One Week in Madeira: 7 Day Madeira Itinerary

One Week in Madeira: 7 Day Madeira Itinerary

1 week in Madeira is a good amount of time to see the highlights of Madeira. This one week Madeira itinerary shows you some of the best things to do including the best hikes in Madeira Portugal.

Madeira is an autonomous Portuguese island off the coast of Africa. It is often overshadowed by another Portuguese island Azores as well as Madeira’s neighbor the Canary Islands. But Madeira is truly amazing and has everything you can possibly want: Beach (black sand), mountains, adventure activities, good wine and food. [no_toc]

I’m super jealous if it is your first time in Madeira because you are gonna have a great time. I was super impressed with Madeira and all it had to offer. The infrastructure is well built, the food is amazing, people are nice and the hikes are beautiful. My only regret is not have spent more than one week in Madeira.

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How Long Do You Need in Madeira?

It’s a bit tricky to answer this question because how long you need in Madeira entirely depends on what you want to do.

For someone who loves nature, is active and likes hiking, 7 to 10 days in Madeira is a good amount of time to hike and see everything. There are a lot of hiking trails in Madeira and different view spots so you will have a packed schedule.

For someone who loves photography but doesn’t want to hike then I would suggest 5-7 days and just drive to all the view points for those Instagram shots in Madeira.

This 7 day Madeira Itinerary has a good emphasis on both hiking and photography. If these are your interests then read on!

Sunset and Beer Festival Madeira
Madeira Beer Festival

How to Get to Madeira

Madeira is an island in the middle of Atlantic Ocean so you will need to fly into Funchal.

There are direct flights from many major European cities such as London, Paris, Vienna, Lisbon, Madrid, Düsseldorf, Azores, etc. It takes about 1 hour to fly from Lisbon and 4 hours from London.

I suggest that you book your flights to Madeira early because Madeira is getting more and more popular and our flights were completely full when we visited in April (which is not even peak season). We almost couldn’t get a seat since the flights were oversold (we were flying from London to Madeira on British Airways).

How to Get Around Madeira

There are public buses that can help you get around Madeira and I’ve seen bus stops all the way up in the mountains.

There are also many private tours that will take you around from place to place in Madeira.

Taking a Taxi in Madeira

Taxis are pretty common in Madeira but often times you need to book ahead of time for them to pick you up/ drop you off unless you are at a popular location. We had to ask cafe workers at Pico Ruivo to call a taxi to pick us up from Achada do Teixeira to drive us back to our car at Pico do Arieiro after the PR1/PR1.2 Hike. We saw a few taxis waiting at the trail head to pick people up but I assume they are pre-booked.

Driving in Madeira

Renting a car and self drive is probably the most convenient option to get around Madeira. The Funchal airport has many different car rental agencies and there are many automatic cars in Madeira due to the steep hills.

I would only recommend renting a car in Madeira if you are comfortable driving, especially on hilly and narrow roads. Madeira is a mountainous island and if you want to do any hiking or simply drive up to certain view points you will need to drive up (and down) the steep hills. I seriously felt like we were going up a roller coaster since some of the roads up the hills were so steep.

Many roads in the hills of Madeira can only fit one car so you need to give way to other cars, especially around the corners (and locals drive pretty fast). In addition, we stayed in the hills in Funchal for a couple of days and we literally drove into a one lane dead end every night (different dead ends) and had to do a 20 point turn trying to get out. So if you are not comfortable with driving you should not rent a car in Madeira.

Taking a bus in Madeira

There are many public buses in Madeira, both in Funchal and in different smaller towns on Madeira. There are also buses that will take you close to some of the hiking routes. I personally didn’t take the bus but you can research them online.

Taking tours in Madeira

If you don’t want to drive or take a bus there are tons of tour options in Madeira. There are tours that will take you around the island, take you to specific hikes, or take you to specific spots like the natural pools in Seixal.

