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Madeira Travel Tips : Fall Madly In Love with Madeira, Portugal

“Travel Tips to Madeira: 5-Day Adventure with Perfect Weather, Great food, Cristiano Ronaldo’s Birthplace, and More”

I fell madly in love with Madeira here are my top travel tips to Maderia. Situated off the coast of mainland Portugal, Madeira is a small group of volcanic islands. Madeira island’s capital city is Funchal and another main island Porto Santo is inhabited. There are also two other uninhabited islands.

I went on a solo 5-day trip to the captivating island of Madeira, Portugal. I delved into its enchanting landscapes, delectable cuisine, and the birthplace of football legend Cristiano Ronaldo it what sold it for me. In my debut blog get ready for an unforgettable adventure with impeccable weather and expert travel tips to Madeira.

Man on cliff looking out to sea in Madeira
Photo by Tim Roosjen on Unsplash1

Day 1: Madeira Arrival and Hotel

I arrived in Madeira at 8.30pm where a friendly taxi driver waited for me with a digital name board. I recommend booking the yellow taxis its safe and convenient. Experience Madeira’s mild and inviting climate, boasting an average temperature range of 18 to 23 degrees Celsius throughout the year. It’s said the island is forever in Spring with its elevated rocky terrain of rolling hills and valleys.

I began my journey by checking into the conveniently located Hotel Orquidea, a nice hotel with breakfast included and views over the Funchal roof tops and cable cars in the morning sunrise such a beautiful sight.

Based in Funchal there are lots of shops, bars and restaurants in walking distance. This is my top travel tip when visiting Madeira. You can effortlessly explore with a 48-hour hop-on-hop-off bus pass. I got the yellow bus that included the dolphin trip seemed to have more stops and was a bargain at 40Euros. An ideal way to access top tourist spots. No need for expensive taxis its quite easy to get around.

Day 2: Cable Cars and Market Marvels

Cable Cars over Funchal, Madeira

Start your day with a scenic ride on the Funchal Cable Car, treating yourself to panoramic vistas of Funchal and its breathtaking surroundings. If in high season expect lots of ques from cruise ships. So choose a day with no ships or go early by 9am.

Another tip is you can buy a cable ticket online to avoid lines which only starts on the day you validate at the cable car station. If on your own and there are lots of people you may have to share a car. No biggie and I had to share a car on one leg or my cable trip met some nice people from Germany. Take another cable ride to the botantical gardens with multiple array of diverse plans on the hilly terrain, including massive cactus.

Then on your return cable ride, dive into the vibrant culture at Mercado dos Lavradores, where exotic fruits, flowers, spices and local crafts and leather. Lots of walking today but a nice gentle pace. Where comfortable shoes and dress in layers if it gets warm during the day.

Colourful Fruit in Madeira Market

Day 3: Morning Dolphin Adventure and Skywalk

Immerse yourself in the mesmerizing marine life of Madeira as you embark on a thrilling yacht excursion. Witness dolphins gracefully frolicking in the crystal-clear waters, leaving you awe struck by nature’s wonders. The warm waters are said to be some of the best for Dolphin and whale watching. I didn’t see any whales but the Dolphins were enough for me! Just awesome! I would recommend a morning trip when the Dolphins are most active.

Two dolphins swimming side by side in Madeira, Portugal

After this take the hop on hop off bus to the village Camara de Lobos on route stop off to see the Skywalk, which is another bus ride and costs extra but worth it. Your yellow bus driver will tell you when to get off and when the next bus will arrive. You made have time to visit the nearby village. Then on to the town for a bite to eat and soak up the atmosphere.

Day 4: Island Adventure – Porto Santo

Extend your adventure by taking a scenic ferry ride to Porto Santo, a nearby island renowned for its pristine sandy beaches. I took the 8am ferry so it was an early start.

Spent the day basking in the glorious sunshine and the serenity of this picturesque small town with shops and eateries within easy reach. Highly recommend booking the return transfer into Porto Santo town with your ferry ticket as the beach is some 20mins drive away.

Sandy Beach in Porto Santo, Portugal

My return ferry was at 6.30pm back to Funchal around 8pm just enough time for quick change and hit the bars.

Day 5: Rooftop Revelry and Night Life

In the day walk around the town do some shopping which was surprisingly inexpensive and good quality. Then in evening the bars entice you with music or indulge in rooftop relaxation recommend the “Three Top House,” where you can savor local wines while enjoying breathtaking sunset views.

For a culinary experience like no other, dine at the Savoy Palace restaurant, the 5 star restaurant and rooftop Skybar where gourmet cuisine and an enchanting ambiance await. There is a minimum spend of 15Euros at the bar which you pay upfront on entry. I got dressed up in formal wear and took a taxi in style.

Tantalize your taste buds with Madeira’s delectable cuisine. Sample the mouthwatering “Picadhino,” a beef dish smothered in rich gravy and served with chips, ensuring a satisfying culinary experience. A hearty meal will keep you filled all day!

I couldn’t get enough of the local drink ‘poncha’ and Madeira sweet wine but do try the authentic Madeiran delicacies, including the famous “espetada” and “bolo do caco,” just heaven!

Madeira Cuisine, Picadhino, Beef Dish in gravy and with chips.

Football Legend Ronaldo Birthplace

Delve into the life and legacy of football icon Cristiano Ronaldo at his museum in Funchal along the parade, a must-see attraction for football enthusiasts and fans alike. I went to the CR7 bar one evening which was quiet on the night I was there but over looks the ocean.

In Conclusion

Madeira, with its perfect climate, natural wonders, and rich cultural heritage, caters to travelers of all interests, be it nature, beachlife, food and bars or shopping. You set the pace in Madeira it can be as active or tranquil as you like.

I will definitely go again to explore the walks or ‘pasadas’ to see the waterfalls or climb the mountains on my next trip I hear its not for the faint-hearted.

Have questions or need further travel guidance? No problem. Feel free to ask for my travel tips to Madeira using the contact form. 🌴🌞🌊