This seven-day guide for Madeira Island is perfect for travellers that wants to experience Madeira for the first time. This is a specific guide for those who don’t want to rent a car in Madeira but still want to see the island.
WELCOME TO MADEIRA
Day 1: The Mythical Funchal & Monte
Funchal, the capital of Madeira’s archipelago, is the most urban point of these islands. It is full of history, culture as well as entertainment. And it is also the largest tourist centre in the region. It is a charming city, like an amphitheatre that opens onto a beautiful bay. Where the marina and the port are located.
The sea and the flowers are always prominent elements in Funchal. There are typical viewpoints, fortresses, cable cars, hotels and houses covered by orange tile roofs and green parasols. It is a city with several parks and scattered gardens here and there. It has some historical neighbourhoods with museums, churches, markets and squares, surrounded by cafés with terraces, restaurants and shops. Furthermore, it also has numerous avenues and streets lined by houses and varied landscapes. With different microclimates and a bustling daily life throughout the year.
Explore Funchal by tuk-tuk ride! This small tour for 2-3 people is a perfect way to see what Funchal has to offer. And it is hosted by a local for an authentic perspective. The ride goes through Funchal Old Town, the heart of Funchal, established in the 15th century. The tour includes many sights, restaurants, and shops you will want to see during your stay in Madeira. There will be opportunities to take photos at the Socorro and Villa Guida, and a stop at Santa Caterina Park. This tour is a great way to get an overview of the top attractions in Funchal. And we make it simple to get from point to point.
Some famous landmarks include the Cathedral, Mercado dos Lavradores, and Municipal Square. You will also visit the São Pedro neighbourhood, and see the Convent of Santa Clara (the oldest on the island!) Funchal is a beautiful city for exploring Portugal’s rich history.
Monte is a small village in Funchal, also accessible by tuk-tuk. This small tour will take you to the top of the hillside, where you can see fantastic views of Funchal. Visiting the 19th-century church, “Our Lady of Monte”. You can opt to participate in a toboggan ride down the hillside during your tour.
This Highlights of Funchal private tour will take you on a quest to match the history of this city. Come discover this unique island! Once, the experimental field for sugarcane on the island soon became a prosperous city. With the sugar commerce attracting merchants, traders, sailors, and of course, pirates. For centuries Funchal’s bay lived a hectic life with ships coming from all over the world.
Here’s a breakdown of each tour’s starting cost for day one:
- Funchal City Tour with Tukxi: From €15.00 Book here
- Monte Tour with Tukxi: From €16.00 Book here
- Highlights of Funchal – Jeep Safari Private Full-Day Tour: €180.00 Book here
Day 2: The Wild West of Madeira
The West of Madeira is where the Madeiran sun shines brightest, with long light-filled days. Impressive sunsets, and millions of the island’s sweet miniature bananas and Malvasia grapes ripening in the heat. Varied and scenically dramatic, there’s a lot to see and do off the slow road west. From the fishing traditions of Câmara de Lobos to the cutting-edge art of Calheta.
The Northwest Madeira “Enchanted Terraces” tour starts with Serra de Água, a lush green valley. The tour will take you through some of the oldest roads on Madeira, including a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit ancient aqueducts called Levadas, which date back to the 15th century, and explore waterfalls. If warm weather allows, you can to swim in a volcanic lava pool at Porto Moniz or Seixal. This trip back in time is an unforgettable experience.
Madeira West Tour by Minibus starts from Câmara de Lobos, the village of the “espada” or black scabbard is fished. Next, we pass by Cabo Girão (Europe ´s highest sea cliff, at 580 m) and continue our trip along the coast to Ribeira Brava. From Ponta de Sol we begin our ascent to the plateau of Paúl da Serra (at 1400 m). Descent to Porto Moniz, where you may admire the natural pools. Stop for lunch (not included). Return trip along the northern coast, passing by Seixal and São Vicente. Climb to Encumeada (1700 m) where you have a view of the sea on both coasts. Return to Funchal.
The “Northern Trikes” tour is a unique experience to see Madeira on a six-hour trike ride. The trike can hold three people (of 7 years or older) and go through vineyards and villages. From Funchal to Câmara de Lobos, you will experience waterfalls and volcanic rock pools. From a comfortable and exhilarating bike ride. Rest assured, the trikes come with helmets and rain protection. And experiencing Madeira through this tour will offer unobstructed views of the island.
Here’s a breakdown of each tour’s starting cost for day two:
- Northwest Enchanted Terraces – Jeep Safari: €48.00 Book Here
- Madeira West Tour – Minibus : €28.00 Book Here
- Northern Tour – Trikes: €170.00 Book Here
Day 3: The Fascinating Levadas, Hikes & Canyoning
About 3,000 km of Levadas (irrigation channels) to explore, discovering breathtaking landscapes: a unique encounter with nature.
