Someone asked me what my favorite destination was. I had to think for a little while because Bali and Madeira are very close. They are totally different but Madeira is on the top of my list. Here’s the ultimate Madeira bucket list to make the most of your trip!
I made a Madeira bucket list before I visited the island! The reason why I love Madeira so much is the nature on the island. It’s insane how gorgeous it is. The flowers are everywhere, the sort-of rain forest on the middle of an island is mesmerizing and the mountains and natural swimming pools are amazing to visit as well. It’s not your typical tropical island to visit since they aren’t many beaches. Two fake beaches with white sand from Morocco and a few black sand beaches. If you love nature, this really is the place to be. It’s an island that still needs to be explores by tourists which means it’s still authentic. The locals are so happy to see you and are always willing to talk to you. Madeira is definitely one of my top recommendations for you guys! The island is not that big but there are lots of things to do and see. These are the things to add to your Madeira bucket list!
The island from the ocean is amazing. Especially the old town of Funchal is amazing to see from a boat trip. The cliff sides are impressively tall and if you’re lucky, there’s a chance of swimming next to these cliffs. Madeira is a windy island, so it can be chilly on an overcast day.
Madeira is actually one of the best destinations to dive in Europe. The water is very clear and the temperatures is pretty steady with minimal fluctuations. The water is the coldest in the winter months, especially February with 18 degrees and the summer months take up the temperature to about 24 degrees. Let’s see how many wild sea animals you can spot!
So, the Madeira wine is interesting. Not going to lie, it’s not the best wine I have ever tasted but it is something to try while you’re here. Me and my friend got the Madeira wine when we went to dinner, before ordering our food. I’m pretty sure there are multiple Madeira wine to taste so definitely try out more than one Madeira wine. Maybe you’re more satisfied than me!
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I went to the Madeira Rum House to taste rum and it was so much fun! There are so many different ones to try out and you can buy small bottles to take with you. You can also taste Poncha here, which I’ll explain later!
Madeira has a few amazing gardens and this one is on top of a hill next to Funchal. The separate gardens have an entrance fee and most of them are open until 6 PM. Definitely a great option on a good, sunny day to enjoy the view over Funchal and admire the gardens!
The island is different in height on some part which make the drivers incredible due to all the amazing views. There are two mountains on the island reachable by car and on your way up – there are so, so many points to stop the car and enjoy the views!
This cable car takes you to the Monte Palace Tropical Garden! It departs from Funchal centre, next to the harbour and sea so just walk to the boulevard and you’ll find the cable car. It takes about 10-15 minutes before you reach the top of this cable car. The view is amazing!
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Levada’s are small streams of water next to the walking path and they are pretty popular on the island. I wanna say it’s sort-of a mini waterfall and they sound SO calming! I loved my hikes next to these Levada’s.
This is the highest mountain on the island and SHOULD be on your Madeira bucket list! This mountain is reachable by car as well, but the last part (about 3 kilometres) can only be done if you hike to the top. Definitely a challenging hike as I’ve heard and I would advise you to wear good hiking shoes. Most of this trail is build on rocks so you don’t want to wear any slippery shoes. I can say, the views from this mountain are one of the best I have ever seen in my life and I didn’t even reach the ultimate top.
This is the famous look-out point on top of glass. This is build next to a cliff and the “floor” is only glass so you can look down to the ocean. I didn’t visit this one because we didn’t have enough time but it looks very impressive. Such a great spot to enjoy the views as well and take some pictures as well.
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This one is on the east side of the island. Pretty windy, but definitely visit this one because the volcanic rocks are so pretty. Once again, the views are AMAZING and there are so many look-out points. You can walk to the other side of these rocks and admire the views from the other side.
Funchal has a new and old part of the centre and the old part is definitely my favorite. This small street is called Rue Santa Maria and has the famous art doors which are amazingly painted. There are a lot of amazing restaurants in this street as well and it was my favorite place to have dinner.
Poncha is a typical Madeiran alcoholic drink as well. It’s orange juice mixed with rum or any other combination. Must say, it is so strong. My god. Me and my friend shared one and I’m so happy we did. It tastes good but you have to get used to the rum in it because that, my friends, has a very high alcohol percentage. If you’re old enough to try it, take a sip and see if you like it!
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Camara de Lobos is known to be the prettiest village on the island. It’s next to a harbour and almost has an Italian feeling as well! Walk around this village because there’s so much to see. From painted doors to colourful boats in the harbour.
Madeira has a few natural swimming pools and these are very nice to visit. Some of them are very busy with tourists but it really depends on the day and season you visit them. Porto Moniz is the most popular one on Madeira and it’s the only one I have visited so I can’t recommend you any other natural swimming pools. It’s pretty crowded so decide for yourself if you want to go in. If you have the time, I definitely think you should visit Porto Santo. This is an island next to Madeira, much more quiet and the natural swimming pools look even better over there! You can take a water plane from the Madeira airport or take a boat to this small island.
These 15 things on my Madeira bucket list are easy to combine when you’re visiting Madeira. Some excursions will touch most of these, especially the off-road excursion where you take a few Levada hikes as well. If you love the freedom, a rental car is a great option as well. Most of the roads are pretty good, but some hills are crazy steep so remember those. Madeira is such an incredible island to visit. It’s so raw, the nature is incredible and it’s definitely an island to visit! These 15 things to add on your bucket list will make your visit to the island complete.