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A Guide to Madeira: 101 Things to Do and See on The Island of Madeira, Portugal: The Perfect Vacation for 2021

Updated on November 4, 2020
Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel lives with her family on the Island of Madeira where a warm climate provides the perfect environment to enjoy the outdoor life.

The Famous Peninsula of Madeira

Ponta Do Sao Lourenço
Ponta Do Sao Lourenço | Source

A Little Piece of Heaven

The beauty on this volcanic rock will capture and embrace the heart of the true nature lover. Madeira is a haven of majestic scenery and un-spoilt landscape.

Surrounded by the vast Atlantic ocean, the Island measures a meager 57km x 22km. A 90 minute flight from Lisbon; Madeira is actually closer to Africa than Portugal.

Madeira famously known as: 'The Jewel In The Atlantic' mainly due to her magnificent floral culture and pretty terrain will delight gardeners with her stunning aray of wild flowers.

Imagine the delight of Zarco discovering the wonders of this beautiful Island for the very first time in 1420. My own delight arriving in Madeira was like an arrow to the heart straight from Cupids bow more than a decade ago. The floating garden; Madeira, has something for everyone to do and see. And to prove it, is my list below. Dream a little; live a little; visit Madeira.

What a List!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Tall Ships in MadeiraCruising to MadeiraWalk in The Mountains, MadeiraPaul Do Mar, MadeiraPaul De Serra, MadeiraAbove The Clouds, MadeiraSummer Festivities in MadeiraA Flower CarpetWalk A Levada in MadeiraThe Lava Rock Pools, MadeiraDolphin Watching Madeira
Tall Ships in Madeira
Tall Ships in Madeira | Source
Cruising to Madeira
Cruising to Madeira | Source
Walk in The Mountains, Madeira
Walk in The Mountains, Madeira | Source
Paul Do Mar, Madeira
Paul Do Mar, Madeira | Source
Paul De Serra, Madeira
Paul De Serra, Madeira | Source
Above The Clouds, Madeira
Above The Clouds, Madeira | Source
Summer Festivities in Madeira
Summer Festivities in Madeira | Source
A Flower Carpet
A Flower Carpet | Source
Walk A Levada in Madeira
Walk A Levada in Madeira | Source
The Lava Rock Pools, Madeira
The Lava Rock Pools, Madeira | Source
Dolphin Watching Madeira
Dolphin Watching Madeira | Source

