If you’re looking for an adventure, you might want to consider the beautiful island of Madeira. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, this hidden gem boasts a vibrant culture, breath-taking landscapes, and plenty of thrilling activities that will leave you amazed. Join me as we look at eight great things to do in Madeira.
8 Great Things to Do In Madeira
What are some top things to do in Madeira?
Madeira has been given the title of “World’s Leading Island Destination” for six consecutive years (2015-2022) by the World Travel Awards. So perhaps it’s unsurprising then that it has a lot to offer visitors. Here is my list of 8 great things to do in Madeira:
1. Mercado dos Lavradores in Funchal
The Mercado dos Lavradores (farmers’ market) in Funchal is a fruit, vegetable, flower and fish market. Designed by Edmundo Tavares it opened in 1940. The facade, main entrance and fish market contain traditional Azulejo (tile panels) depicting regional themes. It is divided into a number of smaller squares and stairways that are used as sales venues. The vibrant atmosphere, brimming with vibrant colours and smells, will transport you to a world of sensory delights. Feast your eyes on the bountiful displays of fresh produce, delicate flowers, and local crafts. Immerse yourself in the local culture, indulge in exotic fruits, and don’t forget to bring home a piece of Madeira’s essence.
1. Monte Cable Car
You can find the Monte cable car station in Funchal Old Town (which is very much worth having a look at in its own right). The cable car takes you up to the suburb of Monte. The journey is fantastic! The panoramic views of Funchal as you head towards Monte are magnificent! The journey takes around 15 minutes. We loved the views of Funchal’s Bay and the valleys. There are 39 seven-seater cars, so it can take a lot of people up in minutes! We definitely recommend doing this journey.
3. Carros de Cesto do Monte (Monte Toboggan)
Carreiros with the sledges ready to take you on your most adventurous ride
Nick & I having a go!
Descending from Monte to Livramento, these two-seated wicker and wood sledges whisk you away on a thrilling ride through Madeira’s winding streets. The skilled carreiros guide them, ensuring an adrenaline-filled descent that will leave you with a grin from ear to ear. The trip lasts about 2 km taking around 10 minutes.
4. Cabo Girão Skywalk
The Cabo Girao is the highest cliff in Europe, at an elevation of 580m, and is famous for its suspended glass platform, called a skywalk. The views from Cabo Girao Skywalk are breathtaking! It offers a vertiginous view of the Fajãs (Wave cut platforms) of Rancho and Cabo Girãoas well as the magnificent panoramic views of the ocean and the municipalities of Câmara de Lobos and Funchal.
5. Whale Watching
Set sail to witness the incredible marine life that thrives off the coast of Madeira. Join a whale and dolphin watching excursion, where you can spot these magnificent creatures as they swim in their natural habitat. We were incredibly lucky because we did get to see a few whales. We saw a mother with her baby. It was a spectacular view which left us amazed! It was a very special moment. Due to the geography of Madeira, the whale excursion took advantage of spotters based high in the mountains to help locate any whales.
6. Jeep Safari Tour
Nick on top of our jeep Safari Tour
Me on top of the jeep of our Safari Tour
Get ready for an off-road escapade that will ignite your sense of adventure. Climb aboard a sturdy 4×4 jeep and venture into the heart of Madeira’s untamed landscapes. Traverse rugged mountain trails, immerse yourself in lush forests and stumble upon hidden treasures that lie off the beaten path. Allow expert guides to unravel the island’s secrets, from hidden waterfalls cascading down moss-covered cliffs to breathtaking viewpoints that offer glimpses of paradise.
7. Savour Madeiran Cuisine
8. Visiting a Traditional Madeira House
These traditional houses are a well-known symbol of Madeira Island. Located in the municipality of Santana, these picturesque houses are a must-see for any visitor to the island. The history of the houses dates back to the 15th century when they were built by farmers and fishermen. The houses were made of wood and thatch, which were abundant materials on the island. The triangular shape of the houses helped to protect them from the wind and rain.
The Santana houses are characterized by their bright colours and their steeply sloping roofs. The roofs are made of thatch, which helps to keep the houses cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
The Santana houses are a beloved part of Madeiran culture. They are a reminder of the island’s history and its unique way of life. If you are ever visiting Madeira, be sure to stop by Santana and see these charming houses for yourself.
This little house was so pretty with so much colour! It was very interesting to get inside the house to see how it looked!
Nick and I tried the local Poncha!
Madeira, with its breathtaking landscapes, rich culture, and warm hospitality, offers an unforgettable experience for every traveller. There is no shortage of remarkable adventures to embark upon. Embrace the island’s natural wonders, witness magnificent marine life, and indulge in its delectable cuisine. Let Madeira captivate your senses, leaving you with cherished memories that will last a lifetime.
If you enjoyed reading this, you can read more detail about our trip to Madeira in a two-part post.
Have you been to Madeira or would you like to go? What do you think of my list of great things to do in Madeira? If you’ve been can you recommend anything else?
Thanks for stopping by,
Love you all ❤️