Last Updated on: 13th January 2023, 06:29 pm
Planning a trip to Madeira? If you’re headed to these Portuguese islands and are looking for guidance on the best things to do in Madeira in 4 days, steal this glamorous Madeira itinerary!
Good to Know: This can also be easily converted to a 3-Day itinerary if you’ll be spending three days in Madeira and coming for a long weekend in Funchal! At the end, there are tons of more ideas if you need a 5, 6, or 7-day Madeira itinerary.
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My Favorite Travel Booking Sites for 2023
These are my favorite companies that I use on my own travels.
Find cheap flights with CheapOair.
Find the best deals on hotels & vacation rentals on Booking.com.
For road trips and ground transportation, rent a car through Discover Cars.
Find information and cruise reviews on Cruise Critic.
For packing and travel essentials order via Amazon.
Store your luggage safely with Radical Storage.
About this Madeira Itinerary
Yes, I am a full-time travel writer, but I’m also obsessed with Bravo’s Real Housewives. Anyone who’s checked my Instagram stories can attest to this. So to fuse my love of travel and Housewives, I give you the series: steal this glamourous Housewives itinerary!
Let’s be honest. These ladies know how to travel in style! They almost always do the best things, eat the best things, and stay in the best places, so taking travel advice from them is kind of a no-brainer.
Instead of just following my travel advice, let’s see what the rich and famous get up to in Madeira instead, and then I’ll show you how you can make it work for you.
This Madeira itinerary has been crafted from a deep-deep-deep dive into the travel episodes plus additional resources to help report what the Real Housewives of Potomac did in Madeira in season 5, episodes 15, 16, and 17.
Madeira is one of the world’s most fabulous holiday destinations, but it doesn’t have to break the bank!
I do my best to find the actual places they stayed and visited, plus I offer suggestions and substitutions where necessary. At the end of the article, I have more tips to make your Madeira getaway even better!
So if you want to travel Madeira like the glamorous do, follow this Madeira travel guide step-by-step!
How to Get to Madeira
You don’t need Louis Vuitton luggage to arrive in Madeira in style. This popular year-round resort is visited by over a million people a year, and not all of them are packing that much style. I know I’m not, but a girl can dream, right?
Geographically Madeira is two islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco in Africa: Madeira and Porto Santo. So while Madeira is politically part of Europe, the climate is warmer.
While it took the girls nineteen hours to fly from Washington DC to Funchal, the capital city of Madeira, it will take you more or less time depending on where you are coming from.
Flying to Funchal, Madeira (FNC)
To get to Madeira, you will need to fly to Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport in Funchal. The airport code is FNC.
There are direct flights to Funchal from many larger hubs in Europe, like London, Amsterdam, and Frankfurt. And naturally, you can also fly to Funchal direct from Lisbon and Porto.
You can also fly directly from Tenerife in the Canary Islands or from Ponta Delgada in the Azores. This is great if you want to plan a Portuguese island-hopping adventure!
There are not currently any direct flights from the USA, Canada, or anywhere outside of Europe, so if you’ll be coming from another continent, you will have at least one stop.
I have made flight connections from many of these main European hubs, and they are usually pretty seamless!
From the blurred-out pics of the airplanes, the ladies might have taken either TAP Air Portugal or Iberia Air, at least for the final leg of their journey. It’s typical to book a round trip international flight through a major carrier and have legs of it be run by other airlines.
I can’t tell which airline for sure they flew because this might just be stock footage. However, both airlines fly into Madeira frequently.
Check to See if You Need a Visa for Madeira
Make sure you are prepared to go through passport control as soon as you land in the Schengen Zone. This means you’ll want a layover of at least two hours, preferably three.
If you need a visa to visit Portugal, then you will need a visa for Madeira. Here are the requirements for US citizens to visit Portugal. Check with your home country if you are not from Potomac…err…the US.
Can I Cruise to Madeira Instead?
Yes, some cruises go to Madeira. If cruises are operating, check that they dock at the Port of Funchal.
Ground Transportation in Madeira
Once the girls arrived in Funchal, they left the airport in a black minivan. It was hard to tell if the car was a production car from the show or if it was a local car service.
