Have you been thinking of choosing Madeira as your next destination? The island of wonders makes for a perfect one week in Madeira stay that is sure to delight you!
Madeira is the biggest island of the archipelago which is an autonomous part of Portugal. It is most famous for its divine crystal waters, leisure boating and scuba diving. This subtropical getaway offers seaside resorts, misty forests, rocky beaches and legendary wine.
Located in a favoured geographical position, 400 km offshore African coast and an hour and a half flying from the Portugal mainland it has a divine subtropical climate, remarkable cultural traditions and uniqueness in landscape settings.
Our full guide covers:
- Basic Introduction
- Where to stay in Madeira
- How to get around
- What to see in Madeira
- Things to do in Madeira
- Tickets you have to buy before – must read
- Food and Restaurants
- Day Trips from Madeira
- Itinerary for Madeira
- Packing List
- City Map
Prepare to enjoy the breathtaking views of landscapes hiking through Levadas, the stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean from the highest cliffs and sipping outstanding quality wine while attending various festivals and best of all, the New Year’s fireworks which is one of the largest in the world. It is a great destination for adventure sports.
Indulge all that you can take “back home” from your one week in Madeira trip and follow this
guide I have carefully made for you!
1. Basic Introduction
I will start with a simple intro for the basics you need to know before you plan for your 1 week in Madeira itinerary.
Currency: EUR (€)
Language Spoken: Portuguese, but many locals speak English
Population: 251, 060 thousand (2021)
Known for: Madeira is known for its natural beauty, mild subtropical climate, and wine that has been classified as the most luxurious drink in the Colonial Western Hemisphere. Moreover, it also has incredible flora and fauna, featuring a prehistoric laurel forest which is classified as a UNESCO heritage, along with breathtaking and glamorous landscapes that you can enjoy from the highest cliffs in the Atlantic. Nowadays, travellers plan to visit Madeira in a week to explore the unique tourist locations and get a feel of its paradisical character.
Accommodation: You will be guaranteed great hospitality from the locals, no matter if you pick a hotel, a Guesthouse or an Apartment.
Find more details in our where to stay in Madeira section below.
Public Transport: Public transport is well organized, making for a convenient one week in Madeira. Buses are reliable and affordable, and you can rent a car or a motorcycle. It is definitely a destination to use Cable cars and Funiculars which are a real attraction, although you may also use a taxi.
More under how to get around.
Safety: Madeira is recognized for having low crime rates, making it a generally safe destination even for a solo female traveller.
Electricity: 230V / 50 Hz The power plug sockets are of type F. Remember to pack your travel plug adapter.
2. Where to stay in Madeira
Madeira Island is a unique and beautiful destination with a very rich history and natural beauty. There is a list of several amazing places that will ensure you make the best memories during your Madeira one week itinerary!
2.1 Where to stay in Funchal?
Funchal is the capital city of Madeira Island and a symbol of a perfect match of nature, culture and lifestyle. Shaped like amphitheatre, located on a slope directly turned to the Atlantic Ocean, the city of the “white gold” (sugar) fascinates with its “7 wonders”: Monte Palace Tropical Madeira, Madeira Botanical Garden Cable Car, The Church of Nossa Senhora do Monte, Blandy’s Wine Lodge, São Tiago Castle, Parque de Santa Catarina and Mercado dos Lavradores are just a few of the places a visitor mustn’t skip.
The Old Town, or as it is called “Zona Velha”, is a labyrinth of nice alleys, making them perfect to explore when you visit Madeira in a week. Tourists come here and stroll during the days or relax and enjoy the nightlife in the great atmosphere of the bars and restaurants.
Apartments Madeira Barreirinha, Funchal (Old Town)
If you want to enjoy commodities and a few landmarks very near, Apartments Madeira Barreirinha offers breathtaking sea views and can be a perfect place for you. There is a rooftop swimming pool. The convenience of being 500m from Almirante Reis Beach, and very close to Marina do Funchal and Madeira Botanical Garden is yet another privilege you will surely enjoy.
