Madeira Island, know by many as “the pearl of the atlantic, “floating gardens” or simply “paradise on earth” has a beauty and authenticity recognised worldwide and is a must visit in your stay in Portugal. It was elected “World’s Leading Island Destination” by the World Travel Awards in 2015 and 2016 also winning in 2013, 2014 and 2016 the “Europe’s Leading Island Destination” prize.
How to get to Madeira
Only possible way to go to Madeira (Funchal city or FNC) is by plane. From Porto you have three companies that fly directly to Madeira:
A good price for roundtrip from Porto to Madeira (Funchal) would be between 50€ to 100€ with only cabin luggage. For that i recommend you to check the best prices in skyscanner (https://www.skyscanner.pt/), edreams (http://www.edreams.pt/) or azair (http://www.azair.eu/) with the dates that you want.
How long to stay
The more the better!!! But because we don’t have all the time in the world, if you rent a car i would recommend 5 days, if not 7 days. Take into account that Madeira has many amazing hiking routes, and most of them take half a day or a whole day to walk, so if you’re really into hiking and nature, add more days to your trip.
Where to stay
In Madeira there are accommodation for all prices, from cheap hostels to 5 class hotels.
You can find very cheap accommodation on Airbnb.com
On this portal are a lot offers for accommodation, if you use this registration promo code, you have 20 Euro discount for first use.
Also, you have booking.com for other offers – Booking.com (With this link you will have 10% discount.)
Means of transport
The car is recommended in Madeira because is the best and fastest way to reach all the spots on the Island. However, if you can’t rent a car, there is also a good network of bus companies that allow you to discover the Island. Here are the links to the bus companies:
What to see
In Funchal, must visit places are the old town, the farmer’s market, the catedral, the city center, lido área, botanical garden (ticket costs 5,5€), monte and the monte palace tropical garden (tickets cost 12,5€).
Head to Câmara de Lobos and visit Cabo Girão. In Porto Moniz visit the amazing natural pools and go for a swim in one of the best natural pools in the world.
Discover the mountains of Pico Areiro and Pico Ruivo.
And there is so much more that you can see…
Which routes to hike
Recommended trail routes are:
-25 Fontes (acessible only by car)-Pico Areiro-Pico Ruivo (acessible only by car or by bus/walking if you’re willing to walk 1h30m to the beginning of the route)
-Caldeirão Verde (acessible only by car)
-São Lourenço path
There are so many more but this ones represent the different types of landscape in the Island.
One of the best places to find advice, meet locals and travel buddies or share a rented car is the facebook group “Madeira Island for Travellers”
Its a group formed by local ex-erasmus students that offer the best help available for FREE giving travellers information, advices in the group and sometimes meeting for a beer or a walk among the nature. Most of the members of the group are former travellers to Madeira and there only a few selected locals to ensure that the spirit of the group is about helping and not a place for people to make business or give biased opinions.
Maybe you can even meet Cristiano Ronaldo there 😛
All texts and photos
Sara Fontes from Madeira Island for Travellers