These waterways are a living reminder of the titanic effort of past generations to distribute the abundant water that flows. From springs at the top of the mountains among the slopes and valleys. They cover several protected areas including, most importantly, the Madeira Natural Park and the Funchal Ecological Park.
Most of the trails are quite accessible, but there are varying degrees of difficulty. So, you are advised to consult professionals in the field and specific publications on the subject, and use suitable equipment.
The Pico do Areeiro and Pico Ruivo Mountain Walk connects the three highest peaks on Madeira by an exhilarating trail. You can see gorgeous rock formations and the bird ecosystems present in the mountains throughout the walk. The peak of Pico Ruivo offers views of the entire island.
Rabaçal Risco Tour offers a walk through the Levadas. It starts at the Forestry Station at Rabaçal and extends 11 km (approximately 6.8 miles). The path follows plentiful high-altitude vegetation. The tour returns through the Cavaleiro Tunnel.
If you are looking for adventure, adrenalin and be deeply in touch with the nature, Canyoning is a must-do. We recommend you to get out of your comfort zone and make your holidays be unforgettable.
There are different levels of canyoning, depending on your experience
Here’s a breakdown of each tour’s starting cost for day three:
- Pico do Areeiro & Pico Ruivo Mountain Walk: €32.50 Book here
- Rabaçal Risco Tour: €32.50 Book here
- 3 Full-day Levadas – Discount Package: €87.50 Book here
- Canyoning for beginners: €60.00 Book here
Day 4: The Romantic East of Madeira
East Madeira is where you’ll find the island’s most spectacular scenery.
Outside Funchal, East Madeira is the island’s most heavily populated area. The ‘second city’ and former capital Machico. Madeira’s main port at Caniçal, and the stilt-walking airport are all at this end of the island. It’s an action-packed area of gliding Boeings and aqua parks, golden sand and stupendous views. All just a short ride from Funchal along the Via Rápida.
The east of Madeira is one of its most popular and culturally interesting areas of Madeira. Camacha is known as Madeira’s cultural capital and Santana is known for its typical, traditional A shaped house.
A tour of Madeira Peaks is a full-day extravaganza, starting at the bay where the Portuguese landed in 1419. It continues on their royal footpath, with exquisite views of thatched village houses, Madeira’s third-largest peak, and off-road excursions. Visitors also enjoy our stop at the Rum factory in Porto da Cruz.
The East Sidecar Tour on the old roads with several stops for photos. Talking and enjoying the views up to Monte where the Tobbogan starts, with a stop at Terreiro da Luta. And then to “Poiso” on the way up to “Pico do Areeiro” (1818 m). At “Ribeiro Frio”, you can visit a trout farm, and also the beginning of the Levada to Portela or Balcões. On this stage of your tour, you will admire an important part of the “Laurissilva” forest. Which has a World Heritage status. In Santana, where there are the typical “A” shape houses, you can have lunch (optional) and see the sea cliffs. On the way back, they go through Porto da Cruz, and see the cliff “Penha D´Àguia”. Continuing to “Caniçal”, and then return to “Funchal”, visiting also what was Madeira’s first capital – “Machico”.
Here’s a breakdown of each tour’s starting cost for day four:
- Madeira Peaks & Santana – Jeep Tour: €48.00 Book here
- Madeira East Tour & Santana – Minibus tour: €28.00 Book here
- East Sidecar Tour: €125.00 Book here
Day 5: The Great Ocean of Madeira
It’s highly recommended to spend at least one day on the water, enjoying the sea activities of Madeira. The average temperature of the seawater around Madeira is 22 degrees in the summer and 18 in the winter.
Due to Madeira’s great location, we are privileged to see many varieties of cetaceans on their migratory way. There are various boat trips available. The chances of seeing these magnificent creatures and other sea life, such as sea turtles, are about 95%.
The waters around Madeira are deep and nutrient rich, making them well-suited to a wide range of marine mammals. More than 20 different whale species, from pilot and sperm whales to humpbacks, are known to frequent these shores. There are some boat services that makes a second trip free if you are unsuccessful on your first try.
The dolphins and whales starts at the Funchal Marina. This half-day tour takes off from the shore in searching for marine life, including dolphins, whales, and sea turtles. The boat tour includes passing through Cabo Girão and Câmara de Lobos.
Have you already heard of the archipelago just outside the island of Madeira, called Desertas Islands? This natural reserve is a unique place, with wild landscapes and complete absence of any human form of living! A true deserted islands and perfect for a day trip with our boat tour to Desertas Islands in Madeira!
