On this page you will find a guide to the 20 best and most beautiful towns in Madeira – whether you are just visiting for the day, or you would like to stay as part of a longer trip.

I spent an amazing week travelling around Madeira in summer 2023. I crammed as much into 8 days as possible, travelling all around the island and visiting all of the main towns, sampling the local cuisine, going on levada walks and meeting the local people. It was a solo trip, but Madeira is also ideal for couples and families.

A collage of photos of different towns in the São Paulo region.
Towns in Madeira
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In this guide I will introduce the top 20 towns in Madeira, including what each town has to offer, and the best areas to stay in each town.

I will include links to Booking.com for each town – these links will get you the best accommodation deals available today. You can reserve a room without paying, and you can also cancel free of charge too. 

I’ll include a map at the bottom of the post, along with a round up of accommodation links too. This list of the best towns in Madeira is presented in order of popularity.

Further reading: Ultimate Madeira Travel Guide.

Quick round up of the best 20 towns in Madeira.

Here is a quick round up of the 20 towns in brief, before I go into further detail about each town, including which area of each town to stay in. You can click the links to skip straight to each specific town if you prefer, or just continue scrolling to see them all.

  1. Funchal: The capital, with historic streets, a bustling market, and the Madeira Story Centre.
  2. Santana: Known for its A-shaped thatched houses and traditional Madeiran life.
  3. Ponta do Sol: The sunniest spot on the island, perfect for beach lovers.
  4. Calheta: Unwind on golden beaches and explore the contemporary marina.
  5. Machico: History buffs will love its role as the first place Portuguese explorers landed.
  6. Porto Moniz: Surreal natural swimming pools carved by the ocean.
  7. Ribeira Brava: A small town with a big heart, with traditional architecture and local life.
  8. Santa Cruz: Home to Madeira’s airport, the promenade offers stunning ocean views.
  9. Caniço: Clifftop Caniço has panoramic views and the Ponta de Garajau nature reserve.
  10. Camara de Lobos: A picturesque fishing village beloved by Sir Winston Churchill.
  11. Sao Vicente: Quaint coastal town with volcanic caves and a geological centre.
  12. Ponta Delgada: Hidden treasure with serene beauty and natural pools.
  13. Paul do Mar: Surfers paradise with powerful Atlantic waves and a laid-back vibe.
  14. Arco de Sao Jorge – Stunning vistas and peaceful atmosphere, perfect for hiking.
  15. Jardim do Mar: Car-free village with narrow alleys and vibrant gardens.
  16. Porto da Cruz: Rugged coastline for adventurers, plus the sugar cane mill.
  17. Ponta do Pargo: Westernmost point with breathtaking cliffs and the Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse.
  18. Canical: A hub for whale and dolphin watching tours, plus a marine park and a promenade.
  19. Garajau: Home to the Christ the King statue, a fantastic diving spot.
  20. Madalena do Mar: A peaceful coastal town known for its banana plantations.

The 20 Best Towns in Madeira (and where to stay in each one)

Now that I’ve outlined the 20 best towns in Madeira, read on for a more in depth summary of each one.

I have included links which will take you to Booking.com if you would like to check prices. You also get free cancellation, so you can reserve your room without commitment. Click here to see all availability for hotels in Madeira. 

Further reading: The 14 Best Hotels in Madeira, Portugal.

1. Funchal – The Vibrant Capital.

Funchal is the beating heart of the island, and the most popular of all the towns in Madeira – although technically it is a city! Funchal’s historic streets are lined with cute shops, cafes, and restaurants, perfect for a leisurely stroll.

Funchal cable car
Funchal cable car

I recommend visiting the Mercado dos Lavradores, a vibrant market where you can sample fresh produce, exotic fruits, and local crafts. Nearby is the famous Santa Maria Street with its street art and painted doors.

Further reading: How to See Street Art in Santa Maria Street, Funchal.

If you have time, the Monte Palace tropical gardens are utterly stunning and well worth a visit. History lovers can visit the Madeira Story Centre, showing interactive exhibits that trace the island’s past. Get your Funchal hop on hop off tickets here.

If you take the iconic cable car ride to Monte, not only do you get panoramic views of the city, but you can experience the thrilling Toboggan Ride back down. Be aware there are often long queues for this tourist attraction. You can also do all three (cable car, tropical garden and toboggan) in this private tour.

Further reading: 29 Wonderful Things to do in Funchal, Madeira.

Where to stay in Funchal by area.

Funchal offers a variety of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to cute guesthouses. The famous Golden Residence hotel is situated here, which offers breathtaking views.

See prices and availability for all Funchal accommodation on Booking.com.

Here are a few popular areas to help you decide where to stay in Funchal:

1. Funchal city centre: 

Staying in the heart of Funchal gives you easy access to the city’s main attractions, restaurants, shops, and vibrant nightlife. You’ll be within walking distance of the historic old town, the Mercado dos Lavradores (Farmers’ Market), and the seafront promenade. This area is perfect if you want to be in the right in amongst the action.

2. Lido: 

The Lido area is known for its upscale hotels, beautiful sea views, and proximity to the seafront promenade. It’s a quieter option compared to the city centre, making it ideal for a more relaxed atmosphere. Lido also offers various restaurants and shops too.

3. São Martinho: 

This residential neighbourhood is a bit further from the city centre but offers a mix of accommodation options, including hotels and self-catering apartments. São Martinho is quieter and more peaceful, making it suitable for those who prefer a more laid-back experience.

4. Santa Luzia: 

This quaint neighbourhood is near the city centre but provides a quieter environment. It’s known for its historical architecture, narrow streets, and local atmosphere. Staying here allows you to experience a more authentic side of Funchal.

5. Old Town (Zona Velha): 

If you’re a fan of historical charm, consider staying in Funchal’s Old Town. This area is filled with cobblestone streets, colourful buildings, and an array of restaurants and bars. It’s a great choice for those who want to immerse themselves in Funchal’s history and culture. It can be a little more expensive than the other areas.

