Madeira Carnival offers a variety of activities you can choose from, with the option to enjoy them as a simple spectator or as an active participant. In Madeira, the Carnival season is experienced in a constant festive atmosphere, both with official initiatives and those of a more spontaneous character, deep-rooted in Madeiran tradition, with joy and cheerfulness prevailing in the streets, establishments and private homes.
Every year after Easter, Funchal is the stage of a luxurious treat for the senses, the Flower Festival, celebrating spring and the season’s exuberant flowering, even more intense in Madeira thanks to its subtropical climate. The celebrations begin on Saturday morning with the children’s parade, when thousands of kids get dressed up and come to Praça do Município in the city centre to build a wall of flowers called the Wall of Hope. The construction of the wall is of sublime significance and crowds from many foreign countries are moved, in a world that aspires more and more to peace. There is another outstanding event the next day, the Grand Flower Parade with dozens of floats and hundreds of people showing off the island’s local flowers filling the air with soft, ephemeral perfumes. At the same time as these events, there are other activities in honour of the flower filling this celebration of the senses. Madeiran artists build unforgettable carpets of flowers strategically placed in the streets. There are window dressing competitions, folklore shows, classical concerts and variety shows. The Flower Exhibition is worth a visit, as the creativity of Madeira’s flower growers surprises visitors with unique species of orchids, anthuriums or roses in a captivating profusion of colour. Come and experience spring with us!
Atlantic Festival The Atlantic Festival takes place in June and involves both culture and entertainment in its three different components: the Madeira Music Festival, the International Fireworks Competition and street animation. The Music Festival enables residents and tourists alike to enjoy some of the best examples of our architectural heritage while listening to high-quality classical music, thanks to a prestigious partnership with the Gulbenkian Foundation. The Fireworks Competition offers unique moments of splendid pyrotechnics and harmonious music. Every Saturday night, competitors from the four corners of the earth delight the crowds gathered on Funchal’s coast road with joy and colour. Every year, the best firework companies in the world charm Funchal in what is now a major pyrotechnics event. So in June the capital of Madeira is full of attractions and entertainment with unforgettable shows of great artistic and musical quality and a magic atmosphere.
This festival is held in early September, when the grape harvest begins all over the island. It recreates ancestral Madeiran habits dating back to the time of the first settlers. In Funchal and Estreito de Câmara de Lobos, we celebrate features of the grape harvest such as decorations, music and dancing. Visitors to the traditional wineries can taste the wines while, outside, we find tributes to grapes, with a live grape harvest and the traditional parade of grape pickers in Estreito de Câmara de Lobos. This festival takes on all the features of a traditional Madeiran folk festival with regional dishes, living traditions and lots of fun.
In September, Vila Baleira devotes a week to Christopher Columbus who came to the island and lived here for several years. Columbus first came into contact with Madeira in 1478, when Funchal was devoted to the sugar trade. However, closer ties to the Madeira Islands resulted from his marriage to Filipa Moniz, daughter of the first donee of Porto Santo. Columbus lived in the islands from 1840 to 1842 and his son Diogo was born in Porto Santo. The festival remembers the discoverer’s presence in the Madeira Islands on his voyages to the Americas and the height of the age of the discoveries. The festival recreates the atmosphere and life on the island at the time of the Portuguese explorers. Visitors can enjoy music, exhibitions, street entertainment and medieval scenes. A re-enactment of the arrival of Columbus and his followers at the quay and a historical parade mark this week of history.
Fell the ladscape around you!Dive in it! Take a deep breath!Surrender to the charms of an island that exhales energy and inspires emotion and adventure. In October,Madeira promotes the Nature Festival an celebrates in best,among its visitors.On land,on air,or on the sea,the choices are plentyand everybody can experience activities,offering a multiplicity range,designed for all population age groups. To these activities,many others join in,in an event that links sports,animation,ethnography and Madeira culture.
If there’s a place where we celebrate life, it’s Madeira. At the end of each year, we commemorate the completion of another 365-day cycle in our lives. Christmas traditions, deeply rooted in Madeirans’ customs, combine with the expressions of joy on the arrival of the new year in a rich, vast cultural, ethnographic and artistic programme lasting all through December and until Twelfth Night. Funchal Bay’s unique amphitheatre is transformed into a giant nativity scene illuminated with thousands of lights decking the city’s main streets from the second half of November, in a scenario of rare beauty. Give in to the temptations of Funchal’s shops with everything from international designer names to a variety of handicrafts. Funchal is a real open-air shopping centre. An island of celebrations, at hotels, restaurants and bars and in the street to bring in the New Year, lights the city’s skies with fireworks launched from 50 different points in a 10-minute display. It’s like a new dawn marking the arrival of a new life!