Vereda-do-Sao-Lourenco hike

Best Time to Visit Madeira

Madeira has a nice Mediterranean climate and is generally pretty warm all year round. However in the winter and spring months there are more rainfall compare to summer and fall.

In addition, since Madeira is an island, it has its microclimate throughout the island.

The southern side of the Madeira island where Funchal is is generally much sunnier and warmer than the northern side of Madeira. When it is sunny in Funchal it could be cloudy or rainy and colder on the northern side like Seixal or São Vicente.

If you are planning to hike in Madeira then you should be prepared for cold weather with multiple layers and rain jackets. For the most part it will be cold when you initially start the hike, especially if you arrive early in the morning. You may warm up during the hikes but weather can change quite quickly up in the mountains so you definitely need to bring rain jacket and other layers to best deal with the weather change.

Madeira Annual Weather and Precipitation Chart

When I went to Madeira at the end of April/ early May, it was warm during the day in Funchal that I could wear a dress but needed a jacket at night. On the Northern side of the island it was a bit more chilly and required a jacket most of the time (especially when it rained).

I generally had 3 layers with me when hiking including a rain jacket but there were times that I had 4 layers (my layers were pretty thin, think Lululemon summer/fall hoodies).

Overview of One Week Madeira Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival & Funchal
Day 2: PR8 – Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço Hike
Day 3: Pico do Arieiro Hike, Ribeiro Frío view Point (Optional)
Day 4: Cámara de Lobos, São Vicente
Day 5: PR 6 & Fanal Forest
Day 6: Bridal Veil Waterfalls, Seixal Natural Pools, Ilheus da Janela, Garganta Funda Waterfall
Day 7: Relax Before Departure

Day 1 of 1 Week in Madeira: Funchal

Highlight of Day 1 in Madeira: Funchal Old Town, Madeira Cable Car, Monte Palace Tropical Garden or Madeira Botanical Garden

There is one international airport on Madeira which is near Funchal. I highly advice you either arrive the evening before or early morning so you can have the full day to explore Funchal, the capital city of Madeira.

Funchal is a very vibrant and lovely town with lots to do for every type of traveler. Most of the hotels are also on the cliffs of Funchal overlooking the ocean. In fact there are so much to do people often spend 2-3 days in Funchal alone! Since Funchal is on the south side of the Madeira island, it gets plenty of sunshine and warmth throughout the year, making it a fantastic vacation destination for those who want to relax and enjoy the food and wine of Madeira.

Funchal Old Town

Funchal has a lovely old town area that’s pedestrian friendly with tons of cafes, shops and restaurants.

A few interesting spots in old town Funchal that I would like to point out below.

Rue de Santa Maria

Rue de Santa Maria is directly behind the Funchal-Monte Teleferico, so it’s perfect for exploring after you get off the cable car. There are a lot of restaurants on Rue de Santa Maria and here is also where you will find the most colorful walls and doors. Some of my favorite restaurants in Funchal is on Rue de Santa Maria and it is best to visit during dinner time when it’s lively and fun.

Av. Arriaga & R. do Aljube

Av. Arriaga (which becomes R. do Aljube) is in the heart of downtown Funchal and one of the most happening streets in Funchal. There are generally a lot of people walking around, and there are many restaurants and shops along the streets (and in the side streets).

When I was there at the end of April, the city of Funchal was preparing for a Flower Festival in May and the streets were lined up with yellow flowers on top.

Funchal Street with Flowers Flower Festival

Walking down this street will also eventually lead you to Funchal Cathedral, a Gothic style cathedral that was built in 1514.

Madeira Cable Car

The Madeira cable car (Teleferico) is one of the most popular things to do in Madeira because it takes you high above the town to visit two famous gardens there.

The cable car opens daily from 9am to 5:45pm and costs 16 Euros round trip (you can always purchase one way and take the bus or taxi down the other way). The entire Funchal cable car ride takes about 20 minutes each way with 3200 meters of cable and the view is amazing when you roam above the orange rooftops with the view of the deep blue sea.

