Is Madeira Safe? 2024 Travel and Safety Guide

Are you wondering the question, “Is Madeira safe?”

Well, you’ve come to the right place! I spent over a week in Madeira as a solo female traveler and can help you determine if Madeira is safe.

This comprehensive travel and safety guide will certainly help ease your worries. However, there’s not much to be worried about regarding safety, as you’ll discover below. 

Madeira is a beautiful Portuguese autonomous region comprising 4 volcanic islands off the coast of Africa. Located 669 miles from the capital city of Lisbon, only two islands are inhabited: Madeira Island and Porto Santo.

The largest of these two islands, Madeira Island, is known for its stunning landscapes, vibrant culture, delicious cuisine, and warm hospitality. It’s recognized as one of the safest destinations in Europe!

Continue reading below for island safety tips that will help you plan the most epic – and safe – Madeira trip ever!

Going On A Trip To Madeira? Check Out These Resources!

🛌 Accommodations: I always use for my lodging.
🚘 Car Rentals: To find the best prices, I use Discover Cars!
✈️ Flights: To find great flight prices, I check on Expedia.
📍Tours: I use Viator to find memorable experiences.

Is Madeira Safe To Visit?

Generally speaking, yes, Madeira is safe to visit.

According to the Global Peace Index and many other publications, Portugal is considered one of the safest countries in the world for travelers.

Is Madeira safe?

More specifically, the Madeira Islands enjoy an even lower crime rate than the mainland. The likelihood of falling victim to a violent crime in Madeira is rare, if not unheard of.

However, even in light of these statistics, there are always ways you can follow basic safety precautions regardless of where in the world you’re traveling. This includes driving safety, ingesting the local food or water, hiking, swimming, or walking around at night. 

The only moderate safety concern you may have to be concerned with remotely is potential pickpocketing in Funchal.

Crime statistics aside, there are a handful of other potentially dangerous situations you could face on the Madeira Islands that many fail to bring to light. While you may not be aware of them, educating yourself will no doubt help you plan a safer, more enjoyable Madeira trip.

Is Madeira Safe at Night?

Madeira is generally safe to explore at night. That said, it’s also important to remain diligent and make sound judgments at night, especially if you are a solo female traveler. 

If traveling at night, utilize safer modes of transportation such as rental cars, taxis, or the minimal Ubers on the island. Many hotels in the capital of Funchal have connections with local taxi drivers or private shuttles that can pick you up at the airport or safely transport you to different locations around the island. 

The four bus companies in Funchal, Horarios do Funchal, SAM, Rodoeste, and EACL are known to be safe and reliable but are better to utilize during the day to explore the island. 

As with any destination, some other helpful tips for going out at night are avoiding unlit areas, keeping your valuables secure, and not going down random alleys with no other people.

Madeira Crime Rate

The most recent crime rate data for Madeira from DREM shows that the overall occurrence of crime has declined in recent years. More than 5,000 crimes were reported in 2021, down from 6,000 in 2020. 

Nearly half of the crimes reported were committed in the capital city of Funchal (about 2,600 crimes), followed by the island of Porto Santo. The fewest crimes were reported in the coastal village of Ponta do Sol.

Miradouro de São Cristovão is one of the most beautiful views on the island.

Most of these crimes were nonviolent, and many were not committed against other people. Very few, if any, of these crimes involved tourists. Many were reports of domestic violence, assault, battery, or petty theft. 

Are There Places to Avoid in Madeira?

Overall, no. As of now, there are no specific areas or neighborhoods that are noted to avoid during travel to Madeira Island.

The capital city of Funchal is very walkable, clean, and full of friendly locals eager to welcome and assist travelers to the island. Funchal is also the most highly recommended place for first-time travelers to stay in.

After sundown, the streets remain lively and scattered, with people eating dinner on the streets, taking an evening walk, or enjoying the island’s nightlife. There are usually always people out and about, and the streets throughout the city are well-lit. 

