Madeira, the island of wonders, is a perfect destination for photography enthusiasts, offering breathtaking landscapes, spectacular night skies, and an unforgettable travel experience surrounded by nature. In this article, I want to share with you the tips and sensations I experienced during my trip to Madeira, hoping to inspire you to embark on the same adventure.
Here, you’ll find an index containing topics of your interest:
- When Is The Best Time To Go To Madeira
- The 5 Most Beautiful Excursions in Madeira
- What to Pack: Essential Clothing for Your Trip to Madeira
- Where to Stay on Madeira, The best hotels and apartments
When Is The Best Time To Go To Madeira
The best time to visit Madeira largely depends on your preferences and the activities you plan to engage in during your trip. Madeira enjoys a mild subtropical climate throughout the year, which makes it a suitable destination for travel at any time. However, there are a few factors to consider when deciding the ideal time to visit Madeira:
Madeira experiences warm temperatures and moderate humidity year-round due to its location in the Atlantic Ocean. The average temperature ranges from 17°C to 25°C (63°F to 77°F) in the coastal areas. Summers (June to September) are pleasantly warm, while winters (December to February) are mild. Spring (March to May) and autumn (October to November) offer comfortable temperatures and are ideal for outdoor activities.
Landscape and Nature
Madeira’s landscapes are lush and green year-round, thanks to its abundant rainfall. However, if you are particularly interested in witnessing the island’s flowers in full bloom or exploring the laurel forest, visiting during the spring months (March to May) is recommended.
Madeira is known for its diverse outdoor activities, such as hiking, levada walks, and water sports. The spring and autumn seasons provide pleasant temperatures for engaging in these activities without the summer heat or winter rainfall. However, if you prefer warmer weather for beach activities or swimming in the sea, the summer months are the best choice.
Crowds and Prices
Madeira attracts tourists throughout the year, but the peak tourist season is from June to August when visitors from Europe flock to the island. If you prefer to avoid large crowds and potentially high prices, consider traveling during the shoulder seasons (spring and autumn).
Festivals and Events
Madeira hosts several vibrant festivals and events throughout the year. The most famous is the Madeira Carnival, held in February or March, featuring colorful parades and lively street celebrations. The Flower Festival, taking place in April or May, showcases the island’s stunning floral displays. The Madeira Wine Festival, held in September, is a celebration of the island’s wine culture. If you wish to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience these festivities, plan your visit accordingly.
The 5 Most Beautiful Excursions in Madeira
Madeira, with its spectacular nature and breathtaking landscapes, offers numerous possibilities for unforgettable excursions. Here’s a selection of the five most beautiful excursions not to be missed on the island:
1. Levada do Caldeirão Verde
(About 11.9 km long with an estimated duration of 7 hours)
This excursion will take you through one of Madeira’s most iconic levadas, the Levada do Caldeirão Verde. The levada is an irrigation channel that follows a route through the mountains, offering breathtaking views and passing through several tunnels. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to admire spectacular waterfalls, lush rainforests, and a variety of unique flora and fauna.
2. Pico Ruivo
(About 5.8 km long with an estimated duration of 45 minutes)
At 1,862 meters, Pico Ruivo is the highest mountain in Madeira and offers extraordinary panoramic views of the island. Along the route, you’ll traverse mountain trails, pass through tunnels, and have the chance to capture stunning photos of the surrounding landscapes.
Remember to wear appropriate hiking gear and bring a jacket as the weather at the top can be cool and windy.
3. Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço
(About 7.4 km long with an estimated duration of 2.5 hours)
Located on the eastern part of Madeira, Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço is an excursion that will take you through a nature reserve with unique geology. This stretch of land features fascinating rock formations, steep cliffs overlooking the sea, and a variety of rare plant species. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to admire spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and capture the wild beauty of this part of the island.
4. Levada das 25 Fontes
(About 8.4 km long and with an estimated duration of 3.2 hours)
The hike to Rabaçal is one of the most popular on the island, thanks to its impressive waterfalls and lush vegetation. During the trek, you’ll pass through laurel forests, encounter picturesque waterfalls, and reach the famous “25 Fontes” (25 Fountains), a series of water sources that form an impressive cascade. Along the trail, you’ll have the opportunity to see the rich biodiversity and immerse yourself in the untouched nature of Madeira.
5. Fanal Laurissilva Forest
The last but not the least is the forest of Fanal, a must-visit destination for nature lovers. Located in the northwest part of the island of Madeira, in the hinterland of Ribeira da Janela, this forest of laurel offers a magical and enchanting experience.
The majestic trees with their dense and branched trunks create a fairytale-like environment, casting a mysterious and captivating ambiance.
Fanal Forest is a paradise for photographers, offering ample opportunities to capture its natural beauty. The unique lighting conditions, with sunlight filtering through the dense canopy, create a magical and dreamy atmosphere that photographers will appreciate. Take advantage of the early morning or sunset hours to capture the forest’s enchantment in the best light. Grazing cows make the landscape even more fascinating. They are calm animals, used to the presence of humans, so you can enjoy the place without worries. Just avoid touching them as I saw them do during my trip, because I noticed that they were very annoyed by the intrusive tourist.
If you need more information, you can check on alltrails.com.