6. Ajuda: 

This area is a bit further from the city centre but offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a peaceful and residential neighbourhood, perfect for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city while still being relatively close to Funchal’s attractions.

See all accommodation in Funchal on Booking.com.

If you want convenience and proximity to attractions, the city centre or Lido might be your best bet. If you prefer a quieter atmosphere, areas like São Martinho and Santa Luzia could be more suitable.

2. Santana – A Taste of Tradition.

Nestled amidst lush hills, Santana is a living testament to Madeira’s traditional architecture. Its A-shaped thatched houses, known as “palheiros,” provide a unique insight into island life. Santana is one of the more traditional of the towns in Madeira. There is a good guided tour of the traditional areas here.

The town’s location offers access to the stunning Parque Florestal das Queimadas, where serene walking trails lead through enchanting Laurissilva forests. You can also visit the Madeira Theme Park to dive into local history and culture.

See prices & availability for all Santana accommodation on Booking.com.

Traditional houses in Santana Madeira
Traditional houses in Santana

Where to stay in Santana by area.

While it’s a relatively small town, there are a few options for where to stay in Santana. Keep in mind that accommodations might be limited compared to larger towns, so it’s a good idea to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Here are some suggestions for where to stay in Santana:

1. Santana town centre: 

Staying in the heart of Santana allows you to fully immerse yourself in the town’s unique atmosphere. You’ll be within walking distance of the traditional thatched houses, the Madeira Theme Park, and local shops and restaurants. This is a great option if you want to experience the town’s charm and culture up close.

2. São Jorge: 

São Jorge is a nearby village that offers a peaceful and rural setting. Staying in São Jorge gives you the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside while still being relatively close to Santana. This area is ideal for those who prefer a quieter and more relaxed atmosphere.

3. Santana coast: 

Some accommodations might be available along the coastline near Santana. This option offers beautiful ocean views. Keep in mind that you might need to rely on transportation to reach the town centre and its attractions (rent a car here).

4. Santana countryside: 

If you’re looking for a true retreat in nature, consider staying in a rural guest house or cottage in the countryside around Santana. This option provides a peaceful escape and a chance to be surrounded by Madeira’s lush landscapes.

See all Santana accommodation on Booking.com.

Since Santana is a smaller town, it’s worth considering what you prioritise most during your stay. If you want easy access to the town’s attractions and cultural sites, staying in Santana’s centre might be the best choice. If you prefer a quieter and more rural setting, exploring accommodation options in the surrounding areas could be a great fit. 

3. Ponta do Sol – Sun-Kissed Serenity.

True to its name, Ponta do Sol is the sunniest spot on the island. It’s perfect for relaxing on the pebble beaches or enjoying a leisurely stroll along the promenade to see the ocean views. The Ponta do Sol Ethnographic Museum is worth a visit to learn about the town’s history, while the rugged cliffs provide excellent opportunities for hiking and photography. 

See prices & availability for all Ponta do Sol accommodation on Booking.com.

A town on the side of a mountain with orange roofs.
Ponto do Sol, a town in Madeira

Where to stay in Ponta do Sol.

While it’s a smaller town, Ponta do Sol has a lot to offer in terms of natural beauty and a laid-back atmosphere. Here are some recommendations:

1. Ponta do Sol town centre: 

Staying in the heart of Ponta do Sol puts you within walking distance of the town’s beach, promenade, and a cute parade of local shops and restaurants. You’ll have easy access to the seafront, where you can enjoy beautiful sunsets too.

2. Promenade area: 

Accommodations along the seafront promenade offer unobstructed views of the ocean and the opportunity to hear the calming sounds of the waves. This area is great if you want to wake up to stunning sunrises and take leisurely strolls along the coast.

3. Ponta do Sol countryside: 

Consider staying in the countryside just outside of Ponta do Sol for a more secluded experience. Accommodations nestled amidst the lush landscapes offer a serene and peaceful retreat. This option is ideal if you’re seeking relaxation and immersion in nature.

4. Hillsides and mountain views: 

Some accommodations in the hills surrounding Ponta do Sol provide breathtaking panoramic views of the town, the coastline, and the ocean. If you’re a fan of stunning vistas and a quieter atmosphere, this could be the perfect choice.

See all Ponta do Sol accommodation on Booking.com.

Keep in mind that Ponta do Sol is relatively compact, so even if you stay slightly outside the town centre, you’ll still have easy access to its main attractions. Additionally, the town’s small size means that you can explore the streets and local restaurants without much hassle from most accommodations.

Further reading: 25 Unique & Amazing Things to do on Madeira Island.

4. Calheta – Coastal Charm and More.

Slightly more purpose-built than some of the other towns in Madeira, golden sandy beaches meet modern amenities in Calheta. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the beach and marina, where you can try your hand at watersports or simply unwind with a good book. Take a guided tour of the Calheta Sugar Cane Factory and Museum to learn about the island’s sugar production history. There is a contemporary marina, offering a variety of restaurants and cafes overlooking the sea. 

See prices & availability for all Calheta accommodation on Booking.com.

An aerial view of a beach and cliffs.
Praia Da Calheta

Where to stay in Calheta.

You can find 5* hotels in Calheta, which is somewhat of a surprise for such a small understated place. I stayed in Calheta in 2023, at the 5* Saccharum Resort & Spa

Further reading: My Review of the Savoy Saccharum Resort & Spa Madeira.

1. Calheta beach area: 

Staying near Calheta Beach puts you in close proximity to the town’s main attraction—the golden sand beach. This area offers easy access to the sea for swimming and relaxation. You’ll also find a variety of restaurants and cafes along the beachfront, making it convenient for dining with an ocean view.

