To help you with your trip planning, here you can find and book the best activities that Madeira has to offer
Mathias De Coensel
If you're looking for an active holiday destination in Europe, Madeira should be at the top of your list. With its extensive network of levada trails, the island offers a range of options suited to all fitness and experience levels. These flat trails run alongside the irrigation channels, providing access to over 3,000 km of picturesque terrain.
As you explore Madeira's levada paths, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views, cascading waterfalls, and the chance to immerse yourself in the stunning UNESCO-designated Laurissilva Forest. Whether you're an avid hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, Madeira's levada trails offer an unforgettable outdoor experience.
Here are 5 of my most favourite levada walks:
The natural swimming pools in Porto Moniz, Madeira are a set of unique rock pools formed by volcanic activity. These pools are filled with crystal-clear seawater, creating a stunningly beautiful place to swim and relax.
Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools
Cable Ride Achadas da Cruz
The Achadas da Cruz cable car offers a thrilling ride to one of the most extraordinary locations in Madeira - the secluded Fajã da Quebrada Nova. This tiny village is situated on the northwestern coast of the island and is surrounded by towering mountain cliffs on one side and the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Accessible only by foot or by cable car, Fajã da Quebrada Nova is a hidden gem that feels completely isolated from the rest of the world.
In 2012, a breathtaking "skywalk" was added to Madeira's south coast, perched 580 metres high on a cliff. This experience is reserved for those who have a strong head for heights, as the platform extends beyond the cliff's edge and features glass floor tiles that offer a vertigo-inducing view of the ocean far below. This thrilling skywalk is a unique way to experience the island's stunning natural beauty.
Funchal Cable Car
At the upper suburb of Monte in Funchal, Madeira, a modern cable car system follows the route of an old steam railway line, transporting visitors from Almirante Reis up to the heights of the island. While there is typically a queue, it moves quickly, and passengers are treated to 15 minutes of breathtaking views of the ocean and terraced mountainsides dotted with white houses.
At the top, there are numerous attractions to explore, such as the Monte Palace Tropical Garden and the Church where Emperor Charles I is buried. However, the highlight of the visit is undoubtedly the basket toboggan ride down the slope, manned by people in white outfits and boater hats. This thrilling and unique experience takes visitors on a hair-raising ride down the winding streets of Funchal, offering an unforgettable adventure and an exciting way to explore the city.
Monte Palace Tropical Garden
As you step out of the cable car terminal in Monte, Madeira, your eyes will be immediately drawn to the entrance of the magnificent Monte Palace Tropical Garden. These exquisite gardens are spread out over the terraced slopes surrounding the former Monte Palace Hotel, which was constructed in a Rhenish Revival style in the early 1900s.
The garden is home to an impressive array of plant life, including medicinal plants, herb beds, cacti, heather from Scotland, European azaleas, and cycads from South Africa. Visitors can explore the many paths and walkways, marveling at the colorful flowers and plants, and taking in the fresh scents and sounds of nature. A visit to the Monte Palace Tropical Garden is a must for anyone traveling to Madeira, providing a serene and enchanting oasis in the heart of the island.
Madeira is known for being one of the best places in the world for spotting whales and dolphins in their natural habitat, and visitors are almost guaranteed to see these magnificent creatures on a whale watching tour.
Many companies on the island offer whale watching tours, but one of the most popular and reputable is Madeira Sea Emotions. Their tours take visitors out into the open ocean, where they can witness a variety of marine life, including several species of dolphins and whales, as well as seabirds and other sea creatures.