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The Ultimate Guide To Discover Madeira

In April 2023 we decided to go on a scouting trip to visit the island of Madeira with the aim of finding the most beautiful spots to photograph and which we would then include in our next Photo tours. The departure was not easy because both Giulio and I were ill with a very strong flu, high fever, chills and muscle aches, but this did not prevent us from exploring the island in all its charm. Equipped with paracetamol and brufen in our pockets, we rented a mini van in order to be able to see as many places as possible, at the best times for taking photos and to rest when we needed it. It was a perfect idea because it allowed us to optimize our time, see many spots and choose the best ones for our photo tours.

Madeira is a magical island, full of breathtaking landscapes, spectacular night skies and incredible nature, a true photographic paradise and we did not want to miss any of those beautiful places.

If you want to discover Madeira, in this article you will find an index with the topics that may be useful in planning your trip:

When Is The Best Time To discover Madeira

The best time to visit Madeira depends on the activities you plan to engage during your trip. Madeira enjoys a mild subtropical climate throughout the year, making it a suitable destination for travel at any time. However, there are some factors to consider:

1. Weather

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.

2. Landscape And Nature

The landscapes of Madeira are rich in vegetation and green all year round. However, if you are interested in seeing the island’s flowers in full bloom or exploring the laurel forest, then I recommend visiting Madeira during the spring months (March to May).

3. Outdoor Activity

There are many outdoor activities you can enjoy in Madeira, such as hiking, levada walks and water sports. Spring and fall are the best times for pleasant temperatures to engage in these activities without the summer heat or winter rains, but if you prefer warmer weather for beach activities or swimming in the sea, then I recommend the summer period.

The Ultimate Guide To Discover Madeira

Discover Madeira: the 5 Most Beautiful Excursions

Madeira, with its wonderful nature and breathtaking landscapes, offers many unforgettable excursions. Here’s you can find the top five most beautiful excursions that we selected for you:

1. Levada do Caldeirão Verde

The Levada do Caldeirão Verde is one of the best and most popular hikes in Madeira due to its natural beauty. The green vegetation, the high mountains, the waterfalls along the way and the surreal panorama, make this levada one of the unmissable on the island.

Another factor that makes this path one of the most popular, is the ease with which it can be reached.

The Levada do Caldeirão Verde is a 12km round trip trail. The duration is approximately 5 hours. It depends on the time you will spend looking around and photographing the wonders you will see.

Along the way there are some tunnels so I recommend you to have a head torch.

Discover Madeira: the 5 Most Beautiful Excursions
Foggy hiking path with jungle plants in the forest in Levada do Caldeirao Verde Trail, Madeira island, Portugal.

2. The Vereda do Areeiro – Pico Ruivo

The Vereda do Areeiro – Pico Ruivo is one of the most beautiful paths in Madeira, but unlike the Levada do Caldeirão Verde, this is a real mountain path, therefore not suitable for everyone.

The path connects the third highest mountain on the island, Pico Areeiro, with the highest, Pico Ruivo, where it is possible to admire an arid landscape surrounded by mountains, different from other paths in which the predominant color is green.

The Vereda do Areeiro – Pico Ruivo is a very demanding and tiring round trip path of about 11 km. To enjoy this path, you need good physical preparation to face the ups and downs encountered along the way, especially in the final part of the outward and return journey where there are long stairways.

Discover Madeira: The Vereda do Areeiro – Pico Ruivo

3. Vereda Da Ponta De São Lourenço

The VEREDA DA PONTA DE SÃO LOURENÇO is the easternmost path in Madeira and one of the most popular.
Its arid landscape without vegetation offers many incredible panoramic points.

Its path is full of ups and downs and high rocks of volcanic origin that separate the calm waters of the south from the rough ones of the north.

On the south side there is a beach, Praia de São Lourenço, where many people relax and enjoy the cool ocean water. The beach is white and the color of the water is a mix between green and deep blue.

Landscape of Madeira island – Ponta de sao Lourenco

4. The Levada das 25 Fontes

The Levada das 25 Fontes is so called because along the way there are 25 sources or small waterfalls.

It is a very popular and highly visited trail even during the low season, so I recommend that you start this walk early in the morning to better enjoy the landscape and the sounds of nature.

1.8 km from the car park is Casa do Rabaçal where you can stay or simply stop for breakfast or lunch.

The Levada das 25 Fontes is a round trip path where there is a short detour to admire the Cascada Risco. The complete route is about 11 km.

It will take about 3-4 hours to complete the entire trek, but it will depend on how long you stop to admire and photograph the two main waterfalls.

Madeira waterfall – 25 Fontes or 25 Springs in English. Rabacal – Paul da Serra. Access is possible via the Levada das 25 Fontes

5. Posto Florestal do Fanal

Posto Florestal do Fanal is a national park in which it is located a very large forest of Laurissilva, a hundred-year-old laurel forest, typical of the Macaronesian islands.

This magical centenary forest that looks like one of those in the Grimm brothers’ fairy tale, is almost always hidden by fog and this gives it a mystical and suggestive mood.

We were lucky to see it in all conditions: with fog during sunset, with the sun, at night with a starry sky and clear of clouds

The ancient trees of Posto Forestal do Fanal have very particular shapes. Some have thick leaves, while others have hollow branches that reach into the sky like long arms. It seems that some of these trees were already here when Madeira was discovered in the 15th century.

The site became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, due to the beauty of the place and its naturalistic importance: the forest covers a large part of the island’s surface and is an important green lung to be protected.
In the Posto Foresta do Fanal there are also many cows which 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.

What To Pack to discover Madeira: Essential Clothing For Your Trip To Madeira

Packing the right clothing on an island like Madeira, with such a varied climate, is very important to make the trip more comfortable and to allow you to be outdoors despite the weather conditions. Below I will list you what absolutely cannot be missing in your suitcase, if you ha’ve planned to visit and discover Madeira.

Lightweight And Breathable Clothing

Madeira has a mild climate all year round so can bring breathable t-shirts, tank tops, shorts. These are suitable for both warm days and for exploring the island in comfort.

Comfortable Walking Shoes

You will need comfortable hiking shoes or boots if you plan to hike and explore the levada trails.

Layering Pieces

I recommend packing a few layers as well for cooler evenings or higher altitudes. You may bring a light sweater or light jacket which you can easily add or remove as needed.

Rain Gear

In the greener and more lush areas, occasionally rainfall is common, so I suggest you bring a jacket or a lightweight, waterproof jacket with you to stay dry during unexpected showers.

Conclusion

I hope this article will help you in your travel plan in order to discover Madeira and its beautiful natural landscapes.

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 more information, contact us!

The author

Safae

Hello, I'm Safae, an adventure lover based in the Lofoten, a wonderful archipelago in northwest Norway. With a deep love for sports and a thirst for exploration, I enjoy venturing into the wonders of nature and discovering new landscapes. As a co-founder of Gotophototour, I handle some responsibilities, including administration, collaborations, and content creation. Through my writing, I love sharing my travel experiences to virtually introduce you to the places I've visited before.
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