2. Calheta marina: 

If you’re a fan of boating and maritime activities, staying near Calheta Marina is a great choice. The marina offers opportunities for boat tours, fishing trips, and water sports. Additionally, you’ll be close to restaurants and shops along the marina promenade.

3. Ponta do Pargo area: 

For those who prefer a quieter atmosphere and stunning views, consider staying in the Ponta do Pargo area, a short drive from Calheta. This area offers a more rural setting and is known for its dramatic cliffs and the Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse. See Ponta do Pargo hotels.

4. Calheta countryside: 

If you’re seeking a peaceful retreat surrounded by nature, consider staying in a guesthouse or cottage in the countryside around Calheta. This option offers tranquillity and the opportunity to immerse yourself in Madeira’s lush landscapes.

5. Estreito da Calheta: 

This neighbouring village is slightly inland from Calheta and offers a more residential atmosphere. It’s a good option if you prefer a quieter stay while still being relatively close to Calheta’s attractions.

See all Calheta accommodation on Booking.com.

Most accommodations will provide easy access to the beach, the marina, and the town’s amenities. Additionally, Calheta’s location on the southwestern coast means that you’ll be treated to lovely sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean.

5. Machico – Where History Begins

As the first place Portuguese explorers set foot on Madeira, Machico holds a special place in the island’s history. Visit the statue of the discoverer, João Gonçalves Zarco, and explore the 15th-century church, Nossa Senhora da Conceição. Machico’s golden sandy beach offers a perfect spot for relaxation, while the Pico do Facho viewpoint affords breathtaking panoramas. 

See prices & availability for all Machico accommodation on Booking.com.

A sandy beach with a mountain in the background.
Machico Bay, Madeira

Where to stay in Machico.

Machico is located on the eastern coast of Madeira, known for its significance as the landing place of the first Portuguese explorers. A popular hotel here is the Dom Pedro Madeira hotel with its outdoor swimming pool.

1. Machico town centre: 

Staying in the heart of Machico puts you within walking distance of the town’s main attractions, including the golden sandy beach, the Forte de São João Batista (a historic fortress), and the charming town square. You’ll also have easy access to local restaurants, shops, and cafes.

2. Machico beach area: 

If you’re a beach enthusiast, consider staying close to the Machico Beach. This area provides convenient access to the shoreline, where you can swim, sunbathe, and enjoy water sports. The beachfront promenade is also a great place for a leisurely stroll.

3. Santo da Serra: 

This nearby village is a short drive from Machico and offers a more rural and peaceful setting. Santo da Serra is known for its golf course, beautiful gardens, and the Ponta de São Lourenço nature reserve. If you prefer a quieter stay away from the town’s hustle and bustle, this might be a good option.

4. Caniçal: 

Another nearby village, Caniçal, offers a peaceful and traditional atmosphere. It’s a great choice if you want to be relatively close to Machico while staying in a more laid-back setting. Caniçal is also known for its marine activities. See Caniçal hotels.

5. Machico airport area: 

If you have an early flight or late arrival, staying near the Madeira Airport could be convenient. The airport is relatively close to Machico, and accommodations in this area provide easy access for travel logistics.

See all Machico accommodation on Booking.com.

6. Porto Moniz – Nature’s Artistry.

One of the most unique towns in Madeira, Porto Moniz is renowned for its natural swimming pools formed by volcanic rock. You can explore the Porto Moniz Living Science Centre to learn about the region’s geological wonders. You can also hike the Levada do Moinho (I did this hike and highly recommend it) which offers lush greenery and invigorating views. There is a cool 4WD tour of Porto Moniz here.

See prices & availability for all Porto Moniz accommodation on Booking.com.

Where to stay in Porto Moniz.

Porto Moniz is located on the northwest coast of Madeira. The much sought-after Aqua Natura Madeira hotel is also situated here, which offers breathtaking views over the Atlantic.

1. Porto Moniz town centre: 

Staying in the heart of Porto Moniz puts you within walking distance of the town’s main attractions, including the iconic natural swimming pools. You’ll also have easy access to local restaurants, cafes, and shops. This is a great option if you want to be close to the action and the famous pools.

2. Natural pools area: 

If you’re a fan of the natural swimming pools, consider staying in an accommodation near this area. This will allow you to have easy access to the pools for swimming and relaxation. Additionally, you’ll be treated to beautiful views of the ocean and the surrounding cliffs.

3. Seixal: 

This nearby village is a short drive from Porto Moniz and offers a quieter and more serene atmosphere. Seixal is known for its beautiful black sand beach and the stunning Véu da Noiva waterfall. Staying in Seixal provides a more peaceful stay while still being relatively close to Porto Moniz’s attractions. I stayed here in 2023 and loved it – I would definitely return. See accommodation in Seixal.

4. Achadas da Cruz: 

If you’re looking for a unique experience, consider staying in Achadas da Cruz, a village accessible by cable car from Porto Moniz. This option offers a secluded setting, surrounded by lush greenery and stunning views of the ocean.

5. Ponta Delgada: 

Another nearby village, Ponta Delgada, offers a charming and historic atmosphere. It’s a good choice if you prefer a quieter stay and want to explore a more traditional side of Madeira. See accommodation in Ponta Delgada.

See all Porto Moniz accommodation on Booking.com.

Porto Moniz is relatively compact, so most accommodations will provide easy access to its main attractions, including the natural swimming pools and the beautiful coastline. 

7. Ribeira Brava – Quaint Charms.

In the charming town of Ribeira Brava, you can immerse yourself in local life and discover Madeira’s traditional architecture. The Church of São Bento is a stunning example of Gothic style, and the town’s peaceful atmosphere is perfect for leisurely walks.

I recommend visiting the Museum of Ethnography and History to delve deeper into Madeiran culture, and be sure to indulge in local gastronomy at its cafes and restaurants. 

See prices & availability for all Ribeira Brava accommodation on Booking.com.