Explore the south coast of Madeira for a few hours with a private Sailboat tour. You’ll find panoramic views of the coastline. In addition to frequent dolphin and whale watching, you can also swim in the Atlantic waters, with year-round mild temperatures.
Here’s a breakdown of each tour’s starting cost for day five:
- Dolphins & Whales Trips: from €30.00 Book here
- Desertas Islands: from €80.00 Book Here
- Private Sailboat: from €250.00 (per group) Book here
Day 6: The Picturesque Nuns Valley
Nun’s Valley (Curral das Freiras) is a dramatic valley with a little village. Nestled in what seems to be the crater of a volcano, and it is well worth the visit. The name comes from a very unfortunate event in the history of Madeira which was a terrible attack by pirates. Led by Pierre Bertrand de Montluc, who looted the island and killed over two hundred people.
The nuns in the Convent remembered that they owned land in the valley called Curral da Serra at the time. Of Start with a brisk climb to the Eira do Serrado viewpoint at more than 3000 feet high. It is no surprise that it is one of the most iconic views on the island. You feel as if you are at the edge of a volcano. And that the orange of the roofs of the houses in Curral das Freiras is lava bubbling down below.
A three-hour tour through Curral das Freiras, or “Nun’s Valley, can be experienced by sidecar. Your tour guide will communicate using a wireless device in the motorcycle helmets.
The valley is home to Madeira’s hidden gems and winding roads. Here, you can eat the famous chestnut cake and drink Ginja (cherry liqueur). We can adjust the itinerary according to your interests; you can see mountain peaks, major attractions, or go somewhere off the beaten path.
The Jeep safari to Nun’s Valley carry is leaving behind the urban centre and heading towards the mountains. Where we can find several points with astonishing views over the valleys where the village spreads far below. Surrounded by mountains, with ocean’s blue supplanted by the celestial blue above and the picturesque massif background. Here we can taste liquors, pastry, and other products that can only be found in this region. This tour is also going to Pico do Areeiro.
The Nun’s Valley Tukxi tour provides wonderful changes in landscape. From the seaside and urban environment of Funchal to the greener and dramatic mountain views. And with changes in temperature and vegetation in between.
Here’s a breakdown of the tour’s starting cost:
- Curral das Freiras Sidecar Tour: From €50.00 Book here
- Jeep Safari Nuns Valleys & Pico Areeiro: €35.00 Book here
- Nun’s Valley Tukxi tour: From €26.60 Book here
Day 7: The Impressive Sunrise & Sunset
Madeira offers extraordinary places to watch a magical sunrise or sunset.
Nobody likes to get up early on holiday without having a good reason to do so. But Madeira has some of the best places to see the sunrise, it will be worth the early awakening!
In another hand, Madeira is perfect to see the sunset.
The Madeira sunset tour with barbecue is a journey through old villages. Such as Campanário, Lugar da Serra, Trompica, São Paulo, and Ribeira Brava. Watch the sunset before dinner at a local restaurant.
The Pico do Areeiro sunrise tour start’s by picking you up early. Then, they drive you to Pico do Areeiro or Ponta de São Lourenço. The activity includes a short Walk, photos, videos also a snack and water.
You can join a wonderful sunset experience in a secret spot in the South West coast of Madeira! They leave Funchal directly to the secret spot, to see the sunset. With a nice fresh drink and swinging on the rustic swing. You’ll see the sun touch the ocean in shades of orange! … and with the sound of nature watching it disappear.
Seating on the top of Pico Ruivo for the sunrise, Madeira’s highest mountain with 1862 meters high (6120 feet). And, after a 3 km hike under a dazzling starry sky. Waiting for the moment before dawn, a thin gold colour line illuminates the horizon and a new day is born. Within a few seconds, the twilight paints the sky with the most beautiful mixture of colours and gradients. I have ever seen, and when we realize we’re above an ocean of clouds, it fills your soul.
Here’s a breakdown of the tour’s starting cost:
- Madeira 4×4 Sunset with Barbecue – Jeep Safari: €47.00 Book here
- Sunrise at Pico do Areeiro – Minibus: €40.00 (min. 4 pax) Book here
- Sunset Experience & Secret Spot – Jeep Safari: €180 (per group) Book here
- Sunrise at the Summit & Pico Ruivo – Jeep Safari: €180.00 (per group) Book here
In conclusion, with so many options to experience Madeira, we are confident that you will never want to leave the island. There are options for different interests, from exhilarating mountain hikes to dolphin watching. You can see the whole island without accessing a rental car with our easy-to-book, memorable excursions!
Ⓒ This is Madeira Island