What to Pack: Essential Clothing for Your Trip to Madeira
Packing the right clothing for your trip to Madeira is essential to ensure comfort and preparedness for the island’s diverse weather conditions and activities. From exploring nature trails to enjoying coastal walks and evenings in charming towns, having the appropriate clothing will enhance your overall experience. In this guide, we’ll outline the essential clothing items to pack for your trip to Madeira.
Lightweight and Breathable Clothing
Madeira enjoys a mild climate throughout the year, so pack lightweight and breathable clothing items such as t-shirts, tank tops, and shorts. These will keep you cool during warm days and are suitable for exploring the island’s natural attractions.
Comfortable Walking Shoes
As Madeira offers diverse landscapes and opportunities for exploration, comfortable walking shoes are a must. Pack a pair of sturdy walking shoes or hiking boots with good traction, especially if you plan to go hiking or explore the levada trails.
While Madeira generally enjoys pleasant temperatures, it’s wise to pack some layering pieces for cooler evenings or higher altitudes. Bring a lightweight sweater or a light jacket that you can easily add or remove as needed. Layering will help you adapt to changing temperatures throughout the day.
Madeira is known for its lush greenery, and occasional rainfall is common. Pack a lightweight, waterproof jacket or raincoat to stay dry during unexpected showers.
Accessories and Essentials
Remember to pack essential accessories such as sunglasses, a hat or cap for sun protection, and sunscreen to shield yourself from the sun’s rays.
Where to Stay on Madeira
The best hotels and apartments
As you plan your trip to this paradise destination, it’s important to find the perfect place to stay. In this article, I present a curated selection of the best hotels in Madeira, catering to different budgets and preferences. Whether you’re seeking luxury, comfort, or affordability, we’ll guide you to the ideal accommodation options on this enchanting island.
Best Luxury Hotels
- Belmont Reid’s Palace: Perched dramatically on a cliff overlooking the sparkling Atlantic waters, Belmont Reid’s Palace is a symbol of refined elegance and luxury. With its lavish rooms, impeccable service, and breathtaking views, this hotel promises an unforgettable experience. Enjoy world-class amenities, including a luxurious spa, fine dining options, and beautiful gardens surrounding the property.
- Quinta Jardins do Lago: Tucked amidst lush botanical gardens, Quinta Jardins do Lago offers tranquility and sophistication. This converted 18th-century manor house turned luxury hotel provides spacious and beautifully decorated rooms, a refreshing swimming pool, and personalized service. Relax in the serene gardens or treat yourself to a rejuvenating spa treatment.
- The Cliff Bay – Porto: Boasting a prime location in Funchal, The Cliff Bay – Porto seamlessly blends modern luxury with natural beauty. This five-star hotel features elegant rooms, excellent dining options, and a breathtaking infinity pool overlooking the Atlantic. The stunning views and exceptional service make it an ideal choice for discerning travelers.
The best Mid-Range Hotels
- Hotel Porto Mare: With a contemporary Mediterranean design, Hotel Porto Mare offers a delightful blend of comfort and style. The spacious rooms, well-maintained gardens, and multiple swimming pools create a serene atmosphere. Guests can enjoy various on-site restaurants, indulge in spa treatments, or simply relax on the nearby beach.
- Madeira Bright Star Hotel: Located in the heart of Funchal, Madeira Bright Star Hotel offers excellent value for money. The tastefully decorated rooms, friendly staff, and convenient location make it a popular choice among travelers. Explore the vibrant streets of the city, try local cuisine, or take a leisurely stroll along the nearby promenade.
- Quinta Splendida Wellness and Botanic Garden: For those seeking tranquility amidst nature, Quinta Splendida Wellness and Botanic Garden offers a unique experience. Surrounded by lush gardens and boasting its own botanical garden, this hotel provides a peaceful retreat. Enjoy the outdoor swimming pool, indulge in wellness treatments, or explore the vibrant flora on the property.
- Golden Residence: Situated in the charming village of Ponta do Sol, the Golden Residence offers affordable accommodation without compromising comfort. Guests can enjoy comfortable rooms, a rooftop pool with panoramic sea views, and easy access to the beach. Take advantage of the excellent value for money and explore the natural wonders of Madeira.
- Hotel Escola: Located in the heart of Funchal, Hotel Escola offers budget-friendly accommodation with a focus on hospitality education. The hotel’s comfortable rooms, friendly atmosphere, and central location make it a convenient base for exploring the city’s attractions, such as the historic old town and bustling markets.
- Apartamentos Turísticos Vitória: Providing self-catering apartments, Apartamentos Turísticos Vitória is an excellent choice for budget-conscious travelers. Situated in the lively city center of Funchal, these apartments offer affordable options without compromising on convenience. Each apartment is equipped with essential amenities, allowing guests to enjoy a comfortable stay while exploring the vibrant surroundings. With its central location, you’ll have easy access to restaurants, shops, and local attractions.
Whichever hotel you choose, rest assured that Madeira’s natural beauty and warm hospitality will make your stay a memorable one. Explore the island’s breathtaking landscapes, indulge in local cuisine, and create unforgettable memories during your visit to this enchanting destination. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a mix of both, Madeira’s diverse accommodation options will ensure you find the perfect place to call home during your time on the island.
Remember to respect the environment and avoid leaving any trace of your visit to preserve the delicate ecosystem. By practicing responsible tourism, we can ensure the preservation of these magical places for future generations to enjoy.