Santana is mostly known for its typical straw houses and for the Theme Park (a fun place for all ages) which spans the history, tradition and culture of Madeira. Santana offers one of the most beautiful strolls on foot, with 6 parishes that invite you to discovery (Arco de São Jorge, São Jorge, Santana, Faial, São Roque do Faial and Ilha).
Funchal, capital of Madeira, is located on a bay and started out by occupying a small extension of land by the sea, going up on the mountain slopes as it grew. A few walking minutes away, it is possible to stroll down the centre of the city, where you have access to all commerce and services, and can also visit the town’s main ex-libris. It can be divided into 3 historical nucleuses, which are also its first three parishes: São Pedro, Santa Maria Maior and Sé.
Monte is the highest parish over Funchal, known for its history and botanic heritage. After visiting, those with a healthy heart and adrenaline lovers, can slide down in the traditional wicker monte sledges, - "Carros de Cesto" - a mean of transportation that was very usual in the older days.
Just a mere 9 km away from Funchal is Câmara de Lobos, a town which was, until not too long ago, a fishermen’s town, known as such since the discovery of the island, thanks to the sea-wolves inhabiting the bay. Câmara de Lobos also became known due to Winston Churchill’s paintings.
Located 18 km from Funchal, Ponta do Sol has one of the best preserved historical centres on Madeira. This historical centre grew with the development of the sugar industry. It is obligatory to visit the magnificent Cais da Ponta do Sol, and the Ponte do Caminho Real, in the west side.
If you follow the road west, Seixal offers one of the most beautiful landscapes of the north coast of the Island. It has some natural sea water pools, formed by rocks, where the visitor may take an invigorating dive. Seixal’s sea water reflects the green hues of the powerful slope standing above and covered with vegetation, interposed by waterfalls. Seixal also has one of the few black sand beaches on the Island.
In July 1419, João Gonçalves Zarco and Tristão Vaz Teixeira, who discovered the Islands, came ashore in the beach of Machico. This same beach is now covered with golden sand. To know the history of the municipality, the best thing to do is to visit the Museum Nucleus in Solar do Ribeirinho.
A drive to Pico do Areeiro, the third highest part of the Island, offers visitors a magnificent landscape of the central ridge and its peaks. The footpath connecting Pico do Areeiro to Pico Ruivo is one of the most beautiful, but also one of the most challenging ones. For those who cannot cross it and still wish to enjoy the magnificent landscape from the highest spot of the island, an alternative and much more accessible footpath allows reaching the peak through the other side, starting the route in Achada do Teixeira in Santana.
Porto Santo, located some 40 Km northeast of the Island of Madeira, has a low population. It is very quiet during most part of the year, and is a small idyll for those seeking to run away from stress and to rest. The 9 km extension of its golden sand beach, bathed by crystal, warm and serene waters , is particularly appreciated by those who enjoy going to the beach, which is possible to do all year long. The island Porto Santo has a wide variety of outdoor activities to offer the tourist such as diving, big game fishing, sailing, canoeing, wind-surfing and kite-surfing. Much less hilly than Madeira, the island of Porto Santo is also perfect for bicycle strolls. Bikes can be rented at hotels or in downtown.
Climb up to the clouds among mountains and levadas and enjoy the pure, rarefied air or discover treasures as you explore the depths of the Atlantic. Whatever your choice, you will feel nature all around you! If you like active holidays, this archipelago has excellent natural conditions for that. You can choose from trekking, climbing, canyoning, jeep safaris, mountain bikes or horse riding to conquer the impressive mountains in a memorable experience. Don’t miss the chance to go hiking, the number one favourite between Madeira’ visitors. Hang-gliding and paragliding are very attractive sports as the island’s natural terrain is ideal for it. Talking about nautical sports, there are countless choices. It is possible to try diving with dusky groupers, dolphins or seals. Go surfing, windsurfing, jet skiing or water skiing for an unforgettable experience. For the adventurous, Madeira Archipelago has the perfect conditions to an active and full of experiences vacations.