If you want to pre-arrange your own private airport pick-up, you can book the Funchal Airport: Private Transfer To/From Funchal.
If you prefer to do your own sightseeing and want to explore the whole island, you can rent a car and pick it up at the airport. I use Discover Cars when I rent cars on my travels.
If you do get a rental car, make sure that you have a driver’s license that works in Portugal. I haven’t driven in Madeira, but I’ve driven on mainland Portugal on a Portuguese road trip and used my US license.
Once you have arrived at your accommodations, you can also use public transport options like local taxis and buses to get around Madeira.
Where to Stay in Madeira
Your first stop will most likely be your accommodations, and well, it should come as no surprise that the ladies spent their vacation in Portugal at a 5-star hotel. I have some less expensive alternatives here too, in case you are looking to save some coins.
Where to Stay in Medeira: Luxury Option
The women stayed at the Savoy Palace in Funchal. And of course, they stayed in suites with giant bathtubs and lots of elegant gold decor complete with welcoming gifts of chocolate lipstick in decorative high heels.
And the views these women have from their balconies…breathtaking.
As Candiace put it best, “y’all doing real fancy stuff in Madeira.”
Judging by the episodes and the ladies’ social media accounts, the hotel pool is absolutely stunning. The ladies also spent quite a bit of time at the hotel as well as the hotel’s restaurant and bar.
If you want to stay where the RHOP stayed in Portugal, then book a room at the Savoy Palace and call it a day. You’ll have an amazing time.
Of course, you may want to stay in a more affordable hotel and spend more of your trip budget on your other experiences. If so, here are some more affordable options.
Where to Stay in Madeira: Mid-Range Option
A 4-star alternative with almost as good of reviews is the Pestana CR7 Funchal, which also has a great pool and boasts a partnership between Pestana Hotels and world-renowned footballer Cristiano Ronaldo.
The rooms here are smaller than where the Housewives stayed, but they are modern and chic. The hotel restaurant has great reviews as well.
Where to Stay in Madeira: Budget Option
If you want to save even more, there’s a 3-star hotel with great reviews called the Florasol Residence Hotel. With beautiful views and clean rooms, you’ll have a great home base here from which to explore the islands!
Where to Stay in Madeira: Vacation Rental Option
If you want some privacy, you can book an entire private villa outside of the city. The Madeira Island Villa Oceane Ribeira Brava has a terrace with amazing views and great reviews from visitors.
Your 4-Day Madeira Itinerary
Here we go! For this, I’ve documented what the Real Housewives of Potomac did, but I’m also going to list alternative options for us mere mortals where it makes sense.
Day 1 in Madeira: Arrival & Dinner
Here we go!
4:00 PM: Arrive in Maderia
The ladies’ flight was nineteen hours, and they left DC early in the morning, arriving at the airport at 4:30 AM! Because of the time difference, they arrived in Funchal in the afternoon of the next calendar day.
If you want to follow Ashley’s lead, you can have a toast upon arrival to “making magic in Madeira.”
This itinerary is designed to start around dinner on your arrival day, our Day 1. If you come from North America, you will probably find yourself jetlagged. It’s okay to nap or to dive right in.
If you get in earlier and want to explore, pick some of the optional or alternative activities provided to do during your extra time.
7:00 PM: Dinner at the Savoy Palace
Even if you don’t stay here, you can make a reservation and enjoy dinner at the Savoy Palace! While there are several restaurants at the hotel, the ladies dined at the Galaxia Skyfood.
Reservations are required, and you can make a reservation for Galaxia Skyfood here.
The restaurant lists the dress code as smart casual, and the atmosphere is very chic-after-dark.
If you’re on a romantic Madeira vacation, they have a pre-set Romantic Dinner for two option that looks delicious.
While here, the women drank white wine and rose, but the labels were turned away from the camera. Karen also has milk.
This is also the first time women order Poncha, the local rum cocktail that they drink practically every minute for the rest of their trip.