A view of a town on a cliff overlooking the ocean in Madeira.
Ribeira Brava, Madeira

Where to stay in Ribeira Brava.

Ribeira Brava is located on the southwestern coast of Madeira.

1. Ribeira Brava town centre: 

Staying in the heart of Ribeira Brava gives you easy access to the town’s main attractions, including the beautiful town square, the Church of São Bento, and the lively market. You’ll also find a variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops within walking distance.

2. Ribeira Brava beach area: 

If you’re a beach lover, consider staying close to the Ribeira Brava Beach. This area offers easy access to the sea for swimming and relaxation. There are often events and music on the promenade. You’ll also have the chance to enjoy waterfront dining and panoramic views of the ocean.

3. Countryside retreat: 

Ribeira Brava’s countryside offers a peaceful retreat surrounded by nature. If you’re seeking a quiet escape, consider staying in a rural guest house or cottage in the hills surrounding the town. 

4. Ponta do Sol: 

Another of the nearby towns in Madeira, Ponta do Sol, offers a relaxed atmosphere and stunning sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean. If you prefer a quieter stay while still being relatively close to Ribeira Brava’s attractions, Ponta do Sol could be a good choice. See Ponto do Sol hotels.

See all Ribeira Brava accommodation on Booking.com.

Further reading: The Best Time to visit Madeira Island, Portugal.

8. Santa Cruz – Gateway by the Sea.

Santa Cruz welcomes visitors with open arms as the location of Madeira’s airport. While often seen as a transit point, it has a lovely promenade where you can enjoy refreshing sea breezes and captivating views. The town’s peaceful vibe makes it a pleasant stopover, and the nearby Santo da Serra Golf Course offers an excellent opportunity for a round of golf amidst stunning landscapes. 

See prices & availability for all Santa Cruz accommodation on Booking.com.

Black sand beach in Madeira
Natural black sand beach at Santa Cruz, Madeira

Where to stay in Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz is located on the eastern coast of Madeira, known for its proximity to the airport and its serene coastal ambiance.

1. Santa Cruz town centre: 

Staying in the heart of Santa Cruz puts you within walking distance of the town’s main attractions, including the seafront promenade, local shops, and restaurants. This area is convenient if you want to explore the town’s quaint streets and enjoy the ocean views.

2. Santa Cruz beach area: 

If you’re a beach enthusiast, consider staying close to the Santa Cruz Beach. This area offers easy access to the sea for swimming and relaxation. You can also take leisurely strolls along the promenade and enjoy waterfront dining.

3. Santo da Serra: 

This nearby village is a short drive from Santa Cruz and offers a more rural and tranquil setting. Santo da Serra is known for its beautiful gardens, golf course, and the Ponta de São Lourenço nature reserve. Staying in Santo da Serra provides a peaceful stay while still being relatively close to Santa Cruz’s amenities.

4. Caniçal: 

Another nearby village, Caniçal, offers a traditional atmosphere and is known for its maritime activities. It’s a good choice if you prefer a quieter stay and want to explore the charming side of Madeira’s coastal villages. See Caniçal hotels.

5. Garajau: 

This area offers stunning ocean views and is known for the iconic Christ the King statue. Staying in Garajau provides a peaceful retreat with beautiful panoramas. It’s also a popular diving spot for those interested in exploring the underwater world. See Garajau hotels.

See all Santa Cruz accommodation on Booking.com.

9. Caniço – Clifftop Charm.

Perched on top of cliffs, Caniço gives panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and beyond. Relax in its peaceful atmosphere while exploring charming squares and gardens. Adventure beckons at the Ponta de Garajau nature reserve, a prime spot for diving, snorkelling, and admiring marine life. Be sure to ride the cable car down to the stunning Garajau Beach, famous for its crystal-clear waters. 

See prices & availability for all Caniço accommodation on Booking.com.

A white building next to the ocean in Madeira.
Canico de Baixo resort in Madeira

Where to stay in Caniço.

Caniço is a coastal town located on the southeastern coast of Madeira, known for its cliff top views, natural beauty, and easy access to the ocean.

1. Caniço de Baixo: 

Staying in Caniço de Baixo puts you in close proximity to the sea and provides stunning cliff top views. This area is known for its natural beauty and tranquillity. You’ll have access to seaside promenades, restaurants, and dive centres for exploring the underwater world.

2. Caniço town centre: 

Staying in the heart of Caniço allows you to experience the local atmosphere and enjoy convenient access to shops, cafes, and restaurants. The town’s central location also makes it a good starting point for exploring the island’s attractions.

3. Garajau: 

This area is known for the iconic Christ the King statue and its stunning panoramic ocean views. Staying in Garajau offers a chilled retreat with a mix of natural beauty and cultural significance. It’s also a popular diving spot for those interested in underwater exploration. See Garajau hotels

4. Caniço countryside: 

For a more secluded and rural experience, consider staying in the countryside around Caniço. This option is peaceful, and a chance to immerse yourself in Madeira’s lush landscapes. Keep in mind that you might need transportation to access the town’s amenities.

5. Caniço Bay: 

Accommodations near the bay offer proximity to the coastline and the opportunity to enjoy seaside walks and ocean views. This area provides a peaceful atmosphere while still being relatively close to the town’s amenities.

See all Caniço accommodation on Booking.com.

This town’s location on the southeastern coast provides beautiful sunrises over the Atlantic Ocean. 

10. Câmara de Lobos – A Churchillian Favourite

Of all the towns in Madeira, Câmara de Lobos was beloved by none other than Sir Winston Churchill, who painted its picturesque landscapes as a way to relax. Wander through the village’s narrow streets, watch fishermen at work, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere at the local market. Take in stunning vistas from the Pico da Torre viewpoint and indulge in local seafood at its quaint restaurants.  It was a little cloudy when I visited, but still beautiful.

See prices & availability for all Câmara de Lobos accommodation on Booking.com.

