Madeira Solo Travel: A Magical Solo Trip Guide (2024)

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Misty golden sunsets. Lush tropical forests. Dazzling ocean views. Solo travel in Madeira is an adventurous traveler’s dream come true!

As a remote worker, I’m always looking for a great place to call home while traveling alone throughout Portugal. Thanks to its world-class hiking, unique natural pools, and impressive, towering waterfalls, my trip to Madeira was nothing short of magical!

Known as the Hawaii of Europe, this Portuguese island offers a clean and safe environment along with a range of coworking spaces that made it perfect for a two-week stay. There are an astounding 6 different climates spread across Madeira’s landscape with unique levada trails, the black sand beach of Seixal, and its fascinating fanal forest.

With beautiful fishing villages, awe-inspiring sunsets, and charming traditional thatch roof houses, this island is chock full of delicious food, world-famous wine, and a heavy dose of nature and relaxation. It’s easy to see why Madeira is one of the best places for solo travel in Portugal!

Keep reading for all the best tips on things to do and see in Madeira, plus where to stay, how to get around, and epic places to go like Funchal, Ponta do Sol, Pico Arieiro, Santana, and Pico Ruivo.

Let’s take a look at all the magnificent things this island has to offer!

madeira coastline

What is Madeira Known For?

Madeira, a volcanic archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean, is an autonomous region of Portugal with a unique geographical location. Despite being part of Portugal, this slice of paradise is actually closer to Africa!

Among the five islands, Madeira stands as the largest, captivating visitors with breathtaking landscapes and extensive hiking trails. With its black sand beaches and magnificent mountains, this volcanic haven has some seriously remarkable natural beauty.

Madeira is also renowned for its winemaking heritage. And it’s the birthplace of soccer/football legend Cristiano Ronaldo. His hometown is so proud, they even named the local airport after him!

At just 35 miles long and 13 miles wide, the island of Madeira is a small oasis brimming with adventure. Be aware that the northern part of the island is quite different from the south. The southern side is known as the “sunny side” thanks to the mountainous wind barrier that shields the south.

However, Northern Madeira isn’t without its own wild charm. Steep, rugged cliffs, untamed jungle-like forests, and plunging waterfalls await explorers on this side of paradise.

While Madeira is certainly incredible, be aware that it may not be the best place for anyone looking for a tropical, pina-colada-in-hand kind of beach getaway. Only a few of its beaches, like Machico and Calheta, have soft, golden sand, and even that was imported.

Additionally, navigating the island can be challenging without renting a car, something you’ll want to keep in mind if you’re planning a solo trip to Madeira.


Unlike the wineries in Porto or the hilly vineyards of Douro Valley, Madeira wine differs from port and vinho verde. This unique, fortified wine is available in different styles that range from dry to sweet.

The Taste of Madeira Wine: Madeira wine gets its unique taste from the process of repeatedly heating it, resulting in flavors reminiscent of sweet syrups and toasted nuts. It’s common to taste notes of caramel, walnut oil, peach, hazelnut, orange peel, and burnt sugar.

How to Drink Madeira Wine: Dry styles of Madeira, such as Sercial and Verdelho, are best served chilled with starter courses. Sweeter styles are perfect for enjoying after dinner.

madeira pathway

Why Travel Solo to Madeira?

Traveling solo to Madeira is an unforgettable experience that should be on everyone’s bucket list. Boasting some of the most beautiful nature in the world, incredible hiking opportunities, a mild climate and affordable prices, this hidden gem offers unique cultural experiences and delicious food.