While we don’t see everything the women ordered, we do see some very delicious-looking dishes including an appetizer of crispy skin with crab meat and avocados and tacos and a main dish of parrotfish tempura and something with shrimp.
You can see their full menu here.
Alternative: The reason the ladies went to this restaurant is that it’s in their hotel. If you aren’t staying at the Savoy and want something closer to home, you can have the same vibe by choosing a place that is closer to your accommodations and has a chic vibe.
It also helps to dress the part. I always dress for vacation better if I’m on a girlfriends’ getaway!
Day 2 in Madeira: Funchal Cable Car Ride + Mercado dos Lavradores
Rise and shine, because you have an amazing day ahead of you!
8:00 AM Breakfast at the Hotel
Whether you have breakfast in your hotel room, on your balcony, or at your hotel’s pool, spend a few minutes soaking up Maderia’s peaceful views.
Good to Know: If you don’t want to be on your own, you can accomplish most of the same things the ladies do in the morning on this From Funchal: Nuns Valley, Monte, and Sleigh Ride Tour.
9:00 AM See Madeira by Cable Car
The ladies took a private van to the Funchal Cable Car (Teleférico do Funchal). Maderia has multiple cable cars for you to choose from, but the two in Funchal are the Teleférico do Funchal and the Teleférico do Jardim Botanico (Botanical Gardens).
It took a bit of sleuthing on my part to figure out which one they took since there is footage of them passing the Botanical Gardens as they walk around, but I finally spotted the Teleférico do Funchal sign on their trip up after watching it a few times.
A one-way ticket to the top on the Teleférico do Funchal is 11 Euros and round-trip is 16 Euros, but they have packages that include discounted entrance to the Botanical Gardens if you want to stay up longer. You can see current prices and packages here.
The Funchal Cable Car leaves from the Old Town, which is obviously the old part of the city (Portuguese: Zona Velha da Cidade).
From above the town you see the rooftops of the local Quintas as well as the Nossa Senhora do Monte Church.
I found cable car tickets for the Teleférico do Jardim Botanico that are less expensive. Both cable cars take you up to the small village of Monte, so it’s up to you which one you choose.
Good to Know: This itinerary includes getting down from the little town of Monte by toboggan and not going down the cable car. The toboggan is one of Madeira’s top attractions, but it’s pricier and more complicated than coming down by cable car.
I’ll talk more about this later, but keep this in mind as you plan your trip to Madeira.
10 AM: Walk Around the Village of Monte
While you cannot accomplish all the things to do in Monte in just a couple of hours, you can pick a few things to see in Monte to get a feel for the area.
The village of Monte on top of the mountain is stunning. We see the ladies walk through the streets. You can also use this time to visit the Monte Palace Tropical Garden (Quinta Jardins do Imperador) and the Municipal Garden. Yes, this corner of the island has two impressive botanical gardens that are must-sees.
The other most important site in town is the Igreja de Nossa Senhora do Monte, a nineteenth-century church that’s one of Madeira’s most important pilgrimage sites.
12:00 PM Enjoy A Light Lunch + Drinks at Lunch
While the name of the restaurant isn’t given in the episode, I’ve deduced after a bit of sleuthing that the most likely restaurant the ladies went to for lunch is Greenhouse Coffee Roasters.
The ladies enjoyed Madeira Wine, Poncha (no surprise here), the soup of the day, and pasta salad.
If you want something a bit heartier or a bit more local, other restaurants in Monte have more traditional Portuguese lunch options.
Remember, sometimes the housewives pick restaurants based on where they can film or what will look good in pictures. So while I think this restaurant looks really cute, feel free to go to another Monte restaurant if one piques your interest!
1:30 PM: Get Your Adrenaline Pumping on the Carreiros do Monte (Toboggan Ride)
One of the most popular things to do in Funchal is taking the toboggans down from Monte down to Livramento.
The Carro de Cesto is the wicker toboggan that you go down the hill in, and the Madeiran men who steer the toboggan are called Carreiros.
The basket itself is attached to two runners that turn it into a sled and the operators use special shoes that allow them to steer and stop the basket when needed.
