6 reasons to put Madeira on your bucket list

January, 2019.

Madeira is the perfect getaway for anyone who enjoys the outdoors. The island offers great hiking trails, water sports and beautiful weather all year round.


Madeira is a volcanic archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean. They are an autonomous region of Portugal. Madeira Island is quite small, which means you can explore a lot in a short amount of time. The island has limited public transport, so I would suggest hiring a car.

This will give you a chance to experience Madeira to its fullest. The road system and scenery are very impressive, but it is not for the faint-hearted! The island has many narrow and steep roads and you will come across lots of tunnels and bridges. Here are some of the reasons why you should visit the “flower island”.

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Image by Enikő Krix, Travel Hacker Girl

Food and drinks

In Madeira, you will, of course, find seafood on every menu. Fish is a very popular dish. However, don't be alarmed if you are not a fan of seafood. I'm not so keen on it myself. There are plenty of dishes prepared with meat that you can enjoy.


I was very glad to learn that a lot of the beef and pork dishes are seasoned with garlic, bay leaves and salt. A must try on the island is Espetada. This is meat on a skewer, and we were impressed with the way it was served.

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Image by Enikő Krix, Travel Hacker Girl

Madeira is also famous for its wine, which can accompany this great meal. Poncha is another traditional alcoholic drink. It is made from sugar, lemon and honey. The result is quite a strong drink, so drink it with moderation!

**Very important message! Make sure you don’t drink and drive! Make sure to be accompanied by a designated driver, or else leave the car at your accommodation.

Hiking trails

One of the most popular activities in Madeira is hiking. You will find many Levada walks. They are the island's irrigation system. These canals are used to distribute water on the island, but also make a gorgeous trail for tourists and locals alike. They are well signposted, easy to follow routes. One of our favourite Levada walks was to 25 Fontes. This is a very popular destination, so we set off early to beat the crowd. Our reward was a peaceful walk and having the waterfall all to ourselves.

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Image by Enikő Krix, Travel Hacker Girl

Having a good pair of hiking boots will make the walks a little bit more comfortable and easier to manage. Also, if you have hiking poles you should bring them, they will come in handy too. Be prepared for every kind of weather, a backpack with a rain jacket, sun protection and a sweater as well as some snacks for energy will help you to enjoy the beautiful scenery Madeira has to offer.

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Image by Enikő Krix, Travel Hacker Girl

Rock Pools

You will find many natural rock pools in Madeira. In Porto Moniz, you will need to pay a small fee to enter the site and you can only do it if the ocean is not too rough. Another lesser known place with a lava pool is in Seixal. It takes a bit more effort to visit this pool, but in exchange, you will have a quieter swim with fewer people and it's completely free.

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Image by Enikő Krix, Travel Hacker Girl


Madeira is really mountainous, so you will pretty much always be surrounded by amazing scenery. Head to one of the many viewpoints the island has. Cabo Girão Viewpoint is special with its glass floor. You will have great views from this skywalk to the ocean and the capital, Funchal. Enjoy an ice cream or local cake at the cafe on site.

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Image by Enikő Krix, Travel Hacker Girl


Madeira has pleasant weather all year round. The winter temperatures are mild and although it can be rainy, these showers normally don't take too long. Because the island is so mountainous there are several microclimates. Different parts of the island will have different weather.

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Image by Enikő Krix, Travel Hacker Girl

It is good as chances are it will be sunny somewhere and as the whole island is not too big, you can easily head to the sunny part by car. You should prepare for all types of weather and dress in layers. This is particularly important when you go hiking in the mountains!

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Image by Enikő Krix, Travel Hacker Girl

Fauna and flora

The island is also known as the “flower island” as it is home to so many colourful plants. You can visit the Madeira Botanical Garden if you want to learn more about these plants and see lots of different types in one place. However, you will come across many beautiful flowers just out and about exploring Madeira. We saw echium candicans, orchids, cactuses, magnolias and many more just by walking around the island.

flower fauna

The wildlife in Madeira is equally spectacular. Birdwatchers will be thrilled to hear that we saw lots of interesting birds on our hikes, who were amazingly not afraid to pose for our camera! You will most likely also spot lizards, cows and butterflies on your trek. If you would like to cross off something from your bucket list I suggest embarking on a whale and dolphin watching tour by the coast of Madeira. It is an experience you will never forget!

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Image by Enikő Krix, Travel Hacker Girl

Car hire in Madeira

There’s no doubt about it – the best way to visit the hidden gems of Madeira is by car. Holiday Autos’ handy car hire comparison site helps you find the best deals for your next trip to Madeira.

We do the hard work of comparing car hire for you. Our car hire experts negotiate exclusive rates with top car hire brands to bring you the best deals. You can even filter by customer rating price and car type. Search and compare car hire brands at HolidayAutos.com to get the best car hire deal today!

Blog Credit: Enikő Krix is the author of the blog Travel Hacker Girl. Her blog mainly focuses on outdoor activities, bucket list experiences and budget travel.

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