Madeira Island Travel Guide

  • A view from Botanic Garden
    A view from Botanic Garden
    by Toshioohsako
  • Arts Centre at the cliffs above Calheta
    Arts Centre at the cliffs above Calheta
    by sachara
  • Ponta de Sao Lourenco
    Ponta de Sao Lourenco
    by PALLINA

Madeira Island Things to Do

  • Santo da Serra

    Located in the northeast part of the island, this is "the capital" of golf in Madeira. A new project to protect biodiversity is the most visited highlight, in a village that is also known by its cider production.More details in Santo da Serra

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  • Machico

    Machico is the most industrial and less touristy area of Madeira, but its general look respects the common characteristics of the island.

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  • Funchal

    Living for (and from) tourism for decades, Funchal was carefully embellished. That, together with the natural beauty makes it... beautiful. A good place to stay some days, travelling around in the short trips needed to visit the picturesque points of the island.

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Madeira Island Hotels

Madeira Island Restaurants

  • You won't leave hungry

    At first glance Casa Itália might not stand out from the myriad of restaurants in the Lido area. There is more of a cafe feel, than classy restaurant, to Casa Italia nevertheless their food is delicious. Portions are generous making all dishes, pizza and pastas, superb value for money. We ordered a small tuna salad to share with our pastas, when it...

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  • Don't miss out make a reservation

    All dishes came in generous portions, efficiently and mouth-wateringly presented. Waiters were very attentive and friendly. I can't recommend Leeno's highly enough. CHICKEN WITH BACON, CHEESE AND BARBEQUE SAUCEAPPLE PIE WITH RAISINS AND CINNAMONSomething for everyone

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  • Poncha

    We couldn't leave Madeira without tasting the famous drinks - Poncha and Nikita. Our friends did it in Serra d'Agua, and we stopped in "A poncha da Fátima" in Santo António da Serra. Poncha is too strong (dangerous for a driver), Nikita was cool.

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Madeira Island Nightlife

  • Fado song

    The best place in Funcial, to listen to the lokal fado song.UPDATE !!!http://portuguese-american-journal.com/fado-world%E2%80%99s-intangible-cultural-heritage-%E2%80%93-unesco/

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  • Nightlife

    If you are staying in Funchal, then the place to be in the evening is the small place 5 km away from the city called Camara de Lobos. you just need to ask the taxi driver to take you to the old harbor of the place and there you can choose your place. planty of bars and places to drink. They expect in Madeira that you are nicely dress (long pants...

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  • Relax after sunset

    I already know that Capoeira was related to a brazilian dance/martial art but in Portuguese it's mean also henhouse! So I understand why a rooster (Galo in Portuguese and national icon) is standing proudly on the toproof of the pub.The terracce give you a stunning overview on the endless Atlantic Ocean, the Desertas Islands, the South Coast,...

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Madeira Island Transportation

  • Ferry to Porto Santo Island

    From the harbour of Funchal you can take the ferry to Porto Santo Island every day. The ferry leaves ussually at 8 am from Funchal. The boattrip will take two and half hours.You can return with the same boat, which leaves from Porto Santo island the same day at 6 pm. This way you can easily make a one day trip.If you wish you can bring a car at the...

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  • Hop on hop off bus around Funchal

    Like in many touristy places there are since the last years also the so called hop-on hop-off buses in Funchal. When you hp off there is every half an hour a next bus to hop on. A good opportunity to get familiar with a place when you visit for the first time.Though we knew allready every place along the route for ten years or more, we decided to...

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  • Landrovertrip to the west

    In 2008 I made a full day off landrover trip to the west of the island. After a visit to the view point Cabo Giraõ we followed unpaved tracks in the woods close to Jardim da Serra. The most spectacular part of the trip was following the track from Ribiera Brava up to high plains of Pau da Serra. I loved the rough landscape along a stream. We saw...

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Madeira Island Shopping

  • Weigh and Pay Meals

    Pingo Doce supermarkets are found in abundance throughout Funchal. (Many in large shopping centres) We found that they sold not only take-away, weigh and pay salad, plus hot food but had self service cafe areas too. Quick affordable meals, selecting and paying for only what you wanted. It gets even better as they reduce food by 50% after 9 p.m. The...

