21 essentials to see, do (and eat) in Madeira


The capricious destiny has taken me from trip to Madeira twice in recent years, both of between 5 days and a week. It is, in those moments, when you realize that as much as you think you know a destination, we have only a partial vision of what we consider essential to see, do (or even eat) and what's up Madeira tourism for all tastes with options of hiking or levadas, viewpoints to vertiginous cliffs, villages embedded in valleys or mountains, ancient fortresses, peaks above the clouds, natural pools and a capital, Funchal, that seduces and conquers every traveler. We tell you 21 experiences you should keep in mind if you travel to the beautiful island of Portugal

If you are thinking about getaways, surely with this article Madeira joins your "long list" of future destinations, although this one is much closer and more affordable.

21 essentials to see, do (and eat) in Madeira

1. Land at the Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport in Madeira

Since when does grounding at an airport become an experience? He Madeira airport, recently referred to as the Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport of Madeira, has long been considered the most dangerous in the world. !EYE! Let no one be alarmed! All that was left behind the day they extended the track with a impressive structure over the sea It is worth observing both on the landing and from the road.

However, pilots with a special license are still the only ones who can do it although there are many flights from TAP Portugal that connect daily with the main island and also with Porto Santo

2. Stroll through the streets of the charming Funchal, a capital that seduces

Labyrinthine lanes, cobblestone roads, doors decorated on the initiative of local artists, low houses along the entire slope, a historical center that seduces and an extraordinary night setting. What more can you ask for so many attractions what to see in Funchal they conquer you?

If you want to cover more in less time, you can also explore it through the innovative perspective that a Tuk Tuk gives you "up and down the street", not forgetting the many museums such as the Madeira Story Center, the Quinta das Cruces, the traditional Bordao or the of CR7, among others.

3. Visit the Forte de Santiago (or even have dinner inside)

Inevitably, at the moment we leave the alleyways and place ourselves on the seafront of Funchal we will see a construction that stands out for its ancient architecture. It is aharbor defense fortress dating from the 17th century that maintains the identity sign of the capital

Nowadays, specially designed for lovers of those different places where to taste the best cuisine, in addition to the visit to the fortress it is possible to taste the best typical dishes in its interior restaurant (it is convenient to book)

4. Get a complete Monte experience (teleferic, gardens and wicker basket)

If there is an essential experience to do in Funchal that is undoubtedly that of Climb by cable car to the town of Monte getting the best panoramic view of the city, complement the visit with the Monte Palace Tropical Garden, which they claim to be one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world according to the Condé Nast Traveler and end the morning descending at full speed with the famous wicker baskets

It seems that this particular way of touring the so-called Caminho do Comboio in a “Carreiro” dates from 1850! There is nothing!

5. Get lost among colors, flavors and smells at the Lavradores Market

Originally created for the sale of flowers, now fruit, fish market and more typical products make up the must-visit Lavradores Market

It is possibly the most famous to see in Madeira which makes it the target of thousands of tourists throughout the year.

6. Isolate yourself from the world in Girdle Two Fathers (and take a bath?)

If I had to choose a place that met that one to see in Madeira but also what to do and eat, that would undoubtedly be Faja dos Padres, place that I have already marked with Paula to retire a season. We are facing a pebble beach embedded between cliffs and only accessible by sea or by elevator / cable car with a small garden of organic products and complete isolation

The food is solved with a restaurant that respects the environment where you eat! Luxury!

7. Ascend above the clouds in the interior peaks of the island

Madeira is a unique place for mountain and hiking lovers but also for those who rent a car and go from 0 meters to the highest peaks like Ruivo Peak, the highest mountain to see in Madeira, o Pico de Arieiro at more than 1,800 meters, in less than 25 minutes of road. Experiencing that feeling of floating above the clouds is something really magical.

Those who wish to do trekking activities in these places also have paths enabled.

8. Feeling vertigo in the most spectacular viewpoints in Europe

Madeira is not an island that stands out for the beaches (for this is its neighbor Porto Santo from which you can read more in the Travel Guides article they did visit it) but for its unique orography. Inside it is the hand of the man who has managed to create some of the most impressive "balconies" in all of Europe. We talk particularly aboutEira do Serrado, one of the most beautiful places in Madeira with stunning views of Curral das Freiras (the Valley of the Nuns)…

... or that ofCabo Girão in the considered highest cliff in Europe and above with transparent platform. Would you dare

9. Hiking in the famous Madeira levadas

Has anyone not heard of the famous routes of hiking or levada de Madeira? Is about hundreds of kilometers of roads parallel to water pipes with spectacular natural landscapes touring the island

They exist for all audiences and physical conditions. Especially recommended areGreen Caldeirao 6.2 km or25 Fontes of about 4.5 km.

