Five Must Do Activities in Madeira, Portugal

Are you looking to travel to a place that does not have shopping malls,encourages you to explore by walking through neighborhoods, and  eating foods that you have not eaten before? Do you like interacting with the people in the places that you visit? Are you looking for a place that makes you feel safe? If you answered yes to these questions, Madeira is the place for you.


Madeira, an autonomous region of Portugal, is an archipelago comprising 4 islands off the northwest coast of Africa that were settled in the 1400s. It’s known for its namesake wine and warm, subtropical climate. Popular outdoor pursuits include hiking along old levada (aqueducts) in the mountains, golf, surfing and scuba diving at sites such as the Garajau Marine Nature Reserve.

Five Must do Activities in Madeira:

  1. Hike one of the many levadas in Madiera. There are easy hikes and difficult hikes. The one that I took was an easy one. The name is Monte Levado Dos Tornos.  This walk is long, but not very strenuous. Along the path you will find a tea house. The tea house is not opened on Mondays, so we missed it.

Notes: It is not necessary to sign up for a guided walk. You can take the bus to the beginning of the levada and catch a bus at the end of the walk.Take a snack and some water with you. The bus drivers are very friendly.


2. Ride the skytram which is know as the “teleferico”.

You can catch the teleferico at the main point in the center of town. You will experience a view like no other. It will take you to the top of the mountain where you can get off and visit two of the most beautiful gardens around.

Notes: The sky tram costs 15 euros for a round trip ticket.

thumb_IMG_1259_1024 A view of the houses in Madiera

3. Visit Jardim Botânico da Madeira: or  Jardim Tropical Monte Palace

Hillside botanical gardens with a bird park, natural history museum & glass houses, plus sea views.
Address: Caminho do Meio, Bom Sucesso, 9064-512 Santa Maria Maior,Funchal, Portugal
Both of these gardens provide great settings. I chose to visit the Jardim Tropical Monte Palace because of the historical set up of the garden. My friend chose the Jardim Botânico da Madeira. Both of these gardens can be reached by taking the “teleferico” up.
These are some of the pictures of the Jardim Tropical Monte Palace
The gardens were divided into sections: The Oriental section which included a Japanese garden and some Chinese statues. There were also murals that told the history of the area.
There is a ledge that depicts the story of Romeo and Juliet. There were a few couples who were reenacting the famous love seen.
thumb_IMG_1280_1024                A Japanese “tori” in the Oriental Garden area

4. Enjoy the food.

Madeira has some of the best seafood. The food is very fresh and always prepared in a most visual way. The cafes are lined along the streets and there are so many choices. Don’t be surprised if you are accosted by energetic young men who try to convince you to eat at their restaurants. They are very friendly, but sometimes it is so difficult to decide where to eat because there are so many choices. Don’t eat anything that you would eat in your own country! Be brave and eat like the natives. Do not pass up the gelato! It is much cheaper in Madeira than it is in the USA. If you like coffee, don’t waste your money at Starbucks or McDonald, get your “cafe con leche” at any local cafe for about 1.5 euros and you will not be disappointed.


Gelato and sangria! Great combo

There is a restaurant on the roof of this center which has really good food and a great view.

5. Walk, walk, and walk

Madeira is a great place to walk around. The streets are narrow and cobblestoned. The streets in Portugal are very famous for their inlaid designs. Walking by the beach is also very refreshing. There are a few places to swim, but they are at your own risk. You might also see cruise ships pull up and dock for awhile. Sit on the boardwalk and have a drink, dinner, or a snack and enjoy the view. The cruise ships seem to block the view sometimes. Take a walk up to the University of Madeira and take a look at the different designs on the garage doors. You will be glad that you did.

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Don’t miss this interesting market. Unfortunately, we did. Just one more reason to return!!

Have a fantastic trip and let me know about any jewels that you find!!!