Telefericos-da-Madeira

I suggest that you purchase the round trip cable car ticket unless you plan to take a taxi back down. There is a large paid parking structure (with multiple levels) right next to the Madeira Cable Car station in Funchal so you can leave your car there all day while you explore what’s up in Monte. There are also many restaurants around the cable car station as mentioned before.

Madeira Cable Car View of Funchal

MADEIRA BOTANICAL GARDEN

Madeira Botanical Garden is a large garden on top of the mountain. This botanical garden used to be owned by the family of William Reid, but it opened to the public in 1960.

The Madeira Botanical Garden has more than 2000 exotic plants including some of the plants that are exclusive to Madeira, Azores, and other Atlantic islands. There are also exotic and rare birds in the Madeira Botanical Garden that you won’t see anywhere else.

The Garden is open all year round from 9am to either 6pm or 7pm depending on the months (6pm from October 1 to April 29th). There is an entry fee to the Madeira Botanical Garden. You can also buy a combo Cable Car ticket + Botanical Garden ticket for 32 Euros (saves you 3 Euros to buy it together).

Madeira Botanical Garden

MONTE PALACE TROPICAL GARDEN

Another garden that you can (and should) visit after you get off the cable car is the Monte Palace Tropical Garden. There is no combo ticket with the cable car so you will need to buy a ticket to Monte Palace separately, but trust me, this place is worth visiting. I personally think the Monte Palace Tropical Garden is the best place to visit in Funchal.

The Monte Palace Tropical Garden is huge: it occupies 70K square meters and has a large exotic plant’s collection, an African sculpture exposition, a central pond with swans, villa, Japanese styled bridges and a large collection of tile panels placed along the walkways.

Monte Palace Tropical Garden Japanese vibe
Monte-Palace-Madeira Fountain

FUNCHAL WATERFRONT

Funchal waterfront is a really nice area to walk around especially during sunset and it’s one of my favorite things to do there. There are some shops and restaurants/ food stalls and on the weekend you can occasionally come across free outdoor concerts and festivals.

There is also a small fort/ light house type of structure along the water front and you can walk up to it. A lot of local teens and young people hang out by the water around sunset time.

Funchal Beach Promenade sunset

Other places to see in Funchal include  the Farmer’s Market (Mercado Dos Lavradores), museums, as well as doing a toboggans ride (something you can only do in Funchal). If you are willing to drive to outside of Funchal you can visit Miradouro do Pinaculo for a nice view of the coast line of Funchal, visit Cristo Rei, a Christ the King statue at a nice view point or visit a natural pool called Doca do Cavacas.

Where to Eat in Funchal

There are a lot of good restaurants in Funchal, I will just talk about a couple of the ones I personally liked.

Mozart Restaurant

Located not far from the cable car, the Mozart Restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in the alleyway full of restaurants and bars. We loved every dish and the dessert we got there.

Restaurante Armazem do Sal

Restaurante Armazem do Sal is one of the Michelin guide recommended restaurants in Funchal and serves local cuisine. Try the octopus, sea bream and black scabbard there.

Restaurante Casal de Penha

This is another Michelin guide recommended restaurants and we came here purely by accident. However the first night we couldn’t get a seat because we didn’t book ahead of time. So if you want to dine here be sure to make a reservation. We particularly loved its mixed grilled fish as well as the fish stew!

Casa Velha Restaurant

Not too far from Restaurante Casal de Penha is Casa Velha Restaurant. We came here because we didn’t have reservation at the other place. This turned out to be a good choice because the food is equally as good!

Cris’s Place

Cris’s Place is a modern Madeira restaurant that we tried for lunch special. The food was really good and the dessert was amazing.

Cris's Place lunch special

A Confeitaria

A Confeitaria in the old town Funchal is a bakery. We went there to try the Portuguese egg tarts because I read that they have the best egg tarts in Madeira. The egg tarts really were delicious!