About 20 million years ago, Laurissilva Forest covered large areas of the south of Europe and of the Mediterranean Basin. This prehistoric relic survived the ice ages that completely extinct it in all other sites except in Macaronesia (which includes the Azores, Madeira, Canary Islands and Cape Verde). Madeira owns the largest area of Laurissilva Forest of the world. In fact, it occupies around 15.000 hectares, located mainly on the north slopes of the island. Due to its biological specificity, the diversity of its endemic species and its well-preserved condition, in 1999 Laurissilva Forest was granted by Unesco the World Natural Heritage classification. This forest consists of large trees, mostly belonging to the "Lauraceae" family, namely the laurel, the mahogany, the til and barbusano, alongside others like picconia excelsa, the heberdenia excelsa, the Lily-of-the-Valley tree, the buckthorn and ilex perado. Beneath the canopy of these trees evergreen bushes also abound, such as Madeira blueberry, the shrub trefoil and the heather, and closest to the ground there are ferns, mosses, liverworts, lichens, and other smaller plants. Within the forest, which is especially rich in terrestrial molluscs and insects, several rare bird species can still be seen, including the Madeira Laurel Pigeon and Firecrest, which are the only endemic species of this ecosystem.
Madeira’s matchless soil and climate, the production process and the grape varieties used have made Madeira wine unique. Chosen to celebrate the independence of the United States on 4 July 1776, praised by Shakespeare in his plays and admired by monarchs, princes, generals and explorers, Madeira wine is certainly a treasure. It is appreciated all over the world and has more than five centuries of history. This ‘nectar of the gods’ is one of Madeira’s finest achievements. Just think about the Madeirans’ constructive spirit over the centuries, visible in the hand-tilled vineyards on small plots of land called poios, sometimes clinging to the mountain sides. There are more than 30 Madeira wine grape varieties, though the best are Sercial, Boal, Verdelho and Malvasia. The most well-known dry wine is made from Sercial grapes. This pale, strongly perfumed wine makes an ideal aperitif. Verdelho leads the medium dry wines. It is golden, delicate and quite perfumed and is the best one for drinking with meals. Boal is medium sweet, smooth, velvety, noble and dark gold in colour and goes well with roast meat or dessert. Between meals or with dessert, few can resist a Malvasia, a sweet, red, full-bodied, intensely perfumed wine. Connoisseurs of this ‘art’ should come to Madeira in September to see and participate in the Madeira grape harvest and its festival, a tribute to this age-old product that is recognised worldwide. Savour a glass and drink a toast to life with Madeira wine…
Prepare to discover a fantastic natural world on one of the unforgettable walks along the hillsides. From the depths of the sea to the steep mountains, there is guaranteed excitement from 0 to 1,862 metres! Cultural and environmental factors have made walking one of Madeira’s most traditional and popular open-air activities. Lots of people come to the Madeira Islands just to walk the different circuits, discovering the pleasure of close contact with nature. Walk along Madeira’s paths and levadas to the interior of the island and see breathtaking virgin scenery. On these magnificent walks, hikers of all ages can explore the island’s fabulous unforgettable landscapes.
Madeira’s natural heritage has been singled out in Europe, thanks to its amazing richness, diversity and state of preservation, which is due, in part, to the Madeirans’ respect for their natural heritage. On 2 December 1999, UNESCO recognised this and considered the Laurissilva Forest a World Natural Heritage Site, the only one in Portugal, which now belongs to all humanity. You must find time to admire and enjoy this forest which dates back to the Tertiary Age and survived the last glaciations, which confined it to Macaronesia, i.e., Madeira, the Azores, the Canaries and Cape Verde. Madeira has the largest area of this type of forest, about 22,000 hectares. It also has the widest variety of fauna and flora with some rare specimens, such as the Madeira orchid, Dactylorhiza foliosa, which is unique. Come and discover a true living relic, a real laboratory for botanists and plant lovers!
Discover an atmosphere of perfect harmony between man and nature in Madeira, where the saying “a healthy mind in a healthy body” makes a lot of sense. Madeira has long been sought out for the therapeutic qualities of its climate in curing stubborn respiratory diseases and still offers its visitors excellent conditions as a health destination. Dive into an island of calm, clear waters and recharge your batteries with seaweed and plant extracts, the fresh perfume of flowers, the pure air, and the mild climate. Discover the fertility of the land and the abundant sea-life in dishes that are as healthy as they are delicious and rub shoulders with nature, far from the humdrum bustle of the big city. Make the most of the wide range of facilities offered by most hotels, such as swimming pools, saunas, gyms, tennis courts and massages. Some are real health resorts that combine medical and beauty treatments to offer services like thalassotherapy, hydro-massage, Turkish baths, massages and beauty centres. For more demanding customers, Porto Santo boasts a thalassotherapy centre, where experienced staff and excellent facilities combine to provide a variety of preventive and curative health services. The island’s sand contains amazing minerals and is an excellent complement to treatment for rheumatic diseases. The Madeira Islands are as healthy as they are natural and have everything you need for a relaxing or invigorating holiday at any time of year.
