Castelo do Mar
& Espirito do Mar

Points of interest on Madeira, including seasonal events 

Castelo do Mar




What is a "MUST SEE" on Madeira?

Madeira and it's Beaches (beach in Portugese: Praia)

Please klick -here- to open the website with all information:

  • Where to find the next beach? Search on google maps for "Praia"
  • What to know about Madeira Beaches?
  • Water temperature on Madeira and Porto Santo
  • Seasonal information
  • Surfing without guide


Which are the most recommended POI's on Madeira?

 Well...where to start...Madeira has chosen us to stay...we love the nature, the people, the climate and our locations....

  • Restaurante Sabor a Fado in Funchal: Small, family owned restaurant in Funchal, Tel. +351925612259 - reservation is mandatory. The restaurant is led by second generation of last 3 generations of the family singing traditional Fado and serving the guests every day. The restaurant opens at 18:00 (every day), but reservations can be done before opening as well. The family with starts singing and playing Portuguese guitar at 19:30 till 23:30: So reservation is best for 19:15 - don't be late! Pedro, one of the family owners, is one of the last Portuguese guitar teachers (Portugese guitar has 12 strings instead of 6 like normal guitar) on the island. Alexandra and Sylvia, his aunt and sister, are the best Fado singers on the island. They sing 4 times with short break in between for serving the guests. The food is of the best quality traditional Portuguese dishes you can find on the island. But together with the Fado experience and the athmosphere this is the best restaurant on Madeira for me! You have to try the recommendations of the house (see the picture on the left). For a vegetarian dish ask them directly as it's not on the menu.  They usually prepare mushrooms in cream sauce with fried cornbread cubes, rice and French fries.


Delphine vor dem Hoizont 2
Delphine vor dem Hoizont 2
Catamaran
Catamaran
Insel vom Wasser Regen und Sonne im Mix
Insel vom Wasser Regen und Sonne im Mix
Menschen bei Whalewatching
Menschen bei Whalewatching
Santa Maria seite
Santa Maria seite
Insel Delphine Stück Menschen
Insel Delphine Stück Menschen
Insel Delphine Stück Menschen
Insel Delphine Stück Menschen
  1. If your prefer to experience an original Caravela Portuguesa AND see whales from a bit of distance, cruise the waves around the island with the rebuilt flagship of Christopher Columbus - the Santa Maria, would be our number one recommendation. You don't have to book the tours online, you can also book with them in person in Funchal harbor. 
  2. If you prefer more sailing experience and being closer to the whales and dolphins you can do so by Catamaran.  Enjoy the sound of the wind in the sails and being on one of the fastest ships! Visit  VMT Catamaran Trips Madeira. You don't have to book the tours online. You can book with them directly in person in Funchal harbor.
  • The highest cliff in Europe is also a good start for sightseeing: Miradouro Cabo Girão Skywalk. This offers a spectacular view from 500 meters altitude from Funchal till Fajã dos Padres!

Carnaval at Funchal harbor promenade - click here to see program and map 2023 - starting 18th of February 2023 till 26th of February 2023 / starting 08th of February 2024 till 15th of February 2024

Carneval in Funchal, Madeira
  • Christmas market at Funchal harbor promenade: The lights throughout Funchal at night are spectacular: carousels, hot chestnuts and Christmas stands in front of the biggest ocean liners in the world, starting in mid-November till 08th of January
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  • Madeira Flower Festival, starting last weekend in April till 21st of May: 


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  • Funchal harbor promenade / Marina: Even if you live in Funchal, you can find everything here! Shopping mall "Plaza" is a good place to leave your car, begin your stroll at CR7 museum, then walk on the promenade to the restaurants in downtown, enjoy life under palm trees and tropical ambient in front of the impressive ocean liners!
  • Mercado dos Lavradores / Daily fruit and vegetable market in Funchal: You probably won't know the names of all the plants creating these extraordinary fruits! Some fruits are just known in South America, for example pipinella, banana-ananás, Anonia and many others. They are all tasty and worth of trying! There's nothing that can make you feel like you are on a paradise island like tropical fruit! What is even more relaxing: sit down and relax in one of the cafes and order a bica (Madeiran word for Espresso) and observe the island life happeing around you. 
  • Monte Palace Madeira with its Tropical Gardens: Who likes exotic plants and gardens will be impressed by garden architecture from all over the world. Even Queen Sissi (Empress Elisabeth of Austria) came to cure her disease on Madeira. And even better... take the cable car from Funchal promenade to go there



What to do on a cloudy day?

Due to the altitude of the mountains its never raining all over Madeira, usually just in some parts. So check the weather for the day.

Here are two examples of external websites offering access to webcams all over the island:

Netmadeira:

Madeira-Web:


Walking above the skies





7. 3D Museum in Funchal - your kids will love this place!
8. Shopping, restaurants and cinema at "Madeira Shopping" for old and young
All movies for 12+ are in English with Portuguese subtitles. The price for cinema is 12,- EUR for a family or 5,- EUR per adult.

