things to do in madeira

Last Updated on: 1st February 2024, 04:34 am

Are you planning a trip to Portugal and seeking a unique destination? Look no further than Madeira Island, a hidden gem in the Atlantic Ocean that is known for its natural beauty and diverse activities. As a professional travel journalist, I have explored Madeira extensively and can attest to its unparalleled allure.

There is so much to do and see in Madeira, from adrenaline-pumping adventures to cultural experiences. Whether you are looking to hike through lush forests or immerse yourself in the local cuisine, this island has something for everyone.

Throughout this article, I will guide you through the must-see attractions, hidden gems, and unforgettable experiences that Madeira has to offer. Discover the top things to do in Madeira Island Portugal, including madeira activities that will leave you breathless.

Exploring Nature in Madeira

If you’re a nature enthusiast, Madeira is the perfect destination for you. With its diverse landscapes, from rugged mountains to lush forests and pristine beaches, there’s no shortage of natural wonders to discover on the island.

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Madeira’s natural beauty is by hiking. The island offers a variety of hiking trails, suitable for all ages and skill levels. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a challenging trek, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences.

Best Hiking Trails in Madeira

Trail Name Location Difficulty Level
Levada do Caldeirão Verde Santana Moderate
Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço Machico Moderate to Difficult
Levada do Rei São Jorge Easy to Moderate
Levada das 25 Fontes and Risco Waterfall Rabaçal Moderate to Difficult

These are just a few of the many hiking trails available in Madeira. Don’t forget to bring proper hiking gear, plenty of water, and your camera to capture the stunning scenery.

If hiking isn’t your thing, you can still enjoy Madeira’s natural beauty by visiting its numerous nature spots, such as Pico do Arieiro, Curral das Freiras, and São Vicente Caves. Each of these attractions offers a unique perspective on Madeira’s landscape, from panoramic views to underground wonders.

Whether you choose to hike or explore the nature spots, be sure to take in the splendor of Madeira’s natural wonders.

madeira nature

Discovering Madeira’s Cultural Heritage

During my travels in Madeira, I discovered the island’s rich cultural heritage, influenced by its history and diverse traditions. There are many things to see and do in Madeira, Portugal that showcase its unique cultural identity. Here are some of the must-visit cultural attractions in Madeira:


Madeira is home to several museums that provide insight into the island’s history and culture. The Madeira Story Centre in Funchal is a great starting point, with interactive exhibits that bring Madeira’s history to life. The CR7 Museum, dedicated to the famous football player Cristiano Ronaldo, is also worth a visit.

madeira culture

Historic Sites

One of the best ways to understand Madeira’s cultural heritage is by exploring its historic sites. The Monte Palace Tropical Garden, for example, is a stunning estate that showcases Madeira’s exotic flora and fauna. The Painted Doors Project in the old town of Funchal is another unique attraction, featuring colorful murals by local artists on old doors.

Traditional Events

Madeira’s traditional events are an integral part of its cultural heritage, and visitors can experience them throughout the year. The Carnival of Madeira is a festive event that takes place in February, with colorful parades and music. The Festa da Flor, or Flower Festival, is another popular event in Madeira, with elaborate floral displays and a parade.

Indulging in Madeira Cuisine

As a food enthusiast, exploring Madeira’s cuisine was one of my favorite activities during my visit to the island. Madeira’s gastronomy is a unique blend of Portuguese and regional flavors, making it a treat for anyone who loves delicious food. Here are some of the must-try dishes and delicacies that will make your taste buds dance:

Dish Description
Espetada This is a traditional Madeiran grilled beef skewer, usually served with flat bread and salad. The beef is seasoned with garlic, salt and bay leaves, making it a mouth-watering delight.
Scabbard fish This is a deep-sea delicacy with a firm texture and a subtle flavor. It’s usually served with fried banana and passion fruit sauce, giving it a unique sweet and sour taste.
Bolo do caco This is a typical Madeiran bread, made with sweet potato and flour. It’s usually served warm with garlic butter or soft cheese, making it a perfect pairing for any meal.
Poncha Madeira’s traditional alcoholic drink, made with aguardente (distilled brandy), lemon juice and honey. It’s a refreshing drink with a citrusy taste, perfect for sipping while enjoying the island’s stunning views.

If you’re a seafood lover, Madeira’s fresh catch of the day is always a great choice. You can find a variety of fish and seafood dishes, including tuna, octopus, and limpets. Don’t forget to try the traditional lapas; small, delicious mollusks that are usually grilled and served with garlic butter.

Where to Try Madeira Cuisine

You can find traditional Madeiran restaurants all over the island. One of my favorite places to indulge in Madeira’s cuisine is the Mercado dos Lavradores, a local market in Funchal. You can find a variety of fresh produce, fish, and traditional Madeiran snacks. Another great place to try Madeira’s gastronomy is the Poncha da Madeira bar in Ribeira Brava. This cozy bar offers a selection of poncha drinks and hearty Madeiran dishes.

Indulging in Madeira’s cuisine is one of the best things to do on the island. Experience the unique tastes and flavors that this wonderful place has to offer. Trust me; your taste buds will thank you!

