Madeira is a picturesque island located in Portugal, famous for its lush greenery, stunning cliffs, and delicious cuisine. Known as the Pearl of the Atlantic, this island has something for everyone, whether you’re a nature lover, a foodie, or just seeking a relaxing vacation. Here is a Lonely Planet style visitor guide to Madeira to help you plan your trip.

Getting There:

Madeira has an international airport, Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira International Airport, which is served by several airlines from major cities in Europe. Flights from London take around 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a ferry from mainland Portugal or neighboring islands.

Getting Around:

The best way to explore Madeira is by renting a car, as it gives you the freedom to stop at various viewpoints and attractions at your own pace. Taxis and public transportation are also available, but they may not be as reliable as renting a car.

Where to Stay:

Funchal, the capital city of Madeira, has a variety of accommodations to suit all budgets, ranging from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. For an authentic experience, consider staying in a traditional Madeiran quinta (manor house) or a rural cottage in the mountains.

Things to See and Do:

1. Levada Walks – Madeira is famous for its levadas, a network of irrigation channels that crisscross the island. These levadas offer some of the best hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the forests, cliffs, and waterfalls. Suggested trails include the Levada do Rei and the 25 Fontes.

2. Cabo Girão – One of the highest sea cliffs in Europe and a must-visit attraction in Madeira. The viewing platform offers spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the coastline.

3. Mercado dos Lavradores – This vibrant market is a foodie’s paradise, with stalls selling fresh seafood, exotic fruit, and traditional Madeiran sweets. Be sure to try the bolo do caco, a flatbread made with sweet potato.

4. Monte Palace Tropical Garden – An enchanting garden located in the hills above Funchal, with winding paths, shimmering lakes, and colorful flowers.

5. Porto Moniz Natural Pools – A unique swimming experience in Madeira, these natural pools are formed by volcanic rocks and offer crystal clear waters ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

Where to Eat:

Madeira is known for its flavorful seafood dishes, especially espada (black scabbard fish) and lapas (limpets). Other specialties include espetada, a skewered beef dish, and poncha, a local cocktail made with aguardente (sugar cane brandy), honey, and lemon juice.

1. Restaurante O Lagar – A cozy restaurant in the heart of Funchal, famous for its grilled fish and seafood.

2. Taberna Madeira – A casual restaurant in the Old Town of Funchal, offering traditional Madeiran dishes at affordable prices.

3. A Morgadinha – A rustic restaurant in the mountains with stunning views of the valley, serving delicious meat dishes and local wine.


Madeira is a slice of paradise that offers breathtaking scenery, delectable cuisine, and a warm Portuguese welcome. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a culinary adventurer, or seeking tranquility, Madeira has something for everyone. Plan your trip today and immerse yourself in the beauty and charm of this magical island.

The following resorts are available in Madeira: