Things to do in Madeira

Local wine in the sun beckons between volcanic expeditions, hikes, and coastal trips on this island paradise.

Our most recommended things to do in Madeira, Portugal

Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise

1. Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise

Discover the natural beauty of Madeira coastline and look for marine life on this catamaran cruise from Funchal. Snorkel through schools of silver fish with high-quality snorkeling gear. Look for dolphins while sipping on a drink purchased from the onboard bar. See dolphins, whales, and turtles playing in their natural habitat. Throughout the year Madeira has different aquatic mammals journeying through its blue waters. Whether you come in summer or winter, the chances are high you’ll see one of these amazing creatures. Stop for a swim during the summer season or catch a glimpse of the world beneath the waves with the provided snorkeling equipment. Relax on deck with a refreshing drink from the onboard bar.

From Funchal: Roundtrip Transfer to Pico do Arieiro Trail

2. From Funchal: Roundtrip Transfer to Pico do Arieiro Trail

Enjoy an affordable and flexible transfer to Pico do Arieiro to enjoy the famous hike all the way to Pico Ruivo. Trek up to the highest and second-highest mountains on Madeira at your own pace and enjoy pickup and drop-off at your accommodation. Instructions will be given by the host, regarding schedules and where you will pass by. The day before the hike, you will receive the exact pickup time and a weather forecast, in order for you to be as prepared as you can be. Get picked up at your accommodation in Funchal and dropped off at the entrance to Pico do Arieiro to begin your self-guided hike. Experience the most amazing natural scenery as you walk from mountain to mountain on the #1 hiking trail on Madeira Island. Once you're finished exploring, the end of the hike and pick-up location is at Achada do Teixeira, in the parking lot area. On the way back to your accommodation, pass through the city of Santana for close-up views of the traditional triangular homes and you will have a tasting and the end of the hike, produced by locals.

From Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise

3. From Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise

Go green with the #1 dolphin and whale watching experience in Madeira Island! Cruise on our brand new purpose-built eco-friendly catamaran and enjoy a comfortable cruise along the south coast of Madeira Island. Watch out for wonderful whales and dolphins jumping and splashing nearby. When sea life arrives our electric engines engage for silent emission free cruising which helps keep the cetaceans very happy! On this tour we will sail a few miles out of Funchal looking for all kinds of wildlife such as dolphins, whales, turtles and endemic birds. We often spot these animals jumping and splashing nearby and it’s always a great sight that never gets old!! Our certified guides will provide you with informative commentary and fun facts about the cetaceans and different species that you may find on your trip and in Madeira Island. On our way back, we sail close to the coast passing by many points of interest such Cabo Girão where you will enjoy stunning views of one of the highest sea cliffs in the world! Camara de Lobos Bay – a traditional fishing village; the world famous Reid’s Hotel where Winston Churchill used to stay during his visits to Madeira Island and much more! You will be able to sit back and take in the beautiful views of the south coast of Madeira Island. Magic Dolphin Eco is the only purpose built catamaran for dolphin and whale watching in Madeira Island. It was carefully developed to assure our passengers a safe, comfortable and unforgettable cruise! It is the only ecological catamaran with hybrid-electric engines for dolphin and whale watching, making it the best experience not only for our guests, but also for our beloved cetaceans! Bar service (2x) with drinks and snacks available; Toilets (2x) on deck wheelchair accessible; Two decks for better sightseeing; Fantastic upper deck providing 360° panoramic views! Great bridge deck shade area; Large nets and sea life observation area; Seating for everyone inside and out; Fast Catamaran – up to 20 knots; Modern safety construction 2022; Stable and comfortable cruising. We are one of very few companies to work with professional sealife spotters on land, providing the best possible chances of seeing them in their natural habitat and high quality observation! We are all about responsible dolphin and whale watching, and love sharing our knowledge with you! Join us and observe sealife the right way, in the wild! Note: The cetaceans in Madeira are wild and free, and it is simply not possible to guarantee their sighting. We observe cetaceans every day, however not always every trip. We will always do our best to find them, however if you are unlucky we will do our best to make you happy! Note: Please arrive to our office in Funchal Marina 30 minutes before departure. If you miss the boat, you will be refused a refund. Note: Cancelations/ Booking Changes must be made 24h prior to departure time.

Madeira: Beginner Canyoning - Level 1

4. Madeira: Beginner Canyoning - Level 1

Embark on a canyoning tour suitable for all levels of ability, designed to be your first introduction to this outdoor activity. Join your expert guide as you make your way through the canyon over a variety of obstacles in a safe and fun way. Start with pickup from your hotel in Funchal or the surrounding areas. Travel to the starting point and get set up with your equipment. Jump into crystal clear river pools, slide on natural water slides and rappel the walls with a rope. Explore the pristine and unspoiled interior of the island. Rappel from up to 10 meters in height, and jump from heights of up to around 5 meters. If you don't feel comfortable with any aspect of the activity, there are always alternatives provided. Discover the beautiful, unspoiled nature on Madeira Island. Have fun in a large natural playground and learn fun techniques that will safely take you down the canyon. Photos of the day's activities will be sent to you afterward.

Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Sunset Sailing Tour

5. Funchal: Dolphin and Whale Watching Sunset Sailing Tour

Get the chance to see dolphins, whales, and sea turtles on this relaxing sailing trip up to 3 miles from the coast. With some luck, you will see lots of native wildlife in its natural environment. Swim, snorkel or sit back and admire the views, and enjoy a complimentary adult beverage. Your journey begins at the marina in Funchal, where you will board the sailing yacht with a group of up to 20 people. There will be a stop to go swimming and snorkeling at Cabo Girão. Here, you can see the highest sea cliff in Europe, which towers 1,903 feet (580 meters) above the sea. If you don't want to swim, you can simply admire the beautiful coastal landscapes from the boat. You will be offered one complimentary drink on board and be able to admire the beautiful sunset over the sea.

