Is Madeira Worth Visiting in 2024? 15 Reasons Why It Is!

Are you planning a trip to Portugal and wondering, “Is Madeira Worth Visiting?”

After spending over a week exploring this destination, I can give you a clear answer to this question. To keep it short, yes, Madeira is worth visiting!

But why exactly is the island worth a visit? Madeira is a Portuguese island located off the western coast of Africa. This island has stunning viewpoints, excellent hiking options, and a unique landscape.

Whether you want to be surrounded by rich nature, engage in adventure travel activities, or relax around the island’s coast, there’s something for anyone!

Keep on reading to discover 15 reasons why you need to experience the island of Madeira. This post will explain things to do in Madeira, where to stay, how to reach and other essential details.

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 Worth Visiting in 2024?

There are so many reasons why Madeira is worth visiting that I can’t even fit it all in this post!

Don’t let the fact that this is just an island make you think there’s not much to see here! There’s much to explore in Madeira, including levada hikes, epic sunrise/sunset locations, and natural volcano-made pools.

Stunning views along PR 8 Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço
Views along PR8 Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço

Madeira is a heaven for nature enthusiasts, photographers, and adventure seekers. From its impressive landscape to its warm hospitality, this island is a must-see at least once.

One great thing about Madeira is that it’s a year-round destination that experiences a tropical climate. For example, there’s no shortage of activities in January, and the weather may still be warm enough for swimming!

What Is So Special About Madeira?

It doesn’t take long to realize why Madeira is called the “Pearl of the Atlantic.” Within its dramatic landscapes, the island has towering cliffs, lush forests, and hillsides that are impressive at every turn.

Madeira is also renowned for its incredible biodiversity, with endemic flora and fauna found nowhere else on Earth. Its flora alone has around 60 endemic species.

In addition to its nature offerings, the island has a rich cultural heritage. The island’s folklore includes traditional dances and music that celebrate its history. There are also several annual festivals and cuisine staples, such as espetada and poncha.

Things To Do in Madeira

There’s an endless list of things to do in Madeira for your vacation. Whether hiking, swimming in natural pools, enjoying the culinary delights, or chasing miradouros (viewpoints), this island has someone for any preference.

Next are some top activities you should include on your itinerary to help you see why Madeira is worth visiting.

1. Explore Funchal

Funchal, the charming capital city of Madeira, has diverse experiences that fit all preferences. The city is between the mountains and the Atlantic Ocean, blending historic charm and modern amenities.

You can wander through its narrow cobblestone streets lined with colorful buildings decorated with flowers and discover hidden gems such as quaint cafes and shops.

Exploring the town of Funchal is a must in Madeira!
Funchal, Madeira

Some of the highlights in Funchal include the Old Town, the Sé Cathedral, the São Tiago Fortress, and the Monte cable car, which provides panoramic views. Simply walking around the coast is a treat and prepares you for the stunning beauty of other areas around the island.

If you’re a foodie, Funchal is the place to be! You have many options for local cuisine at traditional restaurants, savoring fresh seafood dishes and sampling the famous Madeira wine. In addition, there are a few Michelin Star restaurants, including Desarma and William.

➡️Check out this excellent Old Town Funchal Walking Tour.

2. Levada Hikes

Madeira’s levadas are a must-do experience during your time on the island, offering a unique way to explore its landscapes and unique nature.

These centuries-old irrigation channels, built by hand, wind through lush forests, mountains, and valleys, creating a network of hiking trails.

Walking along the levadas lets you discover hidden waterfalls, unique flora, and panoramic viewpoints. In effect, this provides unparalleled photography and wildlife spotting opportunities.

Levada hikes are one of the top reasons why Madeira is worth visiting!
The mountain range around PR1 Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

The most popular levada in Madeira is the PR1 Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo. However, this hike is challenging, has high elevations, and takes several hours to complete. If you decide to go, the views you get from this hike are incredible and will be worth every step!

You will have no service at the end once you reach Pio Ruivo, so ensure your return travel is planned in advance.

➡️I recommend this Morning Transfer for Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

On the other end, PR11 Vereda dos Balcões is one of the easiest levadas in Madeira. It takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes round-trip and is flat. The view at the end is incredible; if you’re lucky, there’ll be a rainbow over the mountains.

