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Where to stay on Madeira Island - Best places to book your hotel on Madeira



Madeira is a Portuguese island situated in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. As a popular tourist destination, Madeira welcomed over 2,300,000 tourists in 2023. One notable feature of the island is that its natural and cultural attractions are well-distributed, which presents unique transportation challenges. However, this distribution also allows tourists to spread out, preventing the overcrowding seen in many other popular European cities. We spent two years exploring everything best which Madeira has to offer, so let's get into the best places on Madeira where you can book your stay!


Our E-Book Guide to Madeira Island

Discover Madeira Island with our comprehensive E-Book Guide! Uncover the best attractions Madeira has to offer and easily locate all the places you want to visit. Plus, our specially curated Photographer's Itinerary ensures you can effortlessly explore Madeira and capture stunning photographs. Check it out in our shop!


What are the best places to stay on Madeira

Madeira is a relatively small island where you can reach almost any location within an hour. This makes it convenient for exploring the entire island regardless of where you choose to stay. Each area of Madeira, however, has its own unique features and highlights. Let's take a closer look at what different locations on Madeira can offer to visitors!



The best place to stay in South Madeira


Funchal

Funchal, the capital of Madeira, is the island's largest and most exciting place to stay during your visit. The city hosts numerous local festivals and the biggest events on the island. Funchal also boasts the largest selection of hotels and apartments across various price ranges. One of its greatest advantages is the vibrant nightlife, offering exhilarating experiences even when most of the smaller towns around Madeira have quieted down.


Funchal features an excellent array of local and international restaurants. The city's most popular attractions include the scenic promenade, the historic Rua de Santa Maria, and the famous cable car that takes you to the Monte Tropical Gardens. Here, you can experience an organised jungle just few minutes away from the city center. Additionally, Monte is the starting point for the Monte Toboggan ride, where two drivers guide you down the narrow streets in traditional wicker basket sledges.



Funchal is also an excellent base for exploring Madeira's natural attractions, especially if you prefer not to rent a car. Most guided tours offer transportation from Funchal, and it is easier to find private drivers, taxis, or catch a Bolt to get around the island.


Many of the best hotels in Funchal are located in the Lido area, near natural swimming pools and within walking distance of the promenade. The promenade is a central hub of activity in the city, so if you want to be in the heart of the action, look for accommodations within walking distance of the CR7 Museum. For more affordable options, consider the Forum area near Formosa Beach.



Why Stay in the South of Madeira? Quick Summary!

Pros

  • Best Nightlife: Enjoy vibrant nightlife with numerous bars, clubs, and entertainment options.

  • Transportation Hub: Easy access to various modes of transportation, making it convenient to explore the island.

  • Best Weather: The southern part of Madeira generally enjoys the best weather on the island.

  • Best Beaches: Home to the island's finest beaches, perfect for relaxation and water activities.

  • Wide Range of Hotels and Restaurants: Extensive options for accommodation and dining, catering to all budgets and tastes.

  • Central Location: Conveniently located in the middle of the island, making it easy to visit other attractions.

  • Excellent Connectivity: Well-connected to the rest of the island, ensuring smooth travel.



Cons

  • Most Expensive Areas: Higher costs for accommodations and dining compared to other parts of the island.

  • The Busiest: More crowded, especially during peak tourist seasons.

  • Traffic During Rush Hours: Some traffic congestion during peak times.


Staying in the south of Madeira offers a mix of vibrant city life, beautiful beaches, and convenient access to the rest of the island, though it comes with higher costs and busier surroundings.



Alternatives to Funchal in the South

If you prefer to stay away from the hustle and bustle of the city and save some money, consider these neighbouring towns just outside of Funchal:


Câmara de Lobos

To the west lies the picturesque fishing town of Câmara de Lobos. So close to Funchal that the two locations nearly blend together, Câmara de Lobos is connected to Funchal's main beach, Formosa, in the Forum area by a modern promenade. This charming town is an attraction in itself, offering moderate nightlife and numerous restaurants specialising in local cuisine, especially seafood.



Caniço

To the east of Funchal is Caniço, a larger town by Madeira's standards. The lower part, Caniço de Baixo, offers various tourist amenities. The town features a lovely waterfront area called Reis Magos, along which the largest hotels in this area are located. Nearby, Garajau is another charming area worth exploring, situated above the beach. Caniço is an excellent choice if you're looking for a quiet place within walking distance of the beach, with plenty of dining options.



The best places to stay in East Madeira

The east side of Madeira is well-connected to both the south and north via highways and express roads, making it an excellent base for day trips. This area offers nice beaches and more affordable prices compared to the capital, Funchal.