Things to do in Madeira

Top 101

  1. Aguardente De Cana: indulge in the local fire water.
  2. Art: roam around the old town and enjoy the painted streets.
  3. A-framed houses: a trip to Santana will reveal traditional Madeiran homes.
  4. Atlantic Festival: happens every June with fireworks on Saturday nights.
  5. Bananas: take a tour to a banana plantation.
  6. Bamboo: still used today by farmers as trellises for vines.
  7. Ballroom: enjoyed by numerous hotels in Funchal.
  8. Cabo Girao: the highest cliff face in Europe with a glass floor balcony.
  9. Cable Car: enjoy a trip to the gardens via cable car.
  10. Camping: a favorite on the east side of the Island.
  11. Carnival: every February the Island celebrates Carnival with a colourful parade.
  12. Caves: Sao Vincente is the place to explore underground caves.
  13. Camara De Lobos: village of the seals and a very popular place to visit.
  14. Churchill: famously painted in the bay of Camara De Lobos.
  15. Churches: found in every village, full of ornate decor and gold.
  16. Cider: September is the month of the cider festival with home brews on sale.
  17. Columbus: his ship stopped by the Island to fill up on Madeira wine.
  18. Craft: watch nimble fingers make baskets to sell on the streets.
  19. Cruise: take a leisurely voyage around the Island by sea.
  20. Dance: with the locals dance on a typical night out, Madeiran style.
  21. Drink: try a local tipple of Pe de Cabre, meaning kick of the goat.
  22. Entertainment: hit the Casino for dinner with a show.
  23. Escape: leave the city behind and take to the mountains.
  24. Eco: stay in eco accommodation and embrace your wild side.
  25. Embroidery: beautiful handmade linens with delicate embroidery.
  26. Fado: traditional Madeiran folklore about lost love.
  27. Factories: rum and bananas are our many productions.
  28. Fireworks: come in June or New Year to see our amazing firework displays.
  29. Fish: indulge in fresh fish bought from the farmers market.
  30. Forte: take a stroll to the forte still standing today.
  31. Food: the old town offers numerous restaurants with local dishes.
  32. Fun: experience one of the many parties in the park.
  33. Flowers: colourful blooms will delight you, from the streets to the mountains.
  34. Flower festival: late Spring brings a celebration of flowers and peace.
  35. Flower arranging: a favorite party piece by most hotels in the city.
  36. Football: watch the locals play some footy.
  37. Gardens: with so many to choose from you will not be disappointed.
  38. Go-karting: Santana offers you some fun time with the kids.
  39. Gourmet: opt for our famous Michelin Star restaurant at The Cliff Bay.
  40. Golf: play a game on a mountain side with panoramic ocean views.
  41. Harvest: a great celebration every September with local brews to enjoy.
  42. History: steeped in stories and discoveries, the History Centre offers a few.
  43. Hiking: bring your boots and explore on foot.
  44. Holiday: rooms, apartments, houses and hotels there is somewhere for you.
  45. Invest: love the sun and sea, perhaps there's home here for you.
  46. Inhale: the forests of Madeira are a haven of eucalyptus and bayleaf trees.
  47. Jeep treck: take a safari and go off road into the wilds of the mountains.
  48. Kayak: get your togs on and head out to sea.
  49. Lakes: bring your swim gear and enjoy a cool dip after a hot trip.
  50. Levada walking: with thousands of kilometres of levadas there is much to see.
  51. Language: widen your vocabulary and learn the local lingo.
  52. Madeira wine: delight your taste buds with our traditional wines.
  53. Mariscos: shell fish is often cooked together in a single pot with rice.
  54. Market: the farmers market offers flowers, fruit, veg, nuts and crafts.
  55. Marina: sit and sip a beer and enjoy the bustle of the marina.
  56. Massage: try a local rub and reap the rewards.
  57. Monte: the church and gardens of Monte are a must see.
  58. Mountains: hike to highest peaks of Madeira.
  59. Museums: art and history thrive on the Island.
  60. Music: street music is a regular in the city especially during festival season.
  61. New Year: food, drink, festivals, fireworks and parties.
  62. Nature: with our lavish forestry you can be lost among the green.
  63. Navigate: learn to skipper a boat.
  64. Nuns: a valley where the people hid from invading pirates, an amazing place.
  65. Orchids: a much loved plant on Madeira we have two lovely gardens to visit.
  66. Para-glide: jump from a cliff and fly to the coastline.
  67. Paint ball: rally round some friends and head to the countryside.
  68. Plateau: the famous Paul de Serra with majestic scenery.
  69. Poncha: made from rum, honey and fresh lemon and orange juice.
  70. Porto Santo: the sister Isle with a long white sand beach.
  71. Quinta: famous houses of the rich in the old days now available to stay in.
  72. Ramble: levadas still exists in and around the city.
  73. Real Estate: real estate has made things easier to find your dream property.
  74. Reids Palace: relax at Reids with a must have afternoon tea.
  75. Rum: made from cane, it is a popular local drink.
  76. Selvagens: uninhibited islands where monk seals gather on the rocky shores.
  77. Shopping: small individual shops and bigger centres offer numerous wares.
  78. Spa: let your hair down and let off some steam.
  79. Springs: Rabaçal (25 fonts) situated on the Plateau is a popular beauty spot.
  80. Sugar Cane: used to make rum and as wind barriers on banana farms.
  81. Suntan: with all year sunshine a tan is the least of your worries.
  82. Sunbath: chill out and get some vitamin D.
  83. Swim: the Isle has many public lidos to take a dip in the ocean.
  84. Sunset: travel to the west and watch the sun go down in a beautiful red hue.
  85. Stroll: wander through the many cobbled streets of Funchal.
  86. Tradition: experience the much loved ways of the Madeirans.
  87. Tobogannon: have the ride of your life being pushed down a busy street.
  88. Taste: the local bread, bolo de caco with garlic butter is a popular dish.
  89. Tour: take a west tour one day and an east tour another day.
  90. Travel: luxury buses with toilets and Wi-fi mean you travel in style.
  91. Tennis: local courts mean you can work off all that rum.
  92. Theatre: plays, music and shows are a regular evening out in the city.
  93. Theme Park: culture and fun make this park rather unique.
  94. Undiscovered: go off track and discover your own piece of Madeira.
  95. Vehicle: hire a car or a bike and have your own adventure.
  96. Views: there are many public balconies and view points around the Isle.
  97. Wicker: Camacha is the world of hand made crafts and furniture.
  98. Wines: Sercial, Verdelho, Bual and Malvasia make up our varieties.
  99. Xplore: whatever you want to do, get out an explore Madeira.
  100. Yachting: have a day at sea aboard a yacht and feel the wind in your hair.
  101. Zarco: take a spin to Machiço, the originally city discovered by Zarco.

Views from Madeira's Lighthouse

Views From Ponta Do Pargo
Views From Ponta Do Pargo | Source

Invest in a guide book to help you discover ''The Beautiful Island of Madeira'' and her sister Island, Porto Santo...

Discover The Beauty of Madeira: a very informative compact book with maps and photos too...

Mountain Views of The Famous Plateau

Rugged Mountain Walks, Madeira
Rugged Mountain Walks, Madeira | Source
Madeira Mountains
Madeira Mountains | Source

What to do in Madeira

A to Z

Aqua Madeira is at your beckoning service. Visit the harbor of Funchal and relish in the activities that await you.

