Camara de Lobos
photo by Ricardo Liberato

Madeira is a sub-tropical archipelago located in the Atlantic Ocean and an autonomous region of Portugal. The archipelago is made up of two populated islands, Madeira and Porto Santo, and two groups of unpopulated islands called the Desertas and Selvagens Islands. It is part of the European Union ultraperifric area.

Known worldwide as the Islands of eternal Spring, Madeira or "Ilha Jardim" (Garden Island) has a mild climate throughout the entire year.

Madeira island is 310 miles from the African coast and 620 miles from the European continent, only 1h 30mn flight from mainland Portugal and about 3h from all the main countries in Europe.


Madeira Islands are just a short trip from Europe (more or less 4 hours from UK), to a destination where you can combine holidays on the beach, in the mountains or in the city. Discovered early in the 15th century by the Portuguese navigators João Gonçalves Zarco, Tristão Vaz Teixeira and Bartolomeu Perestrelo, Madeira is an autonomous region of Portugal.


  • Funchal — Island regional capital and largest city in Madeira, home to tourist resorts, gorgeous panoramas and local color.

  • Santa Cruz

  • Machico

  • Santana

  • Camara do Lobos

  • Ribeira Brava town

  • The nearby island of Porto Santo

Getting there

By plane

  • Madeira International Airport/Funchal(FNC) (IATA : FNC)(ICAO : LPMA) (formerly known as Santa Catarina Airport), about 30 minutes from Funchal,in Santa Cruz municipality. Tel: +351 291 52 07 00. The island of Porto Santo (PXO)is in Porto Santo/Vila Baleira. This airport is just a 15 minute flight from Madeira International Airport. There is boat/ship service between the two islands. The following Airline companies fly regularly to Madeira International Airport: TAP Portugal, Portugália, SATA, British Airways, Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Air France, easyJet, First Choice Airways, Thomson, LTU, Thomas Cook, Condor, Niki, SAS, Sterling, Transavia, My Travel, Binter Canarias and (from May 2010).

By boat

  • Cruise ships port here.

  • There is a weekly connection between Portomaio (Algarve) to Madeira offered by Naviera Armas .

  • There is a car ferry between Porto Santo and Madeira, two hours one way. Ferry Service Funchal-Porto Santo.

Traveling around

  • Buses Recommended to get a 7 days bus ticket, access to all Funchal City routes, 17.50 EUR (March 2007)

Beware - timetables are very confusing as they do not include clear route details.

There are three bus companies:

  • Horarios de Funchal operates lines no 20/21 Funchal - Monte, line no 29 Funchal - Camacha, no 56 Funchal - Santana (via Ribeiro Frio), no 77 Funchal - Santo Antonio da Serra (via Camacha and Sitio Quarto Estradas), no 81 Funchal - Curral de Freiras and no 103 (Funchal - Arco de Sao Jorge (via Faial, Santana and Sao Horge).

  • Rodeste operates lines no 3 Funchal - Estreito de Camara de Lobos, no 6 Funchal - Arco de Sao Jorge (via Ensumeada), no 7 Funchal - Ribeira Brava, no 80 Funchal - Porto Montiz (via Calheta and Prazeres), no 96 Funchal - Jadrim da Serra (Corticeirias), no 139 Funchal - Porto Moniz, no 142 Funchal - Ponta da Pago (via Prazeres) ans no 148 Funchal - Boa Morte.

  • S.A.M. operates lines no 23 Funchal - Machico (Espressbus), no 53 Funchal - Faial (via Airport), no 113 Funchal - Canical (via Airport) and no 156 Funchal - Marocos (via Machico, changes bus ar Machico)

  • Taxis

  • Car rental Renting a car is a great way to see the island. All European rules of the road apply in Madeira. Roads outside of Funchal can be windy and steep and gas stations rare. Renting via the Internet is usually cheaper than walking-in.


  • Levadas An impressive system of aqueducts built in the 1900s to bring water from the mountains to cropland.

  • Cabo Girão One of the world's highest ocean cliffs (590m/1,935 ft. above sea level), you'll easily realize the island's Edenlike quality.

  • Jardim Botânico Funchal Botanical garden.

  • São Vicente Caves, .Volcanic caves where you can visit lava tubes.

  • Jardim do Monte Palace Magnificent gardens of the former Monte Palace hotel.

  • Jardim Orquídea Orchid garden.

  • Madeira Story Centre, . The best way to learn about Madeira's history and culture.

  • Fireworks on New Year's eve The biggest fireworks in the world (Guinness world record 2007). Best places to see the fireworks include the tip of the marina of Funchal, on the cruise ship, and Pico dos Barcelos (on the side where you can see the Funchal's marina).

  • Miradouro means viewpoint. Splendid view of the island can be seen from different viewpoints. Recommended viewpoints include: Pico dos Barcelos, Pico do Arieiro, Pico de Facho, Curral das Freiras, Monte. (For Pico do Arieiro, you can check its current view from live webcam before embarking your journey.)