Machico

Machico is one of the best places to book accommodation in Madeira. This small town offers a variety of accommodations at very competitive prices compared to Funchal. Despite its affordability, Machico is well-connected to the capital, accessible by local bus or a 25-minute drive. While the town may not have many attractions, it's home to a lovely beach with white sand imported from the Sahara Desert. Machico is also a fantastic base for hiking, with direct roads leading to the highest peaks, a highway connecting it to the west, and an express road linking it to the north-eastern towns of Porto da Cruz, Faial, and São Jorge.



Why Stay in Machico? Quick Summary!

Pros

  • Affordable Prices: Lower accommodation costs compared to Funchal.

  • Great Base for Hiking: Easy access to hiking trails and the island's highest peaks.

  • Local Beach: A pleasant beach with imported white sand.

  • Good Connectivity: Well-connected to other towns, the airport and the capital.


Cons

  • Minimal Nightlife: Limited nightlife options.

  • Poor Selection of Restaurants: Fewer dining options compared to larger towns.

  • Lack of High-End Hospitality: Limited luxury accommodations.



Porto da Cruz

Porto da Cruz is a small, laid-back town located in the northeast of Madeira Island. Known for its relaxed atmosphere, Porto da Cruz is an ideal destination for those seeking a tranquil retreat. The town is home to two beaches and is renowned as the best beginner surfing spot on Madeira, offering consistent waves throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy leisurely days on the beach, surfing, or trying fresh local catch at one of the beach restaurants. Despite its small size, Porto da Cruz is charming and can be easily explored in less than an hour, making it perfect for a quiet, leisurely stay.


Why Stay in Porto da Cruz? Quick Summary!

Pros

  • Leisure vibe: Perfect for relaxation and unwinding.

  • Affordable prices: Budget-friendly accommodation and dining options.

  • Good connection to all locations on the east: Easy access to nearby attractions.

  • Interesting natural attractions nearby: Beautiful landscapes and scenic views.

  • Traditional restaurant: Experience authentic local cuisine.

  • Local surfing spot: Ideal for beginner surfers.

  • Beaches: Enjoy the town's two beaches.



Cons

  • Lack of nightlife: Limited evening entertainment options.

  • Narrow selection of restaurants: Few dining choices.

  • Difficult to travel to and from by public transportation: Limited public transit options.

  • Quite far from Funchal: Distance from the island's capital city.

  • Rocky beaches: Not ideal for those preferring sandy shores.



The best places to stay in North Madeira

Madeira's northern coast is known for its cooler weather and higher chance of clouds and rain outside of the summer season. Despite the tricky weather, the north of the island offers unique highlights and is worth visiting even on a cloudy or rainy day for an unforgettable experience.


Seixal

Seixal is one of the most recognisable towns in Madeira due to its unique coastline, natural swimming pools, and the world-famous black sand beach. Staying in Seixal is ideal if you plan to spend a lot of time on Madeira's most beautiful beach or frequently visit the natural swimming pools in Seixal or nearby Porto Moniz. Accommodation in Seixal is mainly Airbnb-style, offering a range of villas and apartments at various price levels.



Pros

  • Beautiful black sand beach: Renowned for its picturesque and unique beauty.

  • Close to natural swimming pools: Easy access to Seixal and Porto Moniz pools.

  • Many natural attractions nearby: Perfect for nature lovers.

  • Close to Fanal Forest: A short distance to the enchanting forest.



Cons

  • Narrow selection of restaurants: Limited dining options.

  • No nightlife: Few entertainment options in the evening.

  • Far from the east: Old roads make travel to the east time consuming.

  • Long distance to Madeira's highest peaks: Not ideal for PR1 enthusiasts.

  • Limited budget accommodation: Few affordable options.

  • Far from Funchal: A considerable distance from the capital city.

  • Parking issues: Finding a spot can be challenging.

  • Busy beach area: The beach can get crowded.

  • Not suitable for bus travel: Limited public transportation options.

  • Quite pricey: Higher costs compared to other parts of the island.

  • Bad Weather: The northern part of Madeira is known for gloomy and rainy weather outside of the summer season.



São Vicente

São Vicente boasts a dramatic coastline that makes it a must-visit location. The town offers a wide selection of traditional restaurants serving good local food and fresh catch of the day. While the beach in São Vicente is not ideal for swimming due to strong waves and currents, the black sand beach in Seixal is just a 10-minute drive away. São Vicente has a variety of boutique and Airbnb-style accommodations catering to different budgets.


Pros

  • Unique, off-the-beaten-path location: Offers a distinct experience.

  • Great range of restaurants: Excellent dining options.

  • Many accommodation options: Wide range of price levels.

  • Close to Fanal Forest: Easy access to this beautiful forest.

  • Close to Seixal Black Sand Beach: A short drive to a stunning beach.



Cons

  • Beach not suitable for swimming: Dangerous currents and strong waves.

  • Limited nightlife: Few entertainment options.

  • Far from Funchal: A considerable distance from the capital.

  • Far from Madeira's highest peaks: Not close to the island's tallest mountains.

  • Bad Weather: The northern part of Madeira is known for gloomy and rainy weather outside of the summer season.



