Here are some of the amazing must-do activities and attractions to experience while visiting Madeira:
- Pico do Arieiro: Explore the island’s third-highest peak, which offers breathtaking panoramic views and a challenging hike to Pico Ruivo, the highest peak on Madeira. We did this, and despite the challenging trek, it was simply breathtaking! Make sure to wear hiking boots, and take a bottle of water!
- Levada Walks: Madeira is famous for its levadas, which are irrigation channels that traverse the island. Hike along these picturesque trails to discover lush forests, waterfalls, and stunning views.
- Funchal: Visit Madeira’s capital city, where you can explore the lively farmers’ market (Mercado dos Lavradores), stroll through the beautiful Old Town, and visit the Madeira Story Centre to learn about the island’s history. It’s an impressive city with everything. Great architecture, delicious tasty places to eat, and awesome places to drink.
- Monte: Take the cable car from Funchal to Monte, where you can visit the Monte Palace Tropical Garden and the Church of Our Lady of Monte. For an adventurous return, take the traditional toboggan ride down the steep streets. Highly recommended!
- Botanical Gardens: Marvel at the diverse flora in Madeira’s botanical gardens, such as the Funchal Botanical Garden and Palheiro Gardens.
- Wine Tasting: Sample the famous Madeira wine at various wine lodges in Funchal, such as Blandy’s Wine Lodge and Barbeito.
- Cabo Girão: Visit one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, with a glass-bottomed skywalk offering stunning views over the ocean and Câmara de Lobos. Well, I’m petrified of heights, and somehow managed to do this!
- Natural Pools: Take a dip in the volcanic rock pools at Porto Moniz, a unique swimming experience surrounded by dramatic landscapes. We went here for just a few hours, but could easily spend the whole day here! There’s also a delicious restaurant for food and drinks
- Whale and Dolphin Watching: Join a boat tour to observe whales and dolphins in their natural habitat. Madeira is home to various species, including bottlenose dolphins and sperm whales. We were lucky to see both the bottlenose dolphins (very close up) and the sperm wale.
- Santana: Discover the picturesque village of Santana, known for its traditional A-frame houses with thatched roofs, and explore the nearby Queimadas Forest Park. There’s also a nice bar to grab food and drinks from:
- Take the ferry to Porto Santo to experience 9k of beautiful white beach. A small yet impressive island. It was just 2.5 hours ferry ride away, which left 7am and returned 9.30. A long day but highly recommended.
- Câmara de Lobos: Visit this charming fishing village, which inspired Winston Churchill’s paintings, and try the local drink, Poncha, at a local bar.
• Parque de santa Catarina: a big park right near the city, with some impressive views of the city and landscape
These are just a few of the many exciting activities and attractions Madeira has to offer.