Let’s take a look at the top reasons to enjoy solo travel in Madeira:

  • Nature: Nature enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers, you’ve found your place! On Madeira, you can savor breathtaking views of the largest laurel forest in the world, as well as stunning natural waterfalls and coastal views.
  • Hiking: Explore the island’s unique levadas, irrigation channels built by hand hundreds of years ago, while taking in lush greenery and spectacular cliff-side vistas. Afterward, take a dip in a natural lava pool to unwind. Just make sure to be careful with the terrain, and take precautions if you’re a badass woman hiking alone.
  • Weather: Locals claim this Portuguese island has one of the best climates in the world with warm temperatures year-round.
  • Affordable: Prices here are lower than many other popular European tourist destinations so your budget will stretch further than ever.
  • Hidden Gem: Madeira is not as well known internationally (yet!) so you can enjoy all the adventure and relaxation without the annoying crowds.
  • Unique Culture & Experiences: This volcanic island is filled with black sand beaches and tons of interesting historical sites to explore, like the typical Santana Madeira houses thatch roof houses.
  • Delicious Food: Try some local specialties you won’t find anywhere else. You’ll be craving lapas and bolo do caco before you know it!
  • World-Famous Wine: Sip on Madeira’s world-renowned wines while enjoying your solo travel experience.
  • Digital Nomad Communities: Madeira has built some impressive digital nomad communities, making this a great remote work destination where you do plenty of relaxing after an adventurous solo trip to Porto.

Solo Travel Tip: Even if you don’t want to stay at a hostel, you can still reap all the benefits! Sign up for tours run through reputable hostels, grab a drink at their bar if there is one, and seek out restaurants near hostels for a good shot at meeting others who are traveling alone!

madeira scenery

Is Madeira Safe for Solo Travel?

Is Madeira safe? Why, yes, in fact, Madeira is even known as one of the best European cities for solo travel, and one of the safest European cities for solo female travelers! This island offers one of the most secure environments for anyone exploring on their own.

Just like with Porto solo travel, I felt totally at ease strolling through Funchal’s streets at night. The locals are friendly, patient and welcoming, and crime is rare here. The only thing to watch out for is potential overcharging from taxi drivers!

Without any wild animals or dangerous places to avoid, the main thing to be cautious of is the terrain. You’ll want to be careful while hiking Madeira, especially after it’s rained, and make sure to avoid swimming in any strong currents on the northern side.

Not only is Madeira a safe and crime-free destination, this island takes health and sanitation seriously. It was awesome to see that the majority of local restaurants voluntarily participated in a clean & safe stamp initiative, sort of like sanitation grades in the US. Starting to see why so many people call this place paradise?

madeira sights

Best Places to Visit in Madeira

There are so many incredible places to visit while traveling solo through Madeira. As soon as I arrived, I realized that one trip just wouldn’t be enough!

From the charming streets of Funchal to the breathtaking cliffs of Cape Girao and the tranquil beaches of Porto Santo, you’ll never run out of new places to discover. Here are the top can’t-miss destinations in Madeira.

1. Funchal

Funchal, Madeira’s vibrant capital city, offers a delightful blend of charming old streets, picturesque waterfront views, and a bustling atmosphere filled with cultural attractions and lively markets.

Funchal is the largest town in Madeira with approximately 100,000 inhabitants and is the most common place for travelers to stay. This city is highly walkable so you can easily explore its enchanting corners and unique ambiance.

Things to do in Funchal

  • Visit the Funchal Cathedral, a 16th-century historical landmark said to have one of the most beautiful ceilings in Portugal with intricate wood carvings. Good news: it’s totally free to visit!
  • Explore the charms of Funchal’s Old Town. Make sure you visit Mercado dos Lavradores, the local farmer’s market, to check out its beautiful exotic flowers and souvenirs. Open every day.
  • Take a cable car ride up to Monte where you can visit Monte Palace Tropical Garden, one of the best photo spots on the island.
  • Visit Madeira Botanical Gardens to enjoy gorgeous flowers from all over the world alongside an epic seaside view from a hill above Funchal.
  • Participate in a centuries-old Madeira tradition by taking a wicker basket toboggan ride from Monte back down to Funchal.
  • You can’t go to Madeira and not do a little wine tasting! Visit Blandy’s Wine Lodge to try Madeira’s diverse range of fortified wines and learn about the unique wine-making techniques that date back to the 15th century.
ponta da sol

2. Ponta do Sol

Ponta do Sol, a small village on the southwest coast of Madeira, derives its name from its unique position as the “point of the sun,” the best spot to see breathtaking sunsets on the island.

