Insider's Guide to Islands of Portugal

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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Famed for its fine red wine, breathtaking coastline, and misty laurisilva cloud forests, the island of Madeira has for centuries been a popular stop between the Portuguese Coast and Canary Islands. Today, this gem of an ilha is a fabulous resort destination, catering to families, nature lovers, and anyone in love with the sea.

Madeira is perhaps best known for its attractive cities dating to the 1500s, magnificently framed natural saltwater pools, deserted islands, and excellent hiking. Try to plan your trip around one of its fabulous festivals, from the Madeira Wine Rally to the New Years Eve spectacular, with one of the world's largest fireworks displays.

Other attractions are too numerous to list, from splashing waterfalls pouring through the ancient volcanic slopes, to crashing waves against Europe's highest cliffs, scaled by cable cars. Whales, dolphins, and monk seals swim offshore, while scores of birds, including several endemics, soar overhead. Relax on a yacht, explore centuries of culture at the museums, or enjoy the sunshine and a glass of red wine, away from it all.

Practical Info

The island of Madeira is the largest in an archipelago of Portuguese islands that also includes the Azores, Porto Santo, and uninhabited Deserta Islands. It is both an Autonomous Region and protected as a Natural Park. 

The municipal capital, Funchal, is home to the island's international airport (FNC), with direct flights to Lisbon, Oporto, and Porto Santo, Portugal, as well as Frankfurt and Caracas. This is also Madeira's major port of call, with weekly car ferry connections to Portimão, mainland Portugal, and Las Palmas de Gran C anaria. A convenient network of local ferries, excellent roads and public buses connect Funchal to the rest of Madeira.

Tours & Tickets

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Grand Madeira Island Tour - Porto Moniz and Santana

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 10 Reviews

Spend a day admiring the picturesque scenery of Madeira. Start today with a beautiful view over Camara de Lobos from Pico da Torre followed by stunning views ...  Read more

Location: Funchal, Portugal
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $67.26

Half Day Traditions and Enchanting Valleys - Eira do Serrado, Curral das Freiras, Monte, Madeira Wine Tasting

3 star rating: Worth doing 3 Reviews

Stop at Pico dos Barcelos, viewpoint from where you can admire a beautiful view over Funchal. Journey to Eira do Serrado, viewpoint (1,094 meters) overlooking ...  Read more

Location: Funchal, Portugal
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $31.39

Full Day East Madeira - Camacha, Pico do Ariero, Ribeiro Frio, Portela, Santana

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 10 Reviews

This full day tour gives you the opportunity to see artisans at work, a town famous for its cottages and to enjoy picture perfect scenery. Visiting Camacha, ...  Read more

Location: Funchal, Portugal
Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

From USD $37.00

Madeira Nights Tour - Dinner and Show

3.5 star rating: Worth doing 8 Reviews

Enjoy dinner at a typical Madeiran restaurant where you will be served Espetada and other delicacies of Madeiran cookery. Coffee and wine is included and a ...  Read more

Location: Funchal, Portugal
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

From USD $40.36

Madeira Shared Arrival Transfer

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 4 Reviews

Travel from Santa Catarina Airport to your Madeira Island hotel. Transfer services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is a shared transfer.

Location: Funchal, Portugal
Duration: 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $14.01

Madeira Shared Departure Transfer

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 2 Reviews

Enjoy a hassle free departure with a Madeira Island to Santa Catarina Airport Shared Departure Transfer. Avoid the stress that comes with trying to get from A ...  Read more

Location: Funchal, Portugal
Duration: 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $14.01

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