10 beautiful places to visit in Madeira, a travel guide with directions.
Madeira is a beautiful island off the coast of Portugal that is often called the “Island of Eternal Spring.” From hiking and driving through the countryside to exploring the city of Funchal, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. With its mild weather and stunning landscapes, it’s no wonder that this island is such a popular travel destination. Here we’ll highlight 10 places to visit in Madeira for a convenient and comfortable driving experience.
One of the best ways to experience everything that Madeira has to offer is by renting a car, we recommend renting a hybrid car for a lower carbon footprint and to be able to drive comfortably on the steep and narrow roads of the island. If you are looking for driving directions and travel recommendations for your holiday in Madeira, make sure to tap on the “Get Directions” option to be redirected to the Google Maps app.
The Island of Madeira is a popular tourist destination for many reasons, just a couple of days ago it was awarded Best Island Destination 2022 by the Travel Awards. Due to its mild climate year-round, Madeira makes an appealing destination for those looking to escape the cold winters of Europe and the rest of the world. The island is also home to stunning landscapes and plenty of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy.
When driving around on the island, make sure to visit the following beautiful places:
1. The Madeira Botanical Garden
Madeira’s botanical garden is a hidden gem that dates back to 1881 and it is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the island. It has a collection of around 2500 exotic plants from all continents and has an incredible view that overlooks Funchal and the Atlantic Ocean. You can either choose to go up to Monte by cable car from Funchal or stopping by when driving up to the mountain towards the Miradouro do Pico Alto or on your way to São Gonçalo or Caniço.
2. Cabo Girão Skywalk (Recommended)
Turn on your rental car and take a 25-minute drive from western Funchal towards incredible south coast of the island to reach Cabo Girão for unbelievable views. In this breathtaking viewpoint you can experience the drill of looking down from one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, which offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, Camara de Lobos and a Madeira’s South Coast. To access this point, get the directions on your phone, park your car for free and walk towards the Cabo Giro Skywalk.
3. Bica da Cana Viewpoint
Drive to Bica da Cana viewpoint or Miradouro Bico da Cana, for views of Madeira’s highest peak Pico Ruivo. Even without a clear day, you can also appreciate a scenic view of Pico do Arieiro. This viewpoint is a highly recommended drive to experience one of Madeira’s most underrated viewpoints and a local favorite.
These irrigation channels were built over 500 years ago and are still in use today, you can also spot them all around the island. They belong to one of Madeira’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites, click here to learn more, and offer beautiful walking trails for visitors to enjoy. You can spot the Levadas with fresh water next to the roads when driving up in the mountains. The most famous Levada walk is in Rabaçal, where you get to experience the 25 fountains, which takes us to our next travel recommendation.
5. Levada Das 25 Fonte (Recommended)
This is one of Madeira island’s most popular tourist attractions. It has a reputation for being Madeira’s best Levada walk due to its picturesque hike, natural pools, Levadas, waterfalls and lush vegetation. The starting point of the hike starts in Rabaçal and it is less than an hour’s drive by car from Funchal. Enjoy its natural pool, a great place to take a dip on a hot day!
6. Verada da Ponta de São Lourenço (Recommended)
Drive to this protected natural park located at the easternmost point of Madeira, for a unique volcanic peninsula view consisting of dramatic cliffs, rocky beaches, and crystal-clear waters. Take a 30 min drive from Funchal and find the parking lot at the beginning of the trail. It is a relatively easy hike, but if you are travelling with kids, you can still enjoy the view from afar. This is definitely a must-do in Madeira island.
7. Monte Palace Tropical Garden
This former royal residence by José Berardo occupies an area of 70,000 square metres in gardens and features about 100,000 plant species including exotic flowers, trees, and other plants from all over the world. Its collection holds very unique plants, like the Encephalartos, considered to be living fossils due to their age.
8. Miradouro Pico do Barcelos
The Pico do Barcelos viewpoint could be the first viewpoint to visit right after receiving your rental car. The miradouro is just minutes away from Funchal, it is located near Madeira Shopping mall and our headquarters. This island point is approximately 355 meters above sea level and offers breathtaking and panoramic views of Funchal bay. If you are a football fan, you can also spot the Maritimo soccer pitch.
9. Mercado dos Lavradores
This farmer’s market is held every morning in Funchal and is a great place to experience the taste of the tropical fruits of our region. Here you can find a great variety of fresh fruits, vegetables and local produce. There are also several places on the market where you can sit down and have a traditional Madeiran dish.
10. Sé Catedral do Funchal
If you like architecture or if you are looking to visit religious buildings, right in the centre of Funchal you can find the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption or Sé Catedral de Nossa Senhora da Assunção. The cathedral was built in 1493 and features Gothic architecture with Moorish influences. It’s one of the most iconic landmarks in Funchal as it if one of the few places that has been practically intact since the 15th century.
Thanks for staying with us till the end! Here is BONUS information to include in your itinerary for your next holidays in Madeira.
11. Madeira Toboggan Ride
The Carreiros do Monte provides Madeira with a unique experience and it is one of the island’s most famous attractions. It dates back to the 1850s when sled rides were the primary means of rapid transportation between Monte and the city of Funchal. The 10-minute toboggan ride can reach speeds of up to 40 kph and starts at the Nossa Senhora do Monte Church in Monte and ends downhill at Livramento, a small town located 20-30 min walk from Funchal. We recommend you park your rental hybrid car at the Almirante Reis Parking and take a cable car to reach Monte Funchal, where you can also visit the Japanese Gardens of the Monte Palace.
Madeira is an ideal destination for those looking to escape cold winters, enjoy breathtaking views and experience unique scenery. With its mild climate, varied landscape, and wealth of activities, there’s something for everyone on our magical island.
We are a boutique hybrid-car rental agency based in Funchal, at Automatic rental cars in Madeira we make it easy for travellers to hire new hybrid and automatic cars for a fair price. We offer 24h roadside assistance and custom pick-ups and drop off anywhere in Madeira. This enables visitors to explore all of Madeira at their own pace. Experience Portuguese culture firsthand and make sure to add Madeira island to your travel list!
Discover 10 reasons why Madeira Island is so special here or send us an email at email@example.com to learn more about our daily car rental promotions!
To speak to a travel guide, call us at +351 935 409 416 or send us a WhatsApp message by tapping on the bubble chat.
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