Madeira, often referred to as the “Hawaii of Europe,” offers an array of breathtaking sights and attractions. This volcanic island located off the coast of Morocco boasts stunning beaches, lush forests, and a subtropical climate all year round. Despite its small size of only 741 km2 (286 mi2), you can explore the highlights of Madeira in just a few days. With its convenient connectivity, you can make the most of your time on the island. For the best deals, be sure to check out the offers on the official Jet2holidays website.
List of the Top 10 Activities in Madeira:
Here are the top 10 activities in Madeira that I personally experienced and found unique:
Visit Vereda dos Balcões
Embark on an accessible hike along the ultra-flat 1.5-kilometer path of Vereda dos Balcões. Located in Ribeiro Frio, a natural park in the heart of Madeira, this trail offers panoramic views of the forest-covered mountains and the sea on clear days.
Explore the Tomb of the Last Austro-Hungarian Emperor
Discover the Church of Our Lady of Monte, situated near Monte Palace. Admire the beautiful golden interior of the church and pay your respects at the tomb of Karl I, the last Emperor of Austria. His exile to Madeira and subsequent passing on the island make this a historically significant site.
Enjoy Madeira’s Best Beaches
Although Madeira’s beaches are predominantly rocky due to volcanic activity, they still offer opportunities for sunbathing and relaxation. Some notable beaches include Praia do Calheta, featuring imported white sand, and Machico, with imported sand near the airport. Ponta do Sol offers a small beach with excellent swimming conditions, and Seixal features a black sand beach surrounded by scenic forests.
Marvel at the Madeira Panorama at Miradouro do Curtado
Experience breathtaking views of the Madeiran coastline from various Miradouros (scenic viewpoints) throughout your trip. One standout viewpoint is Miradouro do Curtado, located between Funchal and Santana. This spot offers panoramic vistas that encompass the island’s beauty.
Witness the Waterfall at Cascata dos Anjos
Encounter Cascata dos Anjos, also known as “Angels Waterfall,” as it cascades over a former section of ER101. This unique waterfall, often jokingly referred to as “free car wash,” provides a memorable photo opportunity. Some visitors even park their cars nearby to capture photos under the waterfall. The more adventurous can swim beneath it, making for an exhilarating experience.
Indulge in a Poncha at a Local Bar
Treat yourself to Poncha, a delightful traditional alcoholic beverage made from sugar cane. Served in small glasses, Poncha comes in various flavors, such as passionfruit (maracuja), fisherman’s Poncha (Poncha Pescador), and blends with kiwi, strawberry, honey, and lemon. Some establishments offer Poncha “flights” so you can sample multiple flavors at once.
Try Scabbardfish (Espada)
Savor the local delicacy of Scabbardfish, also known as Espada. This deep-water predator fish is caught by local fishermen using specialized techniques. It is often served with bananas, providing a unique and flavorful culinary experience. You can also find Espada in chip form at local taverns.
Embark on a Dolphin or Whale-Watching Tour by Boat
Take a boat tour to spot dolphins or whales in the waters surrounding Madeira. While whale watching is best between April and October, dolphins can be seen throughout the year. These tours not only offer the chance to observe fascinating wildlife but also provide a different perspective of the island.
Explore the World’s Top Botanical Gardens at Monte Palace
Located in the northern part of Funchal, Monte Palace boasts expansive botanical gardens spanning 70,000 square meters. As you explore, you’ll encounter traditional Japanese gardens that have influenced many parks. This is a paradise for photography enthusiasts, and you can easily spend hours capturing the beauty of the gardens.
Visit the Misty Final Pond
Final Pond is a unique location in Madeira known for its misty atmosphere, providing an ethereal backdrop for stunning photographs. Exploring this area can be disorienting but incredibly rewarding. However, be sure to use GPS to find your way back to your car. Along the way, you may encounter cows relaxing in the fields, adding to the charm of this surreal location.
These top 10 activities in Madeira offer unforgettable experiences for travelers. When planning your next trip to Madeira, keep this article handy for reference. Stay updated with the latest information on Jet2holidays to ensure compliance with regulations and make the most of your journey. For more travel tips, visit the official website of Hummingvibe.
Which part of Madeira is the most beautiful?
While there isn’t a specific part of Madeira that can be deemed the most beautiful, the southwestern corner of the island is known for its sunny and warm weather.
How many days should I spend in Madeira?
A minimum of three days is recommended to explore multiple attractions throughout the island.
What is Madeira famous for?
Madeira is renowned for its stunning scenery, legends, and the production of its legendary wine, which was served to America’s Founding Fathers.
Which is better, Madeira or the Azores?
If you appreciate nature, greenery, and off-the-beaten-path adventures, the Azores might be a better choice. If you prefer sunshine, beautiful sandy beaches, luxurious amenities, and unique experiences like the cable car/toboggan ride, Madeira, especially Porto Santo, is worth considering.