This page contains a planned 7-day Madeira itinerary for the east of the island. I also have a West Madeira itinerary and a 12 day coastal itinerary. All of my Madeira itineraries start and finish in the city of Funchal.

I recommend checking my post the 20 Best Towns in Madeira for more information about each town.

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In this East Madeira itinerary, you could stay over at each destination, or also return to Funchal in between stops. I recommend hiring a car from Discover Cars and picking your car up from Funchal airport when you arrive. I have also included a driving map below from Google.

About Madeira

Madeira is a beautiful Portuguese island in the Atlantic Ocean. It’s famous for its stunning natural scenery, tall mountains, lush forests, and colourful flowers. The main city, Funchal, has old buildings, busy markets, and nice places to walk by the sea. Madeira also has wonderful food and lots of local wines to try.

I spent an amazing week travelling around Madeira in summer 2023, cramming as much into 8 days as possible, travelling all around the island, sampling the local cuisine, going on levada walks and meeting the local people. I have published lots of posts about Madeira on this blog.

Further reading: Ultimate Madeira Travel Guide.

Quick summary of your 7 day Madeira itinerary.

In brief, here is a list showing each day of your Madeira trip. The links will take you straight to the specific day of your itinerary below. This itinerary focuses on the East of the island.

Driving Map: Eastern Madeira Itinerary.

If you click on this Google map you can get detailed step-by-step driving instructions from Google. Click the blue star to add it to your maps.

Your 7 day Madeira itinerary: East of the island.

For each day of your Madeira itinerary, I have included suggestions for things to do and hotel booking links for each town, and I will include them all together at the bottom of the post as well. For accommodation I always use Booking.com, which gives free reservations and free cancellations, so there is nothing to lose when booking your rooms.

Here’s your 7-day itinerary for exploring the eastern part of Madeira Island:

Day 1: Arrival in Funchal

Funchal is the lively capital of Madeira Island. It’s famous for its colourful streets, historic buildings, and bustling markets in the old town. Funchal also has beautiful botanical gardens, museums, and scenic viewpoints overlooking the ocean.

Where to stay in Funchal

Itinerary Day 2: Funchal and Monte

Monte, perched high above Funchal, is known for its serene botanical gardens, historic Monte Palace, and quirky toboggan rides down winding streets. Cabo Girão is one of the highest sea cliffs in Europe, with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean and glass-floored viewpoint. 

  • Visit the Monte Palace Tropical Garden and explore its lush botanical gardens.
  • Take a cable car ride up to Monte for panoramic views of Funchal.
  • Visit the Monte Church and the famous Monte Toboggan Run for a thrilling experience.
  • Return to Funchal and explore more of the city’s attractions or relax by the sea.
  • See my post 29 Amazing Things to do in Funchal for inspiration

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

Where to stay near Monte, Funchal.

If you want to stay near the famous wicker sledge toboggans, Quinta Mirabela is your ideal base. This 19th-century villa is perched high in the hills above Funchal, offering 24 luxe, contemporary rooms and suites with magnificent views. Amenities include an outdoor pool, small spa with sauna, gym, billiard room, library, and a terrace.

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

Day 3: Santana and São Jorge

Santana is renowned for its iconic triangular-shaped houses, known as “palheiros,” which provide a glimpse into the island’s traditional architecture and rural way of life (there is a good guided tour of the traditional areas here). São Jorge has a rugged coastline, dramatic cliffs, and breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Drive to Santana to see the traditional triangular-shaped houses known as “palheiros.”
  • Visit the Madeira Theme Park, a unique attraction offering insights into the island’s history, culture, and traditions through interactive exhibits and demonstrations.
  • Drive to São Jorge and explore its rugged coastline and scenic viewpoints.
  • Enjoy a leisurely dinner at a local restaurant in São Jorge.

Where to stay in São Jorge/Santana

Day 4: Ponta de São Lourenço

Ponta de São Lourenço is the easternmost point of Madeira Island, Portugal. It’s a stunning peninsula known for its rugged cliffs, unique rock formations, and breathtaking coastal views.

