10 ESSENTIAL places to see in Madeira

The island of Madeira, located in the Atlantic Ocean (very close to the Canary Islands), is a natural paradise that offers a surprising variety of landscapes and a truly changing and unique climate. In Madeira we have everything from rugged mountains to lush rainforests and stunning black sand coasts, making it a destination that captivates nature and adventure lovers alike. A few days ago I had the tremendous luck to travel there, so I am going to make you a list of the 10 essential places to see in Madeira. CLARIFICATION: These were my 10 favorite places, it does not mean that they are the most beautiful. I have focused on the areas closest to nature, avoiding mass tourism in Funchal.

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What to see in Madeira: My 10 essential places

Bica da Cana Viewpoint: Bica da Cana is a plateau located in the north of Madeira that offers spectacular panoramic views of the island. It is an ideal place to see the sunrise (much better than the sunset), especially if we are lucky and the sea of clouds typical of the island forms. From here we have the Fanal Forest quite close, a truly magical place.

Bosque do Fanal: This is a magical place, just as it is. It is a subtropical style forest that seems straight out of a fairy tale. The trails will take you through moss-covered trees and giant ferns, creating a mysterious and enchanting atmosphere. I highly recommend going early in the morning, which is when this forest is usually covered in fog and has this mysterious atmosphere. Keep in mind, the weather is very changeable… so, maybe it’s sunny and after 10 minutes it starts to rain a lot (yes, it happened to me).

bosque fanal madeira

Capelinha de Nossa Senhora de Fátima and Sao Vicente: This small sanctuary is a place of devotion and architectural beauty. It is located in the town of Sao Vicente and from there we can see the entire town, its incredible hills and the ocean between the mountains. If you have time, you can go to Sao Vicente to the beach area and enjoy the cliffs and the views. You can also take advantage of it for lunch/breakfast at

Padaria Velha, an oven with a wide variety of sweet and savory foods.

que ver en Madeira

Levada do Caldeirão Verde (PR9): Madeira is famous for its levadas, historic irrigation canals that wind throughout the island. Without a doubt, the Levada do Caldeirão Verde is one of the most impressive, as it takes you through a gorge to an impressive canyon where you will find a waterfall hidden in a lush environment. Along the way we will find some totally dark tunnels, so it is 100% advisable to bring a flashlight or have your cell phone charged to illuminate. More or less this route, counting round trip, is approximately 13km. Right at the entrance there is a parking lot to leave your car. One of the routes that must be done and seen in Madeira.

Pico do Arieiro: Simply spectacular. If you like heights, mountains and hiking, Pico do Arieiro is a mandatory stop. It is the third highest peak in Madeira and offers spectacular views of the mountains and the ocean. It is a tremendous place to see the sunset and sunrise, and if you are very lucky, a sea of clouds forms that makes the experience even better. The sunrise will be over the ocean area and the sunset will be seen over the mountains. There is a route that leads to Ruivo peak. I didn’t do the whole thing because I didn’t have much time, but I was able to walk for a while and the views are spectacular. There is a viewpoint about 15 minutes walk from the Observatory called Miradouro do Ninho da Manta where we can see the entire valley to the ocean (if it is clear).

Arieiro Madeira

Miradouro Ilheus da Ribeira da Janela: From this viewpoint you can see a very famous rock, especially on Instagram and Tiktok, called Illheus da Janela. From here you can also see the impressive cliffs and rock formations of Madeira’s northern coast. I particularly liked it a lot, especially because of the tranquility of the place. Without a doubt, another of the places to see in Madeira.

Que ver en Madeira

Bridal Veil Viewpoint: From this viewpoint you can see the entire town of Seixal, some cliffs on the island and, above all, the beautiful Véu da Noiva waterfall, which falls down the cliffs towards the sea. It is a really brutal waterfall, and if you go at sunset, the colors of the sea are incredible.

Que ver en Madeira

Seixal: And from the previous viewpoint… about 10 minutes by car we have Seixal. This small coastal town in the north of Madeira is known for its black sand beach and natural pools. It is a lovely place to relax and enjoy the sun, sea and the beauty of the north coast of the island. In addition to the black sand and its natural pools, Seixal is a beautiful town, so I recommend walking through its streets until you reach the beach. Of course, prepare your legs because there are quite a few ups and downs.

seixal madeira

Ponta de São Lourenço: This destination takes us to the eastern end of Madeira. Here, you’ll find a rugged peninsula with unique volcanic geology and stunning landscapes. The trails will take you through fascinating rock formations and reward you with panoramic views of the ocean. The recommended thing here is to drive to the parking lot (you can’t get lost) and from here begin the routes through the viewpoints. These viewpoints are an incredible place to see both the sunrise and the sunset.

Achadas da Cruz: Achadas da Cruz is a small coastal town located on the northwest coast of Madeira. To go down, you have to take a truly spectacular cable car, which descends about 450 meters in just over 5 minutes. I enjoyed it a lot, and I don’t like heights. Well, the Achadas da Cruz are a group of very particular towns, known for their natural beauty, their relaxed lifestyle and their close relationship with the sea. There are several easy hiking routes in which you will tour these towns next to the ocean. Without a doubt, it is one of the places to see in Madeira.

Where to stay in Madeira

Personally, I prefer nature and tranquility to crowds and mass tourism. So I decided to get away from Funchal a little and stay in a town called Ribeira Brava. Ribeira Brava is a small and quiet town but it also has places to eat and dine and is relatively close to everything I wanted to see.

Specifically, I stayed in apartments called APATH-HOTEL VALE MAR Guest. They work by code and they send it to you a few minutes before check-in, so you can arrive at the time you want. Of course, they don’t have reception. More or less it cost me around €50-60 a night.

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