Adventurous Activities in Madeira

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, Madeira offers a variety of madeira adventures that will get your heart racing. From high-speed boat tours to challenging hikes, the island has something for everyone. Here are some of the most popular activities:

Activity Description
Canyoning Explore Madeira’s rugged terrain by rappelling down waterfalls and jumping into natural pools.
Paragliding See the island from a bird’s eye view with a thrilling paragliding experience.
Jeep Safari Take a bumpy ride through Madeira’s mountains and forests on a 4×4 jeep tour.
Boat Tour Discover the island’s coastline and marine life on a boat tour, including the chance to spot dolphins and whales.

These are just a few examples of the many madeira tours and activities available on the island. Whether you’re an experienced adventurer or just looking to try something new, Madeira has plenty to offer.

madeira adventures

Exploring Madeira’s Attractions

During my travels to Madeira, I discovered that the island is rich in attractions that offer visitors a glimpse into its unique charm and character. From quaint villages to architectural wonders, Madeira’s must-see attractions are varied and abundant.

Discovering the Island’s Hidden Gems

Madeira is known for its picturesque villages, which offer a glimpse into the island’s traditional way of life. Vila de Porto Moniz is a charming coastal village renowned for its natural swimming pools, while Santana offers a glimpse into Madeira’s rural past with its traditional thatched roof houses.

If you’re a fan of botanical gardens, the Monte Palace Tropical Garden is a must-visit. This 70,000 square metre garden features a diverse range of plants and trees from around the world.

Marveling at Iconic Landmarks

One of Madeira’s most famous landmarks is the Cabo Girão viewpoint, which offers panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the island’s rugged coastline. The Funchal Municipal Garden is another popular attraction, featuring beautiful flower displays and a wide variety of trees and plants.

Architecture enthusiasts will love the Se Cathedral in Funchal, a 15th-century Gothic-style cathedral located in the heart of the city. Meanwhile, the Forte de São Tiago is a fascinating historical landmark that now houses the Contemporary Art Museum.

Top 5 Must-Visit Attractions in Madeira

Attraction Description
Cabo Girão A cliffside viewpoint offering breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Funchal Municipal Garden A beautiful park featuring a wide variety of flowers and plants.
Monte Palace Tropical Garden A sprawling botanical garden featuring a diverse range of plants and trees.
Se Cathedral A Gothic-style cathedral dating back to the 15th century.
Forte de São Tiago A historical fort and art museum located in the heart of Funchal.

Madeira Attractions

“Madeira’s attractions offer something for everyone, from breathtaking natural vistas to historical landmarks and cultural experiences. With so much to see and do, you’ll want to plan your visit carefully to ensure you make the most of your time on the island.”

Unveiling Madeira’s Natural Wonders

During your visit to Madeira, immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty. Madeira’s diverse ecosystems are home to unique species that thrive in this unspoilt environment. In this section, I will delve further into Madeira’s natural wonders, including its endemic flora and fauna.

Exploring Madeira’s Endemic Flora

Madeira is a botanical paradise, with more than 1400 indigenous plant species. The Laurisilva Forest is one of the most impressive natural areas, declared a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its high level of endemism. More than 90% of the plants found in this subtropical rainforest are exclusive to Madeira.

Take a hike through the forest to admire its majestic trees, such as linden, laurel, and heather. The forest is also home to exotic flowers, including orchids and lilies. Tourists can also take part in guided tours to better understand and appreciate this unique flora and its importance.

Discovering Madeira’s Fauna

Madeira’s location in the Atlantic Ocean means that it is home to a variety of marine and terrestrial animals. One of the most iconic animals that call Madeira home is the loggerhead sea turtle, which is an endangered species. These majestic creatures can be spotted nesting on some of the beaches on the island during the summer months.

If you are lucky, you may also catch a glimpse of Madeira’s endemic bird species, including the madeira firecrest and the trocaz pigeon. These birds are found only on Madeira and are considered a symbol of the island’s rich biodiversity.

Hiking Trails in Madeira

Experience the natural wonders of Madeira on one of its many hiking trails. Madeira is famous for its levadas, which are narrow aqueducts that were built to carry water to the agricultural areas of the island. Today, these levadas offer some of the best hiking trails on the island.

The levada walks take you through some of the most beautiful landscapes on the island, such as deep valleys, lush forests, and along the rugged coastline. The trails offer varying degrees of difficulty, making them accessible to hikers of all levels and abilities.

Embracing Madeira’s Outdoor Activities

If you’re a lover of nature and outdoor activities, Madeira has plenty to offer. The island is a haven for adventure enthusiasts seeking thrilling experiences and unforgettable moments surrounded by nature. Some of the best outdoor activities to indulge in during your Madeira tours include:

  • Whale watching: Set sail and witness magnificent whales and dolphins in their natural habitat with a whale watching tour.
  • Diving: Explore the underwater world of Madeira and discover vibrant marine life and shipwrecks with a diving tour.
  • Surfing: Ride the waves of the Atlantic and experience the thrill of surfing in Madeira’s crystal-clear waters.
  • Stand up paddle boarding: Paddle along Madeira’s scenic coastline and admire breathtaking views of the island.
  • Canoeing: Traverse Madeira’s pristine rivers and lakes with a canoeing tour.
  • Paragliding: Soar high above Madeira’s mountains and valleys and enjoy stunning aerial views of the island.
  • Jeep tours: Discover Madeira’s hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path destinations with a thrilling jeep safari.