  • Drive to Ponta de São Lourenço, the easternmost point of Madeira Island.
  • Hike along the scenic trails of Ponta de São Lourenço Nature Reserve, enjoying breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Visit the Madeira Whale Museum to learn about the local marine ecosystem
  • Take in the unique geological formations and diverse flora and fauna of the area.
  • Return to Funchal for dinner and relaxation.

Ponta de Sao Lourenco is inside the town of Caniçal. The nearby Prainha de Caniçal, a small pebble beach, provides a peaceful spot to relax by the sea. 

Accommodation in Caniçal

Day 5: Machico and Porto da Cruz

Machico, the first place Portuguese explorers landed, has a beautiful sandy beach and historic sites such as Forte de São João Batista. Porto da Cruz is a charming village famous for its rum production, offering tours of the Engenho do Norte Rum Factory and opportunities to taste the local brew.

  • Head to Machico, Madeira’s second-largest city, and spend the morning exploring its historic centre, including the Forte de São João Batista and beautiful beach.
  • Enjoy lunch at a seaside café, sampling fresh seafood dishes.
  • Continue your journey to Porto da Cruz, a picturesque coastal village known for its scenic landscapes and traditional rum production.
  • Visit the Engenho do Norte Rum Factory for a guided tour and tasting session, learning about the island’s rum-making heritage.
  • You could return to Funchal in the evening and relax after a day of exploration, or stay at Machico or Porto da Cruz.

Hotels in Machico

Remember you can reserve and cancel rooms on Booking.com for free, so if you see something you like, grab it straight away to secure the price, even if you cancel later.

Day 6: Levada Walk

Levadas are small water channels built for irrigation on the island of Madeira. They were made to carry water from the wetter areas to the drier parts for farming. These channels are often built along the mountainsides and can go for long distances. They are great walking trails because they offer stunning views of the island’s forests and scenery.

  • Embark on a guided levada walk in the eastern part of the island, such as the Levada do Caniçal or Levada do Rei.
  • Experience the beauty of Madeira’s lush landscapes, waterfalls, and endemic flora along the levada trails.
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch in nature and take plenty of photos of the stunning scenery.

Day 7: Botanical Garden and Departure

The Madeira Botanical Garden, also known as Jardim Botânico da Madeira, is a beautiful botanical garden located in Funchal, the capital city of Madeira Island, Portugal.

  • Visit the Madeira Botanical Garden in Funchal to explore its extensive collection of exotic plants and flowers.
  • Take a guided tour to learn about Madeira’s unique flora and ecological importance.
  • Enjoy a farewell lunch at a local restaurant in Funchal before heading to the airport for departure.

And so ends your 7 day East Madeira itinerary! Be sure to check out my 7 day Madeira road trip itinerary for the West of the island whilst you’re here.

Quick hotel links for your East Madeira trip.

Here are your hotel booking links again, all in one place for convenience. These links will get you the best rate on Booking.com today. Feel free to use them just for checking prices, even if you are not ready to book anything yet.

Book hotels in Funchal | Book hotels in Santana | Book hotels in Sao Jorge | Book hotels near Ponta de São Lourenço | Book hotels in Machico | Book hotels in Porto da Cruz | See all hotels in Madeira.

Hotels by map.

If you prefer to see hotels by location, use this map to see where the hotels are in each region. If you click the map, it will take you to Booking.com where you can check availability.

Booking.com

More Madeira itineraries

You can see my itinerary for the West of the island here.

My 12 day coastal Madeira itinerary features Funchal, Machico, Ponta de São Lourenço, Porto da Cruz, Santana, Sao Jorge, Sao Vicente, Seixal, Porto Moniz, Levada Grande, Ponto do Pargo, Paul do Mar, Jardim do Mar, Calheta, Ponto do Sol, Ribeira Brava, Camara do Lobos and Cabo Girao.

Booking.com

Tours in Madeira.