Binis Apartment, Funchal (Lido)
Binis Apartment is located in the Lido district, this beachfront apartment with a private pool and a sea-view balcony. Here, guests can enjoy snorkelling, cycling, and hiking. An outdoor swimming pool is also at your disposal, making this place a must-stay-at during your Madeira one-week itinerary.
Vista Mar, São de Martinho
In Vista Mar, you will enjoy a fully equipped apartment in the São Martinho district. There is a private swimming pool, besides all other necessities obtained within the apartment. You would like the location of only 2.3 km to Praia Gorgulho and 11 km to Cabo Girão.
2.2 Where to stay in Canico de Baixo?
This extremely charming and quiet place is very quiet compared to Funchal, so this would be a great “switch off” gateway for you. Here are my top picks for accommodation when you’re visiting Madeira in a week.
Ocean Breeze, Caniço de Baixo Waterfront
If you are traveling with your family and searching for commodities, Ocean Breeze will be a perfect match. Its beachfront location is very convenient, offering an on-site family-friendly restaurant and a children’s playground. Charming accommodation with garden views and a 500 m patio from Reis Magos Beach.
Paradise Garajau, Garajau
Paradise Garajau, looking for the utmost comfort to add to your one week in Madeira itinerary? Paradise Garajau is a very comfortable place at a close distance to several beaches. The apartment offers a private entrance, so you will be secluded in privacy.
The Sunny Apartment by Atlantic Holiday, Caniço Village
The Sunny Apartment by Atlantic Holiday, the spacious apartment offers terrace views. The children’s playground and the garden are a bonus if you are travelling with a family.
2.3 Where to stay in Machico?
This iconic place is located in the most picturesque bay in Madeira. It inspires with the harmonious stitch of the land and sea, making it a must-visit during your Madeira one week itinerary.
Residential Familia, Machico Waterfront
Residential Familla is at the waterfront and offers all the facilities which will make your stay pleasant. If you enjoy spending your time at the beach, I’m certain you;ll enjoy its convenient location.
Casa da Bungavillia, Old Town
Casa da Bungavillia, this holiday home is set close to landmarks such as Banda d’Alene Beach and Sao Roque Beach. Hike or rent a car to travel and indulge in the landscapes and picnic areas.
Portobay Serra Golf, Santo da Serra
Portobay Serra Golf, this hotel looks so fairy. It is surrounded by gardens and a golf course. The indoor pool, the sauna, and the massage room enable you to pamper yourself after an active day. Very interesting place for couples.
2.4 Where to stay in Calheta?
Calheta is the oldest parish on the archipelago, and a great location to add to your one week in Madeira trip plan. Spend a holiday on the beautiful beaches of Calheta, paragliding, diving and snorkelling, visiting museums, walking through levadas in the area, and visiting the pubs and bars.
Calheta Beach House T1, Calheta
Calheta Beach House T1, an accommodation with a patio, garden, and BBQ facilities only 200 m from the beach, making it perfect for a family or a couple. Discover more on the link below!
Banda do Sol Self Catering Cottages, Estreito da Calheta
Banda do Sol Self Catering Cottages, a nice apartment offering a pool, views, silence, garden, swimming pool, and a courtyard with BBQ facilities only 7 minutes drive from the marina, a supermarket, and restaurants. If you’re looking for a place that offers it all, this is the best one to stay during your 1 week in Madeira.
Au petit Madère, Prazeres
Au petit Madère, flawless nature lovers will find their paradise, only 26 km away from the Natural Pools. It offers you sea views, a fully equipped holiday home, and BBQ facilities.
2.5 Where to stay in São Vicente
São Vicente has a diversity of natural and cultural heritage. The stunning Laurisilva Forest, historical monuments and the volcanic caves. The hidden waterfalls on the unbelievably beautiful walk from São Vicente to Seixal are a magical view. No wonder this spot has found its place in the ultimate one week in Madeira itinerary.
