Madeira - Where to Stay for first time travelers

Where to Stay in Madeira for a first time visit? An insider’s guide 2024

Want to feel what heaven on Earth feels like? Well, planning a trip to Madeira will let you experience just that! It is an archipelago in the North Atlantic Ocean in the region of Macaronesia. It is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal, famous for its wine, flora and fauna.

You will feel mesmerised by the exotic colours of the flowers that stand out from the blue sea and the emerald-green vegetation. Madeira offers a diversity of tourist complexes and access to the sea with prime conditions for boating and scuba diving. The climate is subtropical and the average temperature is 21 C.

So, the only thing left for you to do is figure out where to stay in Madeira!

We know that different types of people require different advice on travel accommodations. In this guide include the best areas for

  • the first time visitor
  • Families
  • Couples
  • Luxury & Design
  • Solo-Traveler
  • on a budget

Are you more of a visual learner/travel planner?

Lucky for you, we’ve included a map with all of our favorite neighborhoods and handpicked hotels for all of your travel needs.

Check it out below to get a better idea of where you should stay for your first or next visit to the Madeira.

This is the extension of our guide to 7 days in Madeira.

(This guide is always up to date, the last updated June 2024.)

But, first things first:

No matter who you have come to Madeira with, there is a lot to enjoy. Here, you will experience the most beautiful levada walk. São Martinho in Funchal is where the best hotels in Madeira, Portugal are located. And since it is on the coastline, tourists enjoy the warm days under the sun, thankful for the Madeiran hospitality and uniqueness.

Here is the question: Where to stay in Madeira?

The answer is simple: Funchal

Funchal, the largest city and the capital of Madeira is such an adventure to be explored. The city is famous for its botanical gardens, houses built up on the hills, and ocean panoramic views. This urban surrounding helps in creating the perfect balance with the natural attractions. The main port and airport of Madeira island are in Funchal.

Some of these areas include:

  • Monte Palace Tropical Garden & Jardim Botanico
  • Funchal Old Town
  • Funchal Cathedral

Why do we recommend these areas?

Before I reveal the best places to stay in Madeira, let me say a word or two about the recommended areas.

The Monte Palace Madeira houses a huge exotic plant collection, coming from all over the world. It also has swans and ducks in the central lake, where you can admire the beauty and majestic appearance of these birds.

Fun fact: The most admired, black swans originate from Australia and the wild white swans originate from Iceland and Scandinavia.

Jardim Botãnico houses more than 2000 exotic plants from all continents. This place allows visitors to enjoy a trip around the world through the plant kingdom and get to know the Natural History Museum and the Herbarium located within the Botanical Garden. You get to this paradise by cable car overlooking the ocean and Funchal’s colourful houses. The ride is a precious experience.

In the Old Town Funchal, you will find everything, from old houses, churches, chapels, old shops, restaurants and so many things. It is a nice location to stroll around and see places like the “Mercado dos Lavradores” (Farmer´s Market), the Madeira Story Centre, Forte São Tiago, The Bordal (Embroidery) Factory, Museum of Photography Madeira, Town Hall and more. Because of this, it’s also a great answer to where to stay on Madeira Island.

One of the most notable monuments, the Funchal Cathedral, is a place where your attention is immediately drawn to the altarpiece. Surmounted by a Gothic canopy, made of impressive woodcarving, complemented by sculptures and oil paintings on wood, it is definitely a view to admire. The processional cross is considered to be one of the masterpieces of Portuguese Manueline jewellery and is housed in this cathedral.

Here’s a full map for you to understand the different areas.

Please note: those might not be the exact names of the districts, neither its absolute borders. I just tried to simplify this information.

📍Best Area:Funchal
👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Best for Families:Vila Faia
👩‍❤️‍👨 Best for Couples:Babosas Charm
💎 Best Luxury HotelPestana Grand Ocean Resort Hotel
🤩 Best Design Hotel:Barceló Funchal Oldtown
😎 Best for Groups:Atlantic Blue I
🦸 Best for Solo-Traveller:Jaca Hostel Funchal
💃 Best Hotel for Nightlife:Garden by MaCitydeira Best Apartments
🤑 Cheapest Place to stay:Amazing SEA LIGHT Apartment
👌 Safest Area: Calheta

1. Best areas and handpicked hotels for Madeira

Searching for where to stay in Madeira?

Below is a list of the accommodations that will match your needs and expectations whatever type of traveller you might be.