Gateway to Madeira Island, Madeira Airport is a modern infra-structure with capacity to welcome its passengers with the highest levels of safety and comfort. Madeira Airport, 20 minutes away from the capital city of Funchal, has all services essential to visitors, providing several means of transport, rent a cars, travel agencies, tourist information office, among others. An Aerobus runs to the city at roughly one to two hour intervals. There is also the bus which you can take from the airport to Funchal or to Machico. Another option to reach your destination is to take a taxi. Taxis taking you from Madeira Airport to any destination on the island always operate with a meter. As a reference, the fare on the taxi meter at the start of the journey should read 4.00 € during the week. The transportation of luggage or animals is subject to an additional charge. Note: These charges may change and are of the exclusive responsibility of Associação dos Industriais de Táxi da Região Autónoma da Madeira (AITRAM).
One of the main public bus company that operates on Madeira is Horários do Funchal and it is based in Funchal, Madeira. This bus company operate Urban and Inter-urban services on the south, central, and north of the island. You can find more information www.horariosdofunchal.pt If you intend to use buses to touristic tours, there are other companies that will provide that service, and you can find them at touristc offices, and arrange your visit to the island.
Fajã dos Padres has the shape of a small piece of land, at the bottom of a cliff approximately 250 meters high, located in the southern coast of Madeira. The cliff represents an enormous barrier to the north, thus Fajã opens itself wide toward the south, allowing an easy access to the sea through a narrow rocky beach, which forms a small bay at the centre. The peculiar morphologic characteristics of Fajã dos Padres make its climate distinct from that of surrounding regions. Since it is an agricultural property by excellence, it thus fosters the development of exotic cultures, more characteristic in warmer and drier places than the majority of those found in the Island of Madeira. These aspects, and the fact that it has been inhabited for centuries, makes Fajã dos Padres a very special place, distinct in terms of landscape, climate, agriculture as well as the living experience and inheritance of its past inhabitants.
Levada - from the portuguese word "levar", which means "to carry". The typical Madeira Levadas are water courses created in the XVth century to "carry" the rainwater from the wet north of the island, to the more dry, sunny south, where the banana, sugar cane and grape production flourished. Built during the course of the last five centuries in the steep hills and valleys of the Madeira Island, the Levadas are a complex and beautiful system of nearly 200 rock carved water courses and paths that run more than 2000Km long, all across the island. Breath-taking sceneries.
It is the highest cape in Europe, at an elevation of 580 m, and is famous for its suspended glass platform. The Cabo Girão viewpoint, situated on the highest promontory in Europe, at an elevation of 580 m, offers a vertiginous view of the fajãs of Rancho and Cabo Girão – small areas of cultivated land at the foot of the cliff – as well as magnificent panoramic views over the ocean and the municipalities of Câmara de Lobos and Funchal. The viewpoint has been renovated, and a suspended glass platform, called a skywalk, was built. It is an excellent spot to practice paragliding and base jumping. Recently, the Portuguese parachutist Mário Pardo performed a spectacular motorcycle leap here. Nearby is the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Fátima (Our Lady of Fátima), built in 1951 and one of the main pilgrimage sites of the island.
With 9km of golden sand surrounded by green peaks and a clear blue sea, Porto Santo’s beach is ideal to relax and escape the crowds. But this quiet beach is not only a place to rest but also a health resort. Its sands are therapeutic with fine soft grains containing healing elements and the sea has the ability to restore the lack of mineral salts in the body caused by stress and fatigue. This fascinating beach was elected one of the Portuguese 7 wonders- Beach Edition.
The Farmers' Market, inaugurated in 1940, features New State architecture, including large tile panels that decorate the facade, the entrance and the fishmonger. The Farmers' Market, in the Funchal’s city center, was dedicated on 24th November 1940. This project designed by Edmundo Tavares (1892-1983), features New State architecture, and reflects the intention to make it the major supply point of the city. Large Batisttini Faience tile panels of Maria de Portugal, dated 1940 and painted with regional themes by João Rodrigues, adorn the facade, the main entrance and the fishmonger. Today, this venue still carries out the functions for which it was created. Here all kinds of products are sold, mixing colours, sounds, smells and multiple nationalities.