While not a glaring problem, it’s not uncommon to see a few homeless people hanging out on the streets around Funchal. It might seem unnerving, but they typically keep to themselves and don’t cause any serious issues. 

However, always practicing situational awareness when exploring any part of the island is still a good idea. No place is completely free of the possibility of crime or danger, so it’s always best to be aware of your surroundings.

Is Madeira a Good Place to Live?

If you value great weather, fresh fruit and seafood, and a lower cost of living, then the answer is yes. Madeira is a great place to live! 

The striking natural landscapes and levadas of the Madeira Islands also provide amazing opportunities for hiking and outdoor adventure. If you’re a nature lover, it’s a true paradise.

Madeira is a safe destination for solo female travelers!

Madeira is also an ideal island for digital nomads. Portugal’s digital nomad visa will allow you to stay in Madeira for at least a year. After a year, you can renew for a maximum of five years before you can start an application for permanent residency

As with every destination, there are, of course, pros and cons. For some, the island’s remote locations can prove challenging.

Its smaller size can make finding job opportunities in certain industries difficult, especially if you are not Portuguese. The island’s slower pace of living also may not be for everyone.

However, despite the potential setbacks, Madeira is an incredible place to live. The island has a strong sense of community and notable hospitality and provides a unique nature to explore.

Safety Tips For Traveling In Madeira

Madeira has sustained its reputation as a safe destination for travelers for many years. The island’s commitment to heightened safety measures, low crime rates, and precautions against natural disasters is always reassuring, but it still doesn’t promise a completely worry-free vacation.

Read below for helpful safety tips regarding Madeira’s weather patterns, food and water safety, hiking tips, crime trends, and road conditions.

✅ Monitor Weather Conditions

Aside from the usual rain showers, Madeira is known for its mild and enjoyable climate.

However, the island has experienced some pretty damaging storms and even seismic activity in the past. While both are extreme and rare, it’s always best to monitor the weather in the weeks and days leading up to your trip.

The Porto Moniz natural swimming pools in Madeira can get dangerous waves so always listen to safety guidelines.

If you’re unsure if an activity is unsafe with current weather conditions, the locals will gladly help you. The island is also efficient at closing levadas when they are too dangerous from landslides that often happen from the island’s heavy rainfall.

✅Let Someone Know When and Where You’ll Be Hiking

Madeira hikes are known to be some of the most spectacular in the world. From the island’s iconic levadas (hikes along irrigation channels) to the famous Pico Ruivo, it’s a mecca for outdoor adventure.

Always let friends and family know where and when you’ll be hiking to ensure you stay safe on these Madeira hikes. You can even let the concierge at your hotel know and save their phone number in your phone in case of emergencies.

👉TRAVEL TIP: If you run into a serious emergency in Madeira, the emergency services number is 112.

✅ Follow Water Safety Guidelines

There are many great places to swim around Madeira, including plenty of beaches and shallow natural pools. While generally safe, rip currents, large waves, and choppy seas are always possible.

Especially if you venture to the natural pools in Porto Moniz, the waves can become dangerous, and you always need to follow staff orders.

Before entering the water, check for warning signs or flags on the beach. When applicable, always wear a life jacket for extra protection, especially when on boats or other vessels.

✅ Remain Cautious of Petty Theft

As I mentioned earlier in this article, even though crime rates in Madeira are low, it’s always smart to be aware of your surroundings.

Keep your belongings close by, leave all zippers and pockets of bags and clothing closed, and don’t openly flash large amounts of cash or credit cards around in public.

The biggest risk of falling victim to petty theft in Madeira is Funchal, but always be aware.

✅ Respect Hike and Other Activity Closures

On occasion, the local government closes hiking trails and other outdoor activities such as natural pools, levadas, and roadways.

Yes, this includes closures for the popular Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo hike! While this might be inconvenient during a vacation, it’s important to respect these closures and not attempt to drive, hike, or swim them.

Sunset at Pico do Arieiro.

Bad weather, natural disasters, and storms can cause flooding, landslides, and rough seas, and it’s not worth risking your life. 