Continue scrolling or pick your group and travel type on the menu:

1.1 Families
1.2 Couples
1.3 Luxury Traveler
1.4 Design Traveler
1.5 Groups
1.6 Solo-Traveler
1.7 Nightlife-seeking traveler
1.8 Budget Traveler

1.1 Families

A holiday in Madeira with your family is a great idea all year round, even during half terms. You will enjoy natural beauty, outdoor activities and cultural experiences, as well as stay in some of the best hotels in Madeira, Portugal. The climate is mild, so all the activities appropriate for a family are a real pleasure to indulge in. Here, you will take on Levada walks, a Monte Toboggan ride, do some dolphin and whale watching, visit the Botanical Garden and spend time on the beach.

The two best locations that answer where to stay in Madeira for a family holiday are:

Funchal

This town in Madeira is considered to be one of the cleanest and most picturesque capitals in the world. The city itself is nestled in a great natural amphitheatre, facing the blue Atlantic with a backdrop of dramatic mountains. The Funchal Old Town is so attractive with its cobblestone streets and charming squares.

A cable car ride to the Monte Palace Gardens and Tropical Exotic Gardens is an unforgettable experience which charms you with the beauty and colours of the town. Santa Catarina Park with many playgrounds will be a great joy for the kids, while the Monte Toboggan ride offers a thrill for all. Make sure to attend Madeira Story Center and the seafront promenade with a variety of restaurants.

Canico de Baixo

Next on my ‘Best Places to Stay in Madeira’ comes a small town nestled on the southern coast of the island. Most of the hotels and entertainment are located here. In Canico town, the inland village features a historic church, as well as bars and restaurants.

Local buses frequently depart to the island’s capital, Funchal if you are in the mood to get out and search for interesting activities to enjoy with your family. No doubt that exploring levadas is great, but the beach life is more than sand and sunbathing, as it has many water activities, as well.

Handpicked accommodations for families

Living Funchal Apartments, Funchal

Only 600m away from the Almirante Reis Beach, this property offers rooms with a terrace or a balcony, air conditioning, seating area, dining area, kitchenette and a private bathroom. A minimarket is also available within the property.

Besides, you can also be offered a transfer to the Cristiano Ronaldo Madeira airport which is only 19 km away.

Book Living Funchal Apartments here

Private room at Living Funchal Apartments Enjoy your stay at Living Funchal Apartments

Vila Faia, Canico de Baixo

This is a very spacious holiday home, only 1.5 km away from Reis Magos Beach. Guests are offered mountain views, an equipped kitchen and 2 bathrooms. A car rental service is at your disposal, so you can reach any point in Madeira with your family. Being only 11 km away from the airport, Vila Faia is a great option for where to stay in Madeira.

Book Vila Faia here

Personal space at Vila Faia Have a great time at Vila Faia

 1.2 Couples

No wonder why you’ve chosen Madeira as a holiday destination with your beloved, as there are so many possibilities to explore the area. During your stay here, you can enjoy wine-tasting tours, beach indulging and exploring its rich history.

Funchal Old Town (Zona Velha)

The Old Town is a picturesque setting of cobblestone streets lined by aged buildings in an environment that is full of life and spirit, with a variety of shops, bars and restaurants.

Dining in the old town of Funchal and tasting Madeira´s traditional cuisine is a must- and will certainly not disappoint you. Other main features of this area include the Farmer´s Market, the Madeira Story Center, Forte São Tiago, the Embroidery Factory and the Flea Market.

The Old Town’s newest attraction is “Arte de Portas Abertas”, a public art program that aims to transform Funchal´s Old Town into a permanent outdoor art gallery by displaying over 200 works of art, by guest artists, painted on the doors of Rua de Santa Maria.

Monte

As for a couple, Monte is not just a parish, but quite an amazing spot to be, answering where to stay on Madeira Island. Beautiful flowers, ancient trees, exotic species and amazing landscapes create a romantic environment. A cable car journey that starts at the Old Town of Funchal, taking you to the Monte Palace Tropical Garden, and a cooler climate hovering in the air and a peaceful environment, is what Monte has to offer. The biggest festival in Madeira “Nossa Senhora do Monte” celebrated in this parish is a spectacular event you simply have to attend.

Handpicked accommodations for couples

Burgo ” A PreferidApartamentoa “, Funchal Old Town

This accommodation is air-conditioned and features a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a fully equipped kitchenette with a dining area, and a private bathroom. Some units feature a terrace or a balcony with city views and outdoor furniture. For your convenience, there is a private entrance.

Being one of the greatest options for where to stay in Madeira, this place is close to bars and restaurants and has a great nightlife vibe.