A group of boats on a beach.
Camara des Lobos

Where to stay in Câmara de Lobos.

Câmara de Lobos is a charming fishing village located on the southern coast of Madeira. A popular hotel here is the Pestana Fisherman Village boutique hotel, which offers spectacular views. I stayed here in 2023 and loved it.

1. Câmara de Lobos town centre: 

Staying in the heart of Câmara de Lobos puts you in close proximity to the town’s main attractions, including the pretty harbour, the historic city centre, and the local market. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the narrow streets, mingle with locals, and enjoy traditional Madeiran culture.

2. Waterfront area: 

Accommodations along the waterfront provide easy access to the harbour and stunning views of the ocean. This area is perfect if you want to enjoy the coastal vibes, watch fishing boats come and go, and dine at seaside restaurants.

3. Hillside views: 

Consider staying in accommodations on the hills surrounding Câmara de Lobos for panoramic views of the town, the coastline, and the Atlantic Ocean. This option offers a more serene and secluded atmosphere, away from the bustling town centre.

4. Fajã dos Padres: 

This area is situated on a unique coastal platform accessible only by boat or cable car. Staying in Fajã dos Padres offers an immersive experience in a secluded paradise with vineyards, gardens, and ocean views. Keep in mind that transportation to and from this area is limited.

See all Câmara de Lobos accommodations on Booking.com.

11. São Vicente – Caves and Charm

São Vicente offers a fascinating combination of geological wonders and old-world charm. You can explore the São Vicente Caves and Volcanism Centre to learn about Madeira island’s volcanic history. Or stroll through the village’s cobbled streets and visit the 17th-century Church of São Vicente. For nature enthusiasts, the Laurissilva Forest nearby offers tranquil trails surrounded by lush vegetation. 

See prices & availability for all São Vicente accommodation on Booking.com.

A mountainside with houses and vineyards in the background.
Sao Vincente, Madeira

Where to stay in São Vicente.

São Vicente is located on the north coast of Madeira, known for its stunning landscapes, volcanic caves, and lush vegetation.

1. São Vicente town centre: 

Staying in the heart of São Vicente puts you within walking distance of the town’s main attractions, including the São Vicente Caves and the 17th-century Church of São Vicente. You’ll also have access to local restaurants, cafes, and shops.

2. Nature lovers’ retreat: 

Consider staying in accommodations surrounded by nature in the hills around São Vicente. This option offers a secluded atmosphere, allowing you to enjoy the lush landscapes and serene surroundings.

3. Seixal: 

This nearby village is known for its black sand beach (which is glorious) and the stunning Véu da Noiva waterfall. Staying in Seixal provides a more relaxed and scenic setting while still being relatively close to São Vicente’s attractions. See accommodation in Seixal.

4. Ponta Delgada: 

Another nearby village, Ponta Delgada, offers a quiet and historical atmosphere. It’s a good choice if you prefer a peaceful stay and want to explore the traditional side of Madeira’s coastal towns. See accommodation in Ponta Delgada.

5. Encumeada: 

If you’re a fan of hiking and exploring nature, consider staying in the Encumeada area. This location offers access to hiking trails and panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

See all São Vicente accommodation on Booking.com.

12. Ponta Delgada – Hidden Tranquility.

Ponta Delgada offers a serene escape with its natural beauty and inviting coastal landscapes. Explore the natural pools carved into the volcanic rocks and unwind on the peaceful black sand beach. Don’t miss the Ponta Delgada Mother Church, a historic gem with intricate architecture. 

See prices & availability for all Ponta Delgada accommodation deals on Booking.com.

A village on a cliff overlooking the ocean.
Ponta Delgada, Madeira

Where to stay in Ponta Delgada.

Ponta Delgada is a tranquil village located on the northern coast of Madeira, known for its historical charm, coastal beauty, and peaceful atmosphere.

1. Ponta Delgada village centre: 

Staying in the heart of Ponta Delgada allows you to experience the village’s main attractions, including the Ponta Delgada Mother Church and the quaint streets lined with traditional houses. You’ll also have access to local eateries, cafes, and shops.

2. Coastal area: 

Accommodations along the coastline provide easy access to the ocean and offer beautiful sea views. This area is perfect if you want to enjoy the relaxing sounds of the waves and breathtaking sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean.

3. Rural retreat: 

Consider staying in accommodations in the hills surrounding Ponta Delgada for a more secluded and peaceful experience. This option offers a serene atmosphere and panoramic views of the village, the coast, and the ocean.

4. Nature enthusiast’s haven: 

If you’re a fan of hiking and exploring natural beauty, consider staying in the Ponta Delgada area that’s close to nature trails and picturesque landscapes.

See all Ponta Delgada accommodation deals on Booking.com.

13. Paul do Mar – Surfing Paradise.

Surfers, rejoice! Paul do Mar is your haven, with powerful Atlantic waves perfect for riding. Beyond surfing, the town’s relaxed atmosphere invites leisurely strolls along the seafront and through its narrow lanes. Enjoy fresh seafood at local restaurants while soaking in the ocean views. 

See prices & availability for all Paul do Mar accommodation deals on Booking.com.

An aerial view of a village on a cliff overlooking the ocean in Madeira.
Paul do Mar village in Madeira

Where to stay in Paul do Mar.

Paul do Mar is a tranquil coastal village located on the south coast of Madeira, known for its natural beauty, ocean views, and relaxing atmosphere.

1. Paul do Mar beachfront: 

Staying close to the beach in Paul do Mar offers direct access to the ocean and stunning views of the coastline. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the sandy beach, swim in the clear waters, surf, and relax to the sound of the waves.

2. Village centre: 

Staying in the heart of Paul do Mar puts you within walking distance of the village’s main attractions, including local restaurants, cafes, and the charming harbour. This area allows you to experience the local culture and daily life of the village.

