This beautiful Portuguese island has so much to offer. So here’s our 4 day Madeira itinerary to help you plan exactly where to go.
Getting Around Madeira + Tips
Although Madeira is not a very large island, there is no doubt that renting a car is the most convenient way to get around the island.
Taking a taxi is another option and all taxi drivers carry a government-approved price list for journeys outside the capital city of Funchal. You can either order a taxi through your accommodation or simply stop one on the street.
Another way of getting about is by bus. The system in Madeira is inexpensive, reliable and fun!
Some of the best experiences we had in Madeira were on on private tour
For those short on time, or that prefer everything to be organised for them, there are some awesome tours on Get Your Guide available to book in advance.
Tips & What To Pack
When planning your visit, August and September are the hottest months of the year with an average daily maximum temperature of 27° C and an average low of 21° C.
However, Madeira has a sub-tropical climate that offers sunshine throughout the year, making it an idea destination at any time.
From sunrise hikes, to toboggan rides and whale watching, there’s plenty to keep you busy on this beautiful island!
Remember, this is just a guide, so you may want to mix it up and add/subtract different attractions.
Day 1 Of Your 4 Day Madeira Itinerary
Funchal is a great city to explore at your own pace and you can see most of it on foot.
Located on the coast, you will have stunning sea and mountain views to enjoy as you wander through the beautiful capital of Madeira.
Offering a charming and historical landscape, there are monuments, museums, gardens and view points to discover. As well as colourful markets including fruit and flower markets.
From the crooked little streets branching out from the spectacular Cathedral in the city centre, to the churches and eighteenth and nineteenth century houses in the old town, there’s plenty to explore.
This is the perfect start to your 4 days in Madeira itinerary.
Ride The Funchal Cable Car
The Funchal cable car starting point is situated on the southern tip of the Island, along the coastline of Funchal City.
From the old part of Funchal, it ascends up into the small suburb of Monte. It takes 15 to 20 minutes in total to ride to the top and the sloping length is 3200 metres.
For a brilliant birds-eye view of the city, this has to be on the Madeira itinerary. The landscape is just breathtaking, making the cable car ride a really pleasant and relaxing trip.
At the top is a town called Monte which has beautiful scenery and romantic cafes. As well as the one and only Monte Palace Tropical Garden.
Visit Monte Palace Tropical Garden
We recommend jumping off the Funchal Cable Car at the top and visiting the Monte Palace Tropical Garden.
If you don’t fancy the cable car ride, the Madeira Private Half-Day Guided Gardens Tour is a good choice. This includes hotel pickup and drop-off, a local guide, and entrance fees to both the Botanical Garden and Monte Palace Garden.
Covering over 70,000 square meters and home to a huge collection of tropical plants, the Monte Palace Tropical Garden is an exhibition of worldly nature.
With sections such as water features, a Japanese garden and African art there is plenty to entertain culture lovers within the grounds.
Don’t forget to check out the exhibition of gems and stones, as well as the indoor African sculptures.
Madeira Toboggan Ride
There’s no better way to get down from the town of Monte than to take the traditional Madeira toboggan ride.
Again, if you want to reach the top without using the cable car, the Monte Toboggan Experience by Tuk-Tuk is perfect. It includes hotel pickup and drop-off and your Madeira Toboggan Ride ticket.
Made from wicker and wood, these two seated sleds cruise down the narrow streets of Monte all the way back down towards Funchal.
Powered by two carreiros, or sledge drivers, wearing white uniforms and straw hats, the 2km journey takes roughly 10 minutes and they use only their boots as brakes!
You can’t visit Madeira and not put one of their most famous attractions on your 4 day itinerary.
Day 2 Of Your 4 Day Madeira Itinerary
Madeira prides itself on its marine life and whale watching makes a great start to day 2 of your 4 days in Madeira Itinerary.
With several types of whale known to hover around the coastline all year round, jumping on a boat and catching a glimpse of them is a must.
We took to the ocean on a Madeira Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour from Funchal and it was incredible!
The duration of the trip was 3 hours long, and ‘’with a strong possibility of spotting whales and dolphins in their natural habitat’’ promised, we weren’t disappointed.
Pilot Whale and Sperm Whales are most commonly seen through the year, but with other species such as Sei Whale, Humpback Whale, Fin Whale, Bryde’s Whale, Minke Whale, and even Orcas many more can be found.
All in all, it was an incredible experience and we would recommend putting whale watching in Madeira on your 4 day itinerary.
Undoubtedly one of the the highlights of this small Portuguese Island are its vast amount of Levada walks.
Dating back to the sixteenth century, these narrow channels were originally built to distribute water from the most northern parts of the island to the south.
With so many to choose from Levada do Caldeirao Verde, or Green Cauldron as it translates to, is a popular one.
Otherwise a short and easy one with spectacular views is Levada Dos Balcoes.
If you are planning on taking part in a Levada walk, it’s advisable to book onto a guided tour. We took the Madeira Island: Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk and were not disappointed!
Covering a distance of 13km, we walked through tunnels, over bridges through some stunning scenery and stopped at the beautiful Levada Caldeirao Verde waterfall.
CR7 Museum/Rooftop For Evening Drinks
The CR7 Museum in Funchal is dedicated to the famous Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo who was born in the city on 5th February 1985.
