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How Many Days in Madeira is Enough (+ Itinerary Suggestions)

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If you’re wondering how many days in Madeira is enough for your next trip, then I think you should aim to spend at least 7 days in Madeira.

My mum owns a timeshare in Madeira so I’ve been fortunate enough to visit many times over the years. My first trip there lasted a week while several of my subsequent trips lasted for two glorious weeks. Safe to say, I can’t get enough of it!

However, if you’re pressed for time, then a longer trip like this isn’t strictly necessary. Let’s discuss…

Valley of the Nuns in Madeira
Admiring the views at the Valley of the Nuns in Madeira

7 Days in Madeira is Ideal (But Not Strictly Necessary)

While it’s possible to see most of the main landmarks in Madeira in as little as 4 days, this doesn’t leave much time to relax by the pool or explore the island at a relaxing or slower pace.

If that doesn’t bother you, then great! There’s no reason why you can’t enjoy an epic trip to Madeira for a long weekend. But, if you’d rather enjoy Madeira at a slower pace, then ideally, you would stay there for at least a week.

And what about if you’re really pressed for time and you’re only visiting Madeira for one day (such as if your cruise is stopping at Funchal for the day)? In this case, you’re likely going to spend most (if not all) of your time in Funchal, the capital city of Madeira.

It’s very unlikely that you would have time for day trips from Funchal, which is a shame because you’d miss out on a lot of beautiful places.

Pretty little waterfall in Madeira
With so little time in Madeira, you’d miss out on seeing pretty landscapes like this!

But with all that said, I’ve created various itineraries (you can see them at a glance below) to show you the difference between spending 7 days in Madeira versus 4 days or less.

That way, you can decide for yourself how many days in Madeira is ideal for the kind of trip you most want to do.

7 Days in Madeira Itinerary

Let’s start with my 7 days in Madeira itinerary, which (in my opinion) is the most ideal amount of time to spend on your first trip to Madeira.

You can see how it looks at a glance below, but if you’d like to read more information about the itinerary, then you can check it out in full here.

Day 1: Funchal

Santa Catarina Park, Funchal, Madeira
Relaxing in Santa Catarina Park near Funchal

Let’s start your one week in Madeira at a relaxed pace. Spend some time exploring the capital city of Funchal and the many sights you can enjoy there. I’d suggest devoting more of your time to the Old Town – especially if you’re interested in history and traditional architecture.

Day 2: Best of the West Island Tour

Admiring the Porto Moniz volcanic rock pools from the viewpoint
Admiring the Porto Moniz volcanic rock pools from the viewpoint

Of course, there’s so much more to Madeira than its capital city.

If you’re visiting Madeira without a car (you certainly wouldn’t catch me driving there!), then the easiest way for you to see some amazing sights is with a full-day coach tour.

Up first is this ‘Best of the West’ tour, which includes some of my favourite sights to see in Madeira, including Câmara de Lobos, Cabo Girão, Ribeira Brava, São Vicente and my absolute favourite, Porto Moniz – where you’ll find volcanic rock pools you can swim in.

Day 3: Monte Day Trip

Monte Church, Madeira
The 18th-century church in Monte, Madeira (mind the steps!)

If you’re following this Madeira itinerary then you’ll probably feel a little tired after such a long tour. So let’s slow the pace down a little today.

Why not catch the cable car from Funchal to Monte and explore the 18th-century church found there, as well as the Monte Palace Tropical Gardens? At a relaxed pace, you could easily spend most of your day in this part of Madeira.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even hop in a traditional wicker toboggan at Monte to take you back down the hill… at speed!

Day 4: Rest Day OR Porto Santo Day Trip

Leaving footprints in the sand on Porto Santo
Leaving footprints in the sand on nearby Porto Santo

You might want to spend today sunbathing (hello decent temperatures year-round!), so you could stay at your hotel – especially if it has a pool.

Alternatively, why not catch a ferry from Funchal to the neighbouring island of Porto Santo for a day of relaxing on sandy beaches?

You won’t find many beaches on Madeira itself (apart from small manmade ones that can get quite busy at peak times).

But on Porto Santo, you have nearly 6 miles of sandy beach to enjoy. The ferry from Funchal takes roughly 2.5 hours, so you can easily spend a few hours relaxing on the island of Porto Santo.

Day 5: Funchal & Whale Watching Tour

Spotting dolphins near Madeira
The dolphins we saw during our catamaran tour from Funchal

On your fifth day, you might enjoy exploring some more of Funchal at a relaxed pace. Check out this list of top things to do in Funchal for some ideas.

From here, you can also join a catamaran tour from Funchal Harbour to go in search of whales and dolphins. The tour I’ve linked to above has morning and afternoon departures. Or maybe you’ll enjoy a sunset whale watching tour instead?

Day 6: Best of the East Island Tour

Views from the top of Pico do Arieiro, Madeira
Views from the top of Pico do Arieiro

You’ve seen the best of the west of Madeira on the second day. Now’s your chance to see all the best sights in the East.

I love this tour because it includes a walk along part of the Levadas, as well as iconic places such as Pico do Arieiro, Ribeiro Frio, Santana, Ponta de São Lourenço and Machico.

