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Of volcanic origin, Madeira Island offers the best you can find when looking for a mix of places in one place: paradise beaches, natural pools, elegant gardens with their touch of colour, breathtaking viewpoints and mountains that make up the most beautiful settings.

Situated in the Atlantic Ocean, southwest of the Portuguese coast, Madeira Island is precisely 500 km away from Morocco (twice as far as Portugal). The territory is part of the archipelago of Madeira, annexed to the European Union.

With its exotic flora and subtropical climate, Madeira Island has pleasant temperatures all year round. And it's not for nothing: apart from its stunning nature, the land of Cristiano Ronaldo is also known for its great restaurants and delicious wines. This territory has unique characteristics that make it such a desirable destination for both solo travellers and families. The mild climate, the safety, the mountains, the beach, the cultural heritage and the gastronomy are factors that greatly enhance this island.

The island is awarded as "Best Island Destination in Europe" - World Travel Awards 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2014, 2013; "Best Island Destination in the World" - World Travel Awards 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015; and "Sustainable Tourism Destination" - EarthCheck Bronze Benchmarked 2022.

10 Places to visit on the Island of Madeira

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1. Câmara de Lobos

It was in Câmara de Lobos that João Gonçalves Zarco, the discoverer of Madeira Island, settled for the first time after landing on this hitherto unknown land. He himself baptised the place with this name, as several sea lions lived there. Today, the fishing village has come to life with all the colourful boats around it. The visitor will be able to find several preserved historical references, spread among the 5 parishes of the municipality.

2. Curral das Freiras

Hidden among the peaks of Câmara de Lobos is Nun's Valley, a valley frequented by tourists and considered one of the best sceneries in the world. According to legend, the place was used as a hiding place by the nuns of Santa Clara Convent to escape the constant pirate attacks in Funchal. You can enjoy the scenery from the top of Eira do Serrado, or walk along the old zigzagging road, which gives access to the valley. Tip: on Sundays there is a traditional street market around the church.

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3. Funchal City

For the best view of Madeira Island, be sure to take a cable car ride connecting the old part of Funchal to Monte. The station is located in the Almirante Reis garden and the journey to the destination takes around 15 minutes.

Funchal is the capital of Madeira Island, and has all the characteristics of a big city: cosmopolitan, modern, jovial, with countless praised restaurants and plenty of tourist attractions! Be sure to visit the CR7 Museum, dedicated to the state's most famous native, Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as the Parque de Santa Catarina, Museu de Arte Sacra do Funchal, Sé do Funchal, Jardim Botânico da Madeira and Casino da Madeira, the island's most popular attractions.

4. Pico do Arieiro and Pico Ruivo

Those who want to see Madeira from every angle should also include Pico Areeiro and Pico Ruivo in their itinerary. Its 1,818 and 1,862 metres (consecutively) offer an incredible view of the volcanic and wild landscape of the island, quite different from the view from the central region of Funchal. Prepare your most comfortable clothes and shoes to clear both places in one shot.

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5. Porto Moniz Natural Pools

Have no doubt that you will find one of the most beautiful settings in Madeira when you arrive in Porto Moniz. The place only became part of the island after the 2nd World War, when the road connecting it to the municipality of São Vicente was dug. The natural pools in the municipality are a sight to behold, well worth a visit.

6. Cabo Girão

The Cabo Girão viewpoint is one of the highest points in Europe. Its 580 metres high offers an incredible panoramic view of Câmara de Lobos, Funchal and of course, the ranches below the suspended glass platform, the so-called Skywalk. There are several Bungee jumps and paragliding. Not to be missed!

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7. São Vicente Caves/Volcanism Centre

The São Vicente Caves were formed from a volcanic eruption 890 thousand years ago, but only in 1996 they were opened to the public. Besides visiting their interior (which is very interesting by the way!), you may also check the emergence and geological evolution of the caves as well as the simulation of the birth of the Madeira archipelago through videos at the Volcanism Centre.

8. Santana Houses

Santana is known for its typical houses with thatched roofs. This characteristic is a reflection of all the local history, as the municipality was isolated for many years, practically inaccessible. In 2011, this picturesque destination was considered "Biosphere Reserve" by UNESCO, and there you can enjoy the Madeira Theme Park and the Rocha do Navio Nature Reserve, the main tourist attractions in the region.

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9. Whale and Dolphin Watching

Funchal waters are home to whales and dolphins. You can do this observation from Funchal marina and board a Catamaran boat. Pamper yourself by looking for whales and dolphins. Normally, these routes also allow diving and snorkelling.

10. Blandy's Wine Lodge - Funchal

Welcome to Blandy's Wine Lodge, the home of Madeira wine! Located in a listed building in the centre of Funchal, Blandy's Wine Lodge has been the heart of the Blandy's family wine business for 7 generations, where they age their finest Madeira wines using the cellar door method. Here you can witness the ageing of Madeira wine and enjoy one of the many wine tasting options on offer.

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How to get There?

Madeira airport (FNC) is located in the municipality of Santa Cruz, about 21 kilometres from Funchal, the island's capital and main city

Buses: "Aerobus". The "Aerobus" stop is located at the exit of the arrivals area. The adult ticket costs 5€ (8€ round trip). You can also opt for a more economical solution and travel for €3,35 on the regular urban bus lines provided by the same company. The buses that pass through Funchal are 20, 53, 78, 113 and 208, depending on the time of day.

Taxi: The taxi is the most convenient way of getting to the centre of Funchal or elsewhere on the island, especially if you are carrying several items of luggage. A taxi ride between the airport and the city of Funchal costs on average 25 euros, and for trips starting at the airport the taximeter starts with a base price of 4 euros.

Car rental: People who land in Madeira often opt for car rental. The branches of the rent-a-car companies are located on Level 0, after the baggage claim. Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Goldcar, Sixt, Rodavante and Guerin are some of the companies offering services at Madeira airport.

Private Transfer: Private transfers are another way to reach your destination. The company Madeira Airport Transfers offers a personalized service between the airport and the hotel for transportation between 1 and 8 people. The shared shuttle to Funchal costs 14 euros (up to 2 people), and the private transfer costs 23 euros. Payment can be made online or directly to the driver.

Our Courses in Madeira Island

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