If you're planning a visit to Madeira, then you probably already have lots of fun things planned. But on the off chance that you need a little bit of extra assistance rounding out your travel itinerary, we're happy to assist. Check out our list of the best things to see and do in Madeira, Portugal.
Quinta do Riacho - Funchal's Quinta do Riacho takes visitors on equestrian adventures that they'll simply never forget. Whether you're a seasoned rider or you have never even seen a horse up close, you're more than welcome at Quinta do Riacho. The patient and knowledgeable guides here will have you riding like an old pro in no time at all, and the views that you'll see during your ride are simply breathtaking.
Pico do Arieiro - Pico do Arieiro may only be Madeira's third-highest peak, but at its summit, you'll feel like you're on top of the whole world. On cloudy days, you can see the nimbus drifting beneath you, and the view seems to go on forever. Just don't forget your jacket, because it gets quite chilly at the top. Getting to the top is half the fun, however. It's a rigorous hike, and you'll certainly feel as though you've gotten your workout for the day. Those who are less interested in performing the physical feat that climbing the mountain entails will be happy to know that there's a road that goes all the way to the top, as well.
Madeira Mandolin Orchestra - If you have the chance to catch the Madeira Mandolin Orchestra, then you certainly should during your travels. This ensemble plays a repertoire of light classics and popular hits for music lovers of all stripes, and the picturesque setting of the English Church adds to the unique charm of the performance.
Lava Pools - The Lava Rock Pools of Porto Moniz are stunningly beautiful to behold. Here, at the edge of the island of Madeira, you can take a relaxing dip in one of several pools that were created when the lava that formed the archipelago met the crashing waves of the Atlantic. These days, they're so tranquil that it's hard to believe their formation was ever quite so dramatic.
Monte Cable Car - The Monte Cable Car transports passengers from the city of Funchal to the parish of Monte, high in the hills. During the 15-minute ride, visitors will ascend more than 1,800 feet above sea level, passing gardens along the way, as the cityscape drifts away beneath them. At the top can be found Monte Palace Botanical Garden, the Church of Our Lady of the Mount, and several other attractions, but the ride is worth the price of admission on its own.
Presidential Palace Garden - Horticulture enthusiasts have high praise for Funchal's Presidential Palace Garden. Here, the gardens are filled with pleasant little surprises, including waterfalls, sculptures, and panoramic views of the city, as well as the ocean beyond it. On the grounds, you'll also find two very interesting museums: one showcasing African culture, and the other dedicated to precious gemstones and other mineralogical wonders.
Things to Do in Madeira
Madeira, Portugal has enough tours and attractions to keep even the most ambitious traveler occupied for days on end. Here, we'll have a look at some highlights of Madeira's many wonderful tours and attractions - popular destinations and activities sure to enhance any trip to Portugal.
Up Mountain Madeira - The intrepid tour guides of Up Mountain Madeira are professional, friendly, and very knowledgeable about the island, to say the least. They know the island like the back of their collective hand, in fact, and they are more than willing to show you all of its best-kept secrets. Custom itineraries are available here, but if you're new to Madeira, then it may just be best to let them surprise you. Wherever you end up going on your tour, one thing's for certain: it will be a great experience that you'll be sure to want to repeat.
Tukxi Madeira - Clients of Tukxi Madeira say it really is the best way to experience the capital city of Funchal. Tukxi drivers adroitly pilot their passengers through the narrow streets in Piaggio Ape Calessinos, and their vehicles are quite possibly the most adorable little three-wheeled scooter cabs you'll ever encounter. Those who want to make their adventuring as eco-friendly as possible will be pleased to note that the cabs are electric. Their open-air passenger compartments make them a wonderful way to see the sights, and if it happens to rain, one can simply pull up the attached canopy. You'll be certain to see Madeira in style, with Tukxi.
Ventura do Mar Tours - Ventura do Mar Tours is the place to go for whale-watching, dolphin-watching, and bird-watching tours. They also offer boat excursions to the nearby Desertas and Selvagens Islands, on a vintage sailing boat. Talk about romantic! Their goal is to inspire those who might not normally think too much about conservation to do so, and after taking one of their engaging tours, you're likely to have a whole new respect for nature. Highly recommended, indeed.
Floating Restaurant Thames - If you're looking for a dinner experience with a view that can't be beat, then book your ticket for the Floating Restaurant Thames. This lovely boat has it all: delicious food, knowledgeable and friendly staff, and very reasonable prices for what you actually get. For a few hours, you'll enjoy wonderful views of the island of Madeira in all of its splendor, while cruising the glassy Atlantic. It's a fine way to spend a summer evening.
Madeira Divepoint - SCUBA enthusiasts have high praise for Madeira Divepoint, a popular local diving excursion company. The equipment is modern and in excellent repair; the guides are knowledgeable, patient, and friendly; and the diving excursions are among the island's best. With Dive Madeira, you can explore undersea shipwrecks, caves, reefs, and more - all with experienced divers by your side, making sure everything goes off without a hitch. It's a Madeira experience that's worth every penny.
What to Expect from the Weather in Madeira
When it comes to weather, Portugal's Madeira Archipelago has it pretty good. Some might even say, "perfect." Let's take a look at Madeira's weather and climate, so you can get a better sense of the best time to visit Portugal and how to pack for your trip to Portugal before you travel.
Madeira is technically classified as having a Mediterranean climate, but there are many smaller microclimates within the archipelago. The mountains are consistently chilly and humid, so if you're planning a trip to Pico do Arieiro, for example, you'll want to pack a jacket along with you. Other parts of the archipelago are generally quite arid, such as the Selvagens Islands. Depending on where the day's adventures take you, you may need warm clothes, sunblock, or neither of those things. In a word, it's best to always be prepared.
The Madeira Archipelago has average temperatures that tend to make it the envy of those who reside in climates with especially harsh winters or sweltering summers. The average daily temperature here is between 61 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit, with the warmest months being July through October.
Nighttime lows are a rather comfortable 57 degrees, even in January. During the summer months, they're around 68 degrees on average, which may be a little bit warm for those who prefer to bundle up at night.
Madeira Sea Temperature
There's hardly a time when the water temperature in Madeira isn't perfect. The coldest average water temperatures happen from February to April, when the average is 64 degrees. During the summer months, the water temperature is generally in the 70s, starting with an average of 70 degrees Fahrenheit in July, and ramping up to a 75-degree average in September, before gradually retreating to the mid-60s in time for winter.
There isn't a bad time to visit Madeira, but the winter months can get a bit rainy. If you don't mind the occasional shower, then even the rainiest months are quite idyllic, especially if you're coming from a place where you have to shovel your car out of the snow in the mornings.
At 4.25 inches, January receives the most precipitation, but December has more actual rainy days on average. On any given day in December, odds are slightly above 50-50 that some rain will fall.
Those who prefer not to have their parades rained on may want to consider visiting between June and August, when the odds of experiencing rainfall drop to about 1 in 7, and average monthly rainfall is less than half an inch.
Madeira is naturally fairly humid, being that it's an island located in the Atlantic. Average humidity ranges from 67 to 72%, so if your hair gets frizzy when it's humid, then you may want to bring a little extra hair product to keep it under control.
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