👉TRAVEL TIP: If a levada has been closed due to landslides or weather conditions, DO NOT attempt to go. People have gone missing without a trace in Madeira. It will also be difficult for emergency crews to help you.

3. Seixal Beach

While Madeira is not an island known for its beaches, one that you have to see is Seixal Beach. Located along the island’s northwestern shore, this treasure offers a mix of natural wonders that set it apart from other beaches.

What makes Seixal truly unique is its striking black sand, formed by eroded volcanic elements, contrasting against the Atlantic Ocean. I felt like I was on another planet when I visited this beach!

Seixal Beach is one of the best beaches in Madeira
Seixal Beach, Madeira

Seixal Beach is surrounded by towering cliffs covered in lush greenery, providing a haven to unwind and soak up the sun.

Its remote location and unspoiled surroundings make it a favorite spot for nature lovers and photographers alike. Seixal Beach is not a hidden gem, so ensure you arrive early to enjoy it without crowds and can find parking.

4. Sunrise at Miradouro do Guindaste

If you’re still wondering, “Is Madeira worth visiting?”, then one trip to Miradouro do Guindaste will answer. Watching the sunrise from Miradouro do Guindaste is an incredible experience that will leave you speechless.

Perched high above the coastline near Faial, this viewpoint offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and a mountainous background as it comes alive with hues of orange and gold.

Miradouro do Guindaste is one of the best sunrise spots in Madeira
Sunrise at Miradouro do Guindaste

The resulting view is almost unreal as the sunlight rays go across the water and light up the dramatic cliffs. Undoubtedly, this will 100% be worth the early wake-up!

The crushing waves against the stunning backdrop feel like something you’d only see in a movie! The beauty of this miradouro can also be enjoyed at any time of the day.

5. Ponta de São Lourenço

Ponta de São Lourenço, situated on the northeastern tip of Madeira, is a popular peninsula due to its dramatic cliffs, volcanic rock formations, and stunning coastal views.

An ideal destination for nature lovers and hikers, this site offers a network of trails that wind through its landscape, showcasing the island’s unique scenery.

The view at Ponta de São Lourenço is one-of-a-kind
Ponta de São Lourenço

As you trek along the scenic paths, you can witness panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and unique rock formations. Additionally, this is an incredible sunrise spot in Madeira.

You have to do around a 4-hour roundtrip hike to reach the Ponta de São Lourenço viewpoint, but it is worth it! A boat can also take you back to the starting point if you cannot do the return hike.

6. Achadas da Cruz Cable Car

The Achadas da Cruz Cable Car is a scenic way to experience the beauty of Madeira’s northwestern coast. Impressively, this is the steepest cable car in Europe!

The cable car ride spans around 500 meters and takes around five minutes each way. There are sweeping views of the cliffs, valleys, and ocean below during the ride.

Looking for the best things to do in Madeira? Head to the Achadas da Cruz cable car for incredible views!
Views at the end of the Achadas da Cruz cable car

The journey ends in a quaint village, where you can explore its narrow streets and enjoy the coastal scenery. There are stunning views here; the crashing waves along the coast are also incredible.

👉TRAVEL TIP: DO NOT miss the final cable car back to the ticket office. Police cannot help you: you’ll have to climb a difficult path in the dark.

7. Porto Moniz Natural Pools

The Porto Moniz Natural Pools in northwestern Madeira offer a unique aquatic experience.

These pools are the product of volcanic activity from millions of years of activity. These saltwater pools are met with crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean. You can enjoy the beauty of the surroundings and the crystal-clear waters.

The Porto Moniz Swimming Pools are worth visiting in Madeira.
The Porto Moniz Swimming Pools

There is a small entrance fee for the pools. Going as early as possible is advisable because the pools will shut down if the waves become too intense. While this isn’t a desirable outcome, it’s done for your safety on the island.

➡️Check out this Jeep Tour that visits the Porto Moniz pools.

8. Sunrise/Sunset at Pico do Arieiro

Watching the sunrise or sunset from Pico do Arieiro is one of the best destinations for either occasion! As one of the highest peaks on the island, Pico do Arieiro offers unparalleled panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Watching the sunrise or sunset is a great way to experience Pico do Arieiro if the hike is too challenging. The sunrise and sunset viewpoints at Pico do Arieiro require no hikes.