1. Sunrise Self-Guided Hike from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo: To save you the hassle of organising transport, the trip includes hotel pickup, then drop-off at Pico do Arieiro, and pickup from Achada do Teixeira once you’ve finished the hike.

2. Full-Day Madeira North West Coast Safari from Funchal: Take the scenic route between Ribeira Brava and Porto Moniz in an open-top safari vehicle; enjoy spectacular views of the Cabo Girão sea cliffs, Veu da Noiva waterfall, and the Paul da Serra plateau.

3. East of Madeira | Full Day 4×4 Tour: Travelling by 4WD, venture off-road and escape the crowds as you drive the Pico do Areiro mountain roads, stop in villages such as Ribeiro Frio and Faial, and visit a traditional A-frame house in Santana.

4. Half-Day Wine Tour in Madeira: Wonderful wine trail through the Laurissilva forest with wine and tapas included.

5. Private Dolphin and Whale Watching Tour in Madeira: 2- to 4-hour private charter by motor yacht. Snorkel and spot marine life including whales and dolphins. Light refreshments and a glass of sparkling wine included.

View all Madeira tours on Viator here. You can reserve tours immediately without paying anything up front, and cancel for free. Viator is a TripAdvisor company, so you know you will get a good service.

Travel advice for your Madeira trip.

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.

FAQs about your Madeira Itinerary.

Q: How many days should I allocate for a road trip in the east of Madeira Island?

A: I recommend allocating at least 4 to 5 days to fully explore the east of Madeira Island at a leisurely pace.

Q: What are some must-visit destinations on an East Madeira itinerary?

A: Some must-visit destinations include Santana with its traditional triangular-shaped houses, Ponta de São Lourenço for stunning coastal landscapes, and São Jorge with its rugged coastline.

Q: Are there any specific activities or attractions unique to the east of Madeira Island?

A: Yes, you can enjoy activities such as hiking along levada trails, visiting the Madeira Theme Park in Santana, and exploring the volcanic caves at São Vicente.

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

Q: What is the best way to travel around the eastern part of Madeira Island?

A: Renting a car is the most convenient way to travel around Madeira Island, including the eastern part. The roads are well-maintained, and driving allows for flexibility in exploring various attractions.

Q: What are some recommended accommodations in the eastern part of Madeira Island?

A: Accommodation options vary from guesthouses and boutique hotels to rural cottages and apartments. Some popular areas to stay in the east include Santana, São Jorge, and Machico.

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

Q: Is it necessary to book accommodations in advance for an east Madeira itinerary?

A: It’s advisable to book accommodations in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons, to ensure availability and secure preferred choices.

Q: Are there any specific safety precautions to consider while driving in the eastern part of Madeira Island?

A: While the roads in Madeira are generally safe, some mountain roads may be narrow and winding. It’s important to drive cautiously, especially on unfamiliar routes, and adhere to speed limits.

Q: What are some dining options available in the eastern part of Madeira Island?

A: You can enjoy a variety of dining options ranging from local taverns serving traditional Madeiran cuisine to seafood restaurants along the coast. Be sure to try regional specialties such as Espetada (beef skewers) and Bolo do Caco (traditional Madeiran bread).

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

Q. Are there any specific cultural events or festivals that take place in the eastern part of Madeira Island?

A: Yes, various cultural events and festivals take place throughout the year in different parts of Madeira Island. Check local event calendars for traditional festivals, music concerts, and other cultural celebrations during your visit.

Q: What should I pack for a road trip in the east of Madeira Island?

A: Pack comfortable clothing suitable for outdoor activities such as hiking and exploring coastal areas. Don’t forget essentials like sunscreen, a hat, sturdy walking shoes, and a camera to capture the beautiful landscapes of the eastern part of Madeira Island.

7 day East Madeira Itinerary – related reading.

Below is a list of some of my Madeira travel guides which may interest you.

Madeira Quick Links.

Here are some links you might find helpful for your trip to Madeira.

East Madeira Itinerary – pin for later.

If you have enjoyed this 7 day East Madeira itinerary, please feel free to use the below images to save the post to your Pinterest account for reading later.

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

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