Reminiscent of the miradouros that make up the most Instagrammable places in Lisbon, this charming destination is not only great for swimming, it’s also home to Europe’s first digital nomad village. An ideal spot for a peaceful remote work retreat. In fact, it may even be one of the overall best beach towns in Portugal!

Things to do in Ponta do Sol

  • Walk the trails of the Paul da Serra Plateau, the flattest location on the island. (AKA my favorite location on the island!)
  • Catch the world’s dreamiest sunset from above the clouds at Pico Ruivo, Madeira’s highest peak.
  • Feel like the star of your own wanderlust movie as you drive underneath the Anjos waterfall on the old coastal road.
  • Join a digital nomad dinner with incredible coastal views. One takes place every Friday night at the Estalagem da Ponta do Sol restaurant, a great way for anyone on a working vacation to socialize!
pico de ariero

3. Pico do Arieiro

Just wait! The jaw-dropping views and plunging cliffs of Pico do Arieiro, the third-highest peak in Madeira, will fill you with an unforgettable sense of awe.

Things to do in Pico do Arieiro

  • This peak is famous for its beautiful 6-mile hike surrounded by mountains and clouds. Keep in mind the terrain is difficult with a 3000-foot (1000m) incline on the return trip. Don’t worry, there are handrails for support!

4. São Vicente

Sao Vicente, nestled on the northern coast of Madeira, captivates adventurers and solo travellers with its dramatic volcanic caves, cascading waterfalls, and enchanting geological wonders.

Things to do in Sao Vicente

  • Explore the Sao Vicente Caves, a mesmerizing underground network of volcanic tunnels where you can journey through the island’s geological past. (Important Note: the caves are currently closed after a 2020 earthquake.)
  • Hike the La Levada do Norte through the dense Folhadal forest and explore lush vegetation, serene forests, and picturesque waterways.
madeira santana traditional house

5. Santana

Santana, a quaint village in Madeira, is full of picturesque charm. It’s known for its palheiros, white stucco A-framed houses with colorful doors and thatched roofs. These traditional Madeira houses are unique to the north side of the island.

Things to do in Santana

  • Visit the traditional houses at Santana Old House and Casa Tipicas de Santana.
  • Stop by Miradouro Rocha do Navio to enjoy epic views of a waterfall along the lush cliffs of the eastern coast.


Love unique architecture? Solo travel in Spain is full of stunning Spanish royal palaces and jaw-dropping Moorish buildings that make up the absolute best photo spots in Seville. The influence of the Moors can be seen across all of Portugal, Morocco, and Andalusia. For more dazzling historic marvels, visit The Mezquita on a day trip to Cordoba or explore The Alcazar on your next solo trip to Seville.

6. Porto Moniz

A visit to Porto Moniz is a must when visiting Madeira. This coastal town leaves a lasting impression thanks to its natural rock pools, stunning ocean views, and unique volcanic landscape.

Things to do in Porto Moniz

  • Visit the two free saltwater lava pools this town is famous for. Where else can you float in a pool carved from a tongue of volcanic lava flowing into the ocean?
porto da cruz

7. Porto da Cruz

Porto da Cruz, a gorgeous seaside village on the northeast coast of Madeira, is an enchanting little corner of the island. While there’s not much to do here, it sure is a beautiful place to do nothing.

Things to do in Porto da Cruz

  • Tour Engenho do Norte, the sugarcane factory and rum distillery. If you’re visiting between March and May, you’ll get to see the whole plant in action.
  • Dying to learn how to surf? Hit up the surf school here for a few lessons.


Did you know there are tons of epic surf towns in Portugal? This European gem is known as a surfing mecca thanks to its consistent surfing in Peniche, Ericeira, Sagres, and more! Plus, there are a diverse array of wave types, and a sunny year-round climate, with destination suited for all skill levels.

