This page contains a planned 7-day itinerary for Madeira, for the West of the island. Highlights include the towns of Funchal, Ribeira Brava, Calheta, Ponta do Sol, Jardim do Mar, Porto Moniz, São Vicente and Seixal. 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 in the itinerary. My itinerary for the East of the island is here, and my 12 day coastal itinerary is here.

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In this West 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. This included travelling all around the island, sampling the local cuisine, going on levada walks and meeting the local people. I have published many posts about Madeira on this blog.

Further reading: Ultimate Madeira Travel Guide.

Quick summary of your 7 day itinerary for Madeira.

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 West of the island.

Driving Map: Itinerary for Madeira West.

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 Itinerary for Madeira: West 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.

Below is your 7-day itinerary for Madeira, for exploring the western 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.

  • Arrive in Funchal, the vibrant capital city of Madeira, and check into your accommodation.
  • Spend the afternoon exploring the historic city centre, including the Mercado dos Lavradores (Farmers’ Market) and Sé Cathedral.
  • Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant featuring traditional Madeiran cuisine.
  • See my post 29 Amazing Things to do in Funchal for inspiration.

Where to stay in Funchal

Day 2: Monte and Cabo Girão

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 Church of Nossa Senhora do Monte and the famous Monte Toboggan Run.
  • Drive to Cabo Girão, one of the highest sea cliffs in the world, for breathtaking views.
  • See my post 29 Amazing Things to do in Funchal

Where to stay near Monte

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: Ribeira Brava and Ponta do Sol

Ribeira Brava, translated as ‘Wild River’, is known for its picturesque river that flows through the town centre, creating a scenic backdrop against the backdrop of lush hillsides. Ponta do Sol, meaning ‘Sun Point’, lives up to its name with abundant sunshine and a relaxed coastal atmosphere.

  • Drive to Ribeira Brava and explore its historic centre, including the Church of São Bento.
  • Visit the Ethnographic Museum of Madeira to learn about the island’s history and culture.
  • Drive to Ponta do Sol, known as the Sunniest Place in Madeira, and relax on its beach.
  • Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant overlooking the ocean in Ponta do Sol.

Where to stay in Ribeira Brava and Ponta do Sol

Both Ribeira Brava and Ponta do Sol provide ideal bases for exploring the surrounding natural beauty of Madeira’s western coast, including nearby hiking trails, scenic viewpoints, and cultural attractions.

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.

See my Madeira towns posts for more information on individual areas.

Further reading: The 20 best towns in Madeira (and where to stay in each one)

Day 4: Calheta and Jardim do Mar

Calheta and Jardim do Mar are two beautiful coastal villages. Calheta is known for its golden sandy beach and picturesque marina, offering water sports activities or exploring the surrounding hillsides dotted with banana plantations and vineyards. Jardim do Mar is known for its colourful flowers and traditional houses, and it’s a great spot for surfing or just strolling along the coast.

  • Visit Calheta and explore its marina, where you can take a boat tour or go swimming and snorkelling.
  • Visit the Casa das Mudas Arts Center to admire contemporary art exhibitions and enjoy panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Drive to Jardim do Mar, a picturesque village known for its surfing and scenic landscapes.
  • Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Jardim do Mar.

Further Reading: 18 Great Things to do in Calheta.

Where to stay in Calheta and Jardim do Mar

Day 5: Paul do Mar and Porto Moniz

Paul do Mar is a quaint fishing village renowned for its laid-back vibe, rugged cliffs, and excellent surfing conditions. Porto Moniz is famed for its natural volcanic pools, formed by ancient lava flows meeting the Atlantic Ocean, providing visitors with a unique and refreshing bathing experience amidst breathtaking coastal scenery.

  • Drive to Paul do Mar, a charming fishing village, and relax on its beach or enjoy water sports activities.
  • Visit Porto Moniz and its famous natural swimming pools formed by volcanic rock.
  • Explore the Porto Moniz Natural History Museum to learn about the region’s geological and natural heritage.
  • Enjoy dinner at a restaurant overlooking the natural pools in Porto Moniz.