Day 2 of 7 Days in Madeira – PR8 Hike: Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço Hike

Day 2 of your Madeira itinerary will be devoted to a nice short hike near Funchal Airport as well as some time to explore the area and take some beautiful postcard worthy shots.

PR8 Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço hike is one of the most popular hikes on Madeira island that is suitable for most people. The hike is located on the most eastern side of Madeira (a little bit past the Funchal airport) near the town of Caniçal.

The PR8 hike is 8km (~5miles) round trip and it roughly takes about 3-4 hours. The hike itself is pretty flat for the most part until the very end where there is about 15-20 minute worth of stairs to the view point. For some reason the official trail ends before the stairs but you can definitely climb up the stairs for that postcard view.

Hiking in Madeira Ponta de Sao lourenco view point half way
Ponta de São Lourenco
That post card perfect view

One of the most difficult part of the PR8 hike in Madeira is the strong wind. Perhaps it’s because the hike is located at the edge of the island, there is always strong wind regardless of when you hike. Not the entire trail will experience such strong wind but there are parts of the trail that can be quite windy. In addition there is no shade at all along the trail, so you need to bring sunglasses, sunscreen, plenty of water and a hat (make sure it doesn’t fly off) when you do the PR8 hike.

PR8 Sao Lourenco hike in Madeira

I wrote a very detailed guide on the PR8 hike. One thing to note is that you should either go before 10am or after 2-3pm for the hike because parking lot can get full due to its popularity.

PONTA DO ROSTO VIEW POINT

Not too far from the starting point of the PR8 hike is the famous Ponta do Rosto view point. This view point is not nearly as crowded as the hike itself. In fact many people don’t even know about this view point and end up just going to the hike.

Miradouro-Ponta-do-rosto

Where to Eat in Caniçal

When we finished hiking and visiting the view points it was getting quite late, so we didn’t want to drive all the way back to Funchal for dinner so we decided to eat in Canical, near the hike.

We went to Restaurante Bar Amarelo, a local restaurant with good reviews and we were not disappointed. They were known for their limpets so we got the limpets stew. The restaurant is much cheaper than the ones in Funchal and the menu seemed very local.

limpets stew at Restaurante bar amarelo
Limpets stew

Day 3 of 1 Week in Madiera: PR1 Pico do Arieiro Hike & PR11: Balcoes de Ribeiro Frio

Day 3 will be another full day of hiking and it will be a relatively packed day.

Pico do Arieiro Sunrise

Start your morning super early from Funchal to Pico do Arieiro for the best sunrise in Madeira. Pico do Arieiro is the third highest peak in Madeira at 5,965 feet (1818m) and is the only peak in Madeira that you can actually drive to (instead of hike to).

As with all the other mountains in Madeira, Pico do Arieiro sits sort of in the middle of the island where it’s very mountainous. There is a large cafe and view point area for visitors to drive up to and enjoy the stunning view of the surrounding peaks and valleys.

Given its ease of access, many photographers come to Pico do Arieiro for the amazing sunrise. You don’t necessarily need to come for sunrise, but if you do want to watch sunrise in Madeira, Pico do Arieiro is the place to be.

In addition, since Pico do Arieiro is the only peak that you can drive to, so it gets really crowded during the day.

It takes about 50 minutes to drive from Funchal to Pico do Arieiro. If you follow the direction from Google Maps, most of the drive actually won’t be too bad and only the last 20 minutes will be hilly and a bit narrow (not too bad to be honest). The only thing is part of the drive will be in the fog so visibility may be low. Don’t be discouraged if you are driving in the fog even when you are almost at the peak. When I visited for sunrise, the fog literally cleared 2 minutes before the parking lot!

Pico do Arieiro Sunrise
Pico do Arieiro Hike at Sunrise

Hiking PR1: Pico do Arieiro

After you enjoy the amazing sunrise at Pico do Arieiro it’s time to start this amazing hike. I have hiked in New Zealand, Patagonia, Norway, Switzerland, and Banff and I truly think the Pico do Arieiro hike is one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done.

selfie at Pico do Arieiro

The PR1 trail from Pico to Arieiro to Pico Ruivo connects two of the highest peaks on Madeira through a web of tunnels and ledges. The PR1 trail is 7km (~4.3miles) one way and can be done either as an one way hike or a round trip hike. The entire trail takes about 3.5 – 4 hours one way.

