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Madeira Itinerary – How To Spend 1 – 7 Days In Madeira

The main island of an archipelago, Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal located off the north west coast of Africa.

Measuring just 22 km by 55 km, this magical volcanic island is one of the most underrated destinations in Europe. However, most people may well have heard of Madeira fortified wine, which is produced on the island.

Madeira is home to a beautiful and diverse landscape of stunning beaches, natural lava pools, spectacular peaks, unique hiking trails, lush vegetations and tropical flora.

With the historical capital city of Funchal also packed full of surprises, from its architectural heritage to its traditional toboggan rides and tropical garden, there’s definitely plenty on offer.

This beautiful Portuguese island has so much to offer. So here’s our 7 day Madeira itinerary to help you plan exactly where to go.

How To Get Around Madeira

Car

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.

Taxi

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.

Bus

Another way of getting about is by bus. The system in Madeira is inexpensive, reliable and fun!

Tour

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.

Best Time To Visit Madeira

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 ideal 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.

What To Pack

Photography Camera

Tripod

Day Bag

Power Bank

Reusable Water Bottle

Sunscreen

Lightweight Rain Jacket

Quick Dry Towel

GoPro

Lifeproof Phone Case

Dry Bag

Pico do Arieiro Madeira

Madeira Itinerary Day 1

Explore Funchal

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.

Funchal 4 Days In Madeira Itinerary
Bolo do caco Things To Do In Madeira

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.

Views Of Funchal Cable Car Prices Monte Cable Car Funchal
View From Monte Funchal Cable Car Prices Monte Cable Car Funchal

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.

Monte Palace Tropical Gardens Funchal Cable Car Prices Monte Cable Car Funchal
Viewpoint Monte Palace Tropical Gardens Madeira Monte Palace Gardens

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.

Carreiros Madeira Toboggan Ride Funchal Toboggan Run Madeira Toboggan Funchal
Carreiros Madeira Toboggan Ride Funchal Toboggan Run Madeira Toboggan Funchal

Madeira Itinerary Day 2

Whale Watching

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.

Whale Watching In Madeira Whale Watching VMT Madeira
Whale Watching In Madeira Whale Watching VMT Madeira

Levada Walk

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.

Levada Caldeirao Verde Madeira Levadas Madeira Walks
PR11 Levada Dos Balcoes Viewpoint In Madeira

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.

CR7 Museum Things To Do In Madeira
CR7 Museum Things To Do In Madeira

Madeira Itinerary Day 3

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!

Situated on Madeira’s third highest peak, Juncal viewpoint at Pico do Arieiro, is famous for being one of the best viewpoints in Madeira.

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!

Juncal Viewpoint Pico do Arieiro Sunrise Madeira
Juncal Viewpoint Pico do Arieiro Sunrise Madeira

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!

Cabo Girao Skywalk Madeira Cabo Girao Cliffs Madeira Things To Do In Madeira
Cabo Girao Skywalk Madeira Cabo Girao Cliffs Madeira Things To Do In Madeira

Madeira Itinerary Day 4

Anjos Waterfall

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!

Anjos Waterfall In Madeira
Anjos Waterfall In Madeira

Seixal Beach

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.

Seixal Beach In Madeira
Seixal Beach Natural Pools In Madeira

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.

Porto Moniz Natural Pools In Madeira
Porto Moniz Natural Pools In Madeira

Madeira Itinerary Day 5

Camara de Lobos Fishing Village

The picturesque fishing village of Camara de Lobos is located on the outskirts of Funchal. A relaxing visit to this historical village is definitely worth adding to Madeira Itinerary.

Surrounded by some of the highest cliffs in Europe, the small bay is surrounded by shops and restaurants. These charming views have inspired many artists over the years.

Probably one of the most famous being Sir Winston Churchill. As a result, Camara de Lobos have proudly erected a life-size bronze statue of him overlooking his favourite bay.

To learn about the history and culture of Camara de Lobos the Camara de Lobos: 1.5-Hour Tour in a Tuk Tuk is a great option. You also get to try some local delicacies, like fish, Poncha and Nikita!

Camara de Lobos Fishing Village Things To Do In Madeira

Stand Up Paddle Boarding/Parasailing

As Madeira has such a lot of coast, there are plenty of exciting and popular water sports to enjoy during your visit.

We ventured out early one morning and jumped on SUP’s (or Stand Up Paddle boards) to test our balance in the ocean.

The freedom that comes with stand up paddle boarding is something we’d never experienced. It was literally like walking on water!