Madeira, with its unique volcanic coastline, provides a challenging and exciting surf experience best suited for experts. The biggest draw is Jardim de Mar, a competition-pedigree right break. However, there are still a few beginner-friendly sandy-bottomed breaks available at Porto da Cruz, Machico and Seixal.

8. Cape Girão

Cape Girao is a magnificent sea cliff on the south coast of Madeira. This spot is the second-highest seacliff in the world, offering awe-inspiring panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and surrounding island.

Things to do in Cape Girao

  • Head to the Cabo Girao Skywalk, a glass-floor viewpoint that sits 580 meters above the ground on Europe’s highest seacliff.
  • Explore the darling little town of Câmara de Lobos, its picturesque bay dotted with the traditional fishing boats known as xavelhas.

9. Porto Santo

Porto Santo, another island in the archipelago, is definitely worth a visit thanks to its sandy golden beaches, turquoise waters, and a tranquil atmosphere perfect for a little rejuvenation. With its oceanside bars and lovely boardwalk, this spot definitely reminded me of a more laidback version of the beaches in Cascais.

Things to do in Porto Santo

  • Rent a scooter after you arrive and head to the town of Vila Baleira to explore.
  • Have a beach day at Ponta Calheta, filled with rocky pools, soft golden sand dunes, and crystal-clear water.

Getting from Madeira to Porto Santo

  • Take the Lobo Marinho ferry, operated by Porto Santo Line.
  • Ferries run daily and take about 2.5 hours.
  • Boats depart from Funchal’s South Harbor.
  • A roundtrip ticket costs about €60.
  • From October – June, no ferry runs on Tuesdays.
  • Short inter-island flights are also available.

Learn more about Madeira to Porto Santo by ferry.

10. Seixal

Seixal is a charming village with one of the most unique black sand beaches set amongst a majestic mountain backdrop studded with cascading waterfalls. Near Porto Moniz, Seixal Beach is a 40-minute drive from Funchal with plenty of easy parking.

Things to do in Seixal

  • Visit the free Seixal Natural Pools where you can swim in volcanic, lava-rock tidal pools, surrounded by towering arches made of rock, and giant caves.
  • Make your way to Seixal Bech before dawn to watch an incredible sunrise from atop the soft black sand.


More epic views and stunning beaches are waiting on mainland Portugal! Book Algarve solo travel so you can explore Albufeira, Lagos, Faro, and more of this region’s amazing coastal beauty.

PS: You can cover the most ground by planning a couple epic day trips from Faro.

11. Machico

The first settlement on Madeira island, Machico is a charming fishing village that rests in a picturesque valley beside the ocean. With plenty of great food, hiking, and beautiful beaches, Machico is a great addition to any Madeira solo travel itinerary.

Things to do in Machico

  • Enjoy a relaxing beach day at Praia de Machico, where you can sunbathe on soft, golden sand imported from the Sahara Desert.
  • Explore Madeira’s history in the old fishing quarter in the eastern part of the city.
  • Head to the nearby village of Santa Cruz to check out Quinta do Revoredo and Praia das Palmeiras.

12. Fanal Forest

The Fanal Forest in Madeira is the most unique spot on Madeira, especially on rainy days when it becomes the go-to spot in the Northside. This Laurissilva forest is an important UNESCO World Heritage Site and subtropical rainforest that is said to be… get this… 20 million years old!

With its ancient, eerie-looking trees, the park-like area exudes a spooky and mystical atmosphere, making it perfect for capturing extraordinary photos and embarking on an extraordinary adventure. However, to fully experience the mystical fog, it’s recommended to visit on a cloudy or rainy day, as the charm of the forest may not be as pronounced on clear days.

madeira funchal town center

Best Tours for Solo Travelers in Madeira

Discover the wonders of Madeira through a variety of captivating tours that showcase the island’s natural beauty, rich culture, and breathtaking landscapes. These Madeira tours are perfect for anyone traveling alone who wants to stay safe and make new friends!