The PR1 hike is a bit strenuous with a lot of ups and downs especially if you plan to do the round trip hike so make sure you have enough food and water with you. There is also a really steep part that you have to climb up 20 minutes worth of stairs a little over half way. If you want to stop before that part it’s totally up to you as you would’ve seen the best view before the stairs.

I personally think that if you want to enjoy the view it’s better (and easier) to do the one way hike to Pico Ruivo then take a cab back to the Pico do Arieiro parking lot. However if you do not want to spend 70-80 EURO on taxi then of course you can go back the same way you came.

Vereda do Areeiro Madeira PR1
Hiking Pico do Arieiro
Sunrise hike at Pico do Arieiro PR1 Madeira

If you are wondering how to get a taxi for the one way hike or simply want to read more about the PR1 hike you should check out my blog on hiking from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo on PR1 trail. Many youtube videos and blogs will say this hike is “scary” but honestly it’s not! It’s simply amazing (assuming you can see the views).

Lastly, if you plan to visit Pico do Arieiro during the day, you can check the Pico do Arieiro web cam for current conditions at the observation point. You can also check the weather at Pico do Arieiro on from this website.

Balcões Viewpoint

Not too far of a drive from Pico do Arieiro is another amazing viewpoint that people often overlook, the Balcões Viewpoint.

The Balcões Viewpoint is a stunning viewpoint that allows you to see the Ribeira da Metade valley, the central mountain ranges, as well as Pico do Arieiro and Pico Ruivo.

The Balcões Viewpoint is a “hiking trail” called PR11 Vereda dos Balcões that starts in Ribeiro Frio. Although it’s a hiking trail, the trail is so flat and wide and it only takes about 20 minute leisurely stroll to get to the viewpoint. I’ve seen people pushing strollers on the walk so no matter what type of physical condition you are in, I would highly recommend you take this walk if you are not too tired from the Pico do Arieiro hike.

PR11 VEREDA DOS BALCÕES view point

Day 4 of 7 days in Madiera: Camara de Lobos & Sao Vicente

After two days of hiking, we will take this day much easier and just drive around to explore a couple of different towns in Madeira. Also for the first 3 days I would recommend staying in Funchal but from Day 4 going forward I will recommend that you stay in the town of Sao Vicente.

Camara de Lobos

Camara de Lobos is a cute coastal town about 20 minutes drive west of Funchal. Even though the town is small, it is pretty cute and you can spend at least a couple of hours walking around and taking photos.

Camara-de-Lobos Madeira

Camara de Lobos has traditionally been a fishing town, so many people visit the pier to see all the colorful boats. You can also visit the couple of churches there or venture further to Cabo Girão, known as the highest sea cliff in Europe for a fantastic view. For more information on things to do near Camara de Lobos see this post.

Camara-de-Lobos-View-Point

São Vicente

Officially leaving the sunny southern side of the Madeira island, you will be driving north for about 40 minutes to the town of São Vicente. It is a small town, with about 6000 residents and a few restaurants.

São Vicente is known for its volcanic caves (the São Vicente Cave) as well as green nature and forests. One symbol of São Vicente is small chapel built inside a basalt rock at the mouth of the stream that runs through the town.

Most people visit the caves, walk around town, go up to the church on the hill, visit museums or drive to nearby sights and towns. The reason I picked São Vicente as the base for the second half of our trip to Madeira is because it is a great location to explore the northern side of the island.

Sao-Vicente in Madeira
Sao Vicente

Restaurants in Sao Vicente

We actually spent a couple of nights in Sao Vicente in the northern coast of Madeira and tried a couple of local restaurants recommended by our Airbnb host. I have to say the food in Sao Vicente are cheaper but just as good as the food in Funchal, if not better.