  • Aqua park it for a fun day
  • Bring a bucket for your limpets
  • Catch a tuna out at sea
  • Dive deep in the ocean
  • Enjoy a day shore fishing
  • Fish with a spear
  • Go snorkeling
  • Have a day at the beach
  • Imagine surfing
  • Jet ski along the coastline
  • Kick the pool habit, swim in the deep
  • Look for dolphins
  • Migrating wales cross your path
  • Navigate the seas
  • Organize a ferry to the sister isle
  • Pools of rock lava, good for a dip
  • Quit the swimming, go wind surfing
  • Ride the waves, water ski
  • Spot the cruise ships
  • Take a trip to the Desertas
  • Under the sea in Porto Moniz
  • View the isle from the ocean

Boating joys on the Atlantic include daily excursions; embark from the marina and have a whale of a time.

  • Banana boating at your peril
  • Catamaran along the coast
  • Delight in bottom boating
  • Eager to show some skill, kayaking for you
  • Failing the above, stick to sailing
  • Grab a lift on a speed boat

Culinary skills on Madeira are next to none; enjoy fabulous local dishes to your hearts content.

  • Chew on a little Espetada
  • Devour a Picada
  • Enjoy the Bolo de Caco
  • Fish of the day, the Scabbard of course
  • Goat stew is a local favorite
  • Have a taste of crispy Squid
  • Ideally have a roll with Porco com Alho
  • Jump for joy when you slurp the Ganja
  • Kill for Cod, salted it is
  • Love the Bolo de Mel
  • Maize deep fried is on the menu
  • Nibble on a little Octopus

Drinks on Madeira won't fail to impress your taste buds or encourage your dancing feet.

  • Drink a Caipirinha
  • Enjoy a passion fruit juice
  • Fed up of the norm try a Nikita
  • Gargle some vinho verde
  • Have a Pe de Cabra
  • Ignore them all, another Poncha please
  • Joy to the world Madeira wine for me
  • Keeling over, a little Portuguese vino
  • Lemon tea straight, cheers
  • Mull over a local beer

Energize yourself and walk the cobbled streets of Funchal: The beautiful city of Madeira.

  • Explore the old town
  • Forward it is, on the open top bus
  • Get to grips with the historic buildings
  • Haggle for some fruit and veg at the farmers market
  • Idol through the Santa Catharina park
  • Jolly along the promenade to Praia Formosa
  • Keep the spring in your step down at the marina
  • Light foot it on the cobbled streets
  • Moise along to the Municipal Gardens
  • Nose through the ole embroidery shops
  • Opt for a swim with dolphins

Put yourself out, have a walk about

  • Favorite places; take in some sightseeing and visit the Island villages and mountain terrain.
  • Fantastic views from Eira do Serrado
  • Great heights from Cabo Girao
  • Have a day out to the west
  • Improve your sights on the east
  • Jeep it down to Nuns Valley
  • Knock yourself out, go rock climbing
  • Levada trails to stroll along
  • Mountain walks to make your legs strong
  • Nobody goes to the highest peek without a guide
  • Obvious choice for hikers, walk the peninsula
  • Para-glide off a mountain top
  • Questions answered at the Madeira history centre

Great entertainment will keep you busy all night long.

  • Go dancing, have a little fun
  • Hit the casino and play your cards right
  • Inspired, see a little theatre
  • Jingle along and see a show
  • Keep in tune with a string quartet
  • Listen to the music at the cabaret
  • Meet the local fado singers
  • Night out the typical Madeira way

Heaps of more excitement to come.

  • Helicopter around the island
  • Indulge in a little bird watching
  • Jeep it to the caves
  • Kneel in a beautiful Cathedral
  • Learn some Portuguese
  • Meet Columbus the giant turtle
  • Nip to the Islands
  • Ole; see a football game
  • Play a little golf
  • Quick game of tennis
  • Run the city marathon
  • Sip a selection of tea at Reid's
  • Taste the flavour of the Tropical gardens
  • Unleash yourself jump in a cable car
  • Visit the botanical gardens
  • Wear yourself out stroll up to Monte
  • Xtra delight at the Orchid Gardens
  • Yield to the local market stalls
  • Zap some photos for your holiday album

Madeira's Famous Peaks: Pico Do Arieiro to Pico De Barcelos

Among The Clouds, Madeira
Among The Clouds, Madeira | Source
Views, Pico Do Arieiro
Views, Pico Do Arieiro | Source
Views, Pico Do Arieiro
Views, Pico Do Arieiro | Source
Views, Pico De Barcelos, Madeira
Views, Pico De Barcelos, Madeira | Source

What kind of holiday do you like?

See results

© 2009 Gabriel Wilson


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    Post Comment
    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      11 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      You know ,there probably is more to be said about them. I may get to work .

    • Faybe Bay profile image

      Faye Constantino 

      11 years ago from Florida

      You'll be busy, now I need you to write a hub on each one of those, I am broke, can't come to Madeira. I will come back here and dream though.


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