Get ready to embrace Madeira’s outdoor lifestyle with these exciting activities. Contact your travel agent and book your outdoor adventure today!

Experiencing Madeira’s Festivals and Events

If you want to immerse yourself in the colorful culture of Madeira, you should not miss the vibrant festivals and events celebrated throughout the year. From traditional folk festivals to contemporary music events, Madeira offers something for everyone. Celebrations are held in ornate and dynamic settings that are sure to get you in the spirit of the occasion.

One of the most famous festivals in Madeira is the Flower Festival, which takes place in spring. The festival is a beautiful display of floral arrangements, with a parade of flower-themed floats and dancers dressed in floral costumes. The stunningly decorated streets of Funchal and the aroma of blooming flowers make it a feast for the senses.

In addition, Madeira hosts a spectacular New Year’s Eve fireworks display that is ranked among the largest in the world. The island welcomes the New Year with a stunning pyrotechnic display from multiple points in Funchal Harbor accompanied by live music performances. Thousands of visitors flock to Madeira to witness this breathtaking and interactive experience.

But that’s not all – other highly anticipated festivals and events include the Carnival of Madeira, the Atlantic Festival (a series of concerts and pyrotechnic shows), and the Wine Festival (celebrating the wine harvest with tasting sessions and exhibitions). Take note of these events before planning your trip to Madeira to enjoy a truly memorable holiday full of culture and entertainment.


So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable holiday, Madeira Island Portugal should be on your bucket list. From hiking in the mountains to swimming in crystal-clear waters, the island offers a range of activities for all ages and tastes. One of the highlights of any trip to Madeira is experiencing the unique and delicious Madeira cuisine, featuring fresh seafood, exotic fruits, and regional wines.

Moreover, Madeira boasts a range of attractions that showcase its natural beauty and cultural heritage. Whether you prefer visiting museums, historic sites, or botanical gardens, you’ll find something to suit your interests. And let’s not forget the exciting festivals and events that take place throughout the year, such as the Flower Festival and Carnival.

Overall, Madeira Island Portugal has something to offer everyone. As a professional copywriting journalist, I highly recommend planning your trip to this paradise destination and exploring all that it has to offer. I promise you won’t regret it!


What are the top things to do in Madeira?

Some of the top things to do in Madeira include hiking along the beautiful trails, exploring the cultural heritage of the island, indulging in the local cuisine, and trying out adventurous activities like canyoning and paragliding.

What are the best hiking trails in Madeira?

Madeira offers a range of stunning hiking trails, including the Levada walks, Pico Ruivo hike, and Rabaçal waterfall walk. These trails will take you through breathtaking landscapes and offer incredible views of the island.

What cultural attractions can I visit in Madeira?

Madeira has a rich cultural heritage, and there are many attractions to explore, such as the Madeira Story Centre, Monte Palace Madeira, and Funchal Old Town. You can also experience traditional events and festivals that showcase the island’s vibrant culture.

What is unique about Madeira’s cuisine?

Madeira’s cuisine is a delightful blend of Portuguese and regional flavors. You must try traditional dishes like Espetada (skewered meat), Bolo do Caco (traditional bread), and the famous Madeira wine. Fresh seafood is also a highlight of the local gastronomy.

What adventurous activities can I do in Madeira?

Madeira offers a range of adventurous activities, such as canyoning, paragliding, jeep safaris, and boat tours. You can also go whale watching, diving, or surfing to make the most of your time on the island.

What are the must-visit attractions in Madeira?

Some of the must-visit attractions in Madeira include the colorful village of Santana, the enchanting Monte Palace Gardens, the stunning viewpoints like Pico do Arieiro, and the architectural wonder of Nossa Senhora do Monte church.

What are the natural wonders of Madeira?

Madeira is blessed with natural wonders, including the Laurisilva Forest (a UNESCO World Heritage site), the unique flora and fauna of the island, and the picturesque waterfalls like Risco and 25 Fontes. Take the time to explore and appreciate the island’s natural beauty.

What outdoor activities are available in Madeira?

Madeira offers various outdoor activities, such as whale watching, diving, surfing, and sailing. You can also enjoy leisurely walks along the promenades, take a dip in the natural pools, or simply relax on the island’s beautiful beaches.

What festivals and events can I experience in Madeira?

Madeira is known for its vibrant festivals and events, such as the Flower Festival, the Atlantic Festival, and the New Year’s Eve fireworks display. These celebrations offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in Madeira’s lively culture and traditions.

What can I expect from a visit to Madeira?

A visit to Madeira promises a diverse range of experiences that cater to all interests. You can expect beautiful natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, delicious cuisine, thrilling adventures, and warm hospitality from the locals. Madeira will capture your heart and create unforgettable memories.