Basalt House B by Madeira Sun Travel, São Vicente Town Center
Basalt House B by Madeira Sun Travel, whoever likes to spend a holiday in the mountains of Madeira, this is a perfect place to stay. But, do have in mind that a car rental is a must here.
Casa Das Videiras, Seixal
Casa Das Videiras is an old 18th-century object recently renovated, but the significant details such as the Portuguese-tailed panels and its facade were kept. Classic design lovers will enjoy the ambience.
Hotel Euro Moniz, Porto Moniz
Hotel Euro Moniz, a bit luxurious and fancy hotel that attracts with the mountain and ocean views. You will be delighted with breakfast served on the private balcony of your room. It also offers a heated indoor pool and a bar.
2.6 Where to stay in Ponta do Sol?
This place is famous for its beaches and villages, making it ideal for those of you looking for a secluded retreat.
Jiri Villa With Swimming Pool by MRH, Ponta do Sol Center
Jiri Villa With Swimming Pool by MRH, a villa that offers great accommodation and is very appropriate for a group due to its size. Very close distance to the beaches in the area.
Sunset Sea Breeze, Madalena do Mar
Sunset Sea Breeze, choosing this spot you will be secluded in a calm village near the ocean. The overwhelming views of sunsets are unforgettable from here.
2 bedrooms house with wifi at Lombo Do Doutor
2 bedrooms house with wifi at Lombo Do Doutor, a simple holiday house approximately 30 km from every significant Madeira Island spot.
3. How to get around
So, we have your accommodation set, now let us get out and explore.
After we have set your accommodation for your one week in Madeira, let’s initiate your exploring spirit. Madeira Island has a very well-connected network of roads, but lots of tunnels into the mountains and toboggans down the steep hills.
Car Rental: If you want to explore the place thoroughly, I highly suggest you rent a car- but only if you are a confident driver. When renting a vehicle, you should also ask for one that has the power to climb steep hills.
Public Bus: This is a great solution if you stay in the capital city. On particular routes, you will find a free audio tour available via the application. In Funchal, you can buy tickets in advance, while in smaller places, you can’t.
Taxi: Navigating through your Madeira one week itinerary via taxi is a good idea if you do not feel 100% sure about a driving adventure. You can find a day taxi, which will chauffeur you around the island for a decent money rate and even wait for you while you visit attractions.
Airport Transfers: The quickest and the most reliable way to get from Madeira Airport to your spot is by taxi. Uber is also available. Many private transfer companies are reliable and have their own applications that can help you. The drivers are super polite and helpful.
Cable Cars: This is a fantastic way to scale mountains. The Funchal Cable Car and Botanical Garden Cable Car go in the same direction, to Monte. The cable car tickets can not be bought in advance.
4. What to see in Madeira- The Must-Do’s
If you are wondering what is worth seeing in Madeira, this is the list:
There are two extraordinary sights in Madeira, too:
- Funchal Old Town
- Ponta de São Lourenço
5. Things to do in Madeira
Levada is an ancient irrigation system. The levadas are routes that follow the man-made aqueducts and in Madeira, the total distance of levada walks is 2500 km. The surrounding is lush greenery and they lead you through diverse terrain. Levada de Rafet is considered one of the easiest, as It is short and flat. The hardest levada walk is Pico do Arieiro – Pico Ruivo and it is called the Stairway to Heaven. A must for a levada walk is rain-protective clothes, so make sure to take those when packing for Madeira in a week.
Visit Curral das Freiras
It is spread over an area of 25.07 km2 and it is the most picturesque place on Madeira. The stunning mountain peaks are breathtaking. Curral das Freiras is one of the few places which is not visible from the sea. The church of Nossa Senhora do Livramento is located there.
Try the Madeiran Cuisine
Espada is the top dish that you should try in Madeira.
