Madeira Island Things to Do

  • Arts Centre at the cliffs above Calheta
    Arts Centre at the cliffs above Calheta
    by sachara
  • Pico do Ariero
    Pico do Ariero
    by Martinewezel
  • azulejo showing the basket tobbogan
    azulejo showing the basket tobbogan
    by Martinewezel

Most Recent Things to Do in Madeira Island

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    Nuns Valley

    by CDM7 Updated Sep 30, 2013

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    The small village of Curral das Freiras (Nuns Valley) is situated between almost perpendicular mountains,and as the village is very isolated the villagers live mainly on what they grow.
    The name of the valley came about when in 1566 the nuns of Santa Clara convent fled from pirates who were attacking Funchal.
    The trip up to the viewpoint is via a winding road,from here you have great views looking down on the valley.

    Looking down on Nuns Valley.
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Photography

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    Visit Funchal

    by ankola83 Written Sep 28, 2013

    Best place to go on Madeira is Funchal. Not only is it big and has lots of tourist attractions it also has a good climat. Good place where most of the trips start. The north part of the island is far more cloudy and rainy.

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    Orchids

    by ElenaKKKK Updated Jun 30, 2012

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    Madeira is famous for its orchid gardens. There are some flowers in the Botanical Gardens and in the garden of Quinta dos Cruzes. But two main gardens are:
    1. Boa Vista Garden (Quinta da Boa Vista, Lombo da Boa Vista Street, Funchal). It has a collection of South American bromeliads, Australian martinetes and African aloes.
    2. Jardim Orquidea (Orchid Garden) - Rua Pita da Silva, 37, Funchal. http://www.madeiraorchid.com.

    Both gardens have rich collection of orchids. Frankly speaking, I prefer Boa Vista, although to see it, you have to climb on foot (up, up and up the hill in hot weather… it was a real challenge for me).

    Be careful: there are a lot of mosquitos: they share love to warmth and high humidity along with orchids )))

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

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    Birdwatching

    by ElenaKKKK Updated Jun 30, 2012

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    There are a lot of companies that offer such kind of a trip, but I made my choice and booked a full day trip with Windbirds Company.
    I have to confess it was a good choice. Hugo and Catharina are very nice people who not only concentrate on tourist business; they are real enthusiasts.
    Although I was the only one who booked a full day trip, Hugo spent eight hours showing me the best places of the island. Of course the main task was to see the places of bird nestling and feeding.
    I took another trip, that lasted half a day, with another pair of amateur ornitologists, and that trip was very nice too. No stops for shopping - just Nature and amazing Madeirian landscapes.
    The optical equipment was free and a good lunch in Porto Moniz was included into the price of a full day trip. I recommend it sincerely, although the prices are a bit higher than at usual tourist companies.
    After those trips I continued birdwatching, so I was lucky to watch wild Trocaz pigeons and firecrests in a forest near Sao Vicente, robins and canaries in Funchal, as well as little egrets, etc))))

    Robin in the Monte garden Ducks, egrets  at  Lugar de Baixo pond Firecrest at Palheiro garden Berthelot Little egret
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Birdwatching
    • Eco-Tourism

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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Levada walking.

    by cachaseiro Written Feb 28, 2012

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    Levada walking is very popular on Madeira and a fantastic way to explore the island.
    The levadas were never actually made for the tourists but are used to transport water around the fields on the steep slopes of Madeira.
    They were started way back in the 14th century where the portugese used slaves to build them and the last were build by prisoners in the 1950's.
    They are still transporting water around the island and are of great use to the farmers, but they are also very useful as walking trails as long as you are not afraid of heights as they can be narrow with very steep drops at times.
    If you want to go levada walking then you should consider doing the first trip with a certified levada guide so that you can get used to them and learn how to navigate them as they can be dangorous to walk.
    But don´t let this scare you as they are in my opinion the best way to explore Madeira.