Things to do

  • Madeira Nature, . The Nature of Madeira (Active and Eco-Tourism)

  • Hiking at Ponta de São Lourenço, the eastern part of Madeira is a Nature Reserve with wonderful panoramic views of the Atlantic and spectacular volcanic rock formations. Many unusual species of plants are found here and are best seen on foot, like the Ice Plant, Everlasting, Cardoon and many more. Down the cliff is a secluded beach called Prainha, the island’s only natural black sandy beach. Very popular with the locals, it’s great for swimming. The hiking trail can be walked comfortably with a pair of good hiking boots. Hiking duration could last several hours, prepare food and drink.

  • Vanguartour, .Travel Agency specialised in upmarket individual tours, VIP services, incentive programs and renting of luxury villas on Madeira Island

  • Santo da Serra Golf, .

  • Palheiro Golf, .

  • Porto Santo Golf, .

  • Sailing,

  • Snorkeling,

  • Scuba diving,

  • Madeira Island tours,

  • Madeira Ecotours, .

  • Nature Meetings, . Hiking.

  • Surfing The Atlantic offers waves for moderate to experienced surfers.

  • Madeira Wind Birds, . Bird watching.

  • InterTours, . Sightseeing tours.

  • Madeira Adventure Kingdom Levada Walks, trekking, Canyoning and excursions in Madeira Island.


  • Il Basilico , +351 291 708700, Rua de Leichlingen, 7 , Pormenade, Italian Restaurant belonging to the Porto Bay Hotels & Resorts • À la carte lunch and dinner • served inside and on the terrace • special children's menu • reservation recommended Open every day from 12.30 to 15.00 and 19.30 to 22.00

  • Il Gallo D'oro , +351 291 707 700, The Cliff Bay Hotel Estrada Monumental, 147, First Michelin Star Restaurant on the island of Madeira • Mediterranean gourmet cuisine • a jacket and tie required for gentlemen • reservation recommended Opening times: Everyday, from 08.00 to 10.30 and 19.00 to 22.00


  • Adega da Quinta, Quinta do Estreito, Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, Tel: +351 291 910 530. Traditional restaurant where you can eat "espetada" in an old winery uphill from Câmara de Lobos

  • Coral Restaurante, Praca da Autonomia, Câmara de Lobos, Tel: +351 291 098 284. Fresh fish and shell fish.

  • Espada Preta, Caminho Trincheira, 9300-159 Câmara de Lobos, Tel: +351 291 948 439. Fresh fish and shell fish, also try their specialty "bread soup" (main course).

  • Restaurante O Tunel, near the tunnel of Caniçal. Seafood starters and espetada as main course. If you do the levada walk or drive around the area of Caniçal, Machico and Pico de Facho.


Madeira Wine is a fortified wine prized equally for drinking and cooking. There are four major types of Madeira: Malvasia (also known as Malmsey or Malvazia), Bual (or Boal), Verdelho, and Sercial, the latter two being drier.



  • Quinta das Colmeias , +351291741515, Caminho do Poiso, Casais Proximos, Santo Antonio da Serra, from Funchal / airport, drive past the golf course. Just before the round about, there is a turining to your left. Is the fourth gate on your right, Two Holiday homes. The Main house sleeps 8 and the Cottage sleeps 6. Both share a common swimming pool. A few minutes drive from Santo da Serra Golf Course and Horse Ridding Centre.


  • Atrio - Madeira : The Atrio is a small family run hotel located on the south side of Madeira island. Each room is individually styled. Address: Lombo dos Moinhos Acima, 9370-912 Estreito da Calheta - Madeira (+351) 291 820 400, email:, fax: (+351) 291 820 419.

  • Vila Galé Santa Cruz , (+351) 291 529 000, Rua de São Fernando 9100-157 SANTA CRUZ - MADEIRA, Since its launch in 2006, the Vila Galé Santa Cruz Hotel is your hotel of choice for a holiday in Madeira. Only 5 minutes away from Funchal International Airport, the Santa Cruz Hotel is a top-quality 4-star hotel where you only have the sea for a vista. Located only a few kilometers away from the tourism centre of Funchal

  • Villa Koala , , The Koala is a small hotel located on the south side of Madeira island.

  • Pestana Hotels & Resorts - Caniço: Pestana Atalaia

  • Estalagem do Mar, just outside within walking distance from São Vicente on the north coast. Rooms with private bathroom and tub and view to the Atlantic Ocean. Indoor and outdoor pool, jacuzzi and a sauna, lots of parking space. Double low-season at €50.

  • Crowne Plaza, . Some English spoken here, wireless access in lobby. All rooms have ocean front views facing east. Several options for day trips and guided activities.

  • Quinta da Quebrada, . Quinta da Quebrada is on the North Coast of Madeira, more precisely in Arco de São Jorge. The place has pleasant weather, with sun all year round. Very warm and dry in summer, gentle temperature and very few rainy days in winter. The unit has 7 Bungalows all with a very beautiful view over the Atlantic Ocean, TV and Telephone. Each one is made up of a double room, a private bath-room, and a kitchenette/living-room.

