Get ready to know one of the most paradisiacal destinations in Portugal! Of volcanic origin, Madeira Island offers its visitors the best a trip can have: paradisiacal beaches, natural pools, elegant gardens with their touch of color, breathtaking viewpoints and mountains that compose the most beautiful scenarios.
With exotic flora and subtropical climate, Madeira Island has pleasant temperatures all year round, being one of the main destinations for the Portuguese to spend their vacations. And not to mention: besides the breathtaking nature, the land of Cristiano Ronaldo is also known for its great restaurants and delicious wines.
10 unmissable attractions in Madeira Island
Check out the best attractions and tourist points of Madeira Island that can not be missed in your travel itinerary:
1. Câmara de Lobos
It was at Câmara de Lobos that João Gonçalves Zarco, the discoverer of Madeira Island, settled for the first time when he landed in this hitherto unknown land. He named the place after himself, since several sea lions lived there. Today, the fishing village has come alive with all the colorful boats around it, and the visitor can find several preserved historical references, spread among the 5 parishes of the municipality.
2. Curral das Freiras
Hidden among the peaks of Câmara de Lobos is Curral das Freiras, a valley frequented by tourists, considered one of the best settings in the world. According to legend, the place was used as a hideout by the nuns of Santa Clara Convent to escape the constant pirate attacks in Funchal. You can enjoy the landscape from the top of Eira do Serrado, or walk along the old zigzag road, which gives access to the valley. Tip: On Sundays, there is a traditional street fair around the church.
3. Cable car
To have the best view of Madeira Island, be sure to take a cable car ride, which connects the old part of the city of Funchal to Monte. The station is in the garden of Almirante Reis, and the route to the destination lasts on average 15 minutes.
Funchal is the capital of Madeira Island, and has characteristics that every big city has: cosmopolitan, modern, jovial, with countless restaurants praised and full of tourist points! Don’t forget to visit the CR7 Museum, a space dedicated to the most famous native of the state, Cristiano Ronaldo, and also the Santa Catarina Park, Funchal Museum of Sacred Art, Funchal Cathedral, Madeira Botanical Garden and the Madeira Casino, the most popular attractions of the island.
5. Pico Areeiro and Pico Ruivo
If you want to see Madeira from all angles, you should also include Pico Areeiro and Pico Ruivo in your itinerary. Its 1,818 and 1,862 meters (consecutively) offer an incredible view of the volcanic and wild landscape of the island, quite different from the view of the central region of Funchal. Prepare your most comfortable clothes and shoes to explore both places in one shot.
6. Porto Moniz
Have no doubt that you will find one of the most beautiful scenery in Madeira when you arrive in Porto Moniz. The place only became part of the island after World War II, with the excavation of the road that connects it to the municipality of São Vicente. The natural pools in the municipality are a spectacle apart, which deserve your visit.
7. Cabo Girão
Miradouro do Cabo Girão is one of the highest points in Europe. Its 580 meters of altitude offer an incredible panoramic view of the Câmara de Lobos, Funchal, and of course, the ranches below the glass suspended platform, the so-called Skywalk. There are several Bungee jumping and paragliding jumps. Not to be missed!
8. Porto Santo
The smallest inhabited island of Madeira is only 500 km from the African coast, and has one of the beaches most loved by tourists. The quiet sea of mild temperatures and fine sand are an invitation to walk, followed by a dive. Besides the beach, the municipality also has other historical attractions, such as the Museum House, where Christopher Columbus lived for some years.
9. São Vicente Caves/Center of Volcanism
The Saint Vincent Caves were formed from a volcanic eruption 890 thousand years ago, but only in 1996 were they opened to the public. Besides visiting their interior (which by the way is very interesting!), you can also check the appearance and all the geological evolution of the caves, as well as the simulation of the birth of the Madeira archipelago through videos at the Volcanism Center.
Santana is known for its typical thatched roofed houses. This characteristic is a reflection of all the local history, since the city was isolated for many years, practically inaccessible. In 2011, this picturesque destination was considered a “Biosphere Reserve” by UNESCO, and there you can enjoy the Madeira Theme Park and the Rocha do Navio Natural Reserve, the main tourist attractions in the region.