This is a high-speed method of transportation that has been used in Madeira for almost two hundred years! The trip lasts about ten minutes with speeds up to 30 mph.
Good to Know: The toboggan is one of the most popular attractions in Madeira, but it may not be the right fit for everyone.
It’s more expensive than using the cable cars to go down, and you also get dropped off about 2KM from the Old Town of Funchal.
Once you arrive at the bottom, you will need to walk down the hill the rest of the way, negotiate a taxi where they know you’re a tourist, or use the public bus system.
Don’t Want to DIY: If you don’t want to be in charge of your own morning, most of what has been done for the day so far is on the From Funchal: Nuns Valley, Monte, and Sleigh Ride Tour.
2:30 PM: Shop Til You Drop at the Mercado dos Lavradores (Farmers Market)
The ladies arrive at the Mercado dos Lavradores, the local farmer’s market, and start in the fresh produce section. They try pitaya, dragon fruit, passion fruit, orange, and bananeira.
They head upstairs, and at some point, it looks like white wine magically appears in their hands. Which is how a girls’ trip to Portugal should be, right?
They buy Madeira souvenirs, including the local straw hats that say “Madeira” across the top and a kitschy mug.
If you’re as enchanted by the tiles in the market as I am, they are found all over the country and make an excellent Portuguese souvenir.
According to Visit Madeira:
“Large Batisttini Faience tile panels of Maria de Portugal, dated 1940 and painted with regional themes by João Rodrigues, adorn the facade, the main entrance, and the fishmonger.”
Good to Know: the market is closed on Sundays
4:30 Back to Your Hotel to Rest + Get Dressed for Dinner
After shopping and day drinking, the ladies headed back to the hotel to rest and get dressed for dinner. It seems like they were quite tired after a full day of sightseeing, and pushed dinner back an hour to get in a bit more rest.
This is a great lesson for travelers: don’t push yourself too hard. Travel should be relaxing as well as exciting!
If you want to do more sightseeing, the bottom of the post has more options for what you can do during this time. Otherwise, relax, get some zzzzzz’s, and get dressed to the nines for dinner. (Or fives, or sixes, etc).
7:30: Optional Pre-Dinner Drinks
If you have a bar in your hotel (or your room) you can enjoy a drink before heading out to dinner. The ladies had dirty martinis and cabernet sauvignon at the hotel bar, well, Karen ordered green tea.
Keep in Mind: The ladies of the Real Housewives world drink a lot while they’re on vacation. I don’t personally drink from noon till midnight when I travel. I’m not encouraging drinking beyond your personal limit, just reporting back what the women did.
If I were to copy this itinerary on my trip to Madeira, I’d enjoy some of the drinks, but not all. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that Portugal is one of the best wine countries in the world, so if you do like wine, you should know you’re in good hands here!
8:00 Dinner at the Design Center Nini Andrade Silva
Tuck in for a glamorous dinner! The women went to the Design Center Nini Andrade Silva for dinner, and the views of Funchal at night across the water are amazing. You really couldn’t ask for better scenery!
Now if you are thinking, that sounds more like a museum or art gallery than a restaurant, I was confused as well. The building seems to be a beautiful mix of everything elegant. There are shops, galleries, and the art studio for Nini Andrade Silva.
There are two places to eat here. The first is the DC Lounge Cafeteria and the second is the Restaurant DC Atelier. I’m ninety-five percent sure the second restaurant is where the women ate (can you imagine Karen Huger in a place called a cafeteria?).
The women started with red and white wine and a plate of three kinds of butter with flour salt and spicy pepper.
The main dishes ordered were mostly seafood, but it looks like the menu has been changed since then. You can find the updated menu here.
If you are on a girls’ trip, feel free to end your meal with a toast sisterhood in English or Igbo, which Wendy taught the ladies is Obi Nwanne.
Good to Know: Both restaurants in the Design Center are open at night (though the whole center is closed on Sundays)
10:00 PM: Optional Nightcap at Hotel Bar + Prank
I’m tired just thinking about how much these ladies have had to endure in the past fourteen hours, but if that’s not enough, they have a nightcap at the hotel bar and an entire prank. By ten pm after a full day of sightseeing, I’m done.