    Levada walking. Levada.
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

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    Porto Moniz.

    by cachaseiro Written Feb 23, 2012

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    Porto Moniz is located on the north western part of the island and is a pretty little seaside town that used to be the center for whaling on Madeira until Portugal signed the anti whaling treaty in the 1980´s.
    These days the town hosts a few good seaside restaurants and also has a nice aquarium in the old fortress that is right on the harbour front.
    It´s a nice daytrip if you stay in Funchal and the views of the coastline is really spectacular.
    Very good place to stop for lunch if you are doing a daytrip to the northn part of Madeira.

    Porto Moniz. The aquarium in Porto Moniz.
    Related to:
    • Aquarium
    • Road Trip

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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Santana houses.

    by cachaseiro Written Feb 22, 2012

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    In the town Santana you still have a few of the traditional madeiran triangular houses that many people used to live in,in the past.
    These days there are only a couple of families left in Santana that lives in them as they have straw roof that is hard to keep and expensive in insurance because of the fire risk and having a triangular house leaves little room for a second floor.
    But they have kept a few houses in Santana that are now working as open air museums so that visitors can see how many people used to live.
    The houses are very colorful and i am personally a little suprised that they don´t have more people chosing to live in them as they are very original.
    The whole scene with the Santana houses can seem as a bit of a tourist trap, but they did afterall live in these houses in the past, so i think they still serve a purpose even if they have tourist shops in most of them these days.
    they can be found around Santana, but the biggest collection of them are right next to the town hall.

    Santana houses. Santana house.
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Try the toboggan sledges.

    by cachaseiro Written Feb 16, 2012

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    The toboggan sledges is one of the ver well known and unique things from Madeira.
    They were originally used to transport english upper class tourists down from the mountain in monte when they had been there for sunday picknick back in the early 20th century.
    And it is still that way really, except that today most tourists can afford it and it´s not just confined to the upper class.
    the toboggan sledges is a little over two kilometers from Monte and down and takes around 10 minutes.
    The toboggan sledges are made from wood and steered by two men who have ropes attached to the sledges and they are quite skillful at navigating them.
    At the time of writing (february 2012) the price for a ride is 25 euros if you are one in a sladge, 30 euros if you are two people and 45 if you are 3 people, so you better team up with one or two people if you want to take the ride unless you want to pay the extra cost of being alone.

    Toboggan sledges on Madeira island. Toboggan sledges on Madeira. Toboggan sledges on Madeira. Toboggan sledges on Madeira.
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

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    Nun's valley (Curral das Freiras).

    by cachaseiro Written Feb 16, 2012

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    Curral das Freiras, or nun's valley as it is also called in englis, is a secluded valley a little inland from Funchal.
    It got it´s name after a group of nuns fled in to the valley in 1566 when french pirates attacked the island.
    Today the valley is a hikers paradise but can also been seen by people who do not travel by foot as it is connected to the rest opf the island with good roads and there are many nice viewpoints overlooking the valley.
    It´s only around around 15 kilometers from Funchal, but expect the drive to take around 45 minutes as the road to Curral das Freiras is very steep and winding.

    Curral das Freiras. Curral das Freiras.
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Photography

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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Camara de Lobos.

    by cachaseiro Written Feb 14, 2012

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    Camara de Lobos is a small fishing village around 10 kilometers west og Funchal.
    This is small town Madeira where they still have traditional fishermen going out in small boats fishing and they are still drying their fish by the little beach right in the middle of the town.
    Camara de Lobos was also a favorite of Winston Churchill when he holidayed on Madeira island back in the day.
    they have a little sign on the spot where he would sometimes sit and paint and if you talk to some of the old local guys then they will also tell you he was a very frequent visitor to the local bars and he probaply spend more time there than he did painting.

    Camara de Lobos is actually one of the poorest towns on the ialsnd but that is probaply part of why this is still a place where you can get a feel of what Madeira is like before mass tourism arrived.
    The place is certainly worth a visit and i personally consider it the gem of Madeira.

