Madeira Bucket List: Top 12 things to see and do in Madeira
The Islands of Madeira in Portugal is considered one of the world’s top island destinations, and it’s definitely a gem that you should visit! The region comprises four (4) beautiful islands with unique features that perfectly depict a tropical paradise vacation.
The main island of Madeira is composed of volcanic and green high cliffs and pristine beaches and coastlines. Moreover, the majestic rock formations on the island are also quite an attraction for everyone. Aside from the breathtaking natural landmarks, Madeira is also famous for its best-tasting wines highly acclaimed by international connoisseurs. The region’s cuisine also focuses mainly on fresh seafood as the country is surrounded by abundant seawaters.
Madeira has undoubtedly become one of the best destinations in Europe and the whole world. Whether you’re going for an adventure, a honeymoon, or a simple backpacking vacation, Madeira will certainly let you have one of the best times of your life. Well, I know you’re already excited so let’s jump right in and talk about the 12 Best Things to do in Madeira, Portugal!
Hike Atop Pico Ruivo
Probably the best way to start your adventure in Madeira is by hiking atop the island’s highest peak, Pico Ruivo. The majestic mountain has an elevation of 1,862 meters, where you can witness some of the most spectacular views in the world!
The feeling of being on top of the clouds is something you’ll definitely cherish for the rest of your life, so I’d say go for it!
Ride the Famous Funchal Cable Car
Next up, it would also be fantastic to ride the Botanical Garden Cable Car that can be found on Funchal, Madeira. Get ready to witness the beautiful natural landscapes of Ribeira de Joao Gomes, a place full of exotic and rare beauties of the world!
The trip usually takes about 20 minutes as you will stroll along a route with a length of 3,200 meters; how cool is that?
Visit the Amazing Ponta Do Pargo
Another iconic attraction you’ll definitely love in Madeira is the beautiful, diamond-shaped island of Ponta Do Pargo. It is a civil parish of the municipality Calheta where St. Peter is the patron saint. The island is surrounded by deep blue waters, and the view is simply stunning, especially on the iconic Ponta Do Pargo Lighthouse.
There are also numerous escarpments where you can see the beautiful sceneries across the sea and breathe in the relaxing breeze of the air.
Wander Around Queimadas Forest Park
One of the best ways to be closer to nature while in Portugal is visiting the Queimadas Forest Park. The park’s vast area features an enormous selection of flora and fauna that’s both amazing and relaxing.
Tourists are also free to wander around the famous Laurel Forest or picnic with their family and friends. Aside from having a relaxing vacation, kids can also learn many things by visiting Parque Forestal de Queimadas.
Explore the Madeira Whale Museum
Another thing you shouldn’t miss is visiting the famous Madeira Whale Museum. It was established in 1989 because of the abundant and historic whale hunting by the people of Madeira.
Today, it serves as one of the premier tourist attractions in the country, where visitors can marvel at a wide array of ethnographic and museum collections of the different whale species. There are also numerous life-sized models of the whales that are simply breathtaking! Aside from the exhibit, Madeira Whale Museum also offers 3D Stereoscopic Movies that are fun and exciting to watch!
Be Mesmerized by Porto Moniz
Ah, yes! The tiny, charming town of Porto Moniz is also a definite must-see attraction located at the northwestern tip of Madeira. The island in itself is truly breathtaking thanks to its iconic landscape featuring tall mountains, rugged rock formations, crystalline waters, and the violent waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
There are tons of things to enjoy in Porto Moniz, such as exploring the wilderness, wandering around historic buildings, enjoying breathtaking sights, and swimming in the famous lava pools!
Indulge Yourself with the Iconic Wine of Madeira
Your trip to Madeira won’t be complete if you haven’t tasted their world-class Madeira Wine. Madeira specializes in Fortified Wine that people from all over the world simply love! It is said that the wines range from dry to sweet and that the grapes used are just as heavenly.
Some of the best flavors of the wine to watch out for are Blandy’s Vintage Madeira Terrantez, Blandy’s Grand Cama de Lobos, and the Barbeito 20 Year Old Malvasia Lote.
Experience Incredible Sightseeing at Vereda Dos Balcoes
It’s always good to go on a sightseeing adventure in Madeira, thanks to the countless breathtaking views on the island. Another site you shouldn’t miss is the famous Vereda Dos Balcoes; it is a hiking area in Madeira where you can clearly see the majestic valley of Ribeira de Matade.
The hiking trail is relatively easy, so I’m sure that you’ll be able to enjoy it! Aside from the breathtaking views, tourists can also enjoy witnessing some of the best endemic species of trees around the area, such as the Laurel Tree, Madeira Blueberry, and Madeira Orchids.
Go on a Classic Madeira Food Adventure
It’s always good to go on a food adventure whenever you visit another country! The island is surrounded by the beautiful waters of the Caribbean and the Atlantic. So, expect that some of Madeira’s best dishes are definitely seafood!
Some of the best-tasting dishes you should try are the Tuna Steak with Fried Maize, Wine and Garlic Pork, Passionfruit Pudding, and a lot more!
Drop by the Monte Palace Tropical Garden
Promising a memorable natural experience in Madeira is the famous Monte Palace Tropical Garden which houses an enormous collection of flora and fauna covering a wide area of 7 hectares. The garden is perfect for people of all ages because there are many attractions to look forward to, such as the Exotic Plants Collection, Monte Palace Madeira Museum, Central Lake, and more!
Children should also be excited to meet different animals like swans, ducks, chickens, and peacocks!
Try the Skywalk of Cabo Girao
Located along the southern coast of Madeira is the iconic cliff of Cabo Girao, where you can witness a breathtaking sight of the deep blue ocean. Oh, and you can also watch the whales and dolphins play if you’re lucky!
The famous attraction has an elevation of 580 meters, and you should definitely try walking across the Skywalk for the ultimate experience! Due to the undeniably picturesque views of Cabo Girao, almost 2,000 tourists frequent the place every day!
Visit the Tropical Paradise of Ponta de Sao Lourenco
Finally, the best tourist attraction you can find in Madeira is definitely Ponta de Sao Lourenco. It’s a tropical paradise on Earth that will surely take your breath away. It is a long, thin peninsula featuring some of the finest landscapes in the world, with several rock formations and deep blue waters in the surrounding areas.
It is said that the peninsula has a volcanic origin making the mesmerizing sceneries even more special!
Our Top Hotel Picks for Madeira
- Reid’s Palace, A Belmond Hotel, Madeira – Set in clifftop gardens overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this century-old, high-end hotel is 1.8 km from the Cathedral of Funchal and 3.9 km from Praia Formosa. Featuring refined furnishings and balconies, the plush rooms offer free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and marble bathrooms. Most have ocean views. Suites add sitting areas or separate lounges.
- Savoy Palace – On a tree-lined street in the city center, this first-class hotel with views of the Atlantic Ocean is 1 km from Funchal Cathedral, 5 km from Monte Palace Tropical Garden, and 22 km from Madeira Airport.
- ROYAL SAVOY – Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, this refined hotel is 2 km from the Farmers’ Market dos Lavradores and 6 km from the Madeira Botanical Garden.
Searching for the best hotels, resorts, tour packages, and affordable flights in Madeira Island and nearby cities? Check out our list of affordable Madeira hotels and resorts via Agoda and Booking.
Madeira Travel and Tour Packages
Want more updates about new package tours and tourist attractions in Madeira, Portugal, that you can add to your itinerary?
Follow #TeamOutofTown, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Bloglovin, and Pinterest for more travel ideas.