Hidden Gems of Madeira

Madeira offers travelers seeking an exciting, off-the-beaten-path travel experience an incredible vacation destination. Boasting breathtaking natural landscapes, charming villages, and vibrant culture – Madeira promises unforgettable travel memories!

Trek along a levada to explore lush forests and waterfalls, take in breathtaking sunset views at scenic viewpoints, or soak up the mysterious fog that shrouds Fanal Forest — a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Cascata dos Anjos

One of the best things to do in Madeira is visit Cascata dos Anjos waterfall. This stunning cascading stream runs down Ponta do Sol’s main road and features several hiking trails for nature and photography enthusiasts alike.

Cascata dos Anjos offers stunning sunrise and sunset views; however, the latter time period can offer equally breathtaking sights! This hidden gem provides stunning Instagram-worthy pictures while simultaneously offering beautiful family moments! So make the time for this hidden gem today – its beauty alone makes the journey worthwhile!

Madeira’s Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools are among the island’s most beloved natural pools, located in Porto Moniz Village on its northwestern coast. Constructed out of saltwater pools formed from lava rock formation, these serene and relaxing lava rock-formed natural saltwater pools are popularly visited for their peaceful ambience and lush greenery that provides ideal diving and snorkeling conditions.

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Ilheus da Janela is a photographer’s dream location, just minutes from Madeira’s coastline and offering superb long exposure photography opportunities. Particularly popular during summer months when the sun rises early and casts golden illumination over its rugged rocks.

Poco das Pulgas

Poco das Pulgas Waterfall Hike in Madeira offers stunning waterfall views with no crowds to be seen anywhere on this quiet hiking path. Situated within a small canyon, its falls can be viewed from different vantage points – while also offering stunning coastal views and lush banana plantations views along its route.

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Poco das Pulgas hike is an 8 kilometer off-beaten-path loop in Madeira’s North Coast jungle that provides an exciting and captivating experience. However, due to the path’s technical difficulty and challenge I only advise taking this hike if you are experienced hiker. But the waterfalls along this trail make the effort worth while.

One of the most incredible sights to see on Madeira is visiting Seixal Natural Pools. These volcanic tidal rock pools filled with fresh, clear water are an amazing alternative to Porto Moniz Natural Pools which tend to get crowded more quickly.

Fanal Forest in Madeira’s north is another unforgettable attraction; this fairytale forest is an UNESCO world heritage site and often covered with fog; its twisting trees with moss creating scenes straight out of a fantasy movie.

The Ilheus da Ribeira da Janela in North Madeira is an impressive collection of two unique rocks situated just meters from the ocean, making this an unforgettable destination and must-see attraction for photographers. These rock formations resemble stairs while ever-changing weather creates different photo opps; low hanging clouds may create an enchanting and mysterious aura while rolling clouds give this scene an unpredictable, dramatic vibe.

Veu da Noiva

Madeira Island boasts stunning vistas and natural attractions that will leave visitors breathless, with one such natural attraction being Veu da Noiva waterfall viewpoint, famous for its breathtaking vistas. Hikers visit it often and its views offer stunning ocean vistas; additionally it serves as an Instagram-worthy backdrop. Legend has it that its name came from a grieving bride abandoned on her nuptial day who wept bitter tears that eventually formed this cascade which eventually became Veu da Noiva waterfall.

At sunrise or shortly thereafter, this belvedere provides photographers with a stunning panoramic view – perfect for taking stunning shots. The dramatic cliffs contrast beautifully with the blue ocean waters for striking shots to remember forever.

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Visitors can discover Madeira’s breathtaking belvedere by hiking along a one-kilometer trail connecting Veu da Noiva Waterfall to Mirante (lookout). This trail is suitable for most people and wheelchair-users; offering breathtaking views of crashing waves and verdant valleys that define Madeira’s natural beauty; this area also hosts diverse species such as Madeira Firecrest – one of the smallest birds ever discovered!

Near the Seixal area is this stunning viewpoint accessible by car and featuring an easy hike. Boasting breathtaking panoramic views of the landscape and imposing central massif mountains, this magnificent viewpoint makes an excellent location for photographers and nature enthusiasts. Additionally, nearby Seixal Beach provides a fun place for friends and families to hang out together or swim in the ocean; with its black sand serving as an eye-catching contrast against towering lush green cliffs that plunge directly into it.

Camara de Lobos

Camara de Lobos is an idyllic fishing village on Madeira with an authentic atmosphere and breathtaking ocean views, located along its south coast and established as the first town after Portuguese navigator Joao Goncalves Zarco discovered this ‘pearl of the Atlantic’ after landing there on his second voyage of discovery in 1430 as parish of its own right – becoming today a municipality and small town boasting incredible charm.

Igreja Matriz de Sao Sebastiao, the main church in town, is well worth a visit. From its exterior it appears as a simple black and white Madeiran church; yet inside you’ll discover stunning gilded altars and wooden sculptures. Additionally, seafood lovers will delight in sampling some of the island’s best fish such as its world-famous scabbard fish here; so make time to visit! It is a must visit destination to experience both Madeira cuisine as well as its warmhearted culture!

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Camara de Lobos was also one of Winston Churchill’s favorite spots during his 1950 visit to Madeira, when staying at Reid’s Palace and frequently making the journey over to this charming little village to paint traditional fishing boats, sun-drying nets, and old people sitting around talking and playing cards before heading off for their daily work – so much so that all tours in Madeira include stopping here for an unforgettable experience! Don’t miss visiting this little-known gem of Madeira.

Poco das Chefes

One of Madeira’s hidden gems is this little rocky pool and waterfall located within a forest, in Valley of Nuns (Curral das Freiras) near Funchal. Public buses provide convenient transportation.

This levada hike offers stunning waterfalls and jungle views. Although mostly flat and not difficult, moss rocks may become slippery on occasion and it is recommended that hiking shoes be worn when traversing this trail as moss rocks may slipperily cover some rocks along its path. A good pair of hiking shoes as well as rain gear may also come in handy as tunnels in mountains often get dark fast!

Madeira’s Santana Houses are among the top tourist attractions. These colorful triangular traditional houses make an excellent photo spot and serve as an iconic representation of Madeira’s culture and heritage. We visited a “faja”, Francis, located by the water for our visit – his house offers refreshments as well as food to visitors; visitors may leave some money or nothing at all if desired!

Monte Palace Tropical Garden is another hidden treasure of Madeira that shouldn’t be missed, featuring over 100,000 different plant species ranging from exotic trees and flowers, statues from Zimbabwe and around the world, statues and artwork that add tranquility, and is well worth a visit for its beautiful scenery, blooming flowers, and peace.

About the author

Kristina Rodopska

Kristina Rodopska has been working for over 5 years as a Lean expert and engineer in the field of quality. Familiar with the implementation of improvements in the operations and processes within the different organizations and projects. Evaluates all continuous improvement activities and implements plans to optimize performance.