  • Quinta Da Casa Branca, An old Quinta converted into a boutique design hotel, set in the heart of Funchal, among colourful gardens.


  • The Cliff Bay The Cliff Bay Estrada Monumental, 147 +351 291 707 700 . Luxurious 5 star hotel owned by Porto Bay Hotels & Resorts, it is the most awarded 5 star hotel in Madeira with prizes like the Neckermann PRIMO 2008; Trip Advisor 2009 Winners: Top 100 World Luxury Hotels; Style Holidays Gold Award 2005, etc.

  • Porto Santa Maria , +351 291 206700 , Avenida do Mar e das Comunidades Madeirenses, 50, Porto Santo Maria, owned by Porto Bay Hotels & Resorts, lies at the water's edge in the very heart of Funchal's old centre.. A lovely 4 star hotel offering 146 rooms, restaurant, bars with terrace, direct access to the promenade, outdoor pool, indoor pool, SPA, gym, parking... all in the heart of the city.

  • Hotel Porto Mare , +351 291 703700, Rua Simplício Passos Gouveia, 21, The 4 star Porto Mare hotel, owned by Porto Bay Hotels & Resorts, occupies the central wing of the Vila Porto Mare resort and benefits from the use of all its facilities. There are many different corners and atmospheres here ... something new to discover everyday.

  • Suite Hotel Eden Mar , +351 291 709700, Rua do Gorgulho, 2, The 4 star Suite Hotel Eden Mar, owned by Porto Bay Hotels & Resorts, is the place to put yourself in tune with nature and enjoy your time in the exuberance of the surroundings. Feel yourself merging with the Atlantic Ocean and experience the lusciousness of the tropical gardens.

  • The Residence , +351 291 708700 , Rua de Leichlingen, 7, The 4 star The Residence, owned by Porto Bay Hotels & Resorts, is occupying the west wing of the Vila Porto Mare resort, The Residence enjoys the use of all its facilities and a real sense of community. Four restaurants, five bars, five pools, SPA,sports and children's facilities...

  • Reid's Palace , +351291717171, Estrada Monumental, 139, Has been a standard bearer for luxury hotel excellence on Madeira island for over a century. Offering superb views of the Madeira and the ocean, a luxury hotel spa and exclusive gourmet restaurants, is the perfect hotel at which to relax. Famous for its Afternoon Tea. Including a Kids and Teens Club to welcome all family vacations. Lovely five-star Hotel where Winston Churchill used to stay! Belongs to Orient-Express.

  • Savoy & Royal Savoy - Reid's rival hotel complex, consists of the old Savoy hotel and new, contemporary Royal Savoy


English is as common as in mainland Portugal, although people will always appreciate it if you try and learn a few words of Portuguese. Note that the Portuguese spoken in Madeira tends to be heavily accented.


  • The University of Madeira is one of the youngest Public Universities in Portugal.

  • Currently the Mathematics and Engineering Department offers a joint *Professional Master Degree with the Carnegie Mellon University in Human-Computer Interaction . This top Professional Master program provides international students with opportunities to study in one of the best locations in the world, while having access to one of the world best Universities in Information and Communication technologies.


Madeira is presently one the best locations in the E.U. for companies with operations in the single market and worldwide. With reduced direct and indirect taxation, adequate infrastructures, competitive operational costs, safety and quality of life, Madeira is positioned to provide the investor with a unique package of benefits, offering a wide range of solutions to enhance the efficiency and performance of various forms of investment.

Moreover, Madeira's preferential tax regime has not only been approved by Portugal, but also by the European Union as a valid form of State Aid for regional development, providing Madeira's IBC with credibility and transparency. To find out more about Madeira's special status in the E.U., please consult State Aid nº 222-A-02; State Aid nº 222-B-02 and the Commission's Decision 2003/294/CE.

For more information visit the official website of the International Business Center of Madeira .

Emergency Service telephone number is 112 Some police in Funchal have red armbands, this signifies that they speak another language other than Portuguese, mainly English and German. Crime figures for Madeira are very low.

Contact & location

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Ricardo Liberato, Feliciano Guimarães, Jean & Nathalie, uggboy, Rodrigo Soldon, Jens karlsson

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This travel guide also includes text from Wikitravel articles, all available at WikitravelView full credits

Teresa Sousa, Peter Fitzgerald, Duarte Nunes, Eric Polk, David, André Caldeira Ferreira, Leandro Iwai, Nick Roux, Nuno Jardim Nunes, Finn Årup Nielsen, Michele Ann Jenkins, Serrie, Rob Payne, Colin Jensen, Ioannes Paulus, Yann Forget and Evan Prodromou, AJMad, Roundtheworld, Travel20, Tatatabot, Inas, Anapissarro, Texugo, Episteme, AnyFile, Europhile, Morph, Jonboy, InterLangBot, Nzpcmad, Huttite and PierreAbbat

This travel guide also includes text from Wikipedia articles, all available at WikipediaView full credits

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