However, if you want to keep the night rolling (prank option) there are lots of cute bars and clubs to enjoy in Funchal at night. Just make sure you’re ready to get up for an exciting Day 3!
Day 3 in Madeira: Natural Springs + Lounging by the Pool
Today has some of the best Madeira photography spots that we see on the trip, plus lots of time to unwind and relax. I have some options here for those who want to pack more in for the day.
9:00 AM Breakfast on your balcony, in your room, or by the pool
While most of the ladies had breakfast in their rooms or on their private balconies, Giselle ate hers by the pool to get her “Portugal tan going.”
Honestly, the pool at the Savoy Palace might be one of the most beautiful hotel pools I’ve seen, so I can’t blame her.
Whatever you choose to do for your breakfast, spend some time relaxing and enjoying the peaceful Madeira views.
Alternative Morning Option 1: If you want to go into Funchal to start your day instead, Loja do Chá is one of the most popular breakfast spots in Madeira and it opens at 9 AM.
The ladies chose to stay at the hotel relaxing until they leave for their afternoon activity. If you want to do some sightseeing during this time instead, you can use one of the recommendations at the end of this post.
Alternative Morning Option 2: If you want to do some sightseeing instead of a local breakfast, sign up for this Funchal: Whale and Dolphin Watching Speed Boat Tour.
The morning tour lasts two and a half hours and leaves at 9:30 AM, so it’s the perfect alternative to staying back and relaxing.
You’ll get your adrenaline pumping on the speedboat and get to do some whale watching and dolphin watching along with seeing amazing views of the city from the water.
12:30 Enjoy the Healing of the Doca Do Cavacas Natural Pools
Complete with sunbeds and amazing views, a trip to the volcanic natural pools of Doca Do Cavacas is a Madeira bucket list item.
Also known as the Gomes’ Pools or Pocas Do Gomes, these rocky natural pools are a bit on the cool side, but stunning to look at. If these ladies can get out and swim in them, then you can, too!
Or in the words of Karen Huger, “Been there. Done that. Check it off the list.”
The ladies enjoyed sparkling wine, beer, vodka orange, and Poncha from their rented sunbeds. They also have one of the most epic Madeira photoshoots. Oooh, these women’s photos turned out amazing, in part thanks to the absolutely stunning backdrop.
These views include the highest cape in Europe, Cabo Girão, and Formosa Beach, as well as the rock formations that make the pools themselves.
In the words of Giselle, “This is a pho-to shoot.”
This area is considered a beach, though it is a very rocky beach and definitely not a sandy beach, so plan your shoes accordingly.
There are services here for visitors like a parking lot, bathrooms, a lifeguard, showers, restaurants, and bars.
Good to Know: Doca do Cavacas is located between Lido and Formosa beach. It can be accessed via the Lido Promenade. Praia Formosa beach is nearby if you want to visit both. You can get to Praia Formosa from the tunnel.
Bring cash to pay your entrance fee and sunbed rental.
4:30 PM: Ice Cream by the Pool
If you want to relax and spend time by the pool, then you’re in luck! One thing that should be apparent reading this itinerary, is that Bravo builds in a lot of time for the women to sit and talk (and have drama).
So the women go and enjoy some time by the pool eating ice cream. And gossip. And stir the pot. And be messy. And do everything we want from them.
However, you can enjoy time by your own hotel pool or spend time relaxing.
Alternative: You can go walk around Old Town in Funchal and enjoy the scenery. Or you can stay by the water and spend time at another Madeira beach.
Essentially, this is your time. You do you. And then get ready to go to dinner.
8:00 PM Dinner + Drinks at Avista Restaurant & Lounge
The ladies enjoy wine, champagne, and seafood at Avista Restaurant & Lounge. This swanky Madeira eatery is located near Pirates Bay in the Cliff Bay Hotel.
It’s the little sister restaurant of the 2 Michelin Star Il Gallo d’Oro, but it only costs about one-fifth of the price!
