Madeira Islands Tours & Levada Walks
First time in Madeira? In this post you’ll find a way to get the most of your next Madeira holiday, either you plan to rent a car in Madeira, explore the island by bus or be guided on tours and levada walks.
⇒ CAR RENTAL
When it come to car rental deals, I suggest you use an online platform that compares car rental deals from various companies. If you opt to rent a car in Madeira, my 5 top tips are: 1) choose a car with enough power for the mountain roads 2) select suppliers with high ratings, (8.0+), 3) be sure to take photos of the car’s condition before departure and drop-off, 4) book with full coverage for peace of mind 5) prefer full prepayment to avoid additional charges on arrival. Click (here) to find car rental deals in Madeira.
⇒ CAR PARKING
In Funchal, most people use the car parks on the main shopping centers (Plaza/La Vie, Anadia, Forum Madeira, Madeira Shopping). If you want to explore the old town area by night, or park your car nearby the marina to go on a bout tour, on a cable car to Monte, or hop on a bus to other parts of the island, another option is Parque Almirante Reis, easy to access nearby the cable car, just be sure to check its opening hours. In terms of street parking, just beware that you cannot park if there’s a yellow line area on the floor, blue lines means you have to display a parking receipt from the nearest parking machine (most only take coins) and white lines with an M written stands for “moradores” which means those spots are reserved for residents on that street.
In case you rather use public transportation, please be sure to plan the routes in advance, as there are 4 different companies that operate in different parts of island: Horários Funchal, SAM (eastern half of the island), Rodoeste (western half of the island) and EACL ( Caniço area).
⇒ TRANSFER TO/FROM MADEIRA AIRPORT
For getting an airport pickup, between the Madeira Airport and your accommodation, you can book a transfer to Funchal for 40 €* (from 1 to 4 persons) & be greeted by a driver, who will wait at the arrivals gate with a sign displaying your name. The driver will track your flight so you don’t have to worry about a flight delay. You can use this (link) to book it. At the arrival gate, on the ground floor, nearby to the Cristiano Ronaldo statue, there is also a Taxi rank.
⇒AEROBUS TO/FROM AIRPORT
If you opt for the Aerobes, the cost for a single ticket is 6,00€* & return ticket 10,00€*. You cannot book in advance, tickets are purchased on board the bus , (cash only). You can find the bus stops map here (link).
⇒PLACE TO KEEP YOUR BAGS ( before checkin or after checkout)
If you need a place to drop your bags in Funchal center, you can use the app Bounce. The price per bag is 5€* per day. In terms of locations there’s a deposit point nearby the cable car (Aerobus stop nº 4) that is open until 10 pm. You can find it here ( link ).
*prices as of January 2024
⇒ MADEIRA ISLANDS TOURS & LEVADA WALKS
When I travel I usually book my tours online in advance, through the platform “Get Your Guide”, an online marketplace for travel activities, like tours and experiences. Before booking make sure you read the travel plan in detail as well as the other guests reviews.
In order to help you get organized, I’ve divided the following tour suggestions by location: The capital city Funchal, East & West of Madeira, plus Porto Santo Island.
In Funchal there are lots of things to do, from guided walks through the history of Funchal to hop-in, hop-off bus Tours, dolphin watching by boat & even canyoning!
By foot – Enjoy a slow pace walk in Funchal with a guide, listen, look & learn about Funchal’s history
If you’re a foodie, taste the best of both worlds in this food & wine walking tour in Funchal and get familiar with traditional products from the local markets, restaurants and wine producers while exploring the city.
By Tuk-Tuk – This is a fun way to get around! A 75 minutes ride will give you a nice perspective of the city
By Bus – Sit down, put your headphones on and stop at the points of interest. This is a good 3 in 1 option: 48 hours or 22 stops in Funchal+ Visit Câmara de Lobos City Bay + Shuttle bus to Cabo Girão
By Toboggan ride in Monte + Pico dos Barcelos & Nun’s Valley. Oh yes…this toboggan ride in Monte is a must-do in Madeira. In this tour you also get to see one of the most iconic valleys of Madeira- the Nun’s Valley.
By Boat – Enjoy dolphin watching in the comfort and the privacy of a luxury catamaran.
By canyoning water courses in the mountains!
Trekking lovers walk the route PR8 – VEREDA DA PONTA DE SÃO LOURENÇO to see the beautiful easternmost point of Madeira
Walk, above the clouds, in the highest peak of Madeira – PICO RUIVO. There are several options to get there, see which suits you best:
Walk the route – PR18 – Levada do Rei to delve deep into the Laurel Forest.
Breathtaking views on this coastal walk from Machico to Porto da Cruz, that starts off easy and becomes more challenging as you go.
Take great landscapes photos over the city of Machico, where the island was first discovered!
Go snorkeling in Ponta de São Lourenço and swim in its pristine waters!
Walk in PR9 – LEVADA DO CALDEIRÃO VERDE in Santana and find out why it’s one of the most famous levada walks in Madeira.
Admire the imposing Rock of Penha d’Águia, a unique diamond shaped rock formation in the island.
Walk in PR 6- LEVADA DAS 25 FONTES to find an abundance of waterfalls in Rabaçal.
Get close look at the mystic trees of Fanal, part of UNESCO Heritage, Laurissilva forest, that survived the ice-age in Madeira.
Admire the beautiful landscapes of the Serra de Água Valley, spot some of the native wildlife and take in spectacular views of the south coast.
Short of time? You can explore both sides of the island in a single day, as these 2 tours traverse from the eastern tip, all the way to the west end, while exploring its highlights.
If you’re a wine lover, these wine tours are an extraordinary way to discover Madeira 😉
If you need more inspiration please take a look at my blog posts about Madeira & Porto Santo Island. So either you’re travelling solo, as a couple or with a group of friends, I hope you make the most of your holiday. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have other suggestions or tours that you have enjoyed in Madeira. Have fun 😉
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