We spent one week in Madeira in October, collected happy moments and new experiences there.
Take a look on our guide, which can help you in travel planning:
Weather conditions in Madeira
When you plan a holiday to Madeira, you should know that weather can have so many differences in several places at the same time. In comparison to the north, the south of the island is warmer. On the northern places weather is colder, wetter, foggier and there are more clouds and wind. This is the reason why the north coast is generally quieter with less tourists. When choosing an accommodation, consider these anomalies, and when you plan a trip to a colder place, layer your clothing for outdoor activities.
Generally the temperature is perfect all year around in Madeira, in wintertime doesn’t drop below 19 celsius in daytime and stay between 20 to 30 celsius in summer, especially on the southern parts of the island. Despite November, December and January being the coldest and wettest months of the year, you can face with storms anytime, it can be extreme weather conditions sometimes when heavy rain can flood roads, even in springtime. So, before you start your holiday, look at the weather forecast to make your trip a safe journey. Remember to bring your sunglasses with you to Madeira and use sun screen with UV filters.
If you want to see the freshest images or videos from Madeira, you can find some live webcams, especially in Funchal.
In Madeira, you will experience one of the most challenging drives you ever had. If you want to stay alive, you have to adapt your driving to this island, your past experiences in other mountainous areas will help you to be safe on the roads. Madeira is a small island, you can drive around the whole island in around 3 and half hours without stops. Fuel prices in October 2020: about 1.4 EUR per litre for 95 unleaded fuel).
If you are afraid of driving a car in Madeira, you can choose taxi service or public transport to get to your accommodation or take day trips on the island or you can book tours and advantures from a tour operator company. (More travel infos and tips in a separate post)
We really enjoyed riding the cable cars in Madeira, we tried the Garajau cable car, Funchal cable car, Botanical garden cable car and the Achadas da Cruz cable car. It was an easy and comfy way to reach remote places and offered us unforgettable trips with exceptionally beautiful views.
If you are self-catering and need some foods from the supermarket, it takes max 10 minutes by car to get to a local supermarket. Continente Modelo and Amanhecer are the most frequent stores on the island. In the capital you can visit the farmer`s market as well, it is a must-visit place. Foods in supermarkets are cheap, worth to try them: fresh bakery products, freshly pressed orange juice, cold and smoked cuts like chorizo, wide selection of cheeses and many more.
If you are hungry, you can find a lot of options for eating or drinking something. You can find small cafès, bars and wide range of restaurants: smaller family-run restaurants or bigger, more elegant, more expensive restaurants. If you want to eat something special, you can go to Michelin starred restaurants (2 in Madeira), Michelin plate restaurants (4 in Tenerife) and Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants (1 in Madeira), worth a visit. There are fast food eateries as well on the island, like McDonald's, KFC, Burger King.
Don`t leave Madeira without trying its wonderful cuisine. Taste local meals in restaurants, for example: bolo de caco (fresh home baked bread with garlic butter), fish soup, caldo verde, rice specialities (arroz de pato, polvo, peixe, mariscos), bacalhau, grilled meats, steaks, black scabbardfish meals, skewers (espetada madeirense), pastel de nata, madeira tiramisu, passionfruit mousse, cheesecake…
Things to do in Madeira
Madeira is famous for its bathing complexes, natural volcanic swimming pools, have popular places for snorkeling and sport fishing, so most of the tourists choose holiday packages in comfy hotels next to the airport, spending their time at the pools or on the beach with snorkeling, diving, sailing, fishing, swimming, sunbathing, whalewatching. But you can do lots of other activities as well, taking culture trips, experiences in gastronomy, visiting interesting places and sporting activities far from the beaches: the island is known for its spectacular gardens with lush vegetation, while the mountains are ideal for walking the trails and the levadas (ancient irrigation channels). Madeira is the canyoning mecca of Europe, with its steep topography, dramatic landscapes and abundant waterfalls and cliffs.
If you need the urban environment, stay at the capital, Funchal, which has the best places for shopping, has a vibrant sporting and cultural life with museums, several different festivals all year round, workshops, meetings, music, folklore and sport events and competitions (not only in Funchal). Lots of other events take place o utside Funchal, which reflect the cultural and traditional aspects of Madeira`s rural area.
There are lots of nice shops all around Madeira where you can buy souvenirs for your loved ones or at the airport before you go home: flowers, bulbs, fridge magnets, pens, key-rings, T-shirts, beach towels, postcards, a glass of wine or liqueur, sugar cane products and many more.