The amazing Madeira island of Portugal is one of the best-kept secrets in Europe! You will not regret to visit Madeira as part of your Portugal vacation or even a trip by itself. Overall, our 7-day itinerary offers a great balance of outdoor activities, scenic hikes, cultural experiences, and relaxation time, allowing you to fully appreciate the natural beauty and unique character of Madeira. Let’s jump in!
Day 1: Arrival in Funchal
After arriving in Madeira, take some time to settle into your accommodation and get a feel for your surroundings. Depending on your arrival time, you can explore the nearby area or simply relax and enjoy a fresh seafood dinner near your hotel.
Day 2: Funchal
Start your day with a visit to the old town of Funchal, where you can explore the narrow cobbled streets, admire the colorful houses, and visit historic landmarks such as the Sé Cathedral and the São Tiago Fort. Then head to the Mercado dos Lavradores, Funchal’s famous farmers’ market, to see a variety of local produce, flowers, and handicrafts.
Indulge on various types of passionfruit while in Madeira. They are deligous!
In the afternoon, take a cable car ride from Funchal to the hilltop village of Monte, where you can visit the Monte Palace Tropical Garden and enjoy panoramic views of the city and the sea. To complete your Funchal experience, ride a basket cart toboggan back down to the city center.
Day 3: Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo
Today, embark on a challenging but rewarding hike from Pico do Arieiro, one of the highest peaks in Madeira, to Pico Ruivo, the highest peak on the island. The trail offers stunning views of the mountains and valleys, beautiful wild flowers, as well as several tunnels and bridges. Make sure to bring comfortable hiking shoes, warm clothing, sunscreen, and plenty of water and snacks for the 6 km round-trip hike.
TIPS: Bring a headlamp or flashlight with you on this hike as you will need one to get through a few long dark tunnels.
Day 4: Cabo Girão – Porto Moniz – Achadas da Cruz
Start your day with a visit to Cabo Girão, one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, which offers spectacular views of the sea and the surrounding landscape.
Then head to Porto Moniz, a picturesque town on the northern coast of Madeira, where you can swim in the Porto Moniz natural swimming pools and explore the volcanic rock formations.
In the afternoon, take a cable car ride from Achadas da Cruz to the seaside town of Porto da Cruz, which offers beautiful views of the coastline and the mountains. In our opinion, this cable car ride is by far the best (most thrilling and beautiful) cable car rides we have had.
Day 5: Levada das 25 Fontes
Today, take a scenic hike along the Levada das 25 Fontes, which is known for its beautiful waterfalls and natural pools. The trail is about 9 km long and takes about 3-4 hours to complete, offering stunning views of the mountains and forests along the way.
The photos cannot do the justice to this beautiful hike. This hike is also very enjoyable as it’s mostly covered in shades. Pack a picnic to enjoy by the waterfalls.
Day 6: Ponta de São Lourenço
Start your day with a hike along the Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço, a scenic trail that offers stunning views of the ocean and the rocky coastline.
After the hike, cool off with a swim at Gomes Pool, a natural saltwater pool in Porto da Cruz. Be sure to check the seasonal schedule of the pool.
In the evening, head to Boca do Cavacas, our favorite restaurant in Madeira that offers delicious seafood and beautiful views of the sea and the sunset. Oh, this restaurant also has the best (and addictive) passionfruit pudding on the island. Celebrate your time in Madeira with a romantic sunset dinner. The view and food will make you want to return to Madeira soon.
Day 7: Departure
Depending on your departure time, you can spend your last day in Madeira exploring the nearby area or simply relaxing and soaking up the atmosphere. Don’t forget to pack any souvenirs or local delicacies that you want to take home with you.
If time allows, you can also add a visit to Santana to any of the days above, as it’s located in the north-eastern part of the island and can easily be reached by car or public transportation.
I hope you find this itinerary helpful in planning your trip to Madeira! Keep in mind that some activities may have limited availability or require advance booking, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead.
TIPS: Don’t plan your home-bound or international flight on Day 7 or even the following day. The flights in and out of Madeira could be unreliable due to wind and flight cancellation. We advice to schedule Madeira at the beginning of your Portugal trip instead of at the end.
Leave a comment if you have a question or want to share your experience and itinerary in Madeira and Portugal.