Restaurante Caravela

Restaurante Caravela is one of the most popular restaurants in Sao Vicente facing the ocean. When we arrived later during the night the restaurant was still packed. Although the food doesn’t look as fancy as the places we went in Funchal, I have to say the food really was good. We tried the grilled parrot fish and it was so good that it melted in our mouth.

Restaurante Caravela grilled parrot fish

Taberna de Sao Vicente

Recommended by our Airbnb host, Taberna de Sao Vicente is a casual local place with great food. We tried the octopus and it was so tender and it was literally the best octopus we had in Madeira (we had octopus everyday).

Taberna-de-Sao-Vicente octopus dish
sea food pasta at Taberna de sao vicente
Sea food pasta

Day 5 of 1 Week in Madeira – PR6 & Fanal Forest

You guessed it, Day 5 is gonna be another day of fantastic hikes to see some of the nicest waterfalls in Madeira as well as exploring the mysterious Fanal Forest. You can do them in reverse order but they are both relatively short (3 hours for the hike and 1-2 hours at the forest).

PR6/ PR6.1 – LEVADA DAS 25 FONTES/ LEVADA DO RISCO

Length: 4.8km each way
Time: 2-3 hours each way
Difficulty: easy/ moderate 

If you are looking for a lush and easy hike along the levada then PR6/ PR6.1 is the hike for you. This is actually a combination of two equally nice trails to see two different waterfalls. 

The PR6/ PR6.1 trail is about a 40 minute drive from Sao Vicente. The trail starts at the car park on ER 110 and then descends into the Rabacal governance house and a cafe/washroom. This part of the trail is a mile long and it’s paved. There is a shuttle service starting at 10am that can drive you down to the Rabacal Governance House where you start the actual hike. But you can just walk down this paved road before 10am and avoid all the people.

From the Rabacal governance house you continue the trail and the trail splits into PR6 and PR6.1.

PR6 Levada das 25 Fontes is longer and there is a long section (20 minutes) of the trail that is narrow with railings on one side and the a levada with running water on the other side. It is perhaps the most unique hike I did in Madeira because the levada is so unique to Madeira. PR6 eventually leads to a nice waterfall that you can see up close. 

PR6.1 levada walk along the levada
PR6 trail next to the levada
PR6 Levada das 25 fontes

PR6.1 is on a higher ground level than PR6 and the path is wide and flat with plenty of vegetation and a couple of view points. The trail is only about 1.6km one way and you will have a spectacular view of the Risco waterfall. Unfortunately you cannot go behind the water fall (there is a path but it’s locked) but you can feel the splash of the waterfall up close.

Both PR6 and PR 6.1 is pretty easy and there are a lot of old people and people with kids that hike these two trails.

PT6.1 Risco Waterfall PR6 hike Madeira
Risco Waterfall

Fanal Forest

Fanal Forest is a beautiful yet quiet forest in the middle of Laurissilva Forest in Madeira. A quick drive from PR6 trail head will take you right to the often foggy and mysterious Fanal Forest.

Fanal Forest Lone Tree

Most people will walk around the forest to the Fanal Pond. Although most people’s impression of Fanal forest is foggy it’s actually not the case. We actually went to Fanal forest twice trying to capture the fog but the first time it was completely clear!

Fanal Forest with No fog
No fog!

Many families go to Fanal Forest for picnic and gatherings and we happened to meet a really friendly family with a cute dog! But most of the time the forest is relatively quiet although you may occasionally see hikers as the forest is the end point of PR 13, a 11km hike that we didn’t get a chance to do.

Fanal Forest with Fog

Day 6 of 7 Days in Madeira: Explore the North Side of Madeira Island

Highlight of Day 6: Seixal Natural Pools, Bridal Veil Falls, Ribeira de Janela, Miradouro Garganta Funda

Day 6 of this Madeira itinerary will be focused on exploring the north side of the island using Sao Vicente as a base. There won’t be any hiking so it’s a rather relaxing day, just a good amount of driving to see each place (and trust me these places are gorgeous)!

