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By air

  • Duration from Lisbon/Porto: Around 2 hrs

The cheapest and fastest way to get to Madeira from mainland Portugal is to fly from Lisbon or Porto. There are also regular flights from Faro, which tend to be slightly more expensive. The route is served by TAP, the Portuguese official airline, as well as Easyjet and Ryanair. From North America, TAP and SATA Airlines offer direct flights from Boston, New York and Toronto, and connecting flights through Lisbon and the Azores.

Pro tips

  • Be aware of the weather conditions. Flights from and to Madeira sometimes get delayed or canceled due to strong winds.
  • The Madeira archipelago is made up of Madeira Island and the small island of Porto Santo. The latter can be reached by ferry from Madeira or via flight from mainland Europe or Madeira Airport.
  • When booking your flight to Madeira, make sure to select Madeira Airport also known as Funchal Airport, as Porto Santo Airport serves the homonymous island.
  • If you are flying from North America, you can do a stopover in the Azores and spend a few days discovering other Portuguese islands on a tour of the Azores.

By cruise/ferry

A coastal town with pretty houses next to a blue sea with cruise ships
Funchal, the capital of Madeira Island, is the the main hub for most travelers headed to the island.

The ferry service from Portimão to Madeira is no longer running. However, Madeira is still reachable by boat if you decide to join a cruise trip. Most cruise companies, such as MSC and Royal Caribbean, offer trips through the Canary Islands and the Mediterranean coast, with a few days stopover in Madeira.

Insider tip: You can take a 24-hour long ferry journey from Lisbon to Madeira every Saturday. At €180 it isn't the most convenient way to get to the island, but it is an option. – Chris from eCKsplorer 

How to Get Around Madeira

Once you make your way to Madeira, renting a car is the best way to get around the island. You can pre-book your vehicle online and pick it up directly at Funchal Airport or in town.

The area around Funchal is well served by public transport, with several buses going in and out of the city. Funchal Urban bus service can also take you to several tourist attractions, such as Pico dos Barcelos, Monte and the Botanical Garden. Buses with the ‘TB Horários do Funchal’ sign at the front allow passengers to transport a maximum of two bicycles per bus free of charge.

The further you go from Funchal, the harder it’ll be to move around with the bus network, especially to reach specific hiking locations. You can go east with the bus services SAM and EACL to Caniço, Santa Cruz, Madeira Airport, Machico, Santo da Serra, and Porto da Cruz. Rodoeste, whose buses stop in Câmara de Lobos, Ribeira brava, Ponta do Sol, Madalena do Mar, Calheta, Porto Moniz, and São Vicente, connects the capital to the western part of Madeira.

Using taxis is another option to move around Madeira and get exactly where you want. You can choose between the traditional yellow taxis with the iconic sign on top, working on a kilometers-based rate when driving outside of Funchal. You can also use Bolt, which often offers better rates than regular taxis.

To reach the nearby island of Porto Santo, you can take the Porto Santo Line ferry from Funchal, which takes about 2 hours 30 minutes. The ferry service runs once or twice per day, departing in the morning and returning in the early evening.

Tours to Madeira

If you are planning a trip to Madeira Island but don’t know where to start, taking an all-arranged trip to Madeira is the way to go. An organized tour takes the hassle and stress away from your holiday so that you can focus on the most important things — unwinding and relaxing. For a more personalized experience, plan a customized trip to Madeira with one of our local travel experts in Portugal.

Tours in Madeira
Published by Marie Storm, updated on June 21, 2024

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