The best places to stay in West Madeira

The western part of Madeira is renowned for its dramatic cliffs and high viewpoints overlooking the vast ocean. Particularly, the southwest region enjoys the most pleasant weather on the entire island. There are numerous excellent locations along the western coast of Madeira, and here we'll explore some of the best places to stay.


Ponta do Sol

Ponta do Sol, often referred to as the sunny point of Madeira, is home to the Digital Nomads Program. This small, cozy town is located right on the beachfront and boasts many attractions, including the Angels Waterfall. Thanks to its unique location and microclimate, Ponta do Sol enjoys summer-like weather almost every day of the year. As the base for the Digital Nomads Madeira program, it offers a free co-working space and a strong community of digital nomads who engage in sports activities, outdoor trips, events, and parties. Ponta do Sol has a wide range of accommodations, most of which are in the higher budget range, but the prices are justified by the town's attractions.



Pros

  • Beautiful location: Stunning scenery and a picturesque town.

  • Beach and bathing area: Convenient beachfront access.

  • Walking distance to Angels Waterfall: Easy access to this natural attraction.

  • Many dining options: Excellent variety of restaurants.

  • Cozy town: Pleasant to walk around and explore.

  • Proximity to north and south of the island: Easy access to other regions.

  • Ample parking: Both free and paid options available.

  • Weekly parties: Social events like Purple Fridays.



Cons

  • Higher accommodation prices: More expensive than other parts of the island.

  • Small town feel: May feel limited after some time.


Calheta

Calheta is another great option in western Madeira, known for its white sand beach and marina. This area offers a variety of water sports, including sailing or fishing. Calheta also has cultural attractions like the Casa das Mudas Art Center. The town provides a range of accommodations, from luxury resorts and hotels on the beach to budget-friendly options further from the downtown. Calheta is a fairly large town with many dining options, fantastic for traveling families.


Pros

  • Sandy beach: One of the few sandy beaches on the island.

  • Marina: Offers various water sports and activities.

  • Cultural attractions: Includes the Casa das Mudas Art Center.

  • Variety of accommodations: Options for different budgets.


Cons

  • Touristy: Can be crowded, especially during peak season.

  • Higher prices: Tourist demand can drive up costs.

  • Water condition: Water on this beach isn't the cleanest.



Porto Moniz

Porto Moniz, located on the northwest coast of Madeira, is famous for its natural swimming pools formed by volcanic rocks. The town is a popular spot for tourists seeking unique swimming experiences in the crystal-clear waters of these pools. Porto Moniz also offers stunning ocean views, a variety of dining options, and several attractions, including the Madeira Aquarium. Accommodation ranges from charming guesthouses to comfortable hotels.



Pros

  • Natural swimming pools: Unique and beautiful swimming spots.

  • Scenic ocean views: Stunning landscapes and views of the Atlantic.

  • Attractions: Madeira Aquarium, São João Baptista Fort.

  • Varied dining options: Restaurants offering fresh local cuisine.

  • Range of accommodations: Options for different budgets.



Cons

  • Remote location: Far from Funchal and other major areas.

  • Limited nightlife: Few evening entertainment options.

  • Weather variability: Can be cooler and wetter than other parts of the island.



Jardim do Mar

Jardim do Mar, a picturesque village on the southwest coast of Madeira, is known for its serene environment and beautiful ocean views. This small village is perfect for those seeking tranquility and a closer connection with nature. Jardim do Mar offers stunning coastal walks, charming narrow streets, and a few quaint restaurants and bars. The village is also popular among surfers for its excellent waves.


Pros

  • Peaceful environment: Ideal for relaxation and escaping the hustle and bustle.

  • Beautiful coastal walks: Scenic trails along the coastline.

  • Charming village atmosphere: Quaint streets and friendly locals.

  • Surfing spot: Popular for surfing enthusiasts.

  • Close to nature: Great for nature lovers and outdoor activities.



Cons

  • Limited amenities: Fewer dining and shopping options.

  • No nightlife: Very quiet in the evenings.

  • Small village: Limited activities and attractions.

  • Remote location: Far from larger towns and cities.

  • Beach not suitable for swimming: Dangerous currents and strong waves.


Staying in western Madeira offers a mix of stunning natural beauty, cultural attractions, and pleasant weather. Whether you choose the sunny Ponta do Sol, the tourist-friendly Calheta, the charming Ribeira Brava, or the unique Porto Moniz, you'll find a welcoming and memorable experience on this part of the island.


Other Articles about Madeira you'd might like

Madeira is such an amazing place to visit, and we still can't believe we've been able to call it home for the past two years. During our stay, we explored all the best spots on the island and tried all the most exciting activities, many of them more than once! This helped us create these comprehensive guides that will help you plan your own trip to Madeira.











1 commento


Ospite
05 lug

Very-very useful! Thanx guys! 😘😘😘

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