Day 7: Funchal

Finally, if your flight isn’t leaving Madeira until the evening, then you might want to wander around Funchal a bit more.

Maybe today is a good day for some souvenir shopping? Madeira wine, Poncha, traditional honey cake and anything made from either wicker or embroidery are all great options!

Read this 7 days in Madeira itinerary in more detail now >>

4 Days in Madeira Itinerary

Alternatively, if you’re not as fussed about spacing out your tours and day trips, then you can still have an amazing time in Madeira in as little as 4 days.

Here’s how my itinerary looks at a glance. You can find a more detailed version of it here.

Day 1: Funchal

On your first day, I’d suggest exploring Funchal and enjoying some of the fabulous things to do there and nearby such as the Old Town, Santa Catarina Park and a day trip to Monte and the palace’s Tropical Gardens via the cable car.

Monte Tropical Garden
Monte Palace Tropical Garden

Day 2: Best of the West Island Tour

As you only have a short few days to spend in Madeira, the easiest way for you to see more of the island in the time you’ve got is with full-day coach tours.

Up first: the west and some of my favourite sights to see in Madeira! 

Visiting beautiful Câmara de Lobos in Madeira
Visiting beautiful Câmara de Lobos during a day trip

I really like this tour as it takes you to all kinds of fabulous places, such as Câmara de Lobos, Cabo Girão, Ribeira Brava, São Vicente and my personal favourite, Porto Moniz.

Day 3: Funchal & Whale Watching Tour

The dolphins came to say hello!
The dolphins came to say hello to us!

Today, you’re back in Funchal where you can enjoy wandering around the city at a relaxed pace. While you’re here, I’d also recommend hopping on a catamaran tour from Funchal Harbour to go in search of whales and dolphins.

Day 4: Best of the East Island Tour

Ponta de São Lourenço in Madeira
Ponta de São Lourenço in Madeira

You’ve seen the best of the west of Madeira; now’s your chance to see all the best bits in the east.

I love this tour because it includes a walk along part of the Levadas, as well as iconic places such as Pico do Arieiro, Ribeiro Frio, Santana, Ponta de São Lourenço and Machico.

Check out this 4 days in Madeira itinerary in more detail >>

One Day in Madeira Itinerary

And finally, if you’re going to find yourself in Madeira for just one day, then here’s how to make the most of your time in Funchal, Madeira’s capital city.

Once again, you can see an at-a-glance itinerary below with a more detailed version available here.

Morning: Monte OR Funchal Sightseeing

Monte Church, Madeira
You can easily see the 18th-century church in Monte as a day trip from Funchal

From Funchal, you can catch a cable car and be in the nearby province of Monte in as little as 15-20 minutes (assuming there’s no queue).

The reason why I’m suggesting you visit Monte in the morning is because it’ll likely be quieter than if you try to come after 11am or later.

In Monte, you can visit the iconic 18th-century “Church of Our Lady of Monte” and wander around the stunning Monte Palace Tropical Gardens for a few hours.

Afterwards, you can either hop back on the cable car, or for the more adventurous among you, zip your way down a steep hill inside a traditional wicker toboggan.

Alternatively, for a slightly more relaxed way to spend one day in Madeira, you can stay in Funchal and enjoy some of the fabulous things to do there.

Afternoon: Funchal’s Old Town

Once you’re back in Funchal, it’s time to experience the city’s historic Old Town.

You could join a walking tour through the Old Town to understand more about Funchal’s history.

Or you can see the sights yourself such as the 15th-century “Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption” and Funchal’s incredible street art. You might also enjoy shopping for souvenirs at a local market.

Funchal Marina
Admiring street art at the Funchal Marina

Evening: Dinner and Sunset Whale Watching Tour

Finally, if you don’t already have dinner plans, then you’ll definitely want to find a restaurant serving traditional Madeiran food.

I’m not much of a foodie, but I must say, Madeira has some of the best food I’ve ever eaten on vacation.

A personal favourite of mine is swordfish washed down with a glass of Poncha (an alcoholic drink made from sugar cane juice, honey, sugar and orange juice). Check out this list for some other foods you might enjoy.

Also, if you don’t have to rush to leave Funchal, then you might also enjoy a sunset whale-watching tour. Another must-do when in Madeira!

For more information about this one day in Madeira itinerary, check out this more detailed blog post >>

Read More About Madeira

I hope this blog post has proved useful in helping you decide how many days in Madeira are enough for the type of trip you most want to do.

If you have any other questions about your trip, then please leave us a comment down below and we’ll reply ASAP!

Alternatively, you might enjoy some of our other Madeira travel blogs, such as:

Don’t forget to grab your free Portuguese language guide! >>

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How Many Days in Madeira is Ideal? Well, It Depends...
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Justine Jenkins

Justine is one half of the married couple behind the Wanderers of the World travel blog. She lives in Bristol, UK and has travelled extensively within Europe and beyond since 2013. After her trips, she shares detailed travel itineraries, helpful travel guides and inspiring blog posts about the places she's been to. When she's not travelling overseas, you'll find her joining her husband, Scott on various day trips, weekend getaways and walks within the UK, which she also writes about on Wanderers of the World. Aside from travelling and writing, she also loves reading, crafting and learning about nature.

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