Madeira’s Top 10 Sights
Madeira is a picturesque Portuguese island, buried in greenery and striking in its natural beauty. It is located in the Atlantic Ocean, 1,000 kilometers southwest of Portugal. The nearest continent of the island is over 500 kilometers away. Madeira is famous for its wonderful mild climate, due to the island washed by the warm Gulf Stream. Numerous attractions make Madeira a very attractive island for tourists.
Tourism is one of the most important areas of the region, people come here for adventure, recreation, sports and new experiences. Sunny Island is ready to offer every guest a wide range of tourist services.
Today we will show you the 10 main attractions of the beautiful and remote island of Madeira:
The capital of Madeira is recognized as one of the most comfortable and safe cities to live in Portugal. The main attraction of the capital is the fortress of Sao Tiago, which was built 500 years ago in order to protect against pirate attacks. Now that pirates no longer threaten the walls of the city, in the building of the fortress opened an art museum.
Funchal has the oldest church on the island, the Virgin Mary Cathedral. Seasoned tourists highly recommend to include a wine museum, casino and market in the old part of town.
On the photo: Our Lady’s Cathedral in Funchal
Madeira’s nature is unique and in order to preserve its beauty, a national reserve was created on the island in 1982. Its area covers 60% of the island, the park is divided into thematic areas, some of them are strictly protected, while others are hotels and allowed tourism.
Judging by the reviews of tourists, Madeira National Park is one of the most beautiful and fabulous places in the world. Beautiful nature, clean air and mild climate has a positive effect on the nervous system of tourists, relaxing and taking your mind into a fairy tale. Here you can walk, enjoy the nature of the park, well-kept alleys, beautiful flowerbeds with exotic flowers, as well as explore the fauna of the island.
This is a small town in the northwestern part of the island. Its main highlight is the natural volcanic pools, which are very popular with both locals and visitors to the island. Also worth visiting in Porto Moniche is the ancient port, which now houses an aquarium with sea fish, and a center for modern science.
The cliff of Cabo Girao is the highest rock in Europe. The observation deck at the top of the cliff is very popular with tourists, offering incredible views of the ocean and the island’s capital, and when the weather is clear, you can even see whales swimming in the ocean. The ride to Cabo Girao by cable car in a glass booth is an unforgettable adventure.
Pictured: viewing platform at the top of Cabo Girao
Flying to Madeira is a whole adventure, especially landing at the airport, which is considered one of the most extreme in the world. The runway at the airport is not a stretch of asphalt, but a bridge on the water which is 3 kilometers long. And when landing the bridge is impossible to see from afar, first the pilot has to aim the course at the mountains, and then sharply approach the landing strip. It is not a sight for the faint-hearted.
Pico do Arieiro is the most visited mountain in Madeira, more than 1,800 meters high. In sunny weather, the top of the mountain offers views of forests, valleys and the coast, and in foggy weather, the view of clouds floating over the cliffs.
Faja dos Padres
In the south of Madeira there is a small village that can only be reached by cable car. Judging by the photos, the way here is also a special adventure. The first settlers of Faja dos Padres were monks, who quickly mastered the land and started winemaking.
Vineyards on the hillsides are still grown here and in addition, this part of the island is home to rare fruits and vegetables not found elsewhere in Madeira.
As such, there are no sights to see as such but one comes here for the freedom and closeness to nature.
Paul do Mar
The first place to go when you arrive in Madeira is this surfing village. The island has the highest waves on the island and Paul do Mar was privileged to host the 2001 World Surfing Championship.
It is very crowded in the summer, with surfboards all over the beach. In the off-season, the village empties out and you can stroll down the beach, sample freshly caught seafood for a bargain price and admire the beautiful views from the top of the hills without too much fuss.
Ponta do Sol.
This is the sunniest resort within a 500-kilometer radius and is always a little warmer than the rest of the island. The beaches at the resort are stony, but this does not stop lovers of quiet beach holidays from coming here. By the way, about the most beautiful beaches in the world at most-beauty.ru for you is an interesting material.
Also, this place is very interesting for divers, they are attracted to the sunken ship at the bottom of the ocean for many years. Excursions to the ship arrange all the local diving schools.
This is probably the most picturesque place in Madeira, a specialty of this small town – triangular houses made of stone and straw. For those who want to learn more about Madeira’s traditions and history, there is a theme park.
Every year a folklore festival takes place here with bands from all over Portugal.
Santana has one of the highest peaks on the island, Pico Ruivo, famous for its steep panoramic views.
It’s time to end our virtual journey through the distant and beautiful island of Madeira. We wish you to visit this piece of paradise in the Atlantic and share your impressions with us later. We hope we were able to ignite your interest in this place.
We’re asking you to write in your comments which places of interest Madeira has made the biggest impression on you. And if you were on the island, please share your impressions with us.
Islands. Archipelago Madeira
The most beautiful and free! Or, in melodious Portuguese, das ilhas, a mais bela e livre. This phrase is a frequent companion of the Portuguese archipelago of Madeira. Freedom was given by the Atlantic Ocean and beauty by the fortunate geographical location five hundred kilometers west of the African coast and a thousand kilometers southwest of Portugal. Without numbers, the Madeira archipelago is lost in the latitude of Morocco, just above the Canary Islands, and consists of groups of small uninhabited islands: Desertas Islands, or “Desert”, and Selvagens Islands, or “Wild”, as well as two inhabited islands: Madeira and Porto Santo. Here you can find out how to get to the islands, things to do and things to see.
A favorable geographical location and protection from the wind in the form of a mountainous landscape have created a fairly comfortable climate throughout the archipelago. Of course, it may differ depending on the chosen island from north to south. But even in winter the temperature does not drop below +18 ° C, and in summer will not be higher than +26 ° C. So you can rest here at any time of year.