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  • Expensive mango!

    The bulding is in heart of Funchal.Is the place where all the farmers and fishermen are selling their products.The moment they here you tourist the price will go up, we bought a mango for 2.50€ and was very small...But the way is arranged and the sfeer all is worth to visit. We got ourselvs the drinks tipical from Madeira, liquiors. If you want...

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  • Supermarket

    With more than 200 stores (Portugal mainland and Madeira) and around 8000 employees, Pingo Doce is the largest supermarket chain in Portugal. In each store there is the commitment to supply perishables and everyday household products, with the warranty of low prices and good service. Everything you could imagine is available from this store,ideal...

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Madeira Island Local Customs

  • Popular Saints

    May-June, when the heat comes but people don't flock to beach... yet, is festivity time. All pretext is good to gather people eating, drinking, dancing, and having fun. The popular saints, in June, are celebrated all over the country, each village concentrated in one of the saints, to free the other to the neighborhood.Being so touristy, Madeira...

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  • Folklore

    The folklore in Madeira has many contact points with the continental one (as expected) but it has a funny distinctive detail - the dancers perform always bent, with the eyes in the floor. Tradition says that the humble workers in sugar cane plantations didn't dare to face their masters while dancing.

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  • Try some poncha.

    On madeira Island they have a very popular local drink called poncha.It's a mix of sugarcane alcohol and fresh orange and lemon juice with a good splacs og honey in it and it's sweet sour and pretty strong at the same time.You might compare it a little to sangria but it generally hits a little harder.The locals like to have this in late afternoon...

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Madeira Island Warnings and Dangers

  • Poncha

    Tourism made famous two local cocktails: Nikita, a long drink based in cream, and Poncha,a strong short drink with alcohol and honey, both sweet.Though some places claim "the best of..." it is possible to taste them almost everywhere now, so, if you are not driving...

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  • Serra d'Água

    Serra d'Água was a beautiful area seriously damaged by the flooding in 2010. The works were hard when we visited it, but I don't know if they are already finished, so travelling in the area may keep having some unexpected difficulties.

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  • Strawberry World Financial Problems

    The tour operator Strawberry World (http://www.strawberry-world.com) is facing financial problems and many hotels on Madeira and beyond are not accepting guests that have booked through Strawberry World.Here the hotels warning to...

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Madeira Island Tourist Traps

  • Foot poisoning

    In Funcial their is more resturants than turists. One day 200 guests, next day 20 guests. Be carefull what you eat, it may be old food, heavely spiced to camoflage bad tast. OBS all sea food is import.

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  • Tourist information in Funchal

    We went to the tourist information office in Funchal downtown and it was very useless and disappointing. Nothing more than a travel book...a basic one! They were not helpful. On the seaside there are many others but private, basically. They are even worse. We asked for some nice place where live music is played and they answer they are used to...

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  • 'Typical' houses at Santana

    The 'typical' in the description begs a question. If they are indeed typical of the island, why go to Santana to see them?In fact houses with the triangular shape can be found in many parts of Madeira - but nothing like as smartly decorated as those in Santana. These are simply not typical and we only saw one garden shed resembling them!What's...

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Madeira Island What to Pack

  • Remember to pack the essential items

    Lightweight suitcase (recommended with new baggage allowance) luggage labels. Secure hand luggage containing passports, flight tickets, insurance documents, money, E111health insurance card link below, accommodation invoice.

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  • Madeira Guides

    Torch and waterproof gear for walking through Levada tunnels, some of which are very long, dark and wet!! Madeira'(AA World Travel Guides)`Madeira'(Sunflower Landscapes) by John and Pat UnderwoodCan also recommend the `Madeira Tour & Trail' map from Discovery Walking Guides Ltd.

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  • Don't forget

    In Madeira never is very cold or too hot, so, if you go there during the summer’s months, take thin clothes.When I was there, in April, it was a warm weather but when we go to the highest peaks it was rather cold, so don’t forget a coat. Don't, but don't forget your camera, you will have great places to take amazing photos. Take a look to my...

