Where to stay in Madeira If you ask yourself this question this article will be useful for you.We have selected places of all types and for all types of tourists. You are sure to find the most suitable for your travel expectations.
The Romans had already heard of Madeira.in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, between the Azores -the most western point of Europe- and the Canary Islands is the Autonomous Region of Madeira or, as it is known to tourists: Madeira.
It is an archipelago composed of five islands: the uninhabited Ilhéu Chão, Deserta Grande and Bugio and also known as the «Desertas Islands» and the inhabited, more touristic and visited Porto Santo and Madeira .
Of volcanic origin, the main island, Madeira, has the highest point in the Pico Ruivo, 1862 meters high .With its capital in Funchal, it also has an international airport to the west, near the town of Santa Cruz.
As it is a region whose economy is based on tourism, the options for accommodation in Madeira are multiple . This is coupled with increasingly better road communications that make Madeira one of the most recommended archipelagos in Europe to enjoy a vacation.
The best areas to stay in Madeira
Before talking about the most important areas to stay in Madeira, I would like to tell you that the archipelago -especially the main island- has quite good tourist resources, among which almost 2.500 accommodations .
Apartments, houses and villas make up 80% of the offer, but also hostels and hotels. 600 establishments to sleep in Madeira with 4 or 5 stars category stand out. A real opportunity for a luxury holiday.
Funchal is the town with more accommodation offer in Madeira.The city is located in the south of the main island (Madeira) and is the capital of the archipelago
With more than 110.000 inhabitants, Funchal is a very dynamic city and is also very well connected by road with the rest of the island and the Madeira Airport Cristiano Ronaldo to the east.
Funchal has , one of the best beach areas on the island and it is also at the foot of the mountains. In fact, one of the excursions you can make is to visit the Funchal Ecological Park .
Before you get there, we also recommend you visit the Monte Tropical Garden, an exotic natural museum with a large collection of minerals, trees and plants of all kinds, sculptures, ponds and much more.
In addition, it will provide you with a magnificent panoramic view of the whole city and the ocean.You can reach this place by a cable car that starts at the coast, at Avenida do Mar e Das Comunidades Madeirenses, 32.
Just near the cable car station you can find the Fortaleza de São Tiago and further west, in the historical centre, the Catedral de Funchal , from the 15th century when the Portuguese colonized the archipelago.
Two other places not to be missed are the Parque Botânico de Madeira, in the northeast of the city, and the Parque Santa Catalina, near the big port of the city (another attraction) and about 200 meters from the Museum CR7 , in honor of Cristiano Ronaldo.
There are other museums of interest such as the Quinta das Cruzes and the Museum of Sacred Art, or temples and palaces such as the Convent of Santa Clara and the Palace of San Lorenzo.
Funchal is also a good place for shopping, you can do it in traditional markets like Dos Lavradores , covered, specialized in fruits and with three restaurants, or in the modern Shopping Center La Vie
You should also know that Madeira produces a very good wine since a long time and there are several wineries where you can taste or buy it.The most popular is Blandy’s Wine Lodge , on Avenida Arriaga, 28.
As for restaurants , where you can enjoy a beer and nightlife, Funchal will not disappoint you.The greatest variety of venues is in the historic center: restaurants for luxury like Ritz Madeira; places to taste the best local cuisine like Regional Flavours, or restaurants for romantic dinners by the sea like Il Gallo D’Oro.
And if you want to enjoy Madeira’s nightlife, you can do it until dawn in pubs like Hole in One, near the Gallo D’Oro; the Irish pub Moynihan’s, or the Copacabana Club in the Casino of Funchal that opens its doors at 1:00 and usually closes at around 5:00.
FINDS ACCOMMODATION IN FUNCHAL
We leave the popular Funchal to talk about this town of 12,000 inhabitants, facing the sea and also called «Airport City» , as it is just south of it, a few hundred meters away.
In this case you will find a fishing town that still keeps the atmosphere of a Madeira less influenced by tourism.Even so, the options for accommodation in Madeira are good, with apartments and several hotels.
From Santa Cruz you can’t leave without visiting Praia das Palmeiras Although it’s not sand but pebbles, it has several swimming pools and a solarium.further south, there’s a marina with a diving centre and, not far away, there’s an amusement park: Aquaparque Madeira
Also on the coast, to the north of the port, don’t forget to visit the Fort of San Fernando , from the 18th century and a place that was used to guard the coast.As for culture, it can also be interesting to visit the Church of San Salvador , from the 17th century and with a soft and clean exterior, like many buildings on the island.
