The Complete Madeira Travel Guide in 2023

Madeira Travel Guide: One of the views with blue ocean and cliff in Madeira

Are you looking for the perfect escape? Surrounded by breathtaking nature and history, a trip to Madeira could be just what your wanderlust soul is seeking! From stunning landscapes, picturesque mountain vistas, and hidden coves; to exploring its culinary delights, energetic festivals and exciting activities – there’s something for everyone in this idyllic archipelago.

In this complete Madeira travel guide, we’ll let you in on all of our top tips for experiencing the best that this incredible destination has to offer. Discover why even after over five centuries since its discovery it remains an alluring place, dazzling with undeniable beauty. So buckle up as we take off on an unforgettable journey uncovering one of Europe’s most spectacular islands!

What Is The Best Month To Go To Madeira?

Are you contemplating a trip to the captivating Madeira Islands? Are you wondering when is the best time to go? Well, with its stunning natural beauty, rich history, warm hospitality, and mild climate there truly is no bad time of year to visit. However, depending on what kind of experience you’re looking for – whether it’s surfing sunny beaches or exploring fog-shrouded peaks – one month may standout as better than the others. In this blog post we’ll explore which period offers up the ideal amalgamation of factors for a perfect getaway in Madeira. So let’s dive right into exploring why each month makes an excellent window for visiting this gorgeous archipelago!

Overview of Madeira’s Year-Round Climate

If you’re looking for a temperate escape that’s welcoming year-round, Madeira might be just the destination for you. Nestled in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, this sunny Portuguese island boasts a warm, subtropical climate. With average temperatures hovering in the 70s and 80s (Fahrenheit) throughout the year, you can enjoy outdoor adventures, blissful relaxation, and everything in between, no matter when you visit. Whether you’re a sun worshipper or not, Madeira weather is sure to make you feel right at home. So why not book a ticket and see for yourself? Your perfect climate is just a plane ride away.

January – Enjoy the Off Season with Mild Temperatures and Fewer Tourists

January might not be the first month that comes to mind when planning a vacation, but it can actually offer a lot of benefits for travel enthusiasts. With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season behind us, January is the perfect time to sit back, relax, and enjoy some peace and quiet.

And, while the temperatures may be mild, the tourist crowds are much thinner, giving you ample breathing room to explore and enjoy your surroundings without feeling rushed or pushed along. Plus, with fewer travelers around, you’ll also find better deals and prices on accommodations and activities. So why not take advantage of January’s off-season charm and plan your next adventure?

On mountains of Madeira in January

February – Harness the Power of the Spring Winds for Surfing and Kite Surfing

February may be the heart of winter, but that doesn’t mean you can’t tap into the energy of the upcoming season. In fact, this is the perfect time to harness the power of the spring winds for some exhilarating water sports – surfing and kite surfing, to be precise. Imagine feeling the wind whip through your hair as you ride across the waves, soaring through the air on a kite.

The adrenaline rush alone is enough to chase away the winter doldrums. With the right gear and a willingness to take on a new challenge, you can experience the thrill of being one with the elements. So why not take advantage of this unique window of opportunity and try your hand at surfing or kite surfing in February? You might just discover a new passion while also enjoying the magic of the season.

March – Participate in the Cabo Girão International Music Festival

March is the perfect time to head to Cabo Girão and immerse yourself in the International Music Festival. With musicians from all over the world coming together to perform, there’s no shortage of great music to be heard. But the festival is about more than just the music. It’s a celebration of culture and creativity, and a chance to connect with people from all over the globe.

Whether you’re a music lover, a traveler, or just someone looking for a fun and unique experience, this festival is not to be missed. So pack your bags, grab some sunscreen, and get ready to dance to the beat of a multicultural rhythm in the beautiful island of Madeira.

April – Explore the Lavish Flora that Covers the Island During This Month

April is the perfect month to indulge in the lush flora that covers the island. The air is filled with the sweet fragrances of blooming flowers and the verdant greenery is in full bloom, creating a colorful and vibrant ambiance. The island offers a diverse range of plant species, from towering palm trees to exotic orchids that can be found in hidden corners.

It’s an experience that can be savored with all the senses – the soft petals brushing against your skin, the delicate fragrance of the flowers, and the gentle rustling of the leaves in the breeze. So come and explore the lavish flora that covers the island during this month, and let the natural beauty of the surroundings envelop you in its embrace.

May – Escape to the Mountains and Embrace Nature at its Best

Are you tired of the hustle and bustle of city life? Are you yearning to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature? Look no further than the mountains this May. Escape to the serene beauty of rolling hills and snow-capped peaks. Take a breath of fresh mountain air and let the stress melt away.

Hike through acres of untouched wilderness, enjoy panoramic views, and soak in hot springs. Experience nature’s best up close and personal. Whether you’re seeking adventure or a relaxing getaway, the mountains have something for everyone. So, pack your bags and head for the hills this May – you won’t regret it.

Sunset view from Funchal

What Are the Benefits Of Travelling Off-Season?

Off-season travel offers a plethora of benefits, including reduced crowds, lower prices, and a more authentic local experience. With fewer tourists around, you can visit popular destinations and attractions at your own pace, without the need to compete for space or wait in long lines. Additionally, off-season travel often comes with discounted accommodation rates and airfares, allowing you to stretch your vacation budget further. The quieter atmosphere allows you to connect more deeply with the local culture, as residents have more time to interact with visitors and share their customs, traditions, and stories.