Is Madeira worth visiting? One trip to Pico do Arieiro will tell you, yes it is!
Sunset at Pico do Arieiro

As the golden rays move across the landscape, clouds are often spread over the mountains. This makes you feel like you’re on top of the world and is something you must experience in Madeira!

Whether capturing stunning photographs, appreciating the atmosphere, or getting ready for a hike, the sunrise or sunset at Pico do Arieiro promises an unforgettable experience.

9. Miradouro de São Cristovão

Adding Miradouro de São Cristovão to your Madeira itinerary is worthwhile! High above the charming village of Boaventura, this viewpoint offers remarkable panoramic views.

One look at the Atlantic Ocean next to rugged cliffs and lush greenery will make you appreciate the island’s stunning natural beauty.

Miradouro de São Cristovão is one of the best viewpoints worth visiting in Madeira
Miradouro de São Cristovão

A restaurant, Restaurant São Cristóvão, also provides scenic views of the surrounding landscape. They offer different Portuguese dishes at great prices for the portions. What better way to enjoy a viewpoint than with delicious food and refreshments?!

10. Cascata dos Anjos (Waterfall of the Angels)

Cascata dos Anjos (Waterfall of the Angels) in Madeira is a must-see during your island exploration. A large waterfall pours out over the road at this location, and it’s a fantastic scene.

Cascata dos Anjos is a waterfall pouring over the street.
Cascata dos Anjos

Be careful when taking photos here around the stone barriers. Unfortunately, someone slipped and fell from one in 2023. While in the area, check out the other waterfalls and old stone bridges.

👉TRAVEL TIP: Drive through Cascata dos Anjos at your own risk. This spot is prone to falling rocks and may damage your rental car. Sometimes, it is blocked by the police.

This is a trendy spot in Madeira. Arrive early to reduce the likelihood of running into crowds. While there’ll certainly be more people, this destination is great for sunset pictures.

11. Jardim Botânico (Botanical Garden)

Jardim Botânico is worth a visit during your time in Madeira. Overlooking Funchal, this botanical garden is a paradise for nature enthusiasts and garden lovers.

With its diverse collection of thousands of exotic plants, vibrant flowers, and towering trees, Jardim Botânico offers an ideal oasis. Here, you can wander along winding pathways and enjoy the surrounding beauty.

Whether you come solo, with friends, or with family, this is a superb way to explore Madeira’s biodiversity and enjoy stunning views.

12. Seixal Natural Pools

In addition to Seixal Beah, the Seixal Natural Pools offer another way to explore one of Madeira’s natural wonders. Carved by volcanic activity, the pools provide a place to enjoy crystal-clear waters, surrounded by dramatic cliffs and greenery.

The Seixal Natural Swimming Pools are a great option to do on the island.
The Seixal Natural Swimming Pools

While they aren’t as big as the Porto Moniz Natural Swimming pools, they are still worth a visit. They also are free of charge, unlike the Porto Moniz ones.

This is a perfect spot to unwind and enjoy nature. It’s also a less popular spot, ideal to escape the crowds!

13. Ribeira da Janela

Ribeira da Janela is an exceptional destination in Madeira that I highly encourage you to visit. This picturesque village is nestled within a stunning valley on the island’s northern coast around Porto Moniz.

Ribeira da Janela is one of the best things to do in Madeira
Miradouro Ilheus da Ribeira da Janela

The highlight of Ribeira da Janela is undoubtedly its majestic rock formations sculpted by the force of the Atlantic Ocean over time. This is an incredible location to visit for sunrise and capture great photography.

It’s such an impressive sight, and I’m surprised it wasn’t used as a Game of Thrones background!

14. Go on a Food and Wine Tour

Going on a food and wine tour in Madeira is a great way to learn about the local culture. As you journey through Funchal, you’ll have the opportunity to try diverse local delicacies paired with Madeira wines.

From sampling traditional dishes like espetada (meat skewers), black scabbard fish, and passion fruit desserts, you’ll get a glimpse into Madeira’s culinary traditions.

You’ll also learn about the island’s winemaking process and enjoy tastings of Madeira wines, which are known for their unique flavors and exceptional quality.