  • Dolphin & Whale Watching Tour: Discover the ultimate dolphin and whale watching experience on an eco-friendly catamaran before visiting Cabo Girão for a refreshing swim. Book now!
  • Hiking Tour: Experience one of Madeira’s most famous levada walks and get up close and personal with a number of stunning waterfalls in the Rabaçal Valley. Book now!
  • Funchal Walking Tour: Taste traditional products from local markets, restaurants, and wine producers as you learn about the history of Funchal. Book now!
  • Best of East Madeira: Explore the eastern parts of Madeira on a full-day tour from Funchal. Head to Pico do Arieiro, see the emblematic thatch roof houses in Santana, before taking in stunning views from Penha d’Águia in Porto da Cruz. Book now!
  • Best of West Madeira: Witness the natural beauty of the west of Madeira’s deep valleys and traditional fishing villages. Enjoy breathtaking views at Cabo Girão Skywalk and marvel at the volcanic pools of Porto Moniz. Book now!

Check out all of the best tours in Madeira!

Best for solo travelers in a hurry: Only have a few days to see Madeira? This 2-day tour will take you to all the top landmarks including Girao Cape, the Porto Moniz natural pools, the fishing village of Camara de Lobos, and the Arieiro and Ruivo summits.

Book your 2-day Madeira experience now!

madeira food market

What to Eat in Madeira

Madeira Island is a culinary paradise with some of the best food in Portugal! Full of fresh seafood, delicious traditional meat dishes, and mouthwatering desserts, keep reading for a look at the best things to eat during Madeira solo travel:

  • Espetada: Skewers of marinated beef cooked over an open fire, often served with traditional bolo do caco bread.
  • Black Scabbard Fish: A local delicacy, typically served with banana or passion fruit sauce, showcasing the island’s abundant seafood.
  • Bolo do Caco: A traditional Madeiran bread, usually served with garlic butter and enjoyed as a side or as a base for sandwiches.
  • Poncha: A popular Madeiran alcoholic beverage made with sugar, lemon juice, and Aguardente de Cana (sugarcane spirit), available in various flavors.
  • Espada com Banana: Black Scabbard Fish paired with caramelized bananas, creating a unique and delicious flavor combination.
  • Madeira Wine: Renowned worldwide, the sweet fortified wine produced in Madeira is a must-try, offering a wide range of varieties and vintages.
  • Milho Frito: Fried maize cubes, often served as a side dish or snack, providing a delightful crunch and flavor.
  • Passion Fruit Pudding: A delightful dessert made with fresh passion fruit juice, combining a tangy and tropical taste.
patio dining

Best Madeira Restaurants for Solo Travelers

Good news for anyone planning to do some solo dining in Madeira! This small island is surprisingly full of people eating alone at restaurants, thanks in part to its thriving digital nomad communities. Here are a few of my favorite places to eat in Madeira:

  • Bela 5 Snack Bar – For something low-key and local-approved, head to Bela 5 where you can enjoy plenty of poncha and grilled fish in a cozy bar setting.
  • Restaurante O Portão – For a comfortable, relaxed, atmosphere and well-prepared dishes, head to O Portão. The Espetada is top-notch!
  • Kampo (Funchal) – A great option for foodies, Kampo is an upscale restaurant in central Funchal with an inventive seasonal menu.
  • William’s Restaurant – This Michelin-starred restaurant is located inside the posh, pink hotel called Reid’s Palace. Don’t miss the afternoon tea, served on a balcony overlooking the ocean!
  • Prima Caju – A great option for vegetarian and vegan-friendly travelers, this spot serves up healthy couscous, poke bowls, salads, smoothies and more. Not to mention, they have a gorgeous, hip interior filled with plants and greenery.
  • A Tendinha – For a budget-friendly meal, head to this beloved Funchal establishment with hearty dishes like fish, burgers, sandwiches, and salads.