    Camara de Lobos. Winston Churchill sat and painted here. Camara de Lobos. Camara de Lobos.
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Fishing

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  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Funchal.

    by cachaseiro Written Feb 14, 2012

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    Funchal is the capital of Madeira and with it´s 100 000 inhabitants the biggest town on the island.
    It´s a pleasant town that is big enough to have most of the things you need, but still small enough to retain a provinsial feel.
    Funchal has a nice old part of town with small fishermans houses and funky art made by the young aspiring artists of the island and the old part of Funchal is by far my favorite.
    The harbour area is quite pleasant too with a marina, a cruise terminal and quite a few cafes and a nice walkway where you can stroll.
    Funchal will be where most people make their base when on holiday on Madeira and it´s for sure a good place to have as a base for a nice holiday.

    Funchal. The townhall in Funchal. Funchal by night. Funchal harbour front. Funchal.
    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

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    Natural pool Porto Moniz

    by irinuca Written Aug 28, 2011

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    Porto Moniz is the place where the ocean made a natural pool out of rocks.
    Very nice made, clean, with a teras, shallow water and deep water for good swimmers.Everything you need to swim and have a good day at the pool.The water is ocean water as the waves from ocean keeps the water pool fresh.
    Entrance price 1.50€ per adult.

    Related to:
    • Water Sports
    • Family Travel
    • Beaches

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    Horseback Riding Madeira Island

    by Quinta_do_Riacho Updated May 13, 2011

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    Madeira is renowned for its stunning natural beauty, so if you are looking for hidden gems and want to give nature a try I can advise you horse riding, even if you are a complete novice.
    Have you ever dreamed to gallop through the mountains in complete symbioses with the horse? Or maybe a quiet ride on the levada?
    We have equestrian activities for everyone, from calm trail riding to galloping through the mountains. The views are breathtaking, the trails amazing.

    If you want you want to know more check on:

    http://quintadoriacho.com/
    http://www.facebook.com/QuintaDoRiacho
    http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g189167-d1887323-Reviews-Quinta_do_Riacho-Funchal_Madeira_Madeira_Islands.html

    Email: info@quintadoriacho.com

    Quinta do Riacho - 2011 Flower Festival Parade
    Related to:
    • Horse Riding
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Family Travel

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  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Caniçal, whale fishing village

    by sachara Updated Apr 27, 2011

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    Caniçal is a small fishing village at the eastern end of Madeira island, known of whale fishing. In the Museu da Baleia you can see the history of this whale fishery. Update: the museum is closed in 2010 and will move to another building.

    The village has also a rich religious tradition. On the third weekend of September the fishermen sail out to sea in a procession of Nossa Senhora da Piedade (Our Lady of Mercy). Their decorated boats sail around in the bay. There is a contest to choose the boat, that will carry the patron saint.

    The elected fishing boat anchors at the harbour, fishermen climb to the top of the hill, where the chapel is located. The patron saint is brought down into the boat. The following Sunday the patron saint is returned to the chapel in another procession. This outstanding celebration is the major attraction of Caniçal.

    Cani��al
    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Fishing
    • Museum Visits

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    Calheta, world class exhibitions in Casa das Mudas

    by sachara Updated Apr 5, 2011

    When I visited Casa das Mudas Art Centre in Calheta in 2011, there was an huge class exhibition of Art Deco and Art Nouveau. You expect an exhibiton of this world class in New York or Paris, but not in the first place in Madeira Island.

    This Art Deco exhibition 'What a Wonderful World' of the Berardo Collection is composed by the Berardo specialist from Latin America Márcio Alves Roiter, founder of Art Deco Brazil. The art pieces are collected from all over the world.

    I booked a seat in a minibus from our hotel in Funchal to visit the Arts Centre at the cliffs of Calheta. It was easier to do so instead of taking the local bus. It turned out that I needed the fully three hours to watch all the exhibition halls with furniture, glasswork, ceramics, artworks, scuptures, designs, posters and even cars.

    Central innercourt at the entrance of the centre furniture furniture Egyptian Style
    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

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