➡️Book this Madeira Food, Wine & Cultural Tour I recommend.

15. Enjoy Dolphin and Whale Watching

Whale-watching tours in Madeira are a great activity to catch wildlife in its natural habitat. The prime time to go whale watching is from April to October; however, sightings can happen throughout the year.

As you sail from Funchal or other coastal towns and venture into the deep blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, you can view incredible marine life. Some of the whales you can see include sperm whales, fin whales, and even the occasional humpback whale.

Additionally, dolphins are a common sight year-round, and you can enjoy their exciting behavior.

➡️This is the Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour I recommend.

Where To Stay in Madeira

You have a lot of options when it comes to choosing accommodation in Madeira. From luxurious, 5-star seaside hotels overlooking the Atlantic Ocean to cozy guesthouses, Madeira offers various accommodations to suit every taste and budget.

Funchal is the most convenient area to stay in Madeira. It has the highest concentration of restaurants, shopping, taxis, and public transportation options. Consider Porto Moniz, Ponta do Sol, or Calheta if you want something quieter.

📍Savoy Palace ($$$)

9.3/10 (2,020+ reviews)

Savoy Palace is easily one of the premier 5-star accommodation options in Madeira. Between its swimming pool, fitness center, spa, and excellent breakfast, this is a superb option to stay at in Madeira.

The rooms are lavish, and some come with ocean views. The on-site restaurant is an additional perk that won’t leave you disappointed.

➡️Book your stay at Savoy Palace before it sells out for your dates!

📍The Views Baia ($$)

8.9/10 (1,440+ reviews)

Staying at The Views Baia in Madeira offers an experience of luxury and relaxation against the landscapes of Madeira. As its name suggests, the hotel has panoramic mountain or ocean views, depending on your side.

The Views Baia room

Whether you’re lounging on your private balcony, outdoor pool, or indoor pool, the views of the mountains and sparkling coastline create a picture-perfect backdrop.

The hotel also offers multiple restaurants, room service, a fitness center, and a spa for you to enjoy.

➡️I recommend booking a stay at The Views Baia. This is where I stayed in Madeira.

📍São Francisco Accommodation ($)

9.1/10 (1,040+ reviews)

São Francisco Accommodation is an excellent choice in Funchal that avoids breaking the bank. This hotel promises an unforgettable experience and comfort.

Nestled in the heart of Funchal’s historic center, this charming accommodation perfectly blends modern amenities and traditional charm. You cannot beat the location as it’s only minutes away from shopping and dining options.

➡️Book your stay at São Francisco Accommodation today!

How To Get to Madeira Island From Lisbon

Getting to Madeira from Lisbon is convenient and accessible. Regardless of the season, frequent daily flights connect the two destinations.

Several airlines offer daily direct flights from Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS) to Madeira Airport (FNC), located near the capital city of Funchal. Tap Air Portugal, EasyJet, and Ryanair are the most common airlines offering direct flights to Madeira.

Flight durations typically range from 1 hour and 40 minutes to 1 hour and 50 minutes, providing an easy and quick journey.

Not to alarm you, but Madeira is considered one of the most challenging airports in the world to land in. This is due to the intense crosswinds that meet the planes as they attempt to land.

👉TRAVEL TIP: It’s typical for the planes attempting to land in Madeira to abort landings. Sometimes, multiple failed attempts or conditions cause the aircraft to land on Porto Santo island, where you will then go by ferry. While inconvenient, this is done for your safety.

However, pilots have to undergo exclusive training to be authorized to fly to Madeira. This includes simulation training and flying with a captain before being allowed to go with passengers. I felt very safe during my flight with EasyJet.

FAQs: Is Madeira Worth Visiting

Madeira is an island that offers an incredible experience. This is a must-visit during a Portugal vacation because of its jaw-dropping landscape and activities.

Next are frequently asked questions to help you prepare for your Madeira trip.

How Many Days in Madeira Is Enough?

The ideal number of days to spend in Madeira depends on your individual preferences and how much you want to explore. However, a good rule of thumb for a fulfilling visit to Madeira is at least 5 to 7 days.

While it’s just an island, there are many places to explore! 5 to 7 days will allow you to experience the island’s diverse attractions and activities without rushing.