Funchal Nightlife

If you’re looking for a party, Funchal is where it’s at. Checking out the exciting nightlife is one of the best things to do alone in Madrid, and in Madeira, the story’s the same!

While I, unfortunately, had to work most evenings due to the time difference, these bars and nightclubs came highly recommended by fellow travelers:

  • Madeira Rum House: Check out this spot for rum flights, some of the island’s best poncha, along with a quick education on how rum is made!
  • Vespas: In the mood to dance? This house music club is has the best dance floor in town!
  • Trap Music Bar: Though the name is a little misleading after the emergence of the trap music genre, this is the rooftop in town with live singers and even a highly-recommended weekend brunch.
  • Maresia Shisha Lounge Bar: Papaya trees, themed parties, and tropical cocktails. Need I say more? This Madeira beach club is just as heavenly by day as at night.


If it’s nightlife you’re after, a solo trip to Lisbon may be just the trip for you! From rooftop bars to never-before-seen speakeasies, Portugal’s capital is the perfect place to party the night away.

church along coastline

Coworking in Madeira

Great news for remote workers! Madeira is a digital nomad hub full of coworking spaces with fast, reliable internet and wifi. The prices vary between €10-20 per day

  • Funchal: Cowork Funchal was a lifesaver thanks to the 24/7 access it provided while I worked remotely from Madeira island.
  • Ponta do Sol: Home to Madeira’s first digital nomad village, Working Space @ Ponta do Sol is a fantastic option for working and networking.

Where to Stay in Madeira

Madeira has a variety of accommodations to suit every need, from luxurious five-star resorts with stunning sea views, to charming guesthouses and coliving spaces within the island’s lush landscape. Whether you prefer to be surrounded by Funchal’s vibrant city life or the tranquility of nature, there are plenty of hostels and hotels for solo travellers in Madeira!

29 Madeira Hostel

Best for budget travelers or anyone who prefers a social, lively hostel, 29 Madeira Hostel offers a cozy, friendly ambiance conveniently situated in the heart of Funchal. They offer plenty of tours, pub crawls, and social events that are easy ways to meet your next travel bestie.

Book your stay at 29 Madeira Hostel now!

Estalagem do Mar

Estalagem do Mar is an incredibly attractive accommodation option in Ponta do Sol, renowned for its serene seaside setting. Offering comfortable rooms with panoramic ocean views, this hotel is an ideal choice for anyone looking to unwind amidst the island’s natural beauty.

Book your stay at Estalagem do Mar now!

Ponta do Sol Coliving

Ponta do Sol Coliving is a unique design villa in Madeira, that caters to digital nomads. With modern amenities, high-speed internet, and a communal environment, it combines work and leisure, all while overlooking the stunning ocean views of the island’s southern coastline.

Book your stay at Ponta do Sol Coliving now!

Reid’s Palace

Reid’s Palace, a landmark of luxury hospitality, (and very cute pink hotel!) offers a unique blend of classic charm and modern comfort. Get lost in the Funchal hotel’s rich history while enjoying top-tier amenities, including a spa, fine dining options, and rooms with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Book your stay at Reid’s Palace now!

funchal hills

When to Visit Madeira

Madeira offers a range of great times for solo travelers based on your preferred activities and weather preferences. Spring and Autumn are the prime seasons for hiking, with mild temperatures and vibrant landscapes. If you’re a beach enthusiast, summer is the best time to enjoy the inviting coastal areas.

March and April bring a unique possibility of snowfall, adding an extra touch of beauty to the mountainous regions. However, keep in mind that the island experiences its highest rainfall between October and January, so those seeking drier weather should plan their visit accordingly.

Madeira, Portugal in winter is one of the warmer destinations and can offer a nice, relaxing escape into nature. The island is also a fun place to spend New Years, setting off the largest annual fireworks display in the country!

Check out my guide to the best time to visit Portugal for more information on weather during every season.