Santa Cruz is a small town and does not have large areas, except for a small Shopping Centre near the Church of El Salvador.However, there are small shops and markets like Santa Cruz (on Rua da Praia) where you can buy local products.
What you can find is restaurants One of the most popular is Taberna do Petisco, with good service and reasonable prices.another restaurant, this time recommended for families, is Bilheteira, with local and quality cuisine.And if you go to the Aquaparque, a place with a good reputation is Adega Moniz, a quiet restaurant.
LOCATION IN SANTA CRUZ
It belongs to the municipality of Santa Cruz and is just north of the airport .It has several parishes or neighbourhoods, but the most populous is the town next to the coast, with almost 12,000 inhabitants and more options than Santa Cruz for sleeping in Madeira in the east.
Road communications are good inland and to the north and south of the coast, and the atmosphere is quite touristy.
The first getaway we recommend is to the coastal area, where there is the Playa de Machico and the port, where there is a travel agency that organizes trips to the sea in large boats to watch dolphins and whales.
If you want to do some hiking, from the beach in north direction you can make a route to the Mirador Do Picho do Facho from where you have a privileged view of the bay.
On the way back to Machico, you can take a break in a small park called Solar do Ribeirinho, with a cafeteria included. If you go inland, heading northwest, you will also find places of interest such as the caves or Furnas de Cavalum , some caves in the valley and somewhat hidden.
If you want to do some shopping , the highest density of shops is in the beach area, with shops like Loja do Mercado de Machico.
and to be able to eat well and fresh products, we recommend restaurants like MaréAlta Peixe & Mariscos, an establishment in front of the beach.
You can also enjoy the evening in Machico in places like Baía Beach Club in the port and with a very good atmosphere.
ACCOMMODATION IN MACHICO
We go to the west of the island to talk about this small village famous for its beach and cove , and at the foot of the mountains and large cliffs.The municipality is divided into several parishes or councils and in all of them there are places to stay and within the average quality of accommodation in Madeira.
If you stay in the beach area you will find hotels and apartments , while if you stay in the interior areas rural houses and villas predominate.
As we said, the most interesting area is the Calheta Beach, with golden sand brought from the mainland and with a marina set up in another cove and protected from the sea by large dikes.
Another place of interest is the Mudas Contemporary Art Museum , on top of a cliff west of Calheta Beach.
The beach area is the best area for shopping , especially in the Pingo Doce centre.
As there are many accommodations dotted here and there, there are usually cafes and restaurants near each of them.
In the higher areas of the municipality, we recommend As Fontes do Horácio or the Restaurant & Café A Pedreira, while in the coastal area there are other places very visited and recommended as Convento Das Vinhas or Bar Calheta Beach, in the middle of the beach.
And to enjoy a little bit of the night, one of the most visited places is the Pukiki Tiki Bar , specialized in rum.
ACCOMMODATION IN CALHETA
Besides this article about the best places to sleep in Madeira we recommend you: Caniçal
We go back to the east of the island to talk about another old fishing village now also with great tourist influx thanks to its beach and bay .Here you will find a variety of establishments to stay in Madeira; as well as the more residential areas of Punta Garaje and Oliveira.
One of the most famous places in this city is the Whale Museum , which shows life-size imitations of various species and information about the relationship of this city and the sea.
Nor should you miss Caniçal Beach , which, although it has black sand, is very well conditioned and is very visited.
And if you are lucky enough to visit Caniçal in the third week of September, you will coincide with the celebration of the procession of Nossa Senhora da Piedade .This takes place from the top of a hill east of Caniçal and where the fishermen go up to get the virgin and then ride on a boat and walk it around the bay.
In addition to the city itself, Canical has other population centers and tourist resorts along the peninsula that stretches to the east, one of them is the Quinta Do Lorde , very close to the chapel mentioned and with very good services.
Back in the most populated area, in the promenade along Caniçal Square there are several restaurants where you can enjoy the local cuisine: Tasquinha do Pescador, Bar Amarelo, Aquarium and Muralha’s Bar, the most famous of all.
