The Hawai'i of Europe: Madeira, Portugal

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Curated By

Kendal Brock

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  • Madeira

  • Portugal

  • Adventure Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Off-the-Beaten-Path Travel

  • Coastal

  • Mountains

  • Hidden Gems

A green, mountainous coastline by a body of water
Curator’s statement

Widely known as the Hawai'i of Europe - explore the wonders of Madeira, where lush landscapes intertwine with ancient stories. From dramatic coastlines to vibrant mountains, Madeira offers a diverse range of experiences. Come curious, ready for adventure, and openness to exploring new things - you will then witness Madeira's distinct charm as it unfolds before you.

The Fora Difference

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Insider knowledge

Expert advice from people who’ve actually been there

Where to stay in Madeira

Quinta da Casa Branca

An elegant boutique hotel nestled amidst lush botanical gardens, offering a unique blend of tranquillity, refined service, and modern comfort in the heart of Madeira, Portugal.

Fora Perks
  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Saccharum Resort & Spa

Your Madeira retreat, where modern luxury, ocean vistas and island relaxation converge for a delightful stay on the Portuguese archipelago

Estalagem da Ponta do Sol

Sleek clifftop property overlooking the Atlantic Ocean with chic, minimalistic rooms.

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Things to do in Madeira

A person hiking a mountain during a sunrise

Explore the Beaches

Prainha de Caniçal: this secluded, off the grid spot offers calm waters and a peaceful environment with the locals.
Praia da Ponta do Sol: a quant pebble beach in the heart of the picturesque town of Ponta do Sol, where after a day on the water, you can soak in all the town has to offer including colorful architecture and local cuisine.
Praia do Porto do Seixal: with its black volcanic sand, is a captivating beach nestled between towering cliffs and lush green mountains on Madeira's north coast, the dramatic scenery looks straight out of a movie.

Hike

Pico do Arieiro Sunrise Hike: Experience the magic of dawn atop Pico do Arieiro, Madeira's third-highest peak. The sunrise hike promises breathtaking panoramic views of the island emerging from the morning mist. An absolute must on your trip to Madeira.
Risco Waterfall: cascading from the lush Laurissilva Forest in Madeira, is a majestic natural spectacle that plunges gracefully over the rugged cliffs of the Risco Plateau. One of the most unique spots on the island.
PR6 25 Fontes along Levada do Risco: an invigorating journey through the island's enchanting landscapes, where lush landscapes, waterfalls, and endemic flora create a mesmerizing natural spectacle. You'll feel like you're in a fairytale.

Swim in a natural pool

Piscinas Naturais do Aquário: enjoy natural saltwater pools carved into the coastal rocks with the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and the sound of waves crashing against the rocks, this place is truly the universes natural spa.

Historical Stroll in Funchal's Old Town: Wander through the charming cobbled streets of Funchal's Old Town. Explore historic buildings, vibrant markets, and quaint shops. Make sure to come hungry!

Madeira Botanical Garden: Immerse yourself in the beauty of flora at the Madeira Botanical Garden in Funchal. After taking a cable car ride to the top, spend the day wandering through themed gardens in the beautiful landscape.

Day trips

Explore Ribeira da Janela: nestled on Madeira's north coast, captivates with its lush greenery and the rhythmic flow of a picturesque river through the valley. The cliffs that frame this idyllic village create a stunning backdrop from every angle, a true hidden gem on the island.

Santana's Thatched Houses: Visit the iconic thatched houses in Santana, a symbol of traditional Madeiran architecture. These triangular-shaped homes, known as palheiros, are nestled amid the picturesque landscapes.

Places to eat & drink in Madeira

An outside seating area on the beach

Armazém do Sal: housed in a former salt warehouse in Funchal, the restaurants offers a blend of traditional Madeiran flavors with a modern twist.

Café do Teatro, Funchal: a chic coffeehouse located in the Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias, a must try for all independent coffee shop lovers.

Restaurante do Forte, Funchal: located within the historic Forte de São Tiago in Funchal, this restaurant combines Portuguese flavors with a charming, unique atmosphere overlooking the harbor.

Quinta do Furão Restaurant: offers panoramic views of vineyards and gardens in Santana, and a menu highlighting Madeiran specialties.

Mercado dos Lavradores, Funchal: a bustling market in Funchal offering a vibrant array of fresh produce, traditional snacks, and regional specialties to fully immerse yourself in the local culinary scene.

Marisqueira o Gaveto, Funchal: known for its fresh catch and diverse array of shellfish dishes, this is a must try in Funchal.

Taberna Ruel: with a menu inspired by Madeiran traditions in the heart of Câmara de Lobos, it's the perfect place to savor authentic dishes.

Vila do Peixe, Camara de Lobos: endless seafood specialties in Camara de Lobos, a charming fishing village - this restaurant offers a variety of fresh catches in a relaxed, seaside setting.

Need to Know

This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Madeira. For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Glenda De La Torre’s guide, Discover the Charms of Madeira.

kendal on pathway with a waterway and buildings.

Travel Advisor

Kendal Brock

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