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Madeira Island Off The Beaten Path

  • Santo da Serra

    I wouldn't go there, but I was taken there. Santo da Serra is a somewhat plane area in a generally steep island, and that's why (maybe) it became the destination of golfers in Madeira. It has an interesting organization to preserve biodiversity.

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  • S. Lourenço

    The northeast end of the island makes a strong contrast with everything else - rocky and arid, it has a few endemic plants, protected as a natural reserve. It has a small beach, the only with black sand in the island, good to swim.

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  • Estreito

    Not far from Funchal, Estreito de Câmara de Lobos is the centre of Madeira wine producing. It has an interesting church, a few chapels and "levadas", but the main touristy attraction is the typical kebab.

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Madeira Island Sports & Outdoors

  • Diving

    Beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean lies a fantastic underwater garden. Diving in Madeira is a unique experience. They have got everything!

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  • Ponta de Sao Lourenco - Most eastern...

    They say that the Ponta de Sao Lorenco is one of the last nearly untouched places in Europe. For a fact it´s the most eastern peninsula of Madeira's island with a length of 9 kilometers and a width of 2 kilometers. This includes the two islands Ilheu da Cevada and Ilheu da Ponta de Sao Lourenco. It was declared a National Reserve in 1982 with the...

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  • Ponta de Sao Lourenco - Baia da Abra.

    The access to the Nature Reserve is free. However, amenities are minimal. Gravel parking lots, if they exist at all, are small. But after parking the car at the parking space we started our hike in front of Baia da Abra on the south coast. We walked our way to the north coast. The trail follows the coastline the entire time, with great views at the...

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Madeira Island Favorites

  • Southern coast

    The density of construction in the southern coast, from Machico to Ribeira Brava is too high. Using every possible location in the steep hills, the houses hang among trees and flowers, in a miracle of adaptation. Nature may disagree, as shown in the recent flooding, but combines well with men to compose a very nice landscape.

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  • Eternal Beauty

    Madeira suffered a lot from strong flooding, but it is almost recovered. I want to state my solidarity to the people, and my absolute confidence that, in a couple of weeks, as soon as the mud will be removed, the beauty of the island is glowing again.PS I had the opportunity to go there again in June, for the Open Dance Contest. We were admitting...

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  • Delicious custard tarts

    Very popular in Madeira,very Portugese and very delicious.They consist of crusty puff pastry,filled with sweet egg custard and caramelised on top.Have tried them in several places on Madeira,but the best ones,and the largest are found at the Barcelos restaurante,which is at the viewpoint at Pico dos Barcelos (355 meters above sea level),just...

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Explore Deeper into Madeira Island
Funchal, teahouse
Restaurants
Natural beauty of Ponta de Sao Lourenco
Things to Do
Pico do Areeiro
Things to Do
Porto Moniz
Things to Do
Seixal
Things to Do
Eira do Serrado
Things to Do
Véu da Noiva
Things to Do
Rabaçal
Things to Do
Santana
Things to Do
Fajã dos Padres
Things to Do
Girão cape
Things to Do
Lido
Things to Do
Pico do Arieiro
Things to Do
Funchal Story Center
Things to Do
Encumeada
Things to Do
Round and about Funchal
Things to Do
The Old Brandy Wine Lodge
Things to Do
Madeira Story Centre
Things to Do
Monte
Things to Do
Cathedral of Funchal
Things to Do
Ribeira Brava
Things to Do
Portela
Things to Do
São Vicente
Things to Do
Paul da Serra
Things to Do
Pico de Barcelos
Things to Do
Câmara de Lobos
Things to Do
Rabacal. Levada walks
Off The Beaten Path
The Encumeada Pass
Off The Beaten Path
Camache - famous for its wicker-making.
Things to Do
Take the coastal walk to Praia Formosa
Things to Do
Visit Machico
Things to Do
See the houses known as palheiros.
Things to Do
Nuns Valley
Things to Do
Visit Funchal
Things to Do
An excellent little book about Madeira.
Favorites
Great Beef.
Restaurants
Orchids
Things to Do
Birdwatching
Things to Do
Levada walking can be dangorous.
Warnings and Dangers
Carneval in Madeira.
Local Customs
Map of Madeira Island

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