Day 4 in Madeira: Sidecar Tour + the Drinks of Madeira
Today is the last day of the official itinerary, though I have lots of options below if you need a 5-Day or 7-Day Madeira itinerary instead!
8:00 AM: Breakfast On Your Own
We see the ladies getting ready for the day and some B-Roll of waffles that look pretty delicious, but they don’t make a big thing of breakfast, so we won’t either. Our morning is packed, so get dressed for some adventure!
9:00 AM: Madeira Sidecar Tour
Now, this is my favorite find of this itinerary! You can book the actual Sidecar tour company that the ladies went on!
It’s the Funchal: Sightseeing Tour by Sidecar, and it looks absolutely stunning. This tour is run by the actual company they went with, too, so you know it’s the same.
Sights included on the tour include Old Town, the Museu das Cruzes (Gonçalves Zarco’s first house), the convent of Santa Clara, the main Cathedral, the Jesuits Church, the Municipal Square and Garden, and the City Hall building.
You’ll also get to explore Funchal and see beautiful island views and charming streets beyond what you’ve already gotten to see, including some true Madeira hidden gems!
The owner Filipe is one of the drivers who actually took the ladies on their sidecar tour, so maybe you’ll get some hot gossip while you’re on your tour.
In the words of Ashley, “Madeira has some incredible scenery, and the sidecars are the perfect way to actually experience it.”
11:30 AM: Have a Poncha Making Lesson at Taberna da Poncha
After their scenic tours, the ladies head to Taberna da Poncha in Serra de Agua. The goal here is to enjoy a Poncha-making lesson.
Poncha is made from aguardente del cana (sometimes called rhum), which is a liqueur made from sugar cane. It’s mixed with honey, sugar, and fruits. Typically lemon and oranges are used, but technically the drink can be made from many more fruits than these.
Don’t worry, this isn’t a full school lesson and there won’t be a test. You can enjoy the demonstration on how it’s made and then take your drink and the peanuts that come with it to your table to enjoy.
Good to Know: There are peanuts on the floor here, so if you are VERY allergic to peanuts you might want to find another place to drink your Poncha.
1:00 PM: Enjoy a Quick Lunch
So here’s where I would suggest we depart from what the ladies do. They spend their afternoon enjoying a late lunch by the pool, then they have a “naughty” hotel party.
These are things they need to do for the show, but you should spend some time enjoying your last afternoon and night in Funchal!
For lunch, grab something easy but heavy enough to absorb the Poncha rattling around your system!
2:00 PM: Enjoy a Madeira Wine Tour
Make your way to your hotel for pickup, and get ready to learn about the other important drink from Madeira: Madeira wine!
The Madeira: Nature & Wine 4×4 Tour from Funchal may not be on the official Real Housewives Madeira itinerary, but I think it is in spirit as it is that glamorous.
You’ll get to see more Madeira sights like the Encumeada viewpoint, Chão dos Louros Forest Park, views over Porto Moniz, Ribeira da Janela, Paul da Serra, and São Vicente.
Then you’ll enjoy a guided tour through the vineyards, followed by a wine tasting and traditional tapa.
Before the end of your tour, you even get to visit Cabo Girão, the second-highest peak in the world and the highest peak in Europe.
7:00 PM Go on a Private Sunset Tour of Madeira
You should be dropped back off at your hotel by 7:00 PM, so there’s still time for one last Madeira adventure!
Get the best sunset views on a Private Service Sunset Tour of the island of Madeira seeing the sunset from the amazing viewpoints at Neves, Cabo Girão (winter only), Cristo Rei, or Fajã dos Padres.
Turn this Into a 5, 6, or 7-Day Madeira Itinerary
While Madeira may be a small island group, that doesn’t mean there’s not a ton to do here! If you have more time, here are activities, day tours, and day trips to add to your itinerary for Madeira.
The Best Day Trips from Funchal
These are the top-rated day trip tours that leave Funchal and last around eight hours or more.
Best of Madeira’s West Tour – to see a new side of the island. Includes the traditional fishing village of Câmara de Lobos, Cabo Girão Skywalk, Ribeira Brava, Serra D’Água with views of the south and north coast of the island, São Vicente, Porto Moniz, and Paul da Serra.
