Madeira Island Things to Do

  • Arts Centre at the cliffs above Calheta
    Arts Centre at the cliffs above Calheta
    by sachara
  • Things to Do
    by Cockleshell
  • The Old Quarter
    The Old Quarter
    by Cockleshell

Most Recent Things to Do in Madeira Island

  • ElenaKKKK's Profile Photo

    Birdwatching

    by ElenaKKKK Updated Jun 30, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Robin in the Monte garden
    4 more images

    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))))

    Related to:
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Birdwatching
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Levada walking.

    by cachaseiro Written Feb 28, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Levada walking.
    1 more image

    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.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Porto Moniz.

    by cachaseiro Written Feb 23, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Porto Moniz.
    1 more image

    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.

    Related to:
    • Aquarium
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Santana houses.

    by cachaseiro Written Feb 22, 2012

    4 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Santana houses.
    1 more image

    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.

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Try the toboggan sledges.

    by cachaseiro Written Feb 16, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Toboggan sledges on Madeira island.
    3 more images

    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.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Nun's valley (Curral das Freiras).

    by cachaseiro Written Feb 16, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Curral das Freiras.
    1 more image

    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.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Photography

    Was this review helpful?

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Camara de Lobos.

    by cachaseiro Written Feb 14, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Camara de Lobos.
    3 more images

    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.

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Fishing

    Was this review helpful?

  • cachaseiro's Profile Photo

    Funchal.

    by cachaseiro Written Feb 14, 2012

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Funchal.
    4 more images

    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.

    Related to:
    • Photography
    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • irinuca's Profile Photo

    Natural pool Porto Moniz

    by irinuca Written Aug 28, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    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
    • Beaches
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Quinta_do_Riacho's Profile Photo

    Horseback Riding Madeira Island

    by Quinta_do_Riacho Updated May 13, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    4 more images

    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

    Related to:
    • Horse Riding
    • Eco-Tourism
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Caniçal, whale fishing village

    by sachara Updated Apr 27, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Cani��al

    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.

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Fishing

    Was this review helpful?

  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Calheta, world class exhibitions in Casa das Mudas

    by sachara Updated Apr 5, 2011
    Central innercourt at the entrance of the centre
    4 more images

    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.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Calheta, Casa das Mudas Art Centre

    by sachara Updated Apr 5, 2011
    Rooftop of the arts centre
    4 more images

    First in 2010 I visited the Casa das Mudas Art Centre in Calheta, though the centra was already opened in 2004. The location at the cilffs high above the ocean with its great views at the ocean and along the coast is stunning.

    I also loved the special architecture with new and surprising views around every corner, though some locals talk about the bunker. Except several exhibitions hall the arts centre also have theatre and dance performances in its auditorium for 200 people.

    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Ponta do Sol

    by sachara Updated Apr 5, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ponta do Sol

    Ponta do Sol, meaning Sun Point, is the place at Madeira Island, where you will find more sun throughout the year than in any other part of the island.

    The area of the council of Ponta do Sol offers excellent bathing possibilities, although you the only beaches you find are covered with pebbles. The sea is clean and the sea water rather warm.

    The white buildings, the white church, the steps and winding streets make Ponta do Sol a lovely place.

    Related to:
    • Beaches

    Was this review helpful?

  • sachara's Profile Photo

    Porto da Cruz

    by sachara Updated Apr 5, 2011

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Porto da Cruz

    The name of Porto da Cruz came from a cross (cruz), that was placed by the explorers on the bay, which was once used as port (porto).

    When you arrive in this small village, you got the idea, there is not much to do. Life seems going on very slowly in this place. But when you walk around and have a closer look, you can discover its attractions.

    There is an old sugar cane factory, which is still operating the same way, as when it started with the sugar production in 1927.

    From Porto da Cruz you have also a look at the Penha d' Águia, the rock that separates Porto da Cruz from Faial. You can get up there by a very steep road. I never did, but the views from Penha d'Águia must be amazing.

    Porto da Cruz is also famous for its wine, known as 'vinho seco americano', a dry red wine made of a type of grape called americana. In September the Festa do Vinho is celebrated.

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: Madeira Island

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

84 travelers online now

Comments

Madeira Island Things to Do

Reviews and photos of Madeira Island things to do posted by real travelers and locals. The best tips for Madeira Island sightseeing.

View all Madeira Island hotels