BRIDAL VEIL FALLS (VÉU DA NOIVA WATERFALL )

Bridal Veil Falls is a splendid waterfall on the north side of Madeira. It’s a beautiful waterfall off the coastal cliffs and there are two major view points for this waterfall.

Most people will drive to Miradouro do Véu da Noiva and have a nice view of the waterfall. Most tour buses also stop by this view point because there are two parking lots and some shops there.

Miradouro-do-Véu-da-Noiva

However if you want a better view of the Véu da Noiva waterfall (and ANOTHER water fall) without anybody around, head down to Ponta do Poiso, a very secluded spot.

We saw this view point on Google maps but there literally is no road to get there, so we were very confused. While we were walking back to our car at the larger parking lot (there are 2 parking lots, we parked in the further one that has a large round about) and I accidentally saw a very hidden path that goes down hill.

It hit me that it may be the trail to go down to Ponta do Poiso, so we followed the narrow steps which became a hidden trail that led us more and more north along the coast.

Hidden-path-to-Ponta-do-Poiso
Ponta do Poiso hidden path

While we were walking down we started seeing the waterfall on the right hand side with another fall (you cannot see the second fall from Miradouro do Véu da Noiva). We were literally the only people on this trail (not a long trail and can do it wearing flip flops and skirts).

Madeira Waterfalls - Ponta do Poiso
Ponta do Poiso view of waterfall Madeira

Sexial Natural Pool

There are a number of natural pools on Madeira and these natural pools are formed from volcanic rock. The most famous natural pool is actually at Porto Moniz but the one we will go to is the one in the sea side town of Seixal. The reason we chose to go to this natural pool is because we saw some amazing images of it on social media (yeah I know I know..).

The Seixal natural pools are very hard to find as they do not show up on Google Maps when you try to search it. We literally drove back and forth on the old country road trying to find this pool but only ended up finding the black sand beach instead.

While we stopped at a nearby view point, my friend looked down and saw the pool we were looking for! So it turns out the pool is unmarked and the you will need to drive to the Seixal post office in order to go all the way down to the pool. While we were there, there were some tourists from a tour visiting at the same time, so it looks like it’s not a so hidden gem among the locals.

Madeira Seixal Natural Pool

Since the temperature was not hot when we visited Madeira at the end of April, there was literally nobody at the natural pools except two tour jeeps. We literally had the pools to ourselves and the water actually wasn’t too cold.

Seixal Natural Pool in Cave Materia

RIBEIRA DE JANELA

As you continue driving west, you will come to the coastal town of Ribeira de Janela. The main attraction here is the rock off the coast of a black rock beach. It’s worth stopping by for a quick photo or two.

Ribeira-da-Janela
Ribeira da Janela

Many people walk on the black rock beach for the postcard famous of the rock. You can also go up the stairs into the cave for a different perspective of the rock. But do try to go on a nice day. When we went it was storming and super windy which made it less pleasant to visit. We actually hid behind a rock most of the time since it was much windier by the water.

Ribeira de janela up the stairs in the cave

GARGANTA FUNDA VIEW POINT

If there’s one thing Madeira has (and is good at) then it’s the waterfalls. There are so many waterfalls and some are easy to see whereas others require a hike or two.

Ganganta Funda Waterfall is located on the west side of Madeira and to be honest it’s a bit out of the way. BUT I think this waterfall is super cool and unique and I’ve never seen anything like it.

You can follow direction from Google Maps but the viewpoint is actually a bit hidden. Once you are in the town of Ponta do Pargo, you will start seeing signs pointing to Miradouro Garganta Funda. The road becomes more and more narrow and you can park in an empty space when you see the road becomes too narrow to drive on. The parking space can only fit 2-3 cars but the good thing is usually there is nobody here.