Local’s Tip: The most beautiful time of the year to visit Madeira is by and far in April when the purple jacaranda trees are in full bloom, covering the island with their ethereal, blossoming beauty!

curving island roadways

How to Get Around Madeira

Getting around Madeira can be challenging without a car, as public transport options are limited. However, the roads on the island are generally in good condition, and there are several tunnels that facilitate travel between different regions.

If you prefer ride-hailing services, Bolt, similar to Uber, operates on the island. It’s worth noting that remote areas may have little to no transportation options available, so planning ahead and considering car rental can provide more flexibility for exploring Madeira.

If you plan to rent a car in Madeira, pre-book online so you can pick it up at the airport when you land.

Navigating Madeira Without a Car

Getting around Madeira without a car is easier than it may seem, thanks to alternative transportation options like buses, taxis, and organized tours. Discovering hidden gems and exploring the island’s breathtaking landscapes and vibrant attractions is convenient and hassle-free, even without a personal vehicle.

  • Day Tours: Day tours are the best way to get around Madeira if you’re traveling solo. They typically cost less than €40 and have small groups so it’s easy to meet new people.
  • Taxis: You can actually book a taxi to chauffeur you around for the day. The typical rate is about €90, but make sure you negotiate. You can typically find a line of taxis across from the tourist office on Avenida Arriaga.
  • Rideshare: Bolt (an Uber equivalent) is available on Madeira, but since the island is small, there aren’t a ton of drivers. Wait time and availability can be a problem, and you should avoid attempting rideshare if you plan on going to any remote locations.
  • Buses: The buses in Madeira, run by Horários do Funchal, typically serve commuters with limited routes so they aren’t the best way to get around. However, if you still want to use public transportation, you can buy a bus ticket when you board so be sure you have spare change.
  • Coach Tours: If you’re staying in a hotel, they may offer daily Coach bus tours that will take you around the different sides of the island for free.

Tips for Driving in Madeira

Overall, driving in Madeira is not as scary as some make it out to be. The roads are in great condition, and there are a few major highways and tunnels that connect the main parts of the island. Reaching remote hikes may be the most difficult part, but rest assured that the mountain roads have barriers between your car and the cliffs.

  • Sharp Turns: Some mountain roads have sharp turns. Make sure to slow down in advance and use GPS to anticipate upcoming turns.
  • Steep Inclines: If you want to explore remote locations, plan on navigating a few steep roads. Rent a larger car with plenty of power to easily propel up any sharp inclines.
  • Passing Vehicles: On mountain roads, prepare to encounter trucks and buses. Pull over as far as you can to let them pass. While it might look like a tight squeeze, they’re accustomed to navigating these roads so they’ll know how much space they need.
  • Patient Locals: Locals are patient with tourists so don’t stress about honking or tight squeezes. I actually had a tour bus driver hop out and direct a struggling tourist during one of my Madeira day trips. He even did it with a smile on his face!

Madeira Airport

Madeira’s International Airport is small and easy to navigate. (It’s actually named after their favorite local celebrity, Cristiano Ronaldo!)

Here are the easiest ways to get from the airport to your accommodation:

  • Taxi: Take a 30-minute taxi from the airport to Funchal for around €25-€40.
  • Book Private Transfer: If you’re staying anywhere other than near Funchal, it’s best to hire a car through your hotel or hostel, or book through a provider.

Where to Visit Next

Combine your trip to Madeira with 2 days in Marrakech on a Morocco solo travel adventure. Can’t get enough island time? Book your flight and enjoy epic week of solo travel in Azores! Or head to mainland Portugal and discover the best things to do in Obidos or the incredible Douro Valley wineries.

If you’re in the mood for some seriously good food, you could also plan a solo trip to Spain where you can eat all the best tapas in Madrid or Barcelona! No matter where you go next, the magical memories from Madeira will stay with you forever!



Sydney is a solo travel expert who’s extensively explored Spain, Portugal, Morocco, California, and more! She creates travel guides and itineraries to share everything she's learned about the Iberian peninsula through personal experience and exploration.

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