10. Enjoy a day of natural pools in Porto Moniz

While one of the things to do in Madeira less prominent is to consider a day at the beach, there is no lack of an extraordinary alternative, the natural pools of Porto Moniz

We are facing a formation of volcanic lava where the sea enters naturally generating crystalline waters to which a series of services have been conditioned. Ideal for a relaxing day accompanied by the best cuisine of the nearby restaurants

11. Let yourself be tricked by the traditional houses of Santana

If you have ever been given information on Madeira, you will surely have bounced off a photo similar to the following ...

The Typical houses of Santana are buildings that preserve the most primitive constructions of the island, triangular in shape and covered with straw. ! Essential visit!

12. Live the environment of fishing villages anchored in the past

And not one or two, but it will be in thefishing villages of Caniçal, Machico or Cámara de Lobosfor example where you can enjoy the oldest historical and architectural tradition, with buildings dating from 1450, including some of the oldest lighthouses on the island.

If you approach in the morning, you can witness the trajín of the fishermen who fish in search of the fresh product of the day while the afternoons are more conducive to see the customs that the oldest of the place maintain.

13. Waning before the most spectacular cliffs of the coast

If before we "took you" to a viewpoint on the highest cliff in Europe, the steep relief of the coast of Madeira Island makes you feel tiny in a landscape more associated with northern countries like Ireland, Scotland or Iceland

If you also look for truly unique formations, you will find your desires satisfied in the Ponta de São Lourenço, the easternmost area, or in the pinnacle of Illhéus da Ribeira da Janela

14. Cross hills and valleys in Jeep (where cars don't arrive)

Though rent a car in Madeira It is always a good option, to reach the interior areas where natural beauty achieves its maximum expression is only reserved for jeep excursions that allow you to ascend the less passable roads

Here we will find the most valuable relic of the island, the laurel forests declared World Heritage by Unesco in 1999

15. Live a wonderful sunset from the hillside over the capital

Are you one of those who enjoy a beautiful sunset? Well you're in luck since Funchal has it as well as the so-called blue hour.

Ascends by the slope of the mountain Looking for some of the strategic points designed to place your tripod or simply enjoy a romantic evening accompanied by your partner.

16. Go in search of whales and dolphins (! And swim with them!)

The waters of the Madeira coast welcome several types of dolphin, whale and other cetacean species ... You can even see sperm whales! From the port many companies offer their sighting service all year round

What we did not expect is that you could also swim with dolphins if you find them. ! Another unique experience!

17. Enter the caves of Sao Vicente and discover the origin of the island

Whether or not you are passionate about volcanism, there is an activity designed for even the smallest near the population of Sao Vicente. We are in thepoint where this island of volcanic origin began to form and by whose caves in the form of lava tubes you can access more than 1000 meters.

They are perfectly conditioned and illuminated although it seems incredible that their walls were carved by lava 400 thousand years ago. What better architect?

18. Test the espetada doing balances in Quinta do Furao…

We will talk about the gastronomy of Madeira long and hard in a separate article but if there is a typical product that can not be missing in your diet, it is a good start, a kind of beef skewer, seasoned with garlic and bay leaf

If this tasting we combine it with a restaurant like Quinta do Furao that balances on scandal cliffs with the best possible views, the experience will be complete

19.… or the best product of the sea at the foot of the Atlantic Ocean in Doca Do Cavacas

Whoever looks for the most famous seafood restaurant on the island will have to move to the most western part of Funchal, in a privileged location at the foot of the ocean, where it is located a small and picturesque restaurant called Doca Do Cavacas

Barnacles, fish, shrimp and all kinds of seafood products ...

20. Staying in a charming hotel with panoramic rooftop, The Vine

The offer of hotels in Madeira is very complete and for all tastes although the one who looks for something more sophisticated and different (you know how we like it) has in the hotel The Vine your best choice

Extraordinarily well located within walking distance of the port or the Cathedral and with an innovative design in each of its rooms or rooms, it has its Differentiating element on the top floor where there is a pool and a jacuzzi with the best views of the capital.

21. Losing consciousness from a third or fourth strikeout

Although this is not the case for the week, when the weekend comes the Madeira nightlife transforms and combines bars and restaurants with pubs, discos and even a famous casino. And what to order? The poncha is the emblematic drink of the island, made with sugarcane, sugar and lemon juice.

We can only tell you that! Eye with the hangover! And you know we don't tell anything we haven't lived, haha

What you liked most? Do you think enough incentives to consider a getaway to the island of Madeira? We hope that the 21 essential things to see, do and eat in Madeira have given you the "long teeth" because fate deserves it

Isaac, from Madeira Island (Portugal)