Where to stay in Paul do Mar and Porto Moniz

  • Popular hotels in Porto Moniz include Aqua Natura, with stunning views of the Atlantic. There are volcanic seawater pools, a sauna, Jacuzzi, birdwatching, Levada walks, and proximity to Porto Moniz.
  • For something a bit different, try Madeira Paradise Glamping in Porto Moniz, with a shared kitchen and outdoor fireplace.
  • See all accommodation in Porto Moniz on Booking.com.

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

Day 6: São Vicente and Seixal

São Vicente is known for its volcanic caves, and has a picturesque setting amidst lush green hillsides and flowing streams. Seixal has a tranquil black sand beach, framed by towering cliffs and lush vegetation. Seixal feels like a secluded paradise, and I must say I wished I had stayed for longer!

  • Visit São Vicente and explore its volcanic caves at the São Vicente Caves and Volcanism Center.
  • Drive to Seixal and relax on its black sand beach with stunning views of the surrounding cliffs.
  • Visit the Ethnographic and Wine Museum of Madeira in Seixal to learn about the island’s cultural heritage and wine production.
  • Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Seixal.

Where to stay in Sao Vicente and Seixal

Further reading: 20 Gifts and Souvenirs to Buy From Madeira.

Day 7: Levada Walk and Departure

A levada walk is an unforgettable adventure through the island’s stunning landscapes and lush vegetation. These narrow water channels, known as levadas, wind their way through mountains and valleys, providing a network of scenic hiking trails for visitors to explore.

  • Embark on a guided levada walk in the western part of the island, such as the Levada das 25 Fontes or Levada do Rabaçal.
  • 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.
  • Return to Funchal in the afternoon and spend the evening at leisure before heading to the airport for departure.

End of 7 day itinerary for Madeira West.

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

Quick hotel links for your West 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 Ribeira Brava | Book hotels in Calheta | Book Savoy Saccharum Hotel | Book hotels in Jardim do Mar | Book hotels in Porto Moniz | Book hotels in São Vicentez | Book hotels in Seixal | 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 itineraries for Madeira

My 7 day itinerary for Madeira East features Funchal, Santana, São Jorge, Ponta de São Lourenço, Machico, Porto da Cruz, and a levada walk of your choosing.

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 itinerary for Madeira.

Q: How many days should I plan for a road trip in the western part of Madeira Island? 

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

Q: What are some must-visit destinations in the western part of Madeira Island? 

A: Must-visit destinations include Calheta with its marina and sandy beach, Porto Moniz with its natural swimming pools, and São Vicente with its volcanic caves. I highly recommend the Savoy Saccharum Resort and Spa for a luxury 5 star experience.

Further reading: The 20 best towns in Madeira (and where to stay in each one)

Q: What activities can I enjoy during my western road trip itinerary for Madeira? 

A: You can enjoy activities such as visiting rum distilleries in Porto da Cruz, exploring volcanic caves in São Vicente, and hiking along coastal trails in Porto Moniz. Dont forget Monte Palace Tropical Gardens and Sao Vicente.

Q: Is it necessary to rent a car for exploring the western part of Madeira Island? 

A: While it’s not absolutely necessary for your itinerary for Madeira, renting a car provides flexibility and convenience for exploring the western part of Madeira Island. Public transportation options may be limited in some areas. 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 above.

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

A: It’s important to drive cautiously, especially on narrow and winding mountain roads, and adhere to speed limits. Additionally, be cautious while hiking along coastal trails and swimming in natural pools, as conditions can be unpredictable.

Q: What are some recommended accommodations in the western 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 west include Calheta, Porto Moniz, and São Vicente. I highly recommend the Savoy Saccharum Resort and Spa for a luxury 5 star experience.

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

Q: What should I pack for a road trip in the west 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 western part of Madeira Island.

7 day Itinerary for Madeira West – 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 when planning your itinerary for Madeira.

West Madeira Itinerary – pin for later.

If you have enjoyed this 7 day itinerary for Madeira West, 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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