Once you park the car it’s about a 5-10 minute walk on a flat dirt path to the view point. You can see this cliff side waterfall inside a gorge and it almost makes me wonder if you can ever get to the bottom of the waterfall, because that’d be so cool!

miradouro garganta funda waterfall madeira

After you finish visiting Miradouro Garganta Funda, you can stay in either Sao Vicente or Funchal base on what you want to do the next day.

Day 7 of 1 Week in Madeira

As this is your last day in Madeira, depending on when your flight departs, you can either just relax in Funchal or drive around the southwest side of Madeira for more view points.

If you want to relax, one thing you can do is to do some wine wasting. Madeira is known for its wine (among other amazing things to drink and eat of course). There are numerous wine tasting tours such as this tour and the discovering Madeira website. A few other ones that have good reviews for wine tasting and winery tours include Barbeito MadeiraBlandy’s Wine LodgePereira d’Oliveira and Artur de Barros e Sousa.

Another popular activity in Madeira is dolphin and whale watching like this tour here.

If You Have More Than 7 Days in Madeira

If you have more than a week in Madeira, you can venture out to a nearby island called Porto Santo. While Madeira itself does not have sandy beaches, Porto Santo does and this island is not so crowded.

There is one ferry company that operates the route between Madeira and Porto Santo, it is called Porto Santo Line and the ferry takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes one way and there is one 8am departure from Madeira and an early evening departure from Porto Santo.

Some of the best places to visit on Porto Santo include the following: Pico de Ana Ferreira, Ponta da Calheta (sandy beach), Miradouro das Flores (a hike), Porto das Salemas (natural pool during low tide), or do the PS PR1 Vereda Pico Branco and Terra Cha hike for a fantastic view and photo opportunity.

You should spend at least one night on Porto Santo to see the best of the island and enjoy some hiking and beach.

What’s the Best Place to Stay in Madeira

Madeira is not a small island and as you can see there are things to do in Madeira on every corner of the island. This 7 day Madeira itinerary has assumed that you are staying in Funchal and Sao Vicente but you can stay almost anywhere on the island and have a good time.

FUNCHAL

Funchal is the largest city in Madeira so you have more options when it comes to accommodation. Most people choose to stay in Funchal because it is convenient and there are a lot of restaurants and bars and shops in Funchal. The luxury hotels such as Belmond Reid’s Palace and the Cliff Bay are located in Funchal.

I personally would recommend you stay in downtown (closer to the water) in Funchal rather than up in the hills. We had rented an Airbnb up in the Funchal hills and we got lost every night going home and ended up in dead ends every evening which was very stressful since the streets were so narrow and the hills so steep.

SAO VICENTE

I liked staying in Sao Vicente because it was such a great base for exploring the north side of Madeira and the town is a lot more quiet (and cheaper) than Funchal. I actually felt like I could see how the locals live unlike the touristy vibe I got in Funchal.

I personally stayed at A Casa Estrelícia-Dourada Garcês, a 3 bedroom house with a pool and everything. I have nothing but good things to say about this house and would definitely recommend anyone who’s visiting Madeira to stay there.

ADDITIONAL READING TO PLAN YOUR TRIP TO MADEIRA

3 Days in Madeira: https://serenaslenses.net/3-day-madeira-itinerary-what-to-do-in-madeira-in-3-days/

Best Things to do in Madeirahttps://serenaslenses.net/the-best-things-to-do-in-madeira/

Best Hikes and Levada Walks in Madeirahttps://serenaslenses.net/the-best-hikes-and-levada-walks-in-madeira-that-you-cannot-miss/

PR1 Hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivohttps://serenaslenses.net/madeira-hike-pr1-pico-do-arieiro-to-pico-ruivo-one-way-or-round-trip/

PR8 Hike Vereda da Ponta de Sao Lourencohttps://serenaslenses.net/hiking-in-madeira-pr-8-ponta-de-sao-lourenco-hike-all-you-need-to-know/

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One week Madeira Itinerary
7 Days in Madeira