Things to do in Madeira

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Avator By Lauren Noakes
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Published 12th December 2022
Last modified 22nd December 2022
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Madeira

Things to do in Madeira, Portugal

Madeira is an idyllic island located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Portugal. It is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, mild climate, and rich culture, and is a popular destination for travelers from all over the world. In Madeira, the official language is Portuguese, but many locals also speak English and other languages. The currency used on the island is the euro.

To visit Madeira, you can fly into Madeira Airport (FNC), located near the capital city of Funchal. The airport is served by many major airlines and offers connections to other Portuguese cities and international destinations.

Once you arrive in Madeira, there are several transportation options available to help you explore the island. You can rent a car and drive yourself, or use the island’s public transportation system, which includes buses and taxis. Alternatively, you can join a guided tour or excursion offered by one of the many tour operators on the island, which will take you to the most popular attractions and landmarks.

Take a walk around this wonderful with our travel insurance team’s top things to do while visiting this Portuguese City.


Ponta de São Lourenço

Take in the views of Ponta de São Lourenço

Located at the easternmost tip of the island of Madeira in Portugal, the peninsula of Ponta de São Lourenço is a popular tourist destination known for its stunning natural beauty and breathtaking panoramic views. As part of the Madeira Natural Park, the peninsula is protected and remains an unspoiled landscape, featuring rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, and a diverse range of plants and animals. Visitors can take in the views by exploring the peninsula’s hiking trails, which offer several lookout points along the way, or by visiting the Ponta de São Lourenço visitor center near the park entrance. The center provides information about the peninsula’s history and ecology, as well as a café and gift shop. The peninsula is open to visitors daily for a small fee, and can be reached by car, bus, or taxi from the nearby town of Caniçal. It is important to come prepared with appropriate clothing and shoes for hiking and to follow the park’s safety and conservation guidelines.


25 Fontes hike

Take stunning waterfall photos at the 25 Fontes hike

The 25 Fontes (25 Fountains) hike is a popular trail located on the island of Madeira, Portugal, known for its beautiful views and the 25 waterfalls found along the route. Located in the Ribeiro Frio area, which is part of the Madeira Natural Park, the trail is a moderate to challenging hike with a total length of approximately 5 miles (8 km). The trail features a winding path through the forest, with steep inclines and rocky terrain. Along the way, hikers will encounter numerous waterfalls and breathtaking views of the island’s mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. To capture stunning photos of the waterfalls, it is recommended to bring a good camera and have basic photography skills. To get the best shots, try using a fast shutter speed to freeze the motion of the water and a tripod or other support to keep the camera steady. Experimenting with different compositions and perspectives can also help create unique and interesting photos.


Cabo Girão cliff

Step off the Cabo Girão cliff

Located on the southern coast of Madeira, Portugal, Cabo Girão is a cape known for its towering cliffs that rise over 2,000 feet (600 meters) above the Atlantic Ocean. A popular tourist destination due to its dramatic and beautiful views, Cabo Girão is a part of the Madeira Natural Park and is protected as a rugged and unspoiled landscape featuring rocky cliffs, caves, and a variety of plants and animals.

The cape is home to several hiking trails offering stunning views of the surrounding coastline and the ocean. To experience the views from Cabo Girão, visitors can explore the trails and visit the Cabo Girão visitor center near the park entrance, which provides information about the cape’s history and ecology and has a café and gift shop.

The cape is open daily for a small fee and can be reached by car, bus, or taxi from the town of Câmara de Lobos. It is important to come prepared with appropriate clothing and shoes for hiking and to follow the park’s safety and conservation guidelines.


Parque Forestal de Queimadas

Visit Parque Forestal de Queimadas

Parque Forestal de Queimadas is a nature park located on the island of Madeira, Portugal, covering over 1,500 acres (600 hectares) in the central part of the island near the town of Santana. A popular destination for tourists and locals alike, the park is a protected area featuring a diverse range of plants and animals and lush vegetation, including forests of cedar, oak, and pine trees.

The park is home to various bird species, such as finches, doves, and eagles, and also has several man-made attractions, including a botanical garden, picnic area, and playground. To visit Parque Forestal de Queimadas, you can drive or take the bus to the park, which is open daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and requires a small fee to enter. Once there, you can explore the park’s hiking trails, picnic areas, and other attractions and consider hiring a local guide to lead a tour and provide information about the park’s flora and fauna.


Dolphin

Go on a dolphin or whale-watching tour by boat

Madeira is a top destination for dolphin and whale-watching boat tours due to its location in the Atlantic Ocean near the convergence of various ocean currents. Many tour operators offer the chance to see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat. Dolphins and whales are prevalent in the waters surrounding Madeira, and tours may encounter bottlenose dolphins, Atlantic spotted dolphins, Risso’s dolphins, sperm whales, pilot whales, and humpback whales.

To go on a boat tour, book with one of the many operators on the island, most of which depart from the capital city of Funchal and provide transportation and a knowledgeable guide. Tours typically last a few hours and feature comfortable seating and viewing areas on the boat. It is important to follow the instructions of the guide and respect the animals’ natural behavior, as well as the guidelines set by the tour operators to ensure the safety of both the animals and passengers.

To go on a dolphin or whale-watching tour by boat in Madeira, you can book a tour with one of the many operators on the island. Most tours last a few hours and include transportation to and from the boat, as well as a knowledgeable guide who can provide information about the marine life that you will see. The tours typically depart from the island’s capital city of Funchal, and the boats are equipped with comfortable seating and viewing areas.

It is important to remember that dolphins and whales are wild animals and can be unpredictable. The tour operators follow strict guidelines to ensure the safety of the animals and the passengers. It is also important to follow the instructions of the guide and respect the animals’ natural behavior.

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