Madeira is a beautiful archipelago off the coast of Northwest Africa and is one of the two autonomous territories of Portugal. It consists of four small islands, lined with a pristine coast and inhabited by friendly people. Not only that, for a European destination, it’s actually a very affordable place to travel to. No matter where you’re staying on the Madeira islands, there’s plenty to see and do. So, lets explore some of the best day trips from Madeira.
Disclosure: this is a contributed article
Top Day Trips From Madeira
Madeira wine hardly needs any introduction as it’s world-famous. And with its unique flora and fauna and World Heritage sites, Madeira is a place you must visit. Even the climate is perfect on the islands, as it has a warm climate all year round. So, without further ado, here are the best day trips from Madeira to fill you with inspiration:
#1: Food and Wine Tour
Madeira islands are majestic, and one of the best ways to enjoy all the natural beauty the island has to offer is to try the Madeira food and wine.
These Portuguese islands are gastronomical destinations with food made from fresh ingredients from the land and sea. Of course, the food goes great with the wine. Why not take a walking food and wine trip through the Old Town in Funchal, the capital of Madeira? Just ensure you use a credible booking site like GetYourGuide or Viator to make your reservation.
#2: See the King Christ Statue on East Island
If you’re not on the East Island of Madeira, you should take a day to visit and explore it. More importantly, you should see the King Christ Statue. Yes, the one in Rio de Janeiro may be world-famous, but the one in Madeira is equally beautiful.
You can also hike up to Pico do Areeiro. From this point, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the island’s mountains.
On the East Island lies the traditional wicker village. Make sure to include this in your itinerary for you day trip so you truly get the taste of life in the eastern parts of Madeira.
#3: Watch Dolphins and Whales on Catamaran
Madeira is located in the Atlantic ocean, which means if you’re there at the right time, you can see cetaceans migrating. So you should definitely book a trip on a catamaran to go explore the waters around the islands and watch dolphins and whales.
Pilot and sperm whales are present near Madeira all year round. However, humpbacks, fin whales, sei whales, and minke whales are seasonal. You can see them between April and October.
Dolphins can be viewed seasonally but they don’t come to the surface very often during the off-season days. Although, you may still be able to catch a glimpse of bottlenose dolphins, as they are super common in those waters.
Keep in mind you’ll only be able to stay in a spot for 10 minutes, so enjoy the moment and perhaps click a photo or two of the beautiful sea creatures.
#4: Visit the Santa Maria de Colombo Replica
If you’re a history buff or just into ships, you’d love the replica of Santa Maria de Colombo. It’s the ship that Columbus was on when he allegedly discovered the Americas.
It’s located in the fishing village of Câmara de Lobos, which is near Funchal. The ship has been around since 1998, so it itself is quite old. However, there’s plenty of fun activities to do onboard and they also have a bar.
In summer, you can go swimming, or perhaps dress like a pirate to take some tourist pictures. Even if you do not wish to take part in the activities, the views of the coast and sea themselves are mesmerizing.
#5: Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk
Levadas are irrigational channels unique to Madeira. Today, they serve as a great tourist attraction in the form of Levada walks. You basically walk following the Levadas, exploring all the greenery surrounding it.
One of the best Levada walks to do in a day is Caldeirão Verde Levada Walk. It leads to the Caldeirão Verde waterfall, which is simply stunning. This walk also includes some great views of the São Jorge island of the Azores.
You can also explore tunnels of natural basaltic rocks. Most organized Levada walks go through these extraordinary tunnels in the Laurisilva forest which is a unique experience indeed.
#6: 4×4 Day Trips
4×4 day trips from Madeira are offered to various parts of the majestic island. You can choose a tour to some far flung part of the island and each part of the island offers something unique to discover. It’s worth exploring all of the island during your time in Madeira, and the best way to do that is to travel in a 4X4.
Its such a treat to explore the islands with family and friends. You’ll go off the beaten paths to see the island’s natural beauty in all its glory. The best one is the Cabo Girao Cliffs tour which will give you an abundance of photography opportunities along the way.
#7: Visit Monte
A lot of people make day trips from Madeira to Monte, a beautiful village near Funchal. The way to Monte is just as beautiful as the destination, as you go up the mountains.
The highlight of this day trip would be the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens. These gardens are located inside the Quinta Monte Palace and they have cycads so old that they could be considered living fossils.
Don’t miss out on toboggan rides, which are a huge tourist attraction in Monte. You slide down the descending streets in wicker sleds on top of wooden runners. In case you didn’t know, this was actually a mode of transportation for people in Monte to go down to Funchal in the past. The exhilarating 10-minute journey, covering two kilometers, will bring out your inner child and is not for the faint hearted.
We hope this blog post with 7 of the best day trips from Madeira has sparked your wanderlust and made you eager to plan a trip to this beautiful Portuguese island. There is so much to offer travellers, regardless of your passions and interests. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to discover one of the truly beautiful places in the world.