3. Countryside retreat: 

Consider staying in accommodations in the hills surrounding Paul do Mar for a more secluded experience. This option offers panoramic ocean views and a peaceful atmosphere away from the village’s centre.

4. Seaside promenade: 

Accommodations along the seaside promenade provide easy access to coastal walks and the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean.

See all Paul do Mar accommodation deals on Booking.com.

14. Arco de Sao Jorge – A Slice of Heaven.

Arco de Sao Jorge is a hidden paradise known for its stunning views and tranquil setting. Explore the verdant hills, where levadas (irrigation channels turned hiking paths) wind through lush landscapes. The Miradouro do Miradouro viewpoint provides panoramic scenes of the dramatic coastline and the endless Atlantic horizon. 

Further reading: 16 of the Best Levada Walks on Madeira Island

See prices and availability for all Arco de Sao Jorge accommodation deals on Booking.com.

A village on the side of a mountain overlooking the ocean from a town in Madeira.
Arco de Sao Jorge, Madeira towns.

Where to stay in Arco de Sao Jorge.

Arco de São Jorge is located on the northern coast of Madeira, known for its stunning landscapes, lush vegetation, and peaceful atmosphere.

1. Arco de São Jorge village centre: 

Staying in the heart of Arco de São Jorge allows you to experience the village’s main attractions, including its scenic surroundings, local cafes, and the historic Church of São Jorge. You’ll have a chance to immerse yourself in the village’s relaxed atmosphere.

2. Countryside retreat: 

Consider staying in accommodations surrounded by nature in the hills around Arco de São Jorge. This option offers a peaceful atmosphere, allowing you to enjoy the lush landscapes and serene surroundings.

3. Seaside views: 

Accommodations with ocean views provide the opportunity to enjoy breathtaking vistas of the Atlantic Ocean and the coastline. This area is perfect if you want to relax while soaking in the beauty of the surrounding natural landscapes.

See all Arco de Sao Jorge accommodation deals on Booking.com.

15. Jardim do Mar – Car-Free Oasis.

The car-free village of Jardim do Mar exudes peacefulness with its narrow alleys, vibrant gardens, and idyllic setting. Stroll through the streets, taking in the colourful bougainvillaea flowers and stunning ocean views. The village’s location on the southwestern coast provides breathtaking sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean and opportunities for outdoor activities like hiking and surfing. 

See prices & availability for all Jardim do Mar accommodation deals on Booking.com.

A road leading to a beach on the coast of Madeira, Portugal.
Jardim do Mar in Madeira, Portugal.

Where to stay in Jardim do Mar.

Jardim do Mar is located on the southwestern coast of Madeira. Here are some recommendations for where to stay in Jardim do Mar:

1. Jardim do Mar village centre: 

Staying in the heart of Jardim do Mar allows you to experience the village’s main attractions, including its narrow streets, traditional houses, and the stunning seafront promenade. You’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the village’s relaxed pace and local culture.

2. Oceanfront accommodations: 

Accommodations along the oceanfront provide unobstructed views of the Atlantic Ocean and the opportunity to watch the waves crashing against the cliffs. This area is perfect if you want to be close to the water and enjoy the soothing sounds of the sea.

3. Countryside retreat: 

Consider staying in accommodations nestled in the hills surrounding Jardim do Mar for a serene experience. This option offers panoramic views of the village, the coastline, and the ocean, and allows you to be surrounded by lush landscapes.

See all Jardim do Mar accommodation deals on Booking.com.

Jardim do Mar is a small village, so most accommodations will offer easy access to its main attractions and the village’s amenities.

Further reading: The 14 Best Hotels in Madeira, Portugal.

16. Porto da Cruz – Adventure and Heritage.

For the adventurous souls, Porto da Cruz presents a rugged coastline perfect for exploring and capturing dramatic seascapes. Visit the sugar cane mill, Engenho do Norte, to learn about Madeira’s sugar production history. Take a stroll through the village, discover the local rum distillery, and relish the unique beauty of its traditional houses. 

See prices & availability for all Porto da Cruz accommodation deals on Booking.com.

A wooden walkway leading to a beach on the island of Madeira
Porto da Cruz with natural swimming pools, Madeira

Where to stay in Porto da Cruz.

Porto da Cruz is located on the northern coast of Madeira. Here are some suggestions for where to stay in Porto da Cruz:

1. Porto da Cruz village centre: 

Staying in the heart of Porto da Cruz allows you to experience the town’s main attractions, including its historic sugar cane mill, the seafront promenade, and the traditional houses. You’ll have easy access to local cafes, restaurants, and shops.

2. Oceanfront accommodations: 

Accommodations along the oceanfront provide stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and easy access to the town’s beach. This area is perfect if you want to be close to the water, enjoy sea breezes, and take leisurely strolls along the coastline.

3. Countryside retreat: 

Consider staying in accommodations surrounded by nature in the hills around Porto da Cruz for a peaceful and secluded experience. This option offers panoramic views of the town, the coast, and the ocean, and allows you to be immersed in lush landscapes.

See  all Porto da Cruz accommodation deals on Booking.com.

17. Ponta do Pargo – Westernmost Wonder.

At the western tip of Madeira lies Ponta do Pargo, where breathtaking cliffs and the Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse dominate the landscape. Explore the charming lighthouse and enjoy sweeping vistas of the ocean and surrounding areas. The nearby Levada Nova trail offers a serene hike through picturesque landscapes (I have completed this trail and I highly recommend it!) 

The village’s location on the western tip provides opportunities for enjoying stunning sunsets, hiking, and taking in the rugged coastal scenery. 

See prices & availability for all Ponta do Pargo accommodation deals on Booking.com.

A lighthouse on a cliff overlooking the ocean in Madeira.
Ponta do Pargo, Madeira, Portugal

Where to stay in Ponta do Pargo.

