The Best Travel Guide to Madeira
Provided by: Anna Lurye/
Section in Madeira
Do & See
Madeira Archipelago has a lot of activities and experiences to try during a visit to the islands. Most of these activities can be planned in hotels or through specialized agencies that will help you to make the most of your journey. This can go from outdoor activities, to relaxation and wellness experiences. You can enjoy a lot of unique moments, because in Madeira you are in a constant contact with nature. For Nature lovers, Madeira is the ideal destination for planning your active vacations. Also, there are different other things you can do, while in Madeira, such as visit cultural centres spread throughout the Island, appreciate the festive events that are part of our calendar, or simply enjoy our simple and nice city life. Here you can find more specific information about thing to do in Madeira Islands.

Funchal Downtown and Historical Area

Funchal, the capital of Madeira, is located on a bay and started out by occupying a small extension of land by the sea, going up on the mountain slopes as it grew. A few walking minutes away, it is possible to stroll down the centre of the city, where you have access to all commerce and services, and can also visit the town’s main ex-libris. It can be divided into 3 historical parts, which are also its first three parishes: São Pedro, Santa Maria Maior and Sé.
Read more

Pico Do Areeiro And Pico Ruivo

A drive to Pico do Areeiro, the third highest part of the Island, offers visitors a magnificent landscape of the central ridge and its peaks. The footpath connecting Pico do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo is one of the most beautiful, but also one of the most challenging ones. For those who cannot cross it and still wish to enjoy the magnificent landscape from the highest spot of the island, an alternative and much more accessible footpath allows reaching the peak through the other side, starting with the route in Achada do Teixeira in Santana.
Read more

Porto Santo Island

Porto Santo, located some 40 Km northeast of the Island of Madeira, has a low population. It is very quiet during most part of the year, and is an idyllic place for those seeking to run away from stress and rest. The 9 km extension of its golden sandy beach, bathed by warm and serene waters, is particularly appreciated by those who enjoy going to the beach, which is possible to do all year long. The island of Porto Santo has a wide variety of outdoor activities to offer the tourist such as diving, big game fishing, sailing, canoeing, wind-surfing and kite-surfing. Much less hilly than Madeira, the island of Porto Santo is also perfect for bicycle strolls. Bikes can be rented at hotels or downtown.
Read more

Outdoor Actvities

Climb up to the clouds among mountains and levadas and enjoy the pure, rarefied air or discover treasures as you explore the depths of the Atlantic. You can choose between trekking, climbing, canyoning, jeep safaris, mountain bikes or horse riding to conquer the impressive mountains. Don’t miss the chance to go hiking, the number one favourite for Madeira’s visitors. Hang-gliding and paragliding are also very attractive sports as the island’s natural terrain is ideal for it. Talking about nautical sports, there are countless choices: it is possible to try diving with dusky groupers, dolphins or seals, or go surfing, windsurfing, jet skiing or water skiing for an unforgettable experience.
Read more

20 Million Year Old Forest - Laurissilva Forest

About 20 million years ago, Laurissilva Forest covered large areas of the south of Europe and of the Mediterranean Basin. This prehistoric relic survived the ice ages; the distinct flora is completely extinct it in all other sites except in Macaronesia (which includes the Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands and Cape Verde). Madeira contains the largest area of Laurissilva Forest of the world. In fact, it occupies around 15,000 hectares, located mainly on the north slopes of the island. Due to its biological specificity, the diversity of its endemic species and its well-preserved condition, in 1999 Laurissilva Forest was granted by UNESCO the World Natural Heritage classification. This forest consists of large trees, mostly belonging to the "Lauraceae" family, namely the laurel, the mahogany, the til and barbusano, alongside others like picconia excelsa, the heberdenia excelsa, the Lily-of-the-Valley tree, the buckthorn and ilex perado. Beneath the canopy of these trees evergreen bushes also abound, such as Madeira blueberry, the shrub trefoil and the heather, and closest to the ground there are ferns, mosses, liverworts, lichens, and other smaller plants. Within the forest, which is especially rich in terrestrial molluscs and insects, several rare bird species can still be seen, including the Madeira Laurel Pigeon and Firecrest, which are the only endemic species of this ecosystem.
Read more

Madeira Wine

Madeira’s matchless soil and climate, the production process and the grape varieties are what makes Madeira wine so unique. Chosen to celebrate the independence of the United States on 4 July 1776, praised by Shakespeare in his plays and admired by monarchs, princes, generals and explorers, Madeira wine is certainly a treasure. It is appreciated all over the world and has more than five centuries of history. This ‘nectar of the gods’ is one of Madeira’s finest achievements. There are more than 30 Madeira wine grape varieties, though the best are Sercial, Boal, Verdelho and Malvasia. The most well-known dry wine is made from Sercial grapes. This pale, strongly perfumed wine makes for an ideal aperitif. Verdelho leads the medium dry wines. It is golden, delicate and quite fragrant, and is the best one for drinking with meals. Boal is medium sweet, smooth, velvety, noble and dark gold in colour and goes well with roast meat or dessert. Between meals or with dessert, few can resist a Malvasia, a sweet, red, full-bodied, intensely fragrant wine. Connoisseurs of the art should come to Madeira in September to see and participate in the Madeira grape harvest and its festival, a tribute to this age-old product that is recognised worldwide.
Read more

Levada Walks

Prepare to discover a fantastic natural world on one of the unforgettable walks along the hillsides. Cultural and environmental factors have made walking one of Madeira’s most traditional and popular open-air activities. Lots of people come to the Madeira Islands just to walk the different circuits, discovering the pleasure of close contact with nature. Walk along Madeira’s paths and levadas to the interior of the island and see breathtaking virgin scenery. On these magnificent walks, hikers of all ages can explore the island’s unforgettable landscapes.
Read more

Gardens and Flowers

Madeira’s natural heritage has been singled out in Europe, thanks to its amazing richness, diversity and state of preservation, which is due in part to the Madeirans’ respect for their natural heritage. On 2 December 1999, UNESCO recognised this and considered the Laurissilva Forest a World Natural Heritage Site, the only one in Portugal, which now belongs to all humanity. You must find time to admire and enjoy this forest which dates back to the Tertiary Age and survived the last glaciations, which confined it to Macaronesia, i.e. Madeira, the Azores, the Canaries and Cape Verde. Madeira has the largest area of this type of forest, about 22,000 hectares. It also has the widest variety of fauna and flora with some rare specimens, such as the Madeira orchid, Dactylorhiza foliosa, which is unique.
Read more
View on map