Insider Guide to Madeira: 7 things to see and do

02 October 2017


Madeira is a beautiful island with nature and culture, and warm year-round temperatures. There are deep green mountains to explore, hikes to discover waterfalls and woodland, and charming cobbled streets made for wandering - and a tipple of Madeiran wine!

Read on to discover seven things to add to your to-do list for your next trip…

Wander the Mercado dos Lavradores

Market in Funchal, Madeira 

Spend a morning at the Mercado dos Lavradores in Funchal. This busy Art Deco market hall sells plenty of souvenirs as well as fruit, vegetables and flowers, including the ubiquitous birds of paradise.

Recommended by Travel Counsellor Jackie: “We went into Funchal and visited the fish market, which also has beautiful flowers, fruit, vegetables, crafts and trinkets. Funchal has a wide range of shops and it's great to wander the tree-lined, mosaic-paved streets, see the Cathedral in the Square, sample the little cafes or spy the cruise ships in port." 

Visit Porto Santo

Porto Santo in Madeira

Laze on the dazzling golden sands of Porto Santo. Perfect as a day trip from Madeira, this pretty island was home to Christopher Columbus.

Watch the Festa da Flor

Festa de Flor in Madeira

Madeira, known as The Island of Flowers, hosts a dazzling Flower Festival (Festa da Flor) every April and it’s a delightful sight. Expect float parades, live music and pageants all inspired by flowers!

Spot dolphins and whales

Dolphin in Madeira

Explore Madeira from the water and admire the stunning coastline. Don’t forget to keep an eye out for dolphins and whales diving through the water beside your boat!

Explore tropical plants

Monte Palace Gardens in Madeira

Stroll around the Jardim Botânico, relax in its shaded gardens, and wonder at the tropical plants that thrive in Madeira’s warm climate. And take a cable car from Funchal up to Monte to admire the palace and its gardens.

Recommended by Travel Counsellor Karon“On the Saturday, after a leisurely morning, we went out for a walk up to the village of Monte. The
scenery was beautiful - flowers, wildlife (we saw two buzzards) and the views over the bay. Monte has its own gardens and is also famous for the wicker basket toboggan ride, which takes you half way down the hills." 

Build black sandcastles

Praia do seixal in Madeira

Praia de Seixal, near Seixal Port (Porto de Seixal) is a stunning black sand beach with spectacular views over Madeira’s north coast.

Once you've admired the black sand and built those sandcastles, Travel Counsellor Josie recommends the beach at Calheta, "a lovely yellow sand beach, one of only two on the island."

Hike in the mountains

 Hiking in Madeira

Madeira’s scenery is utterly breathtaking – with emerald green forests nestled on rugged peaks. Don’t miss walking through the mountains on some of the 2,200 km of footpaths. The paths run alongside the island’s hillside irrigation channels, or levadas, for some awe-inspiring views.

Discover more to see, do, and eat in Madeira with our Insider Guide to Madeira or get in touch with your Travel Counsellor to plan your trip to this pretty island.

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