1. Ponta do Pargo village centre: 

Staying in the heart of Ponta do Pargo allows you to experience the village’s main attractions, including the Ponta do Pargo Lighthouse and the scenic viewpoints. You’ll have easy access to local restaurants, cafes, and the village’s charm.

2. Cliffside accommodations: 

Accommodations located on the cliffs overlooking the ocean offer breathtaking panoramic views and a sense of isolation. This area is perfect if you want to be surrounded by nature and enjoy stunning sunsets over the Atlantic.

3. Rural retreat: 

Consider staying in accommodations in the countryside around Ponta do Pargo for a peaceful experience. This option allows you to be immersed in the island’s lush landscapes and natural beauty.

See all Ponta do Pargo accommodation deals on Booking.com

18. Caniçal – Marine Marvels

Caniçal beckons nature enthusiasts with its focus on marine life. Embark on whale and dolphin watching tours to witness these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Visit the Madeira Whale Museum to learn about the local marine ecosystem. The nearby Prainha de Caniçal, a small pebble beach, provides a peaceful spot to relax by the sea. 

See prices & availability for all Caniçal accommodation on Booking.com.

A view of the ocean from a cliff overlooking a beach.
Prainha do Caniçal, Madeira.

Where to stay in Caniçal.

Caniçal is located on the eastern coast of Madeira, known for its maritime heritage, stunning coastline, and proximity to natural attractions. Here are some recommendations for where to stay in Caniçal:

1. Caniçal village centre: 

Staying in the heart of Caniçal allows you to experience the village’s main attractions, including the scenic harbour, local restaurants, and the Whale Museum. You’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the village’s maritime history and culture.

2. Oceanfront accommodations: 

Accommodations along the coastline provide direct access to the ocean and offer beautiful views of the Atlantic. This area is perfect if you want to be close to the water, enjoy seaside walks, and indulge in ocean vistas.

3. Caniçal Peninsula: 

Consider staying in accommodations on the Caniçal Peninsula for a more secluded and peaceful experience. This option offers a sense of isolation, surrounded by nature and the picturesque coastline.

See all Caniçal accommodation deals on Booking.com.

19. Garajau – Christ the King and Diving Delights.

The iconic Christ the King statue presides over Garajau, providing not only spiritual significance but also breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. The town is also a popular dive site, attracting underwater explorers. Dive into the clear waters to discover a vibrant underwater world. For a more relaxed experience, you can enjoy the Miradouro do Cristo Rei viewpoint and its stunning vistas. 

See prices & availability for all Garajau accommodation on Booking.com.

A statue of jesus standing on top of a hill in a town in Madeira, Portugal.
Garajau statue

Where to stay in Garajau.

Garajau is a beautiful coastal area located on the southeastern coast of Madeira. Here are some recommendations for where to stay in Garajau:

1. Garajau village centre: 

Staying in the heart of Garajau allows you to experience the area’s main attractions, including the Christ the King statue and the scenic viewpoints. You’ll have access to local restaurants, cafes, and shops, while also being close to the ocean.

2. Cliffside accommodations: 

Accommodations located on the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean offer breathtaking panoramic views. This area is perfect if you want to enjoy the calming sounds of the waves, witness stunning sunsets, and embrace the coastal beauty.

3. Beachfront accommodations: 

Staying close to the Praia do Garajau, a pretty pebble beach, allows you to enjoy easy access to the sea. This area is ideal for beach lovers and those who want to experience oceanfront relaxation.

4. Close to Underwater Nature Reserve: 

If you’re a diving or snorkelling enthusiast, consider staying close to the Garajau Marine Nature Reserve. This protected area is known for its rich marine life and underwater beauty.

5. Funchal proximity: 

Garajau is conveniently located near Funchal, the capital of Madeira. If you want to explore Funchal’s attractions while staying in a quieter area, Garajau could be a great choice.

See all Garajau accommodation deals on Booking.com.

20. Madalena do Mar – Banana Haven

I will conclude our Madeiran adventure in Madalena do Mar, known for its charming banana plantations. Stroll along the promenade, absorbing the peaceful atmosphere and gazing out at the horizon. The village’s location on the southwestern coast provides beautiful sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean and opportunities for beach relaxation. 

See prices & availability for all Madalena do Mar accommodation on Booking.com.

A cliff overlooking the ocean from a town in Madeira.
Madalena do Mar in Madeira

Where to stay in Madalena do Mar.

Madalena do Mar is located on the southwestern coast of Madeira. Here are some recommendations for where to stay in Madalena do Mar:

1. Madalena do Mar beachfront: 

Staying close to the Madalena do Mar Beach offers direct access to the sea and beautiful views of the coastline. This area is perfect if you want to enjoy the sandy beach, swim in the clear waters, and relax to the sound of the waves.

2. Village centre: 

Staying in the heart of Madalena do Mar allows you to experience the village’s main attractions, including its picturesque streets and local cafes. You’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the village’s relaxed ambiance and local culture.

3. Countryside retreat: 

Consider staying in accommodations in the hills surrounding Madalena do Mar for a serene and secluded experience. This option offers panoramic views of the village, the coast, and the ocean, and allows you to be surrounded by lush landscapes.

See all Madalena do Mar accommodation deals on Booking.com.

Here are your booking links again, all in one place. These links will get you the best prices on Booking.com today. Remember you also have free cancellation too:

Hotels in Funchal | Hotels in Santana | Hotels in Ponta do Sol | Hotels in Calheta | Hotels in Machico | Hotels in Porto Moniz | Hotels in Ribeira Brava | Hotels in Santa Cruz | Hotels in Caniço | Hotels in Câmara de Lobos | Hotels in São Vicente | Hotels in Ponta Delgada | Hotels in Paul do Mar | Hotels in Arco de São Jorge | Hotels in Jardim do Mar | Hotels in Porto da Cruz | Hotels in Ponta do Pargo | Hotels in Garajau | Hotels in Caniçal | Hotels in Madalena do Mar | All Madeira accommodation.