Madeira: Skywalk, Porto Moniz Volcanic Pools, and Fanal Tour

6. Madeira: Skywalk, Porto Moniz Volcanic Pools, and Fanal Tour

Sail towards the northern coast of Portugal to explore the natural volcanic pools in Seixal, lava pools in Porto Moniz, Cabo Girão, Paul da Serra, and other sights. Swim in the tranquil waters of the pools before exploring the famous Fanal Laurisilva forest. You will depart from Funchal and head towards San Vicente along the north coast. Visit one of the most famous viewpoints, where you can look out to Porto Santo Island in clear weather. You will also be able to see the waterfall resembling a bride's veil, named Veu da Noiva. Next, stop at the natural volcanic pools in Seixal, where you can swim in crystal waters. Also visit Porto Moniz's lava pools and Paul da Serra, the biggest plateau on the island at nearly 1500 meters high. This beautiful place provides stunning views and is an ideal spot for lunch. Visit Fanal, one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Portugal filled with centenary trees. As the last stop, go to Cabo Girão, the highest sea cliff in Europe and the second highest in the world. Try out the suspended glass floor viewpoint. Finally, return to your accommodation. 

Funchal: Sunrise Hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

7. Funchal: Sunrise Hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

Experience the most amazing natural scenery as you walk from mountain to mountain on a hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo. Walk at your own pace with total freedom as you enjoy the fantastic views. Start with pickup from your accomodation. Before your hike, receive instructions from your host regarding schedules and where you will pass by. The day before the hike, you will receive the exact pickup time and a weather forecast, in order for you to be as prepared as you can be. On the way back to your accommodation, pass through the city of Santana for close-up views of the traditional triangular homes and you will have a tasting and the end of the hike, produced by locals.

Madeira: Level-1 Canyoning Adventure

8. Madeira: Level-1 Canyoning Adventure

Discover why Madeira island is one of the top five places in the world for canyoning on this canyoning adventure tour. Rappel down waterfalls and experience the area’s natural splendor. Head up to the mountains where you will receive your canyoning gear. After being decked out in gear, it will be time for a small hike through some of the most impressive nature that Madeira has to offer. Rappel down sparkling waterfalls, where the mountain spring waters are always flowing.  Swim in the natural swimming pools along the canyons. In some of the canyons you may also have the opportunity to slide down natural water slides. Once the activity ends, change back into your dry clothes and return to your accommodation.

From Funchal: Swimming with Dolphins in Madeira Island

9. From Funchal: Swimming with Dolphins in Madeira Island

Swim with dolphins in their natural habitat in the crystal-clear waters of Madeira Island. Enjoy the support and guidance of on-hand instructors who will teach you how to approach and interact with the dolphins. Board your boat and head towards the area with a 99% chance of seeing dolphins. Get the opportunity to swim with two species of dolphins: common dolphins and spotted dolphins. As you enter the water, remain safely connected to the boat at all times. Get comfortable in the water and approach the dolphins with the support of your instructor. Once you're ready, begin to swim with the dolphins in front, below, and next to you and admire these beautiful mammals up close, and in their natural habitat. 

Sunrise Transfer To Pico Do Arieiro And Hike To Pico Ruivo

10. Sunrise Transfer To Pico Do Arieiro And Hike To Pico Ruivo

Explore Madeira Island's highest mountain on paths that are only accessible by foot with this guided hike from Pico Do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo. Enjoy a convenient transfer in an airconditioned minivan from Funchal or Canico to Pico Do Arieiro. Be picked up early in the morning from your accommodation in Funchal or Canico. Sit back and relax in a spacious minivan as you ride through the countryside to Pico Do Arieiro, the 3rd highest mountain on the Island. Hike to the top before sunrise and take in the myriad of colors that paint the sky. Take your time as you walk and set your own pace or join others in the group. It takes 4 and a half hours to complete the hike but it can take longer depending on the agility level of the group. Travel from Pico Do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo, the highest mountain on Madeira Island with 1862 meters of altitude.  Keep an eye out for vibrantly colored birds as you walk above the clouds. Pass thorugh tunnels and go up the famed Stairway to Heaven path. Continue on to Achada Do Teixeira where you can board the minivan for the ride back to your accommodation. 

Frequently asked questions about Madeira

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The must-see attractions in Madeira are:

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Other Sightseeing Options in Madeira

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What people are saying about Madeira

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 9,272 reviews

This was AMAZING, definitely worth getting up early for the sunrise option. Another great service from Logan and Filipe, highly recommend them. Filipe gave us tips for the hike, as well as the best place to watch the sunrise, giving us amazing photos. Once hike was complete Filipe took us to Santana to see the old houses which was a great addition to the end of our day. Would redo this experience next time I'm back in madeira.

Out of all the tours that I have been on in Madeira, this is hands down the best tour - best scenic views with a one hour stop to swim at Porto Moniz and off road experience is second to none! Our guide Diogo (hope I spelt it right!) was really good fun and ensured everyone was well taken care of! Definitely will recommend this to anyone coming to Madeira for the first time!

Quite demanding hike but we enjoyed it a lot. First trial was cancelled due to bad weather, and am glad it was. A nice alternative was offered with amazingly good weather. For both hikes, the guides were professional, lively and good.

Really good trip ...saw pilot whales but even if we hadn't seen any whales/dolphins, it would have been worth the cost of the trip. Enjoyed the whole experience - sailing in the sunshine. Great value and would highly recommend.

super aventura. Mă declar super mulțumit. Ghidul de nota 10.