We spent slightly more than a week in Madeira, which allowed us to discover many interesting places. What exactly did we do? What did our route look like? What is worth seeing in Madeira?
We will summarize everything, traditionally, in this post. You will also find some practical tips here.
Table of contents
What is worth seeing in Madeira?
Madeira, despite appearances, is a large island. Admittedly, we are able to drive it from one end to the other in about 1 hour and 30 minutes by car, and do a round trip around the island in just over 3 hours, but Madeira offers much more, and we should not limit ourselves to just traveling around the island. It is worth dividing yourself into parts, go to the western, eastern, northern part of the island, leave one day for Funchal and several for active recreation.
As we mentioned at the beginning, we were in Madeira for a little over a week, and yet we had every day filled to the brim and there was no time for boredom. Every day we discovered something different, were in a new place and learned about the different faces of the island. We can’t write that we saw everything, because it would take a lot more time for that, but still we managed to discover many places worthy of recommendation.
So what is worth seeing in Madeira? We’ve listed everything nicely in our post on what to see in Madeira. You absolutely must explore this list and we recommend you to see all these places.
To see these points, but also other attractions (such as all the Teleferico, natural pools, walk the trails along the levadas, or drive all the winding roads possible), it is best to rent a car. The fact the island is not large, but local transportation is unlikely to work very well. Perhaps put another way: it works, but the frequency of buses, especially to small towns, can make it difficult to get around Madeira efficiently.
You can, of course, buy tours from local travel agencies that will drive you around these points, but such escapades have never appealed to us. From the coach you can’t see much along the way, you can’t stop, you have limited time on site, etc. etc.
And remember, Madeira is all about breathtaking views, so it’s worth turning 1.5 hours of driving into 3 hours or more, stopping every now and then :)
Madeira itinerary? Not necessary :) We recommend you to find accommodation in the center of the island, west of Funchal. Then you will have easy and quick access to every corner of the island within one day, and a plan to explore the island day by day will not be necessary. More important is a good location and base and a list of places you want to see, and you can plan on the spot from day to day.
By far most of the main attractions are in Funchal and the southeastern part of the island, but the trails in central and western Madeira are also worth your time. You will also find high cliffs, Teleferico, winding mountain roads, levadas and numerous natural pools.
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We stayed the night near the cliffs of Cabo Girao which was a great starting point for us to go to any, even the most remote point of the island. And with what a view ;) Unfortunately, accommodation at altitude also had its downside – it was sometimes chilly in the evenings and we saved ourselves with sweatshirts and sweaters.
Some practical advice
What should I keep in mind before flying to Madeira?
- As in the nearby Canary Islands, electrical outlets here too are no different from our Polish ones. Also the voltage is the same, also the equipment will work ok.
- Madeira is called the island of eternal spring. A constant temperature around 17-23 degrees allows us to take a lighter part of our closet at any time of the year. Remember, however, that in the higher parts of the island, especially on the hiking trails, it can be cooler and windier ;)
- When it comes to safety, Madeira is considered a safe place. As standard, however, watch out for pickpockets and don’t leave anything in sight in parked cars.
- Madeira is not a large island. You could calmly drive down it in one day by car (which we do not recommend, however). The road network is getting better and better developed and the main attractions can be reached very easily, although often by winding mountain roads (yeah!). In our opinion, this is the best way to visit. Car rental for Europe is quite cheap. Welcome to our post on how to rent a car.
- If you are already going to the beaches (although Madeira is not a “beach” island in our opinion) then be sure to take your water shoes with you. It will come in handy on rocky beaches or in natural pools. Of course, there will also be sandy beaches, but the former are much more numerous.
- Be sure to try the local specialty that is Madeira! Yes yes :) We mean Madeira wine. We wrote about it here.
- As for payments, we mainly used a card (in EUR) and there was never any problem with it. This is, in our opinion, the best solution. Of course, the Euro is in force on the island.
- Madeira is best reached by plane from Lisbon or Porto. Flights there include TAP Portugal and EasyJet. Of course, you can also fly with a single transfer by TAP from Warsaw or directly by charter from some travel agencies. We have written more on this topic here.
- Prices in Madeira are similar to those in Poland, slightly higher, as they are in distant islands ;)
- Before you leave, it’s a good idea to get an EHIC (issued by the National Health Service for free) and insurance (we found it useful in Madeira because of delayed luggage) :)
Don’t forget our tips, too:
- Whether and how to drive in Tenerife – this entry may not necessarily be about Madeira, but the concerns and principles are exactly the same.
- On how to fly to Madeira cheaply.
- Madeira with a baby – we answer your questions!
- And our TOP 10 from Madeira:)
Questions? Comments? :)
If you have any more questions, feel free to ask them in the comments. We will try to answer them all! :)