On the other hand, peak-season travel presents its own set of advantages. The weather is usually at its finest during these months, ensuring that you can fully enjoy outdoor activities and attractions. Furthermore, peak-season often coincides with various festivals, events, and celebrations, providing you with the opportunity to witness and partake in unique cultural experiences. While the crowds may be larger, the energy and excitement of peak-season can be contagious, creating unforgettable memories and connections with fellow travelers. Ultimately, whether you choose to visit during the off-season or peak-season, Madeira’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage will provide a remarkable and fulfilling travel experience.

Is Madeira Expensive?

The cost of living in Madeira varies depending on your travel preferences, but there are options for luxury, mid-range, and budget travelers. Below, we’ll answer if Madeira is expensive or not. We’ll discuss accommodations, activities, must-visit locations, and tips for saving money during your stay.

Also, check out our article about comparing Madeira Island vs Portugal Mainland


  1. Luxury: High-end hotels and resorts in Madeira can cost between €150-€400 per night. Some popular options include Belmond Reid’s Palace, Savoy Palace, and The Cliff Bay.
  2. Mid-range: Comfortable hotels and guesthouses are available for €50-€150 per night. Examples include Hotel Baía Azul, Pestana CR7 Funchal, and Quinta da Penha de França.
  3. Budget: Hostels, Airbnb rentals, and budget hotels can be found for as low as €20-€50 per night. Look for options like Phil’s Haven Hostel, Santa Maria Hostel, or Residencial Pina.


  1. Luxury: Private yacht charters, guided tours, and wine tastings are available for those looking to indulge. Expect to spend €100-€300 per person for these experiences.
  2. Mid-range: Group tours, such as levada walks, whale watching, and jeep safaris, and surfing typically cost between €30-€80 per person.
  3. Budget: Hiking, visiting local markets, and exploring the island’s natural beauty are all free or low-cost activities for budget-conscious travelers.
Surfing in Madeira

Must-Visit Locations & Associated Costs

  1. Funchal: Madeira’s capital city offers a range of attractions, including the CR7 Museum (€5), Madeira Botanical Garden (€6), and the Mercado dos Lavradores (free entrance).
  2. Cabo Girão: This impressive sea cliff features a glass-bottomed skywalk (free) and provides stunning views of the island’s coastline.
  3. Pico do Arieiro: Hike to Madeira’s third-highest peak for breathtaking panoramic views. The hike is free, but transportation to the trailhead can cost €20-€50 depending on your starting point.
  4. Santana: Visit the traditional A-frame houses (free) and explore the nearby levadas and hiking trails.
  5. Porto Moniz: Enjoy natural volcanic rock pools (€1.50 entrance fee) and the surrounding coastal scenery.


  1. Car rental: Renting a car in Madeira can cost between €25-€60 per day, depending on the type of vehicle and rental company.
  2. Public transportation: Buses are available throughout the island, with a single ticket costing around €2-€5, depending on the distance.
  3. Taxis: Taxi fares vary depending on the distance and time of day, but expect to pay around €1-€2 per kilometer.


  1. Luxury: Fine dining restaurants can cost between €50-€100 per person, excluding drinks.
  2. Mid-range: Casual restaurants and cafes offer meals for around €15-€30 per person.
  3. Budget: Local markets and street food stands provide budget-friendly options, with meals costing as little as €5-€10 per person.
Madeira Travel Guide: Poncha and Prego
Poncha and Prego, €3 and €3,5 respectively

Money-Saving Tips

  1. Take advantage of free or low-cost attractions, such as hiking, visiting local markets, and exploring Madeira’s natural beauty.
  2. Use public transportation or rent a car to explore the island at a lower cost than taxis or guided tours.
  3. Eat at local markets and street food stands for budget-friendly meal options.
  4. Travel during the off-peak season (November to March) when prices for accommodations and activities are generally lower.

How Many Days Do You Need in Madeira Portugal?

Your itinerary depends on what you want to see and do in Madeira. If you’re there primarily for the stunning landscapes, a 5-day itinerary could suffice, allowing you to explore the main attractions such as Pico Ruivo, the highest peak, and Cabo Girão, the second highest cliff in the world, São Lourenço, Monte Palace, Porto Moniz, Fanal and others.

Keep in mind that some attractions you can only reach in a couple of hours from Funchal. And don’t forget about the way back!

If you wish to immerse yourself in the local culture, consider spending additional days visiting Funchal’s historic sites, tasting Madeira wine, and participating in traditional festivals.

Where To Stay In Madeira?

There are a variety of fantastic locations to stay in Madeira, depending on your preferences.

  1. Funchal, the capital city of Madeira, is often recommended as an ideal place for first-time visitors due to its luxury hotels, fabulous museums, and a mix of history and views. Some of the best hotels in Funchal include Savoy Palace and Golden Residence Hotel.
  2. For those who enjoy beach towns, Ponta do Sol is a highly recommended area. It’s also a great place for hiking enthusiasts.
  3. If you prefer a quieter location surrounded by green mountains and a black sand beach, São Vicente on the north of Madeira would be a good choice.
  4. For a small town experience, Calheta located on the southwest coast of Madeira is known for its beautiful scenery.
  5. Lastly, Caniço is mentioned as a slightly more affordable option than Funchal while still offering a great experience.

Remember to check out more detailed reviews and information before making a final decision.

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