Within this timeframe, you’ll have time to explore Funchal, go on at least one levada hike, and travel to a few different regions on the island.

There are endless miradouros (viewpoints) worth visiting while you're in Madeira
Miradouro da Beira da Quinta

You can also explore charming towns, visit historic landmarks, and indulge in local cuisine leisurely.

Additionally, as the weather in Madeira is quite unpredictable, this will give you time to modify your itinerary in case of weather interference.

However, you can spend as long as you want in Madeira! Even two weeks isn’t enough time to explore everything on the island. It’s a destination that keeps on giving.

Is Madeira Good for Tourists?

Yes, Madeira is an excellent destination for tourists! Madeira is undeniably a fantastic tourist destination, offering many experiences to suit various interests and preferences.

Its stunning natural beauty, forests, and picturesque coastlines provide a perfect backdrop for outdoor adventures and exploration.

From hiking along scenic trails, such as the Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo hike, to swimming in crystal-clear Porto Moniz natural pools, Madeira offers endless opportunities for active travelers.

Moreover, the island’s rich cultural heritage, festivals, and historic landmarks captivate visitors seeking cultural immersion and insights.

In addition to its subtropical climate year-round and warm hospitality, Madeira is worth visiting for tourists seeking an unforgettable vacation experience.

Is Madeira Expensive?

While Madeira offers a range of luxury accommodations and several Michelin Star dining options, it is generally considered affordable compared to many other European destinations.

Budget-conscious travelers can find reasonably priced accommodations, dining options, and activities to suit their needs. Additionally, the buses are an efficient and affordable public transportation method.

Renting a car in Madeira is highly recommended to reach several spots. You can find rentals for around €30 per day, which is excellent since there’s no Uber on Madeira. While pricier than the bus, it is much better than using taxis.

However, as with any travel destination, costs can vary depending on the time of year you visit, type of accommodations, and dining preferences. For example, Funchal is known for its New Year’s celebrations and hikes in the city’s accommodation prices during that time.

Should I Go to Madeira or the Azores?

Deciding between Madeira and the Azores ultimately depends on your desire.

The Madeira island group is known for its dramatic cliffs, charming villages, and lush landscapes. It is split between two islands, Madeira and Porto Santo. It offers various outdoor activities, including hiking, exploring natural pools, and visiting the botanical gardens.

Madeira’s subtropical climate year-round makes it an attractive destination for those seeking sunshine and warmth. Madeira’s also best if you’re looking for a place with more development and an exciting New Year’s celebration.

Madeira Island is worth visiting! It offers an incredible amount of activities.
Ponta do Sol coast

On the other hand, the Azores is a collection of 9 different islands. The Azores offers a more remote and unspoiled natural environment. You can indulge in its pristine nature, including stunning crater lakes, thermal hot springs, and lush greenery.

It’s an ideal destination for eco-tourists, adventure seekers, and those looking to escape the crowds.

However, regardless of which island group you choose to go with, you can count on having a fantastic time!

Should I Get Travel Insurance for Madeira?

Before embarking on any journey, investing in travel insurance is advisable for peace of mind. It’s always wise to be on the side of caution!

Safety Wing provides top-notch plans designed explicitly for nomadic travelers. Their comprehensive coverage includes medical and travel insurance, ensuring protection against unforeseen disruptions throughout your travels.

➡️I highly recommend Safety Wing Travel Insurance for Madeira.

To Sum Up: Is Madeira Worth Visiting

I hope this post quickly answers your question, “Is Madeira worth visiting?” If you’re still wondering, yes, it is worth visiting!

This Portuguese island offers a treasure of experiences for travelers seeking to explore its natural wonders, immerse themselves in its rich heritage, engage in adventure activities, and enjoy its culinary delights.

This is not the island to visit if you’re looking for lively nightlife, a beach getaway, or a high degree of urban appeal.

Instead, Madeira Island is perfect for nature enthusiasts, those interested in cultural heritage, adventure seekers, and food lovers. Whether you seek relaxation, adventure, or cultural immersion, Madeira will welcome you with open arms, promising an unforgettable experience.

Enjoy your time in Madeira! It’s an incredible island!

Similar Posts