LOCATION IN CANIÇAL
6.Ponta do Sol
Another location that combines rural tourism, trekking and sun and beach leisure is this small town in the south of the island.
Due to the steepness of the area, the road communications with Ponta do Sol have several kilometers of tunnels.
The most touristic area is the mentioned Ponte do Sol Beach , very quiet and with several places of interest like Cabo Ponta do Sol, San Antonio Chapel or Cine Sol, which is now a room for all kinds of events.
Also, as we mentioned before and like Calheta, this is a very good area to do hiking .
In addition to good accommodation in Madeira, Ponta do Sol also has some good restaurants, bars and pubs .On the beach you can eat in Maré Alta and Caprice, as well as cocktail bars like The Old Pharmacy or try the homemade ice creams from Baloo.
A little further north, there are other establishments such as Sabor Italiano and the Pizzeria Sol Doce and in the inland area, other places like Dos amigos, specializing in homemade food.
ACCOMMODATION IN PONTA DO SOL
To the east of Ponta do Sol and near Funchal is this city which also gives its name to a municipality and has a very urban atmosphere, although in its port you can still find small coloured boats .
Its name is due to the fact that on its shores used to prowl for sea lions or monk seals.
The main attraction of Camara de Lobos is , its bay , which was painted by Churchill himself while he was on holiday, where the fishermen’s boats are moored and the fish is dried.
In terms of cultural attractions, of the churches in the area, San Sebastian , on the San Bernardino Way, is the most spectacular with a Portuguese colonial style, precisely at its back is the Vigário Beach and in front of it the Madeira Printing Museum Another temple of interest is the Chapel of Our Lady of Council, in the bay.
In Camara de Lobos you can also go shopping in shops like Souvenirs Varadouro or go to the Mercado Municipal where there is everything.
If you have chosen an apartment to stay in Madeira in the area, you can buy the most famous fish of the place: black sable .If not, you can also try it in restaurants such as Restaurante Vila do Peixe, Filos D’Mar or Restaurante Praia Do Vigário .
If you go out at night, don’t forget to try «poncha», typical drink of the area composed of honey, hot water and lemon juice.a good place can be the Bar Number Two.
MEETING IN CAMARA DO LOBOS
To the west of Camara de Lobos, this village was created in 1440 and takes its name from a torrent of water that died in the sea.
The number of establishments available for accommodation in Madeira in this municipality is not very large, it is spread out over the municipality and most of them are guest houses .
One of the most representative buildings of the city is the Church of San Benito , with a big tower and in a very nice square.not far away is the old Fort of San Benito , south of the Lighthouse, and then the city beach, with black sand.
To enjoy good views, you can take a walk to the Miradouro , to the northeast.We also recommend that you visit the Madeira Ethnographic Museum, on Rua de San Francisco
If you want to do some shopping, in Ribeira Brava there are very good pastries You can go to the pastry shops Brava Doce or Miminho and buy some sweets and to try the local cuisine we recommend the Restaurant Borda d’Àgua, Don Luis Restaurant or Grill Muralha Terrace.
LOCATION IN RIBEIRA BRAVA
It is a city with scattered population centers, both on the coast and inland.East of Funchal, it is an area with very few beaches and the coast you will find is full of coves and cliffs .
The distribution of the establishments to stay in Madeira in the municipality are centered in Ponta da Oliveira and north of the statue of Christ the King.
Precisely the statue of Christ the King is one of the most visited places in Canico.
Just west of this monument you will find one of the few beaches of the Canico coast: The Garajau , quite visited but of gravel .
Other places in the thing you will like are the Ponta da Oliveira and the Miradouro Pico da Atalaya, remote places and great natural beauty .In the interior, on the way to Funchal, you can also visit the Palheiro Gardens.
In the area of Ponta da Oliveira you can find some of the best restaurants of Canico, one of them is Fados, another one is A Traineira and a very special one is Recamar, in front of the coast.Also in the area north of Cristo Rei there are several quality establishments such as Frago da Guiia or O Mero Restaurant, on Garajau Beach.
And the options for going out at night are also quite scattered with places like Peter’s Wine & Beer, in Ponta da Oliveira, or Babel Disco, to the north of Cristo Rei.
LODGING IN CANIÇO
Apart from Madeira Island, the other populated island is Porto Santo and Vila Baleira is its capital.in the south of the island, it is very well connected by road with other towns and also has an international airport.