Take the Cable Car to Monte
The starting station is located in the garden of Almirante Reis in the historic part of Funchal. The journey lasts for about 15 minutes. The breathtaking landscapes and the symbiosis of the countryside and the city are a great experience.
6. Tickets you have to buy before (Must Read)
You can never plan a trip in every single detail, but you can definitely make it easier by buying the tickets in advance. What I suggest you can do is:
- Funchal Cable Car Ticket
- Boat Tours: Whale and Dolphin Watching Catamaran Cruise from Funchal
- São Vicente Caves day tour
- Monte Palace Tropical Garden Tour
7. Food & Restaurants
These are a few Madeiran specialities you need to try!
- Bolo do Caco
- Black Scabbardfish (Espada)
- Milho Frito
- Feijoada Madeirense
My recommendations for restaurants in Madeira
8. Day Trips from Madeira
How to do the day trips? There are 3 options:
During your one week in Madeira, here are a few short trips you can consider taking:
- Funchal: Monte Palace Tropical Garden; Funchal Old Town; Funchal Cathedral;
- Canico de Baixo: Reis Magos Beach; Garajau Natural Reserve; Christ the King Statue (Cristo Rei)
- Machico: Machico Beach, Machico Promenade, Machico Mother Church
- Calheta: Calheta Beach; Casa das Mudas Art Center; Calheta Marina
9. Itinerary for 7 days
Day 1: Funchal
Since you are arriving in Funchal, your one week in Madeira can start with visiting the town landmarks. The Funchal Cathedral, Jardim Municipal do Funchal, Madeira Story Center and have lunch in a nice restaurant in the Old Town. You can enjoy the evening relaxing by the sea and buy an online ticket for the cable car to visit Monte the next day.
Day 2. Funchal Gardens and Monte
The base station of the cable car is in the garden of Almirante Reis. After the mesmerizing views at the Botanical Garden in Funchal, you will scale to Monte and enjoy the view of the Monte Palace Tropical Garden with all those rare species of plants and flowers.
On the journey, you will see the breathtaking views of the sea, green surroundings and the orange roofs of the city.
Day 3: East Madeira – Machico and Canico de Baixo
Machico is a small city in the southeastern part of the island very near to Fuchal. It has a mild climate and you can spend a day on the artificial beach of Banda Além or the pebble beach of S. Rochue. No doubt, you will love the gratefulness of its bay.
Canico de Baixo is very quiet and perfect for rest, making it a must-include in your Madeira one week itinerary.
Day 4: West Madeira -Calheta and Porto Moniz
Calheta is an interesting place to visit for its countless hiking trails and its beaches. You can go further to Porto Moniz and enjoy swimming in the Natural Pools.
Day 5. North Madeira – São Vicente and Ribeira Seca
São Vicente is famous for its volcanic caves, and vast natural and cultural heritage. The most popular surfers’ beach is there. The Ribeira Seca is interesting for its secular traditions and is especially characterized by a young population proud to promote patrimony.
Day 6. South Madeira – Ponta do Sol
The Angels Waterfalls are worth your visit. This waterfall cascades over the rocks above the regional road and spills into the sea.
Day 7. Jardim do Mar
The most beautiful village in Madeira and the paradise for surfers, making it great for the end of your 1 week in Madeira. Hopefully, this provided you with enough information to plan for your one week in Madeira hassle-free. And if you’re interested in more travel inspiration, don’t forget to check out my other blogs!
10. Packing List
There is a few things we recommend for your packing list Madeira.
11. Printed Guides & Map
These guides are best for the ones looking for a printed version.
Once you come to Madeira, you will also receive a paper map of the city.
Here is again our map of Madeira with the recommended hotels and neighborhoods.
Questions? Contact us
I tried to make this guide as useful and complete as possible. However, chances are you still have questions left.
Therefore, any questions? Anything not clear?
Please get in touch with us, I would be very happy to help. I want to make this guide as useful as possible for you.
You see, your question actually helps me as well.
Do not be shy and send me an email.