Book Apartamento Burgo here

Relax and unwind at Apartamento Burgo Own bedroom at Apartamento Burgo

Babosas Charm, Monte

The property is only 4 km away from the marina and boasts squares where a couple will enjoy either a fine dining restaurant or a romantic walk. This apartment offers you a fully equipped kitchen, a private bathroom and a private entrance. For active couples, biking and hiking are possible just around the corner.

While you’re here, do not miss visiting the Botanical Garden and the Blandy’s Wine Lodge.

Book Babosas Charm here

Single bedroom at Babosas Charm Have a pleasant stay at Babosas Charm

1.3 Luxury traveler

The stunning landscapes, rich culture and luxurious offerings make Madeira an excellent destination for luxury travellers seeking a refined and exclusive experience. There are many Michelin Star Restaurants, world-class spa facilities available in luxury hotels, private yacht charter and helicopter tours for a unique perspective of the island. So, your luxury holiday will be complete only if you choose to stay in some of the best hotels in Madeira, Portugal.

Funchal Promenade

Strolling along Funchal’s Seaside Promenade is an opportunity to enjoy a unique view over the coastline, bathed by the Atlantic Ocean. The entire route has a diverse flora, which harmoniously integrates endemic species and several exotic plants.

Make the most of this area by relaxing in contact with nature and still close to the urban centre.

São Martinho

Wondering where to stay in Madeira? The vast majority of hotels in Madeira are located in Sao Martinho. This area is particularly blessed with the island’s natural beauty. The main public access points to the sea are in São Martinho, such as Lido, the Poças do Governador, Ponta Gorda and the vast Praia Formosa.

The promenade along the sea is decorated with beautiful flowers and is popular with locals and tourists, whether they are out for a walk or sports activities. The area offers many exclusive bars, restaurants and shops because the two biggest shopping centres are located there.

Handpicked accommodations for the luxury traveler

Pestana Grand Ocean Resort Hotel, Funchal – Promenades

Surrounded by tropical gardens, this hotel offers the biggest saltwater pool in Madeira. It also offers access to the Funchal promenade coastline and fine dining. Being one of the best places to stay in Madeira, the resort is set on the rock of Ponta de Cruz with interiors designed to let plenty of natural light inside.

To indulge yourself to the fullest you can use the spa with steam baths, saunas and hot tubes. You can use a gym, have a relaxing massage or enjoy swimming in an inside pool. There is an exclusive range of restaurants, such as Italian, Moroccan and Portuguese.

Book Pestana Grand Ocean Resort Hotel here

Enjoy your time at Pestana Grand Ocean Resort Hotel Make yourself at home at Pestana Grand Ocean Resort Hotel

Quinta da Bela Vista, São Martinho

This exclusive 5-star hotel in Madeira offers elegant rooms with a private balcony featuring views of the surrounding botanical gardens or the Bay of Funchal. Facilities include an outdoor pool and luxuriously decorated and furnished rooms.

To explore the Atlantic Ocean, you can rent a yacht from the hotel. Other amenities that can make your stay more enjoyable are the tennis court, sauna and fitness centre.

Book Quinta da Bela Vista here

Have a wonderful stay at Quinta da Bela Vista Experience comfort at Quinta da Bela Vista

1.4 Design-lovers

With its unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and artistic heritage, Madeira can be an inspiring destination for design-oriented travellers. There are many art galleries, and street art installations and besides all, you can experience culinary design. So, where to stay in Madeira?

Funchal

The combination of history and modernity creates a dynamic atmosphere attractive for design travellers. It offers a variety of design hotspots: Old Town, art galleries, Casa das Mudas art centre, Teatro Municipal Baltazar Dias, the Funchal Design Street Art Project, Madeiran embroidery, Mercado dos Lavradores Quinta das Cruzes Museum and many shops and boutiques.

Monte

Monte might not be declared to have an urban vibe as Funchal, but its historical charm, natural beauty and cultural offerings make it an intriguing destination for a design traveller. This undoubtedly makes it one of the best places to stay in Madeira.

Handpicked accommodations for the design lover

Barceló Funchal Oldtown, Funchal

Well located in the centre of Funchal, the hotel provides air-conditioned rooms, an outdoor swimming pool, free WiFi and a fitness centre. For your commodity, there are amenities such as room service, a fitness centre, an outdoor swimming pool and a bar. Each room is fitted with a wardrobe, a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, bed linen and towels. Almirante Reis Beach is very close.

