Pico do Arieiro, Madeira Climbing Pico Ruivo, Madeira – image courtesy of ana272.com

Top attractions in Madeira

Famous for its natural beauty, Madeira offers honeymoon couples a choice of sightseeing attractions, including the following…

Funchal, Madeira


Funchal’s attractive tree-lined streets crisscross lush green hillsides dotted with luxuriant plants and red-roofed whitewashed villas.

Explore narrow winding alleyways lined with 15th and 16th century buildings in the historical heart of the Old Town.

Examine Gothic arches, Baroque altars, stained-glass windows and an exquisite Moorish carved cedar ceiling inside the stone-floored 15th century Sé (cathedal).

See a superb display of antique Portuguese silver, rare Indo-Portuguese cabinets and unique chests native to Madeira at the Museu da Quinta das Cruzes, the former home of the man who discovered Madeira in 1419, João Gonçalves Zarco. Stroll around the museum’s surrounding gardens filled with colourful orchids.

Admire entire walls covered with glazed tiles that date from the 17th and 18th century at the Santa Clara Convent and the Sao Pedro Church.

Then visit the iron tomb of the last of the Habsburgs, Emperor Charles (who died of pneumonia on Madeira in 1922), at the Church of Nossa Senhora do Monte.

Read more about Funchal

Santana, Madeira


Explore what is arguably the prettiest village in Madeira – a delightful collection of brightly painted A-frame thatch-roofed cottages known as palheiros that line the cobblestone streets.

Don’t miss the Madeira Theme Park, one of the island’s most popular attractions, with four multimedia pavilions showing films that trace the history of Madeira. The Park also has a boating lake, a landscaped garden maze and a children’s playground.

Parque Florestal das Queimadas, Madeira

Out of town, discover a network of hiking trails that wind through green meadows past cascades and along steep bush-clad ravines.

Explore the Laurissilva forests around Parque Florestal das Queimadas, into the Pico das Pedras National Park and the Rocha do Navio Nature Reserve.

Visit Santana for a day or stay longer at the Quinta do Furão, Achado do Gramacho, a cliff-top inn located in a vineyard and serving delicious local cuisine.

Santana is located on a costal plateau at an altitude of 742m, overlooking the north coast around 18km northwest of Ribeiro Frio and 40km north of Funchal.

Madeira Forest Park

Madeira Forest Park

From the small village of Ribeiro Frio, follow marked trails of rock-cut basalt along the Levada do Furado to the miradouro (belvedere) of Balcões for panoramic vistas of mountain peaks and ravines blanketed in Laurissilva forest.

Other trails lead past trout ponds, tumbling streams and cascades that lie scattered amid jagged mountain peaks and quiet valleys in this protected national park. Along the way look out for rock pigeon, ringdove and kestrel, among other bird life.

Ribeiro Frio is located in the centre of Madeira around 20km away from Funchal.

Pico Ruivo, Madeira

Pico do Arieiro

Experience Madeira’s scenic central mountain region by hiking from Pico do Arieiro (1780m) to Pico Ruivo (1860m), the highest point on the island.

The 7km-long scenic trail – which at times winds up rock-carved staircases – takes around four hours to complete and offers breathtaking panoramic vistas and the chance to spot native birdlife such as the Madeira fire crest, robin redbreast, partridge and the endemic Freira da Madeira.

Alternatively, drive up to the miradouro (lookout) at Pico do Arieiro for panoramic views, including an outlook to the dramatic rocky spike of Penha d'Aguia (or Eagle's Rock) and Pico Ruivo (photo).

Pico do Arieiro is located 36km north of Funchal.

Eira do Serrado, Madeira

Eira do Serrado

View all of Madeira’s craggy mountain summits from the miradouro of Eira do Serrado (1175m) with views across the Grande Curral – a deep and extinct volcanic crater known locally as ‘the belly button’ of the island. Terraces of fruit groves line the inner caldera.

Experience one of the most beautiful spots in Madeira at the whitewashed village of Curral das Freiras, which nestles nearby in a deep valley surrounded by towering mountains at the geographic centre of Madeira.

Eira do Serrado is located 16km northwest of Funchal.

Câmara de Lobos, Madeira

Câmara de Lobos

Explore this pretty fishing village of red-roofed whitewashed houses. The village surrounds the cliff-sheltered harbour and pebble beach.

Follow the example of Winston Churchill and capture this magical spot in watercolours. Câmara de Lobos (or Room of the Wolves) is located 19km from Funchal.

Cabo Girão, Madeira

Cabo Girão

Just 16km further along the coast road are the spectacular wave-lashed cliffs of Cabo Girão.

From the 570m-high belvedere, enjoy breathtaking coastal views and look down to the tiny hand-cultivated terraced farms that cling to the almost-sheer cliffs above pounding ocean waves.

Serra de Agua, Madeira

Serra de Agua

Discover Madeira’s stunning natural beauty from this attractive mountain village of red-roofed, whitewashed houses.

Serra de Agua lies nestled in a valley surrounded by towering bush-clad mountain peaks scattered with terraced fields of green crops.

Located around 6.5km north of Ribeira Brava and 56km west of Funchal, Serra de Agua is an ideal base for walking adventures into the surrounding countryside.

Just 6.5km north sits the 990m-high Boca de Encumeada, with its belvedere providing panoramas over both sides of the central mountain range.

Come for a day or stay longer at the stone-built Pousada dos Vinháticos, one of Madeira's best pousadas (government-sponsored inns).

São Vicente, Madeira

São Vicente

This pretty whitewashed village sprawls across a picture-perfect green valley surrounded by towering peaks.

Visit the nearby volcanic caves and watch an audiovisual show at the visitors centre to learn how Madeira was created through volcanic action.

This scenic region offers challenging drives along narrow twisting roads on precipitous ledges carved into cliff faces, overlooking ravines scattered with tumbling cascades, terraced farms and vineyards.

Drive up from Funchal for the day or stay longer at the Estalagem do Mar, which features a choice of excellent regional fish and meat dishes. São Vicente is just 14km northwest of Boca de Encumeada and 56km northwest of Funchal.

Porto Santo

Island hopping

Take the two-hour ferry ride to Porto Santo Island, famous for its 9km-long golden sand beach. Stay for the day or mush longer.

Blessed with year-round sunshine, friendly locals who maintain age-old traditions, a stunning beach, scenic walking and cycling trails, fine local cuisine and luxury accommodation, Porto Santo Island – a small and unspoiled island in the Madeira archipelago – offers newlyweds all they need for a tranquil beach honeymoon at any time of year.

Read more about Porto Santo

Local wines

Madeira is famous for its magnificent array of fortified wines, once the mainstay of the economy and easily savoured at any taverna on the island.

Be sure to try some of the favourites: the world famous dry and light-coloured Sercial; the golden-hued, slightly sweeter Verdelho; the very sweet Bual, usually taken with cheese; and the rich Malmsey, which is served with dessert.

More about Madeira…

Latest update: Top attractions in Madeira: 7 December, 2019

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