8 Beautiful Places to Visit on Madeira Island

There are many beautiful places to visit on Madeira island. We will talk about 8 of our favorite ones – Cabo Girao, Ponta Delgada, the Ruins of St. George, the Teleférico das Achadas da Cruz, Fanal Forest, and other magical places we visited on our trip earlier this year. If you are planning to spend a few days in Madeira, you should definitely make a point to visit these places. Without further ado, here are some of our top picks for beautiful places to visit on the island.

Beutiful places to visit in Madeira, Jardim do Mar

Cabo Girao

If you are looking for a breathtaking view of Madeira island and the surrounding area, there is nothing better than watching the sunset from the Cabo Girao cliffs. The cliffs are one of the highest in the world, and the view is breathtaking. The cliffs are accessible by bus and car and are only a short walk from the parking area. The view is simply majestic from the viewpoint’s skywalk with a transparent floor.

Visitors can take a yellow bus tour or a full-day tour to Cabo Girao. Various tours will take you there, but many will only go just for the sunset (as we did). Once there, you can take cable cars down the cliff face. The terrace fields below are a perfect backdrop for watching the sunset. The clifftop views of Cabo Girao are the most beautiful in the Funchal area. That’s how we found them, by the way, by searching for “beautiful places for sunset around Funchal”.

Ponta Delgada

Ponta Delgada is a small village on the northern coast of Madeira Island, located in the district of São Vicente with beautiful scenery of the mountains and sea. And that’s why we chose it to be our base for exploring parts of Madeira. A high cliff is protecting the charming village with a church by the sea, a rocky coastline, and a new pool complex. Here you may also find a house museum belonging to the famous teacher, writer, and journalist Horácio Bento de Gouveia with a display of his published works and antiques.

This rural village produces many of the freshest agricultural products and also traditional handicrafts, embroidery, and wickerwork. Ponta Delgada is home to the 15th-century Imaculado Coração de Maria, a shrine dedicated to the Virgin Mary, famous for its big religious festival of Senhor Bom Jesus which takes place on the first weekend of September, bringing thousands of visitors and pilgrims from all parts of the island. When we visited in March, there were still visitors to the church pretty much every day. For a lovely stay, we recommend Casa da Capelinha.

Ruins of St. George, Sao Jorge

The Ruins of Saint George, Sao Jorge are located in the northeast of Madeira island. Although a bit hard to find on the map, the ruins and the beach around are popular among locals during the summer. You can also enjoy a pleasant walk through the surrounding verdant hills and dirt paths. These ruins have been the site of sugarcane mills since the 16th century, and are now classified as a Monument of Municipal Interest.

Visiting the ruins at any time of the day will reward you with a breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside. On sunny days, the ruins provide a dramatic backdrop to the scene. After taking in the stunning views, head down to the pebble and stone Sao Jorge beach for a walk (or for a dip in the water, but beware of the waves). We’re so happy we visited this beautiful place in winter, we had it all to ourselves and could take as many photos as we wanted at the stone entrance porch – all without too much hassle.

Beutiful places to visit in Madeira, Ruins of St. George, Sao Jorge

Teleférico das Achadas da Cruz

The cable car at Teleférico das Achadas da Cruz on Madeira island transports passengers down a massive cliff to a traditional village, Faja da Quebrada Nova. Located on the north-western coast of Madeira, this remote, isolated village is one of the island’s most beautiful and unique destinations. A trip on this cable car is a great way to get a different perspective on the island.

If you want to add some slight adrenaline to your Madeira itinerary, take a trip on the cable car to the beach. The cable car descends at a 98% incline and is Europe’s steepest cable car. It takes you to the Faja of Quebrada Nova, Madeira’s largest natural ocean bay. For an even more challenging descent, hike to the beach via the Vereda do Calhau, an old path used by local farmers to reach the beach.