Further reading: The 14 Best Hotels in Madeira, Portugal.

Accommodation by Map

Here is a map from Booking.com showing hotels by location in towns in Madeira. You can zoom in, zoom out, drag and move the map. If you click the map, it will take you to Booking.com where you can look more closely at your options.

Booking.com

I recommend reserving your room immediately to get the best price. It’s usually free to reserve, and you can always cancel later on.

See the main Madeira page on Booking.com.

Travel Advice for towns in Madeira.

For travel advice for Madeira, please see my main Madeira travel guide post. This page contains everything you need to know about Madeira, including things to do, what to see, local cuisine, safety considerations, transportation, best time to visit, cultural etiquette and more.

In the meantime, here are some quick travel tips for Madeira, Portugal:

Practical tips for Madeira.

Health and Safety:

  1. Medical Services: Madeira has quality medical facilities, but travel insurance is crucial to cover any unexpected health issues.
  2. Sun Protection: The sun can be strong in Madeira. Wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from sunburn.
  3. Terrain Awareness: The island’s terrain can be steep and challenging. Wear appropriate footwear and be cautious when walking in hilly areas.

Transportation:

  1. Driving: If you plan to rent a car in Madeira, note that Madeira’s roads can be narrow and winding. Drive cautiously, and be aware of steep drops in some areas.
  2. Public Transportation: Madeira’s bus system is reliable for getting around. Be sure to check the bus schedules in advance.
  3. Taxis: Taxis are safe and regulated. Ensure the meter is running or agree on a fare before starting the ride.

Money and Communication:

  1. Currency: The currency used in Madeira is the Euro (€).
  2. ATMs: ATMs are widely available, especially in tourist areas. Inform your bank before travelling to ensure your cards work abroad.
  3. Language: Portuguese is the official language of Madeira. While many locals in tourist areas speak English, learning a few basic Portuguese phrases can enhance your experience. This Lonely Planet Portuguese Phrase Book & Dictionary is excellent (Amazon link).

Outdoor Activities:

  1. Levada Walks: If you plan to hike the levadas, wear sturdy shoes, carry water, and check the weather forecast. Some walks can be challenging.
  2. Swimming: While there are natural pools and beaches, always follow safety signs and guidelines when swimming in the ocean.
  3. Madeira tourist card: Consider purchasing a Funchal City Card, which provides discounted access to various attractions and unlimited use of public transportation. You can buy these from tourism offices.

Emergency Contacts:

  • Emergency Services: Dial 112 for police, medical, or fire emergencies.

Environmental Considerations:

  1. Responsible Tourism: Respect the island’s natural beauty by not littering and following designated paths.
  2. Conservation: Be cautious around delicate ecosystems, especially in natural parks and reserves.

Further reading: Ultimate Madeira Travel Guide.

The Google map below shows the island of Madeira, with all the towns in Madeira as listed in this post (in numerical order). Click the blue icons to see more information about each place, or click the star to add to your own Google Maps.

Here are some frequently asked questions about towns in Madeira.

Q. What are the must-visit towns in Madeira?

A: Madeira boasts several charming towns worth exploring, including Funchal, Santana, Ponta do Sol, Calheta, and Machico. Each town has its unique character and attractions.

Q. What’s the best time to visit towns in Madeira?

A: The best time to visit Madeira’s towns is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to November) when the weather is pleasant, and the island is less crowded.

Further reading: The Best Time to visit Madeira Island, Portugal.

Q. How do I travel between towns in Madeira?

A: Getting around Madeira is relatively easy. You can use the island’s efficient bus system, rent a car for more flexibility, or hire taxis. Additionally, some towns are connected by picturesque Levada walking trails.

Q. Is renting a car necessary to explore towns in Madeira?

A: Renting a car provides more flexibility, but it’s not a necessity. Madeira has a reliable public transportation system, and many guided tours offer convenient transportation to various towns and attractions. I recommend Discover Cars for car rentals in Madeira.

Q. What’s the weather like in towns in Madeira throughout the year?

A: Madeira enjoys a mild climate year-round. Summers (June to September) are warm and dry, while winters (December to February) are mild and wet. Spring and autumn offer a pleasant mix of sunshine and occasional showers.

A path leading to the top of a mountain.
From Pico Do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

Q. Are towns in Madeira accessible for travellers with mobility issues?

A: While some towns in Madeira, particularly the older parts, may have uneven terrain, many have accessible pathways and facilities. It’s a good idea to check with your accommodation and tour providers in advance for accessibility options.

Q. Are there plenty of dining options in towns in Madeira?

A: Yes, you’ll find a wide range of dining options in Madeira’s towns, from local eateries serving traditional dishes to international cuisine. Funchal, in particular, offers a diverse culinary scene.

Further reading: Food in Madeira: What to Eat and Drink on Madeira Island

Q. Can I use credit cards in towns in Madeira?

A: Credit cards are widely accepted in most towns, especially in restaurants, hotels, and shops. However, it’s advisable to carry some cash for smaller establishments and rural areas.

Q. What are the best towns in Madeira for water activities and beach lovers?

A: If you’re into water activities and beaches, consider staying in towns like Calheta, Ponta do Sol, and Machico. They offer lovely sandy beaches and excellent conditions for swimming and water sports.

Further reading: 25 Unique & Amazing Things to do on Madeira Island.

Q. Are there traditional festivals and events in towns in Madeira?

A: Yes, Madeira’s towns host various traditional festivals and events throughout the year, celebrating local culture, food, and music. Funchal’s Carnival and the Flower Festival are among the most famous. Check the local calendar for specific dates and locations.

Below are some helpful links for your trip:

Pinterest: towns in Madeira.

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Travelling soon? Check my 20 Must-Have Travel Essentials post before you go.

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