Madeira Island

Welcome to Madeira!

The Island of Madeira is blessed with an excellent location in the northern half of the Atlantic Ocean. It is approximately 700km from the coast of Africa and 1000km from mainland Portugal, and covers an area of 737 square kilometers, 57 km East-to-West by 22 km North-to-South. With a rugged landscape, it contrasts with the Porto Santo Island, with an area of 42 km2, which is almost flat.
Few people have heard of Madeira Island, the 'pearl of the Atlantic'. Here the charm and beauty, with which it was discovered in 1418, has not changed much.
It has one of the most perfect climates in the world, making it a year round destination. It is never too hot, averaging maximums of 25ºC during the summer months and minimums of 17ºC during the winter. This benevolent climate enhances every leisure pastime, be it mountain walking, touring, hiking, etc.
Madeira is an island of contrasts. It is an exotic paradise of flowers, birds and trees offering it's visitors exquisite panoramic views over the mountains and the deep blue sea that surrounds the island. It is filled with deep ravines and Steep Mountain slopes that were once covered with laurel woods and are now covered in picturesque terraces growing in local produce. This can be noticed more in the southern part of the island, being the northern side more sparsely populated and separated from the southern side by the desolate mountain landscape in the middle. Madeira's unique environment and glorious natural beauty are just two of the many of the island's offering. There is an abundance of tropical fruits, Atlantic fresh fish and seafood and the famous Madeira wines. It is the ideal holiday destination for those simply wanting a restful retreat from the hectic pace of the 21st century living.


Departing from the ship we go to the Botanical Garden situated in the high north east of the town centre. Here is located one of the most beautiful collections of native plants, which also includes plants from Cape Verde, the Azores and Canary Islands. Among them many orchids and many other endemic Madeiran flowers. There is a herbarium, as well as terraces and greenhouses with many rare and indigenous plants, all labelled in Portuguese and Latin.  The gardens provide an excellent view over Funchal. Afterwards proceed to the Local Market, to see the local produce of Madeira, including some of the flowers Madeira is famed for (orchids, strelitzias - “birds of paradise”, etc.), baskets filled with tropical fruit and vegetables, local handicrafts and an impressive fish market. The next stop will be a visit to the Embroidery Factory. Large exhibition rooms enable the visitor to admire the full beauty of Madeiran embroidery and other craft items. Finally visit one of the Madeira Wine Lodges and taste the world famous wine, so much a part of the heritage of the island. Return to the Pier.


The tour leaves from the ship and heads towards inland, to the viewpoint of Cabo Girão (1,902ft, 580m), the second highest sea cliff in the world.  It rises sheer from the sea, offering stunning views of the bay of Funchal and out over the distant horizon. After, proceed to Pico dos Barcelos, to admire a beautiful view over Funchal and the bay and mountains. Eira do Serrado is reached after a short drive along a winding road, offering spectacular views of the interior of the island. On arrival at Eira do Serrado, it is short and easy walks up to the viewpoint on Pico do Serrado (3,592ft/1095 m), for an amazing view to the village of Curral das Freiras, which nestles in a deep valley, as well as views across of some of Madeira´s highest peaks. Curral das Freiras was where the nuns from Santa Clara Convent in Funchal fled to escape the pirate raids in the sixteenth century.  The village has always been very isolated, with the road being built only in 1959. Taste a typical drink from the Island – “Poncha” (made with Rum, Honey and Lemon juice).


See Madeira from the air and experience the wonderful views all the way up to Monte. Monte has been a favourite destination for visitors to Madeira since the late 19th century, when a rack and pinion railway was built to haul cruise liner passengers up the hillside from Funchal. The cable car takes you on a picturesque trip up to Monte where the first image that you see is the twin-towered façade of the Church (18th Century), a landmark throughout the city. The tour continues through the village of Monte (1,677ft/550m), notable for its many fine properties and gardens. The toboggan ride – basket sledge ride - back into Funchal ends in Livramento. The ride down the hill in the wicker sledges is an exciting one, providing a taste of the Madeira of the past decades, when this was the established form of transport. On the way back to the ship, a small stop will be made on the Local Market, where you can see the local produce of Madeira, including some of the flowers Madeira is famed for (orchids, strelitzias - “birds of paradise”, etc.), baskets filled with tropical fruit and vegetables, local handicrafts and the fish market.

A short distance from Funchal is the village of Câmara de Lobos, a picturesque and thriving fishing village, once painted by Sir Winston Churchill during his stay in Madeira.  The area around Câmara de Lobos is one of the most important areas for viniculture on the island.  As we drive through, note the small terraces are carved into the sides of the mountain; as the road climbs higher; the banana plantations give way to grapes. Then continue until the viewpoint of Cabo Girão (1,902ft, 580m), the second highest sea cliff in the world.  It rises sheer from the sea, offering stunning views of the bay of Funchal and out over the distant horizon. Continuing along the south coast, the route leads us to Ribeira Brava, which lies at the edge of the deep ravine continuing up by the valley of Serra d’Agua and down to São Vicente village where a stop will be made for lunch. After it, we continue on to Porto Moniz - a small village on the north coast, famous for its volcanic rock pools. On the way we will discover one of the most beautiful points of the north coast, a road built on the rocks near the sea where we can admire the astonishing waterfalls (only possible to see parts of this old road as it is closed due to the rocks fall). We will stop in Porto Moniz to allow you to explore some of the surrounding area. Continue on the way up to Paul da Serra (1500m, 4,920ft), sometimes referred to as the roof of Madeira.  Here the landscape is reminiscent of moorland, entirely different to the lush vegetation of the rest of the island. The tour continues through Calheta or Ponta do Sol (depending on the weather conditions); and then to back to Funchal taking the motorway to avoid repeating the same road (nb: there are extensive tunnels involved).
Leaving Funchal, we take the road that leads to Camacha, one of the largest inland villages of the island and the centre of the wicker industry. Stop here for a while, to visit the warehouse. The warehouse contains all the usual goods, like baskets, trays and chairs, as well as some more unusual items. The tour heads north to Pico de Arieiro (5,937 ft, 1,818m). From this summit, there are, on a clear day, magnificent views over the north, south and centre of the island. Continue to Ribeiro Frio, where we stop to visit the trout hatchery, tucked into the side of the mountain and surrounded by gardens. The drive continues down the mountain to the North Coastline on the way to Santana, passing by Faial. This part of the coast is dominated by the magnificent rock outcrop, which rises out to the sea, and is called “Penha de Aguia” or “Eagles Eyre”. The tour then heads out further east, until the village of Santana is reached. Sights to look out for include the traditional houses with thatched roofs, and the vineyards, planted densely along the road side. This part of the island is well known for the variety of agriculture it produces. On the way back, a stop will be made for lunch to be provided at Faial. In the early afternoon we will drive back to Funchal through Machico, where the last stop will take place. Finally drive back to Funchal passing by the Madeira International Airport.