Another water activity we enjoyed was parasailing and this time we were flying high above the ocean.

We launched off the back of a speedboat and cruised along the harbour front at around 600ft above sea level thanks to Madeira WaterSports.

Flying along under a huge parachute, enjoying the beautiful scenery of the south coast of Madeira was truly exhilarating and breathtaking.

Therefore, make sure you add some fun water sport activities to your Madeira itinerary!

Stand Up Paddle Boarding Madeira Things To Do In Madeira Things To Do

Afternoon at Doca Do Cavacas Natural Pools

The amazing natural swimming pools at Doca Do Cavacas have been formed by volcanic lava and they are now filled with sea water.

The naturally created pools are definitely a highlight of the Madeira coast, and one of the best ways to visit them is via a Câmara de Lobos Tour.

At the Doca Do Cavacas, there are changing rooms and bathrooms with lockers. There is also a snack bar open during the summer months along with first aid, sun loungers and sunshades for hire.

This is the perfect way to spend the afternoon relaxing, especially after trying out some water sport activities earlier!

Doca Do Cavacas Natural Pools In Madeira
Doca Do Cavacas Natural Pools In Madeira
Doca Do Cavacas Natural Pools In Madeira

Madeira Itinerary Day 6

PR11 Levada Dos Balcoes Viewpoint

The trail to get to the PR11 Levada dos Balcoes viewpoint starts from the village of Ribeiro Frio, 17km inland from the city of Funchal.

At the end of the trail you reach the platform of the PR11 Levada dos Balcoes, one of the best viewpoints in Madeira. From here you have breathtaking views across the lush green Ribeira da Metade valley.

As well as the beautiful valley, you are also able to see the island’s Central Mountain Range, including the two highest peaks, Pico do Areeiro and Pico Ruivo.

In addition, this area is also home to a huge variety of birds including chaffinches, blackbirds, robins, buzzards. As well as the rare trocaz pigeon, only found on the island of Madeira.

It’s definitely worth putting the PR11 Levada dos Balcoes on you list of things to do in Madeira The vistas and wildlife are amazing!

The Madeira: Private 1.5-Kilometer Levada dos Balcões Hike PR11 is great if you don’t want the hassle of arranging everything yourself.

PR11 Levada Dos Balcoes Viewpoint In Madeira
PR11 Levada Dos Balcoes Viewpoint In Madeira
PR11 Levada Dos Balcoes Viewpoint In Madeira

Afternoon at Fajas Dos Padres

For a gentle and more relaxed afternoon, a visit to Fajas Dos Padres is just the ticket.

Faja dos Padres farm, dating back to the 15th century, is situated at the bottom of the cliffs next to the Ocean and has been producing organic produce since 2008.

We arrived via a ‘state of the art’ cable car which gave us amazing views on the smooth 4 minute journey down the side of the cliff.

Once at the farm you can walk along the paths between all the fruit trees, vegetables and herbs. Or you can take a guided tour and learn about the history of Fajas Dos Padres, as well as taste some of the produce.

After exploring, head towards the sea and you will find a restaurant with a beautiful beach to the front of it. Here, apart from delicious food, you can enjoy wonderful swimming and fishing, along with stunning sea and mountain views.

I would highly recommend a visit to this peaceful little gem as the perfect way to spend a relaxing afternoon after your sunrise start!

Faja Dos Padres Cable Car In Madeira
Banana Plantation Faja Dos Padres In Madeira

Madeira Itinerary Day 7

Jeep Tour

Taking a Madeira jeep safari was one of the highlights of our trip to the island and has to be included on the 7 day Madeira itinerary.

With full day or half day tours available, you can even completely customise your own tour with an experienced professional driver.

We would definitely recommend scheduling in Capelhina De Nossa Senhora De Fatima. For breathtaking views across the beautiful green valley.

Also, don’t miss the traditional Santana houses in the pretty village of Santana. Dating back to the discovery of Madeira, these colourful houses represent an important part of Madeira’s heritage.

We chose the Madeira: Full-Day South Coast Jeep Tour and our day with Mountain Expeditions was incredible.

Jeep Safari Madeira Jeep Tour Madeira Jeep Safari Funchal Jeep Safari
Capelinha de Nossa Senhora de Fatima Best Viewpoints In Madeira

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.

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight.

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use Booking.com to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile.

Book Your Rental Car

Use RentalCars.com to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.


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7 Days In Madeira Itinerary