Costing just €5, it takes about an hour to get round and see all the exhibits. Including club trophies, individual honours and trophies, match balls, signed football shirts and more.
There’s even a cleverly named ‘Off Side’ bar on the rooftop of the CR7 Museum. A great spot if you fancy an evening drink with amazing views across Funchal to finish day 2 in Madeira.
If you are a real Ronaldo fan the Private Cristiano Ronaldo Tour with CR7 Museum visits the museum as well as the area where Ronaldo grew up, his first club and all things Ronaldo!
Definitely one for the Madeira itinerary, especially for all football fans.
Day 3 Of Your 4 Day Madeira Itinerary
Sunrise at Pico Do Arieiro
If you don’t mind an early start, then this is an awesome way to start day 3 of your Madeira Itinerary!
Part of the dramatic mountain scenery of the interior of Madeira, it’s just a 19km drive from the city of Funchal.
If you fancy a tour, one of the more reasonably priced ones that takes in Pico Do Arieiro, is Madeira: Best of the East Tour from Funchal.
On a clear day, from Juncal viewpoint you will have stunning panoramic views across the island’s Central Mountain Range.
Consequently, many tourists flock here to stand above the blanket of clouds and watch the first rays of sunlight on the horizon.
This has to be on the Madeira itinerary, especially if you love a good sunrise!
Cabo Girao Skywalk Viewpoint
For another breathtaking view, Cabo Girao Skywalk Viewpoint is a must.
The highest cape (seacliff) in Europe, at an elevation of 580m, Cabo Girao Skywalk is famous for its suspended glass platform.
If you looking for a tour, we recommend the highly rated Madeira: Best of the West Tour from Funchal.
On this tour you discover the best of the west of Madeira on an 8-hour tour from Funchal, including a stop off at Cabo Giro Skywalk.
This popular stopping point on many island tours, gives magnificent panoramic views over the ocean and a fantastic look back at Funchal.
Not for the faint hearted, the sheer drop seen directly beneath your feet is definitely a big tick on your Madeira itinerary!
Day 4 Of Your 4 Day Madeira Itinerary
This unique waterfall has to make it onto the Madeira itinerary.
Anjos Waterfall is about a 30 minute drive west of the capital city of Funchal. It is also known as Cascata dos Anjos, meaning Waterfall of Angels.
It’s actually the outflow of a Levada, cascading down a sheer rock face onto the old highway ER 101 road. From here it continues on down to the sea below.
The road is quite narrow where the waterfall is and there is not anywhere to stop if there is other traffic. Therefore, you may just want to drive through the waterfall and get a free, natural car wash!
Alternatively, you can park a little way back from the falls and walk up and enjoy a unique, refreshing shower!
Sitting on the stunning north coast, Seixal Beach & Natural Pools are just off the main VE2 road and are free to visit.
Heading down the main stairs you’re greeted by a unique and beautiful black sand beach. Backed by rugged green cliffs with views of mountains beyond.
Special to this part of the island, the lush green cliffs that drop away into the ocean are certainly impressive. This could be why Madeira has sometimes been called ‘Europe’s Hawaii’.
If you are staying in Funchal and prefer everything arranged for you the Private Transfer to Seixal Black Sand Beach is a good option.
Porto Moniz Natural Pools
Also situated on this side of the island, Porto Moniz Natural Pools are the most famous volcanic pools on the island.
Made up of Atlantic sea water, the Natural Pools stretch over quite a large area. All of which is kept clean and well maintained, with an entry charge of just €3.
Platforms and steps have also been added around the complex. Allowing for visitors to be able to enjoy the different areas of this naturally created complex.
With their lovely relaxed vibe and beautiful setting, Porto Moniz Natural Pools are the perfect place to finish your 4 days in Madeira itinerary.
Where To Stay In Madeira
Luxury – The Vine Hotel
Recently awarded as Europe’s Leading Design Hotel, the luxurious Vine Hotel is located in Funchal.
It offers a fusion restaurant with stunning views, a Wine Therapy Spa, access to the fitness centre and a rooftop infinity pool.
Each room features an LCD TV with in-room movies, free WiFi and a laptop-size safe.
The roof terrace sports a heated infinity pool, massage facilities as well as a 20 yard hot tub, with views of Fort São João and the mountains.
Mid-Budget – Hotel Baia Azul
The newly renovated 4-star Hotel Baía Azul is ideally situated a 4-minute walk from Funchal’s beachfront.
It offers 3 swimming pools, 3 restaurants, a Spa and a sun deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the gardens.
The hotel has a total of 215 bedrooms with sea-inspired decor. All rooms come with an en suite bathroom, bath amenities and a hairdryer.
Not only that, but a flat-screen cable TV, a minibar, a kettle and a safe deposit box too.
Free WiFi access is provided in all rooms and common areas.
Budget – Funchal Apartments – City View
Funchal Apartments – City View is venue is set in Se district, around a 10 minute walk from Funchal center, and features a terrace with the cathedral view.
The property includes free WiFi, plus express check-in and check-out.
There is also a shared kitchen, ATM and currency exchange for guests.
All rooms include a wardrobe, a desk and a shared bathroom.
For more places to stay in Madeira, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.