Madeira in 3 Days
Do not be fooled by the size of Madeira, to the point of thinking that three days are enough to enjoy and explore this magical land. If the time you have available comes down to but a few days then plan your trip well, in order to make the most of your stay.
Although the island has beautiful hotel units, Funchal may be a more reasonable option for a shorter stay. The diversity of hotels ranging from the romantic manor farms to a hostel or even a more family-orientated inn. Make yourself comfortable and enjoy the beautiful scenery that the capital of Madeira has to offer.
Day One: Funchal
To start your journey to the Pearl of the Atlantic, we recommend that you get up early. Even if you are lodged in the outskirts of Funchal, you can quickly and easily reach the centre. Start at Avenida Zarco. For a few moments enter the Baltazar Dias Municipal Theatre to admire its architecture and stop at Blandy Wine Lodge, where you can taste the different types of Madeira wine.
Stroll through the city towards the Old Town, not missing out on a quick stop at the Cathedral. Feel the cosmopolitan city and come inside the temple for a few minutes, where you can enjoy this masterpiece with Hispanico-Arabic and Roman-Gothic lines, the building of which was ordered by the King D. Manuel.
Passing through Farmers Market (Mercado dos Lavradores), on the way to Old Town, go through the building, breathing in its history and marvel at the variety of fruits and flowers. Next go to Rua de Santa Maria and enjoy a visit to the Madeira Story Centre, which will guide you through the history of Madeira since its discovery in 1419.
In this area you will find a variety of restaurants with regional cuisine. Enjoy lunch and relax a bit before reaching the lift, in Campo Almirante Reis that will take you to the Hill, in around 15 minutes. Enjoy an aerial view of the city.
At the Hill, make sure not to miss out on a visit to the lush gardens of Monte Palace. [Hill Palace Garden]. Enjoy the exposed art and then visit the Church of Nossa Senhora do Monte [Our Lady of the Hill], patron saint of Madeira. Upon returning to Funchal, choose the wicker cars that will take you to Livramento, on a journey of pure adrenaline.
After a very busy day, our suggestion is that you have a pleasant dinner in the many restaurants of Funchal and why not take a trip to listen to the Fado, in the Old Town, or try the punch in the areas of Lido or Old Town.
Day Two: Câmara de Lobos, Madalena do Mar and Porto Moniz
Follow the motorway towards Funchal and Ribeira Brava and exit at Cape Girão. Climb to the highest cliff in Europe and enjoy the breath-taking views of the crystal clear waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Câmara de Lobos. We could recommend a visit to Fajã dos Padres and to the Rancho cable car that provided access to the Cape Girão Fajãs, but time does not allow it, so we suggest a descent to the municipality of Câmara de Lobos for a stroll or visit to the Museum Press and/or to the Lime Kiln.
Following the tour through Câmara de Lobos, we suggest that you take the motorway towards Porto Moniz. On the way, enjoy the diversified landscape. For instance, make a stop at one of the many restaurants on the São Vicente seafront for a pleasant lunch. Once in the village of Porto Moniz, get to know the natural pools, the Aquarium and the Living Science Centre. On your return to Funchal, we suggest a walkthrough the Strait so you can try out the famous regional kebab with fried corn.
Day Three: Areeiro Peak and Edge of São Lourenço
Madeira is very rich in what concerns natural beauty, most of them located along the coast, where the sea wrestles areas of towering cliffs and mountains, but also where the interior of the island hides priceless treasures. Therefore, we could not help but propose to you a visit to the fantastic Areeiro Peak with its 1818 metres in altitude, a breath-taking biodiversity and unique bird species.
Weather permitting, it is possible to, from this rocky mass, see the Edge of São Lourenço, Nun's Valley (Curral das Freiras) and even the island of Porto Santo. During winter, the peak and its surrounding areas are covered in snow, and due care is recommended. Feel the fresh air and let yourself be dazzled by this, which is one of the three highest peaks of the island, however it is advisable that you leave the area mid-afternoon, in time to visit the Edge of São Lourenço, Madeira furthest Eastern edge, which is also a natural reserve with panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
When leaving, and because the day was intense, what we propose is that following your visit to the Edge of São Lourenço, you head towards the city centre of the fishing village of Caniçal, where you can enjoy a lovely meal in a relaxing environment. Here you will find barnacles, shrimp, damselfish and mackerel at very attractive prices. Make the most of it and come back soon!