The island of Madeira serves as the main hub that connects the archipelago with the outside world. Its Aeroporto Internacional Cristiano Ronaldo (FNC) is also ready to welcome its guests. The only “but” – this airport is one of the ten most dangerous airports in the world. The reason for all this is a short and narrow runway, which goes into the ocean. In fact it is just a scaffolding of 180 reinforced concrete piers, 3 m in diameter, on which the rocks come from one side and waves pick up from the other. To land a plane here, pilots need special skills, and passengers need calmness. However, when you approach the island, you forget about everything, looking at the views through the window.
There are a number of options on how to get to Madeira. With less financial costs from Warsaw you can fly to Porto or Lisbon with low-cost Ryanair or Wizz Air, and then scan the offers of Transavia, TAP Portugal or Easy Jet airlines, choosing the date, time and price of the flight according to your preferences. More complicated itineraries with more connections and time allotted to the chosen destination can also be composed.
Island of Madeira
Madeira, the main island of the same name, is considered the most beautiful and most often visited of the entire archipelago. It is comfortable as lovers of complete relaxation in search of peace and harmony with nature, and those who crave a shot of adrenaline. The more that the numerous scenic routes and hiking conditions will please. The only thing left is to hit the road to the island of eternal spring.
The car and once again the car! Most people think you can’t get around in Madeira without a car, although public transport is also available. It’s best to combine exploring the island by car with hiking. The fact is that many routes are not looped, so you will often have to walk back to the parking lot, making the same way twice. And it’s not a few kilometers at a walking pace. It’s the mountains: if one way was downhill, the opposite way will definitely be uphill.
There are four destinations in Madeira, each served by a different bus company. Check their websites for routes, timetables and fares.
The green SAM buses will help you get to and from the airport and also serve the east and northeast destinations.
The yellow Horarios do Funchal buses are suitable for travel in the main city of Funchal, as well as on routes to the center and northeast of the island.
The red Rodoeste buses have a fairly wide route map, serving the center, west, north and northwest of the island.
The crimson Eacl buses are suitable for the eastern suburbs of Funchal.
If you choose to travel by public transportation, remember:
Each bus company has different stops, even within the same locality. You can find the right one by the company logos.
Download or print the schedules of the buses you need in advance, so you won’t be caught unawares if you don’t find them.
Inquire about the details with the locals. They can help you get your bearings.
When boarding, remember to vote for the bus, and when getting off, press the button to stop.
On weekends and holidays, many flights may not be available.
See the footnotes in the schedule. There are usually intermediate points where the bus only stops on certain flights.
Funchal is the capital of the island of Madeira, and by extension the entire archipelago. It’s the city with its white houses and bright red roofs where independent travellers usually stay: well-developed infrastructure and beautiful beaches, plenty of cosy restaurants and colourful stores with local goods, historic monuments and parks. Well-developed transport links will help you go deeper into the center of the island to explore its natural beauties. But for now, you should walk around the city for a while.
The airport shuttle will take you quickly to the center. One-way ticket € 5, round trip € 8. You can also take public buses passing through the airport, but it will take longer.
Santa Maria Street . A colorful street with painted doors – what masterpieces can’t be found there! And all the idea of the local authorities, which supported the residents of the city and using all the imagination created masterpieces on their doors. But the crowds of tourists here attract not only them. This street is also one big open-air restaurant. Tables stand in the narrow alleys between the houses. Gastronomic lovers will appreciate it, but don’t live here – it’s very noisy until almost morning.
Funchal’s Mercado dos Lavradores (Market of Funchal) . What can you do without a place where farmers and fishermen gather! Funchal’s Mercado dos Lavradores is the place to be. It’s Saturdays and traders come here from all over Madeira. Of course, with their outlandish wares. On one side are fresh seafood and fish, on the other – exotic fruits and berries, vegetables and spices, unusual plants and flowers. It is hard to resist and not buy something from the vendors in national costumes, but the prices here are overpriced. It is believed that on the second floor of the market will be cheaper, but also there is less variety.
CR7 museum. Soccer fans know that Cristiano Ronaldo’s homeland is the island of Madeira. Hence the name of the airport in honor of the famous countryman, and the CR7 museum located in the harbor of Funchal. There are always a lot of people here. Some people just need to take a photo with a sculpture of Ronaldo on the waterfront, others storm the store, buying items of the CR7 brand, while others go to the museum for € 5 to see with their own eyes everything associated with the beloved footballer.
Monte Palace Gardens . It’s hard not to climb higher when the mountains are just around the corner. The enormous Monte Palace garden, on the site of a former manor house, is located on top of the mountain of the same name. For € 12,5 you can experience the beauty of this place. The garden has amazing plants from all over the world, bridges and sculptures, waterfalls and fountains, all accompanied by views of the ocean and the whole of Funchal. You can get there either by buses 20, 21, 22 or by teleferic cable car. The second option allows you to see the whole of Funchal from above. One-way travel is € 11, two-way travel € 16. For €31.40 you can buy a combined ticket with the possibility to visit the Botanical Gardens. Check the current prices of the cable car here.
But that’s not all that the ascent to the Monthey Gardens can surprise you with. Here fans of extreme sports can find something to their liking – riding on the asphalt on the toboggan. After climbing up the cable car, you can overcome with a breeze down the steep streets on a wicker sled, which pushes two Maderian. For one passenger you must pay € 25, for two € 30, for three € 45. Check here for the current prices.
Funchal still has a lot to show its guests. But it’s time to go deeper into the center of the island.