever changing weather, especially in the mountains, a car is recommended.
50 BEST THINGS TO DO MADEIRA
This top 50 is a collection of adventurous outdoor activities, cultural visits and beautiful, easy viewpoints in Madeira to visit. If you are specifically looking for the best hikes in Madeira, best levada walks or best viewpoints, then head over to our detailed guides about these subjects. However in this big guide you will find all the best picks from these specified guides. Per subject 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 is a must do in Madeira when you’re fit enough. The 11 kilometre out and back trail is tough with over 1000 meters of incline, but the views and experience on itself are totally 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 on 1862 meters. 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. Then you can then perfectly combine watching the sunrise at Pico do Arieiro before setting off for the hike.
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 with 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 is a few kilometres into the hike to Pico Ruivo which is a great spot for sunset.
Read in our complete guide all the details you need to know about Pico do Arieiro
Relax at the beautiful black sand beach Seixal
Seixal beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Madeira. With the impressive backdrop of green cliffs, a waterfall in the distance pouring into the ocean, and the soft black sand, 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 located, so you can perfectly combine a visit to those two.
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 kilometre circular hike 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 houses represent Madeira’s heritage and are made of straw and wood. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the Santana houses are very photogenic and definitely 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 most instagrammable.
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 kilometre 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 sunrise at Ponta do Rosto, as hiking in Madeira during the morning is most advisable.
Fanal Forest is a magical fairytale forest in the northern part of Madeira Island. 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 twisted tree branches with layers of moss on them have 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! 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.
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.
Some 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 continues changing weather, Bica da Cana will always deliver different views. With the right weather circumstances, there will be a sea of clouds in the valley below. This is absolutely 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!
Madeira is one of the most beautiful and exotic winegrowing 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 oxidising the wine through heat and aging. There are a few different cellars and wine museums in 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!
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 kilometre off the beaten path loop. You are completely immersed in Madeira’s jungle and will pass along several waterfall and enchanting streams surrounded by lush greens. This hike is quite technical and challenging, so I would only advice 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. This hike is definitely one of the hidden gems but also some of the best things to do in Madeira, despite being not so popular.
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 easy to reach 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 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 of 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, then this is a great alternative.
Watch 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 as 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 north western tip of the 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 a midday and the entrance fee is only €1,50.
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 favourite coastal hike on the island. This easy but beautiful cliff side trail offers some amazing views on 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 finish point. This is 13 kilometre one way with the 5 kilometre Vereda do Larano trail as highlight. But there is also another, shorter option, where you will only see the best part of the 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 Christiano Ronaldo museum. The CR7 hotel is located above the 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 Christiano. 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.
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 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 did this experience with Madeira Wings and can totally recommend them!
Watch sunrise at Ponta do Rosto
Another fantastic spot to watch sunrise in Madeira is Ponta do Rosto viewpoint. Located on the most eastern tail of the island, 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 beautiful gardens which only can be reached by cable car 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 to Monte with the cable car from Funchal, or go by car or bus to the cable car station and get on the cable car to the Botanical Gardens from there.
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 sounds 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 all the way towards the ocean with the Penha D’Águia cliff as another landmark.
Go surfing in Jardim do Mar, Porto da Cruz or Seixal
Madeira has excellent conditions for surfing and either if you’re a beginner or professional surfer, there is a spot for everyone. The waves are perfect, clear 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 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 some of the most popular levada walks in Madeira. So definitely some of the best things to do in Madeira!
Explore Fishermen’s town Câmara de Lobos with its colourful boats
Only a 15 minute drive away from Funchal’s centre is the fishermen’s town Câmara de Lobos located. 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. Fun thing to know is that Poncha originated in Câmara de Lobos. It was the first place where Poncha was made by fishermen to keep themselves warm during cold nights. So for a complete Câmara de Lobos experience you have to drink a Poncha here!
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 list. Facing north east, you can watch the sunrise here in 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.
Funchal is the capital of Madeira and is a gem on its own to explore. Strolling through the atmospheric town during night feels like walking in a modern fairytale. There are many small, cobbled 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.
Visiting the Seixal Natural Pools are one of the best things to do in Madeira. This collection of volcanic tidal rock pools are filled with clean and crystal clear sea water. 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 sunrise. For photography lovers there are some great spots as well to take beautiful pictures.
Miradouro do Guindaste, also known as Crane viewpoint, is a beautiful coastal sunrise viewpoint in Madeira. Located on the North eastern 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.
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 varied 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. Definitely one of the best things to do in Madeira when you love exploring tropical gardens!
Watch the traditional Madeira Embroderies 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 specialised in pieces for the table, 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 definitely see the process of Madeira embroidery and learn about the 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 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 beautiful waterfalls in Madeira. Located in Ponta do Pargo on the west coast, it’s a bit off the normal tourist route but definitely 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 reminded 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.
The ocean around Madeira island is a perfect place to spot dolphins and whales. The best time to go on a whale watching tour in Madeira is from April till October. During this time there are the most species around in the area. Usually tours leave the harbour two times a day. In the morning and midday, so you can choose a time that suites 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 is 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 fruittrees, 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.
If you really 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 taberna’s, which are Poncha bars, scattered around Madeira Island where you should try this drink!
São Vicente is a beautiful valley where a little chapel is perched on a hill overlooking the mesmerising 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.
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 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. Definitely one of the must things to do in Funchal.
Stand on the highest cliff of Europe at the Cabo Girão skywalk
The highest cape of 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 up here 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, coffeeshop and restrooms on the site. Free parking is available on the road.
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 kilometres 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!
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.
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 coaston 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 centre of Funchal. Here you can experience the bustling local atmosphere with colourful 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!
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.
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 island you can also watch the sunset, so especially during this time it’s the best time to get to this spot.
Espetada is the traditional dish in Portugal which 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.
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 definitely 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 in between Seixal and São Vicente. You can’t miss this place when you’re exploring Madeira’s north west 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.
Watch sunset at Ponta do Pargoand 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 meters 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 in the horizon on a clear day. Ponta do Pargo viewpoint is situated along the rugged coastline approximately two kilometres 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 to have dinner at O’Forno in Ponta do Pargo which is one of our favourite restaurants in Madeira.
Visit Porto Santo island
If you want to explore other islands in Madeira’s archipelago, then it’s highly recommended to travel to the small island of Porto Santo. This 14 million years old island is known for its turquoise warm waters with beautiful dive sites and the long golden sand Porto Santo beach. Besides relaxing on the beach and doing water sports there are more things to do on 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 definitely one of the lesser known destinations in Portugal making it a hidden gem to explore.
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.