Levada Walk in the Rabaçal Valley – to see the routes of the “Levada” irrigation system developed in the 16th century by Madeira’s first settlers. Includes the Paul da Serra to the Rabaçal guesthouse, the waterfall of the Levada do Risco (Risco Waterfall), and the Levada das 25 Fontes.
Enchanted Terraces and Porto do Moniz Tour – to see the northwest coast, including Serra de Água, Encumeada, the laurel forests of Chão dos Louros, Ginjas, and Paul da Serro, Fanal in the middle of the Laurissilva Forest, and Porto do Moniz. If weather permits, continue to Seixal known for its black sand beach and the Véu da Noiva viewpoint.
Madeira Peaks: Full-Day Tour by Open 4×4 – to see southeast Madeira, including Machico town and the line that divides the north and south of the island, Eagles Rock from Portela, Porto da Cruz, the Faial coastline, Santana, and Riveiro Frio.
Madeira East Island Tour and Levada Walk – to see Camacha, the island’s third-highest peak of Pico do Arieiro, Levada walk inside the Laurissilva forest in Ribeiro Frio, the viewpoint of Miradouro do Pico do facho, and the A-framed cottages of Santana
Desertas Islands Full-Day Catamaran Trip from Funchal – this full-day catamaran adventure includes seeing the Desertas Islands along the south coast of Madeira Island, including Ilhéu Chão, Deserta Grande, Bugio, and adjacent islets.
More Things to Do in Madeira
Walk down Rua de Santa Maria, the oldest street in Old Town Funchal
Hike Pico do Ariero to Pico Ruivo
Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço
Miradouro do Teleférico das Achadas da Cruz
Visit Porto Santo to see Pico de Ana Ferreira, Ponta da Calheta, Miradouro das Flores hiking trail, and Porto das Salemas
Sao Vicente Caves and Volcanism Center
See the Ponta do Pargo lighthouse on a cliff three hundred meters above sea level
The Valley of Nuns Trail and Curral das Freiras Village
Vereda Dos Balcões Viewpoint
Hike to Levada do Caldeirão Verde (If you’re a hiker, there are even more hikes than the ones listed here. The Real Housewives don’t usually hike on vacation).
5 Things to Pack for Your Trip to Portugal
Along with sunglasses and sunscreen, make sure to pack these:
The Lonely Planet Portugal guidebook for your trip. It can be hard to find big, international guidebooks once you land (or they’ll be way overpriced). Get yours ahead of time, either a hard copy or on a Kindle.
An Unlocked Cell Phone so that you can use a Portuguese sim card while here to help navigate public transportation and when you’re on the road.
A Backup Charging Bank. This is for your cell phone since you’ll be using it as a camera, GPS, and general travel genie. The mountains can drain your battery since it will take more power to continually check for signals where the signal gets spotty.
A Great Day Bag so you can carry what you need with you (like your camera, snacks, water, sunscreen, cash, etc).
My current favorite is the Pacsafe Citysafe, which is especially great for tourist destinations because it has many anti-theft features designed to deter pickpockets plus RFID technology to keep your credit card digits safe.
It also transitions to a night bag more easily and won’t embarrass you if you go to dinner directly after sightseeing all day.
A Pair of Comfortable Closed-Toed Walking Shoes. I use boots like these or like these. Pack hiking shoes if you’re planning on hiking. Otherwise, any closed-toed shoes will work. This itinerary is packed and you’ll be on your feet a lot. Make sure to take care of them!
More Portugal Travel Resources
I adore Portugal! Here are the best Portugal resources on my blog.
Portugal Country Guides
Included in these Round-Ups
Before You Leave for Portugal – Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!
Make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road.
I use World Nomads for my long trips to Europe, and I happily recommend them.
It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’ll be hanging out in big cities like Lisbon where tourists can be the victims of pickpockets or beaches like in the Algarve or on Madeira where there’s more risk of an accident.
I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance, and I happily recommend them.
If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what’s stolen or broken.