A comprehensive Madeira travel itinerary to make your self-drive road trip fun and complete with all the best Madeira tourist attractions.
You will need a rented vehicle, for this Madeira travel itinerary, but don’t stressed, our Madeira travel itinerary includes coordinates too. Your travel days will always start in Funchal as that is normally the base for hotels – including ours (The Flame Tree Hotel).
4 days Madeira travel itinerary
Day 1 – Funchal
Start your day after breakfast and use your first day in Madeira for exploring the capital Funchal. Walk around the beautiful old town center, stop at the town hall, visit the baroque church and taste some local wine at the winery near the town hall. Don’t forget about the well-known Funchal’s market, where you’ll be blown away for the colors, diverse exotic fruit and interesting fish market.
It is also nice to walk along the coastal area and enjoy the sun and views towards Funchal, which is set up on a steep hilly landscape. Last but not least, it is also nice to visit the botanical garden (Entrance fee: 5,50€/pcs, Coordinates: 126.96.36.199 / 016.53.42.1) and Pico Dos Barcelos – Funchal’s view point (Coordinates: 188.8.131.52 / 016.56.24.8).
Day 2 – centre of Madeira island
Use the rented car and head in the middle of Madeira. Stop at Monte village. The village is best known for its church with nice views towards Funchal. At the bottom of the church there’s another Madeira tourist attractions – sledging down the hill, which looked like tons of fun. (Parking coordinates: 184.108.40.206 / 016.54.14.7)
Continue your way to Pico do Arieiro, which is a great starting place for hiking. Even if you are not into hiking, you will not regret stopping there. (Parking coordinates: 220.127.116.11 / 016.52.53.6)
Your next stop is a small town Santana on the northern side of the island. The town is known for its fairy tale Swiss houses. (Parking coordinates: 18.104.22.168 / 016.52.53.6)
You will be driving along the coastal town until reaching Canical. But in between, you will also pass a small village Porto da Cruz. The village does not look any special, but if you will walk towards the beach, you will pass the sugarcane rum distillery, which you can visit and also taste its products. (Parking coordinates: 22.214.171.124 / 016.49.48.0)
If you have not had your lunch yet, we would suggest having it in Canical. Our favorite local restaurant on the whole island was La Cala, which offers great food with very affordable prices. Don’t miss out on the Espetadas – traditional meat skewer. (Coordinates: 126.96.36.199 / 016.44.32.0)
After lunch, head up to whaling museum, which is incredible and will show you everything about once very important Madeira’s industry. (Entrance fee: 10€/pp, Coordinates: 188.8.131.52 / 016.44.13.3)
If you have enough time, you might decide going for a walk at the Canical’s coastal area and after that continue your way to the eastern side of the island, where you’ll be able to hike towards the lighthouse at the most eastern part of the island. (Parking coordinates: 184.108.40.206 / 016.42.04.5). It is beautiful and if you ask us, you will find some of the most amazing views there. Don’t miss out the other gorgeous view point, which might charm you even more. (Coordinates: 220.127.116.11 / 016.42.24.3)
End your day at the coastal town Machico, where you’ll also find sandy (artificial) beach. (Parking coordinates: 18.104.22.168 / 016.45.57.1 – this parking is a bit further out of the bay, as the bay parking’s are mostly always full).
Day 3 – northern side of the island
You will spend your day at the northern side of the island again. Your first stop will be Sao Vicente with its interesting volcanic caves. You will walk through lava tubes and get to know Madeira’s history and beginnings. (Entrance fee: 8€/pp, Coordinates: 22.214.171.124 / 017.02.29.7)
Drive up to the Porto Moniz and admire lava pools in which you can even take a swim. (Parking coordinates: 126.96.36.199 / 017.10.04.6)
You will reach Funchal through the road leading in the middle of the island, offering you some beautiful views towards the island and Atlantic Ocean.
Day 4 – southern part of the island
Madeira is not a large island, what makes it great for short holidays. You can see most of it in 4 days. Your last day exploring will be on the southern part of the island. Your first stop is the second highest cliff in the world / Skywalk Cobo Girao. (Coordinates: 188.8.131.52 / 017.00.23.5)
A nice town for a quick stop is also Ribeira Brava. Being a popular stop with locals it is a bit hard to get free parking spot-we have paid 0,75€/hour. (Parking coordinates: 184.108.40.206 / 017.03.50.7)
Two picturesque stops are also Jardim do Mar village (Coordinates: 220.127.116.11 / 017.12.39.7) and Paul do Mar (Coordinates: 18.104.22.168 / 017.13.35.0).
You will continue your way towards NW part of the island, which will offer you some stunning views. A great stop for a quick snack is a small local restaurant with amazing views. (Coordinates: 22.214.171.124 / 017.14.05.0)
Continue towards Ponta do Pargo –western lighthouse (Coordinates: 126.96.36.199 / 017.15.46.1) and to Archadas da Cruz, where you will not find just views, but also a cable car, which can take you to the coast. (Cable car ride: 3€/pp one way, Coordinates: 32.51.09.1 / 017.12.35.5)
This Madeira travel itinerary is not to busy, as you will do around 550 kilometers for it. Even though you will be able to see all the best Madeira tourist attractions, you will still have evenings to yourself and for enjoying the time in Funchal. The Madeira travel itinerary is a relaxed one and is also good for families with small children. If you have any extra day to spend in Madeira, you can easily use it for hiking or just relaxing under the sun.
Travel tip: We recommend booking your rented car at www.economycarrentals.com. You can read all about best Madeira tourist attractions in the itinerary here. For booking your hotel, we recommend using booking.com.