Book Barceló Funchal Oldtown here

Private room at Barceló Funchal Enjoy your stay at Barceló Funchal

Quinta Mirabela – Design Hotel, Monte

Panoramic terrace and rooms overlooking the Funchal Bay welcome guests at this 5-star hotel– one of the best answers to where to stay in Madeira. Located 2 km from Funchal, it also features a sea-view outdoor pool and a spa with massages. You can use the outdoor swimming pool, or relax at the spa, which has a hammam, a hot tub and a sauna. There is also a modern gym equipped with cardio equipment and free weights.

There is an elegant restaurant serving Madeiran and international dishes that you can enjoy on the terrace.

Have a great time at Quinta Mirabela Personal space at Quinta Mirabela

1.5 Groups

If you customise the itinerary according to the interests of your group, there is a great chance for a memorable holiday, since Madeira offers more than plenty to enjoy for everyone. Let’s discover where to stay on Madeira Island.

Funchal

The capital city of Madeira offers a variety of attractions and activities that are well-suited for groups. Visiting the town landmarks, enjoying the nightlife, shopping in Avenida Arriaga, and strolling the promenade are some of the activities for a group stay in Funchal.

Santa Cruz

Whether you decide to relax on the beach, explore nature or simply immerse in the culture of Madeira, Santa Cruz has plenty to offer. This is exactly why it’s one of the best places to stay in Madeira with a group.

Handpicked accommodations for groups

Atlantic Blue I, Funchal

Atlantic Blue I is In the Santa Luzia district of Funchal, less than 1 km from Marina do Funchal. The property is located 800 metres from Almirante Reis Beach. It’s a 1-bedroom apartment with a living room, a fully equipped kitchen and 1 bathroom. The Cathedral of Funchal is also very close.

Book Atlantic Blue I here

Relax and unwind at Atlantic Blue I 

Atlantic Blue I, Funchal

Kings B&B Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz

This beachfront accommodation is only 200 m from Palmeiras beach. In this apartment complex, each unit comes fully equipped. There is also a minimarket within the complex.

Book Kings B&B here

Single bedroom at Kings B&B Santa Cruz Have a pleasant stay at Kings B&B Santa Cruz

1.6 Solo-travelers

Solo travel in Madeira allows you to connect with the island’s natural wonders and cultural gems at your own pace. So, where to stay in Madeira if you’re going on your own?

Funchal

This town provides a welcoming and diverse atmosphere for solo- travellers. You will be offered cultural experiences, scenic beauty and a chance to relax. Embrace the freedom to follow your own pace and connect with the charming Madeira capital.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, located on the eastern coast of Madeira, offers a relaxed and charming atmosphere, making it an ideal destination for solo travellers seeking a mix of tranquillity and exploration.

Handpicked accommodations for a solo traveler

Jaca Hostel Funchal, Funchal

Rooms at Jaca Hostel Funchal also have private bathrooms, and free WiFi, while selected rooms provide you with a city view. Featuring a garden, bar and views of the sea, the accommodation is only 800 metres from Almirante Reis Beach.

Book Jaca Hostel Funchal here

Enjoy your stay at Jaca Hostel Funchal, Funchal Enjoy your time at Jaca Hostel Funchal

Residencial Santo António, Santa Cruz

The beachfront accommodation is 200 metres from Palmeiras Beach and features various facilities, such as a private beach area, a terrace, a bar and a restaurant. There is a coffee shop, and packed lunches are also available. Deciding to stay here will also allow you to go hiking.

Book Residencial Santo António here

Experience comfort at Residencial Santo António Residencial Santo António at Madeira

1.7 Nightlife Traveler

While Madeira may not offer the same nightlife intensity as larger cities, there are certainly some options that will satisfy your needs, especially in Funchal. Therefore, you’ll certainly find some of the best places to stay in Madeira that will allow you to experience the brimming culture.

Funchal City Center

Funchal’s nightlife has its unique charm. Embrace the friendly atmosphere, savour the local flavours, and enjoy the enchanting evenings in the city centre. Enjoy late-night coffee and dessert shops, fado music shows, local pubs or visit late-night souvenir shops.

Funchal Promenade

This place is not a lively nightlife spot, but it offers delightful relaxed and charming evenings.

Handpicked accommodations for nightlife

Garden by MaCitydeira Best Apartments, Funchal City Center

Conveniently located in the centre of Funchal, the property has garden and city views and is less than 1 km from Almirante Reis Beach. The spacious apartment has a fully equipped kitchen, a living room with a seating area and a dining area, 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom.