Once you get down, there’s a lovely path you can hike for as long as it’s paved, or even longer – in the offroad part. The views are just magical and you get to feel humbled in between the great ocean and the massive high cliffs.

Beutiful places to visit in Madeira, Teleférico das Achadas da Cruz

Posto Florestal Fanal

If you are in search of a beautiful place to visit on Madeira island, then you have to make your way to the forest of Posto Florestal Fanal. This pristine Laurisilva forest is at an altitude of 1150 meters and is the perfect place to admire the island’s beautiful flora. Here you will be able to find endemic species and spectacular views.

The most stunning part of this forest is the fact that it is so magical. There is a mysterious fog that often envelops the forest, creating scenes straight out of a movie. We were lucky to get there when the fog was playing with the landscape. The branches of the 600-years-old trees in the forest are covered in layers of moss and are a sight to behold. They almost look alive! If you decide to visit Fanal or hike the PR13 Vereda do Fanal, always check weather conditions as they may vary and affect your experience (and even safety).

Jardim do Mar

If you’re looking for a quiet, picturesque time, visit the Jardim do Mar promenade in Madeira. This town is located on the southwest coast of the island and is known as the Garden of the Sea. Despite the name, it’s actually a town full of activity and history. There are several beaches to choose from, as well as hiking and sailing trails and sightseeing tours. We loved hiking through the village and the promenade, finding beautiful views and lovely architecture together with the fresh breeze from the sea.

The promenade skirts the entire parish. There are plenty of places for strolls along the seafront, one, in particular, offers some of the best waves in the world. The sea wall and the promenade were built at the wrong time and posed a major problem. Thousands of right-angled blocks were deposited into the lineup, making it difficult for surfers to find their sand spots. But hey, we weren’t there for surfing, and we didn’t meet surfers – maybe the sea was too rough that day.

We stayed in the next village – Paul do Mar, where we also enjoyed some amazing views of the sunset, long walks along the promenade, delicious food at the local restaurants, and too many glasses of wine on the balcony of the beautiful Villa Amore.

Anjos Waterfall

If you love waterfalls and/or car washing, then you will definitely want to check out Dos Anjos Waterfall, located in Madalena do Mar near Ponta do Sol. While this waterfall is not the most impressive in Madeira, it is certainly one of the most accessible. Because the waterfall falls right in the middle of the road, many people park further away to take photos of it or pass under the waterfall slowly so they get the free car wash. In addition to your camera, you should also bring a swimsuit, which will be helpful if you decide to take a shower under the waterfall.

After you’ve admired the waterfall, you can head to the beach. Praia da Calheta is Madeira’s best sandy beach and is located 12-minutes away from the waterfall. The beach is very popular with tourists. Plus you already have your swimming suit with you.

Beutiful places to visit in Madeira, Anjos Waterfall

Teleférico Fajã dos Padres

On magical Madeira, you can find a small piece of paradise called Faja dos Padres. This is a unique area that is cut off from the mainland by a cliff and protected from the wind by a giant rock fall. Priests first settled in this area, and they began agricultural exploration and introduced Malmsey wine. This microclimate makes it a great place for tropical fruit orchards.

To visit the Faja dos Padres Cable Car, you can take a car to the station, about 10 km west of Funchal. It costs 10 euros per person, but children under 11 years old go free of charge. The station features a panoramic view of the island and is a popular destination for locals and visitors alike. The town of Faja has its own microclimate and has been inhabited and cultivated since Madeira began to be populated. History shows that records of the area date back to the 15th century.

The village is home to several small shops, a restaurant, and a hotel. If you are planning a stay in Faja dos Padres, the best time to book your accommodation is during the summer, when the town becomes extremely popular with tourists and locals and many boats and ships visit the place. The Faja dos Padres area offers a peaceful and tranquil getaway that can make for a wonderful vacation or, in our case, the best lunch destination.

So, those were 8 of the most beautiful places to visit in Madeira, where we found the special magic we always look for when traveling. What are your favorite places on the island?

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