The archipelago is located in the African Plate in the Atlantic Ocean between latitude 30 ° and 33 °N, basically at the same latitude as Casablanca, 978 km southwest of Lisbon, about 700 km west of the African coast, and 450 km north of the Canary Islands.
This archipelago is formed by the Madeira Island with an area of 740.7 km², Porto Santo with 42.5 km², the Desertas Islands with a total of 14.2 km² comprising the three uninhabited islands, and by the Selvagens Islands whose set of 3 islands and sixteen uninhabited islets make up an area of 3.6 km². Of the eight islands, only the two largest (Madeira and Porto Santo) are inhabited and can be accessed via the Madeira Airport in Funchal and Porto Santo Airport.
Funchal, the capital city of Madeira, has access by sea, through a port with a modern station that stands out on the national scene, with regard to cruising. More than half a million passengers disembark here per year. The remaining islands are nature reserves.
For hundreds of years, Funchal was the only city of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, until 5 other cities gained this status between the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the next century: Câmara de Lobos, Caniço, Machico, Santana and Vila Baleira.
The island of Madeira has a very rugged terrain, with the highest point being Pico Ruivo (1,862 m), the Pico das Torres (1,851 m) and Pico do Arieiro (1,818 m), respectively the third, fourth and fifth highest points of Portugal. The northern coast is dominated by high cliffs and in the western part of the island you find a plateau region, the Paul da Serra with altitudes between 1,300 and 1,500 m.
Tourist Information Centres
There are Tourist Information Centres all over Madeira. The staff can offer helpful advice and information to help you make the most of your trip to Madeira. You can pick up free brochures and maps, and buy guidebooks. The main Tourism Information centre in Funchal is:
Posto de Turismo Funchal
Avenida Arriaga n.16, 9000-519
Opening hours / Mon - Fri 09:00 - 20:00 Sat - Sun 09:00 -15:30
Tipping in Madeira
Leaving a tip is appreciated but it is not mandatory in Madeira. Tips are discretionary and depends on the service provided so it’s up to you.
Madeira´s famous yellow buses (Horários do Funchal) are a convenient and cheap way to travel around the Island. A single bus fare costs €1,95 when buying the ticket onboard, this includes the card which can then be used to top-up. Different day tickets are available:
1 day - €4.60
3 days - €11.80
5 days – €16.20
7 days – €21.85
To download the Madeira’s bus map click here.
Renting a car in Madeira
To find cheap car rentals in Madeira make sure that you book in advance. Renting a car is a good idea when you prefer to do things at your own pace, rather than stick to a tour guide scheduled and be bound by bus times and routes. We have partnered with the world´s largest car hire booking service to offer you a cheap car hire in Madeira. Click here to check our offers from €20 per day.
Madeira has around 12 public holidays as they mark a religious or historical event. Plan your trip with these bank holidays in mind, as some attraction might be closed or will open for reduced hours.
1st of January – New Year's Day
17th of February – Carnival
3rd of April – Good Friday
5th of April – Easter Sunday
25th of April – Freedom Day
1st of May – Workers’ Day
10th of June – Portugal Day
1st of July - Madeira Day
15th of August – Assumption Day (Monte Festival)
8th of December – Immaculate Conception
25th of December – Christmas Day
26th of December – Boxing Day
Airport and Transportation
The Internationla Airport of Madeira is located approx. 24 km. from Funchal. From the airport to the city centre you can take the Aero-bus which is a frequent bus service between the Airport and Funchal. The price for Adult is €5,00 and children €2,50 one way. A return ticket is €8,00. You can also, book a shared transfer from €12,50, for more information click here.