Book City Garden by Madeira Best Apartments here

Private room at City Garden Enjoy your stay at City Garden

Marina Club Studio Traveller Hideaway, Funchal Promenade

The apartment features 1 bedroom, a fully equipped kitchen and a bathroom. This recently renovated apartment is located 2.7 km from Gorgulho – Gavinas Beach and 13 km from Girao Cape.

Book Marina Club Studio Traveller Hideaway here

Personal space at Marina Club Studio Traveller Hideaway Have a great time at Marina Club Studio Traveller Hideaway

1.8 For the Budget Traveler

Madeira, although perceived as a destination with a somewhat higher cost of living, can still be explored on a budget. If you wonder where to stay in Madeira and get the most out of your trip, I recommend you pick hostels and guesthouses, go for levada walks, visit free attractions and visit budget-friendly restaurants.

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz, located on the eastern coast of Madeira, offers a budget-friendly atmosphere. Just follow the above-mentioned tips.

Funchal

Travelling to Funchal on a budget is certainly possible, as long as you make savvy choices and take advantage of the many affordable and free activities the city has to offer. The tips for you are: find self-catering accommodation, street food and local snacks or budget-friendly restaurants, free or low-cost activities, visit Santa Catarina Park, explore and go to Waterfront Promenade.

Handpicked accommodations for budget traveler

Amazing SEA LIGHT Apartment, close to the beach, Santa Cruz

What you get is 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, a dining area, a fully equipped kitchen, and a terrace with a sea view. You are also close to the beach in this apartment.

Book Amazing SEA LIGHT Apartment here

Own bedroom at Amazing SEA LIGHT Apartment Relax and unwind at Amazing SEA LIGHT Apartment

Funçhal Center-Downtown, Funchal

Located in the Sao Pedro district, the apartment comprises 2 separate bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, and 2 bathrooms. There is a minimarket available in the property.

Book ғᴜɴᴄʜᴀʟ ᴄᴇɴᴛᴇʀ here

Have a pleasant stay at ғᴜɴᴄʜᴀʟ ᴄᴇɴᴛᴇʀ Your own bedroom at ғᴜɴᴄʜᴀʟ ᴄᴇɴᴛᴇʀ

2. Best Neighborhood to Stay in Madeira

The best neighbourhood to stay in Madeira depends on your preferences, interests, and the type of experience you’re seeking. Madeira offers a variety of areas, each with its own unique charm. These are my personal recommendations:

  • Funchal
  • Calheta
  • Santa Cruz
  • Machico

FAQs

What is the best neighborhood to stay in Madeira?

The best neighborhood to stay in Madeira depends on your preferences and the type of experience you're seeking. Funchal, Calheta, Santa Cruz, and Machico are recommended areas with unique charms. Funchal, the capital, is particularly diverse, offering various attractions and activities.

Where should you not stay in Madeira?

While there isn't a specific neighborhood to avoid in Madeira, your choice of location depends on your preferences and the experience you seek. It's recommended to research neighborhoods based on your interests, whether you prefer a vibrant city atmosphere or a more relaxed coastal setting.

What should I avoid in Madeira?

Madeira is generally a safe destination, but it's advisable to avoid risky activities near cliffs and steep terrains. Additionally, be cautious during adverse weather conditions, as the island's terrain can become challenging to navigate. Respect local flora and fauna, and follow safety guidelines during outdoor activities.

Where should I stay in Madeira for the first time?

For first-time visitors to Madeira, Funchal is often recommended as it is the largest city and the capital. Funchal offers diverse attractions, including botanical gardens, historical sites, and a vibrant old town. It provides a balanced mix of urban surroundings and natural attractions, making it an ideal starting point for exploring the island.

Map + All Sights

Explore Madeira’s diverse accommodations with our helpful map section. Whether you seek the vibrant pulse of Funchal, the coastal allure of the South, or the serene landscapes in the West, this guide will lead you to the ideal stay for an unforgettable Madeira experience.

Summary where to stay in Madeira

According to the research, I’ve done, this is the list of best areas to find accommodation during your holiday in Madeira.

I truly hope that these tips on where to stay in Madeira will be helpful. For more travel inspiration and advice, don’t forget to check out my blog page.

Other European Destinations

Before you run off, here is a few more handwritten articles for you. These will help you to find more unique experiences and enjoy your holidays at fullest.

Any Questions?

There you have it. I hope you have no questions and found your home in my home town.

However, please remember: I am not perfect, and it is likely I missed a few things to point out.

Therefore: Do you have questions? Is anything not clear?

Please please please drop me a comment below with your email! I will reply to you ASAP via email and here in the comments.

In fact, your questions help me to make this article better. So I help you to help me.

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