3D Museum in Funchal - perfect with kids



Where's the next supermarket?... next to Castelo do Mar - click here


Most recommended restaurants/cafés/bakery - click here


 

Which beaches are worth visiting?
Where can I swim on Madeira?
Where is the sea warmest on Madeira?

On the South coast beaches are usually warmer then on the north coast

  •  Praia da Calheta - 14,4 km/19 min - 5-star-Sahara sand beach, perfect for swimming, warmest water on Madeira, water temperature 24-26°C in summer and 20-22°C in winter, 2 beaches easy to swim from one to the other with harbor, restaurants, bars, bistros, Pingo Doce supermarket is right beside, very handy for snacks.


  • Praia da Ribeira Brava - 3,6 km/7 min by car, 3 km/40 min walk - black sand beach, our beach rating: ***
  • Praia da Ponta do Sol - 5,3 km/10 min by car, 25 min by bike - stone beach, our beach rating: ***
  • Cable Car Beach: Fajã dos Padres - 12 km/16 min -  stone beach, but what a panoramic view and the beach has a restaurant, and a perfect snorkeling area, our beach rating ***+
  • Praia Formosa, Funchal - 19,5 km, 24 min, leave your car here, most famous beach of Madeira, our beach rating ***** but be careful swimming here due to the tides!

North coast beaches are usually colder 

 Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools, Porto Moniz (37,3 km/48 min - a must see! But beware and check 3 things before:

  1. Check the temperature at Porto Moniz first
  2. Check if there's sun at Porto Moniz
  3. Check if the tides/waves are less than 2m high e.g. via Windfinder app


  •  Seixal beach (29,1 km/39 min - natural black sand, perfect for sufing or bodyboarding if the tides/waves are higher than 1 m)
Seixal Beach taken 2.1.2023 Seixal Beach taken 2.1.2023
  • Praia da Laje, Seixal (30,3 km/36 min - small uncrowded stone beach, perfect to swim with good restaurant beside
  • Santana Cable Car (60,5 km/59 min - it is not recommended to swim there but you get a 5-star-panoramic view...


    Walking on Madeira - where to find best walking tours on Madeira?

Did you know there are over 3000 km of hiking paths in Madeira? Madeira island is a paradise if you like hiking, but it can also be very treacherous! We strongly recommend installing the hiking app 'Komoot' on your smartphone to choose a walking tour that is suitable for you. You can choose a hike according to distance, altitude and quality of the path.

Be aware that there's Madeira weather! You can start your day swimming in Calheta with water and air temperature of 22°C  and find snowy rain at 4°C higher up on Pico Ruivo with 1.861 m altitude - both in the same day. In the winter months there can be allfour seasons playing out in the span of 24 hours! Every bay and valley usually has its own weather. To check the weather we recommend the 'Windy' app.

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  • Calhau e ruinas de São Jorge: Leave your car here. If you are not afraid to pass the sign "beware of falling rocks" you don't have to walk the same way back. It takes 1,5 h if you are fit! But be aware there is a 150 m altitude difference on small slidy stairs and possible rockfalls, like on many other hikes on Madeira. The panoramic view is worth it though!
  • Levada dos Balcões, Ribeiro Frio and Levada do Furado - they are spectacular! But take warm clothes/dress in layers with you as it can get chilly near water.
  • Pico Ruivo, 1861 m altitude - highest point and highest mountain on Madeira. If it rains on the rest of Madeira, it might come as a surprise: in winter it is possible to find snow with sun ... depending on the temperature and the height of the clouds.
  •  Fanal forest / Ancient trees/ Lantern pond: Parking here. Who would have expected woods like in Switzerland or Austria with bearded pines and cows on the meadows?


What do you recommend for Cave lovers?


Where to go shopping? Where to leave my car visiting Funchal Downtown?

Several big shopping malls in Madeira are waiting for you! 

  • MadeiraShopping is our favorite with its cinemas, perfect quality restaurants where you can try mexican (Taco Bell) and also traditional Portuguese dishes, but also Burgers (Burger King and McDonalds) and Pizza (PizzaHut).
  • Forum Madeira has more or less the same size like shopping Madeira but on 4 floors, also with cinemas on top floor.
  • "Plaza" Central Parking and Shopping mall: Beware of December/Christmas rush hour: 17:30-20:00. 
  • Anadia Shopping are both good to get a feeling for Portuguese life. If you buy something over 15/30,- EUR at Pingo Doce you get a better price for parking.
  • CR7 Museum to leave your car: If you ask... what's CR7 standing for? ...don't ask on Madeira, please ;-). Christiano Ronaldo number was no 7...so better visit the museum ;-). Christiano's mother is still living on Madeira...


What do you recommend in December or January?

Are the christmas markets worth a visit?

  ...short answer: Yes Madeira is famous for its Christmas market in Funchal! But other towns are lit up with lights as well so some other destinations on Madeira are worth visiting too. You will find Christmas markets all over the island from 1st of december till 8th of January.







 
 
 
 
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