It has a large port and has been a prosperous island since it was colonized by the Portuguese in the 14th century.As for the hotel offer , this is distributed throughout the city, although it does not constitute a very high percentage of the total accommodation in Madeira.
The first thing to note in Vila Baleira is its beach, with golden sand , wide and continues southward to Ponta da Calheta.
Back in the city, you may be interested in visiting , the house where Columbus lived , today a museum about colonialism.
And if you feel like walking or touring the island, about four kilometres from Vila Baleira you will find Pico do Castelo , 450 metres high and where you can find the remains of a fortress.on the way to the mountain, you can turn right to visit the Chapel of Our Lady of Grace.
In Vila Baleira you can also do some shopping.If you want to buy a gift or a souvenir of the island you can do it in Loja Fushia Gits, near the Casa de Colón there is a wine bar called Wine Bar 3V’s where you can buy or taste local wines, and to the east there is a bakery called Nata Dourada.
The variety of restaurants in Vila Baleira is wide.You can choose from those that are on the beach like Retamar or Pé ne Água or more in the interior, around the Plaza del Ayuntamiento, like O Rochedo, O Jorge or the Restaurant O Forno.
For enjoy the afternoon and night we recommend two beachfront locations: O Corsário and Porto Santo.
ACCOMMODATION IN VILA BALEIRA
We return to the island of Madeira, to its most northern civilized enclave.
The options for staying in Madeira in this inhospitable area are varied: there are three hotels, guest houses and apartments.
Besides being a place to spend a quiet vacation, Porto Moniz is known for its natural pools One of them is 100 meters wide and all are conditioned, even with small beach areas.
In the village there is also a small church which is very well maintained, and to the east, on the coast, an Aquarium with several rooms and species of fish and molluscs. As for other places of interest, you can go a little further from the coast and visit the Miradouro, from where you can have a panoramic view of Porto Moniz.
In relation to shopping and restaurants , the most interesting is surrounding the two natural pool areas.You can buy some souvenirs in Salgueiro Souvenirs and there are enough supermarkets and shops to buy food if you rent an apartment.
If you prefer to eat in restaurants, the best ones are concentrated around the two natural pool areas: Sea View Restaurant, Orca, Cachalote or Vila Baleia are some of the most recommended ones.
ACCOMMODATION IN PORTO MONIZ
12.Jardim do Mar
Also in the west, but to the south, is this tourist center of about 300 inhabitants and much visited by surfers. The town is connected to the north and south of the island by two roads and an important part of the houses are fitted out as accommodation and with the same quality/price ratio as other coastal areas where you can stay in Madeira.
Although it is not spectacular, on the ER223 road there is a viewpoint from where you can see the whole village of Jardim do Mar. From this point you can distinguish the Chapel of the Pietà, an old church a little abandoned and on the outskirts, and the Church of Jardim do Mar , in the centre of the village and main square.
Like many of Madeira’s churches, its walls are a clean white and it has a large tower that stands out from the other buildings in Jardim do Mar.
This village is not a place to go shopping, there are hardly any shops.Sao Vicente
We reach the end of this guide to tell you about this town in the north-central area of the island, which is distributed along the basin of a river and is surrounded by mountains that end in cliffs on the coast.
Roads under tunnels are very common, although there is also a large open road along the river that connects the area with the centre of the island.You can start by going to the rest area on the beach and from there you can see the Sao Vicente Waterfall , a small river that appears from a hole in a cliff and throws its waters almost into the sea.
Following the course of the river inland, another place of interest is the Sao Vicente Caves , some caves of volcanic origin that can be visited with a guide.
Not far from these, to the east, there is a hiking route: Rota do Cal , which ends in a small museum where you can learn about the process of making lime and how it was transported from there to other parts of the island in the 1940s and 1950s.
Beyond the natural beauty of the area, another interesting place is the Capilla de San Vicente , almost at the mouth of the river.
As the village is very blurred, there is no specific shopping area, but shops here and there.
As for restaurants , the thing is more located in the coastal area.Along the road ER101 you will have several establishments at your disposal and in front of the sea: Xapa Grill, Vila Vicente, Restaurante Carabela or Quebramar, among others.
ACCOMMODATION IN SAO VICENTE