Since the 17th century, Madeira had wanted a Botanical Garden - a dream that came true in 1960. The Botanical Gardens, with an area of over 35,000 m2, has more than 2,000 exotic plants from all continents some of which are endangered species. This fantastic garden has several ornamental trees and shrubs, an orchid area, lawns, viewpoints and an amphitheatre for recreational activities. Given the increasing loss of biodiversity and habitats worldwide, this garden has become a centre for science and culture, with the goal to preserve endangered plants where they will be as well adapted as in their original environment. Whether you are a nature lover, botanist or tourist, if your interested on discovering the plant kingdom or in visiting the Natural History Museum and Herbarium then you should pay a visit to this garden.
The natural swimming pools at Porto Moniz are formed by volcanic lava, naturally filled with crystal-clear sea water. The natural pools of Porto Moniz are the highlight of the village of Porto Moniz. The natural salt water swimming pools are made up of volcanic rock, into which the sea flows naturally. This space, with a surface area of 3800 m², has also a children’s swimming pool, a children’s play area and disabled access. In addition, the beach has a car park, changing rooms and bathrooms with lockers for storing personal items, a snack bar open during the summer months, first aid, sun loungers and sunshades for hire.
In Madeira you will find a very special form of transport, the “Monte sledge” made of basketwork. It’s an unmissable experience. One of Madeira Island most famous attraction are the famous sledge rides. These cars are made of wicker and wood, and has two seats. These sledges are powered by two carreiros, or sledge drivers wearing white uniforms and straw hats, who control this mean of transportation by making use of their boots as brakes. This journey takes place between Monte and Funchal and is done in about 10m. in a distance of 2 km, providing tourists with an experience filled with pure emotion.
Formed 890 thousand years ago, these are among the first caves of volcanic origin to be opened to the public in Portugal. The São Vicente Caves were formed 890 thousand years ago by a volcanic eruption, which occurred in Paul da Serra. The outer part of the lava that was exposed to lower temperatures, solidified rapidly while the inside remained liquid with lots of gases, forming a series of lava tubes. The caves were first reported in 1885 by locals, and opened to the public on October 1st, 1996. They were among the first volcanic caves to be opened to the public in Portugal and may be visited by following an underground route running for over 1,000 m. The height of the caves varies between 5 and 6 metres. At the end of the tour, visitors may access the Volcano Centre, a pavilion offering a range of educational and entertaining audiovisual displays that recreate the geological evolution of the caves, the eruption of a volcano and even a simulation of the birth of the Madeira Islands.
The historical centre of the city of Funchal, better known as the “Zona Velha” (Old Town), presents the Painted Doors Project that transforms this area into a permanent art gallery. This public art project intends to stimulate one of the most emblematical areas of downtown Funchal in order to turn it into a more significant and attractive cultural centre and a permanent art gallery, joining several guest artists to work on decorative paintings on doors of houses, shops and other premises along Rua de Santa Maria, becoming into works of art. This project results from a partnership between José Maria Zyberchema, João Carlos Abreu, former Regional Secretary of Tourism and Culture, the Municipality of Funchal in collaboration with a couple of private entities. Among the various renowned personalities from the Madeira art scene, who teamed up with this project, stands out the architect Paulo David and the designer Nini Andrade Silva.
This journey offers magnificent panoramic views from Funchal towards Monte. This cable car will take you from the old part of Funchal to Monte in around 15 minutes. Enjoy a spectacular view of Funchal’s bay and valleys from one of the 39 seven-seater cars. The Funchal station is in Campo Almirante Reis and the Monte station in Largodas Babosas. You can get from Funchal to Monte in a few minutes while taking in the surrounding landscape. In Monte you can take the opportunity to visit the magnificent Monte Palace Tropical Gardens and also the Church of Our lady of Monte where lays the tomb of the last Austro-Hungarian Emperor Charles I.
If you are a football fan theres a museum you must see! Born on February the 5th , in funchal and considered one of the best football players in the world is Cristiano Ronaldo. In dedication to his professional carrer, was built the CR7 Museum, which displays the two Ballon d'or,his wax statue and 145 other individual awards,some dating back to his Madeira childhood.