In addition to the safety risks, you can be fined anywhere from €250 to 2,500 for disobeying guidelines.

✅ Drive with Caution

If you’re an inexperienced driver, the roads on Madeira Island can be daunting. Many roads are well-paved in and around Funchal, including the VR1 South East Expressway.

However, some rural roads are poorly maintained, narrow, and include steep ditches or cliffs on either side. Obey signs and speed limits (even if the locals don’t). 

➡️I recommend booking your car rental through Discover Cars!

The most nerve-wracking area to drive in Madeira is Funchal. It can become very congested, and some streets are narrow. It’s best to elevate your senses when driving in the center.

Is Madeira Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Yes, Madeira is safe for solo female travelers! Madeira has only grown in popularity among solo female travelers.

It’s safe to walk around at night; the locals welcome, and meeting other travelers on group tours, in disco bars, and at the many coworking stays and hostels around the island is easy.

Seixal Beach.

While you shouldn’t travel in fear, female travelers should always remain vigilant in any new country. It’s also advisable to avoid the harder levadas if you are alone and instead book with a guide.

FAQs: Is Madeira Safe?

Still asking yourself, “Is Madeira safe?” Read below for answers to frequently asked questions to help you plan the ultimate Madeira trip. 

Is Madeira Airport Safe?

While its location and harrowing runway rank it as one of the world’s top ten most dangerous airports, airplane accidents are rare.

Pilots must undergo additional training to land at Madeira Airport, and the airport underwent renovations to make the runway safer. 

Is Funchal Safe at Night?

Yes, Funchal is safe at night. Enjoying the city’s nightlife and superb restaurants is popular among locals and visitors.

However, to be cautious, it’s best to remain in well-lit areas, keep track of your belongings, and always be aware of your surroundings. 

Is Driving in Madeira Safe?

The roads in Madeira are generally safe, and there are rarely any issues.

Occasionally, road closures occur due to construction, flooding, or landslides. In more rural areas of the island, roads are less maintained and can be steep and winding.

If you rent a car, being an experienced driver is better. For example, parking garages are extremely narrow, so you must be careful.

Is Madeira Worth Visiting?

Yes, Madeira is absolutely worth visiting. Known as the “Hawaii of Europe,” Madeira is a bucket list destination for millions of travelers annually.

If you're wondering if it's safe in Madeira, then the answer is yes! However, at certain attractions like the Waterfall of the Angels, you need to be careful.

A Madeira trip is for you if you love epic landscapes, lush nature, a slower pace, and outdoor adventure. It’s no surprise why this island continues to grow in popularity.

You may want to plan your holiday elsewhere if you’re looking for a boozy beach holiday and wild nightclub parties. 

Is Madeira Expensive?

While Madeira isn’t the cheapest destination in Europe, it’s nowhere near the most expensive. Additionally, it’s cheaper than mainland Portugal in most aspects.

Many travelers, especially those from the U.S., find that prices on the island are rather manageable. Prices for hotels, food, and private tours are of great value.

Especially if you stay in places outside of Funchal’s center, accommodation costs drop dramatically.

Many activities on the island, such as levada walks, are free. However, if you are looking to splurge, there are plenty of high-end hotels and restaurants to enjoy.

Should I Get Travel Insurance for Madeira?

You should invest in travel insurance for any trip you go on. It not only ensures you’ll be covered but will also help give you peace of mind.

➡️I recommend purchasing Safety Wing Travel Insurance before Madeira.

To Sum Up: Is Madeira Safe?

As with any destination you visit on vacation, there are pros, cons, and potentially dangerous situations.

However, taking even a little time before your trip to learn about local laws, emergency services, medical services, weather, crime rates, and general safety tips could make all the difference. 

So, is Madeira safe? Hopefully, this comprehensive travel and safety guide leaves you answering “yes” and alleviates any concerns you may have about planning your Madeira trip.

By understanding the safety measures in place and taking the necessary precautions mentioned in this blog, you can have a fantastic and worry-free experience in this beautiful Portuguese archipelago!

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