Where to stay in Madeira [2021 Guide For First Time Visitors]

Find the best accommodation in Madeira - Comprehensive Guide

White house with traditional roof in Funchal Madeira

Wondering where to stay in Madeira? Before I decided to visit Funchal, I knew close to nothing about Madeira. I was aware is an island in the Atlantic also called "the Spring island". I expected some good seafood and had an idea about the levada walks. When I finally arrived in Madeira, my jaws dropped, as this is hands on heart, one of the most incredible islands I've seen, with crazy good views, fantastic hiking opportunities and great food. Most importantly, Madeira was not busy with tourists but had a rawness to it still. One minute I was in Funchal, close to all amenities, the next I was meandering in the wilderness, on my way up to Pico Ruivo, Madeira's highest point.

Pico Ruivo Madeira Cory Hike

Where to stay in Madeira

For my stay in Madeira, I decided to rent a car even though driving in Madeira can be challenging. Caniço is located 15 minutes away from Funchal, but it's much cheaper. The flat I stayed in was in a villa, called Apartments Madeira, overlooking the ocean. It was a lovely little apartment with French doors, with one of the most inviting views over the Atlantic. Close to Caniço, there is also a lovely beach. The road to this beach is definitely not for the faint-hearted. Imagine a very narrow road which fits only one car at the time. All the way to the beach, there are tight curves, not to mention the steepness of the road. It takes several minutes to reach the beach from the top of the hill, but here's the catch. If there is a car coming up, meeting you halfway, you are both pretty trapped there. As the road is so steep, it would make it close to impossible for you to reverse up the hill or for the other car to reverse downhill. Either way, you need seriously good clutch skills, so don't take this lightly. And before you ask, no, there isn't any other way to get to the same beach. And yes, it is worth the trouble, as I got to enjoy a beautiful sunset over the Atlantic, right from Caniço.

Apartments Madeira Canico Madeira Island
Check Apartments Madeira on

Apartments Madeira

Set in the quiet area of Caniço, this property boasts a view over the Atlantic Ocean. The Apartments Madeira are a 13-minute drive from the centre of Funchal, with its local shops, cafés and bars. Featuring a sea view, the accommodation at the property has a bathroom, an equipped kitchenette and a furnished living room with a TV. Also included are a small dining area, bed linen and towels. Local restaurants are available within 150 yards of the apartments. Close to Apartments Madeira, there is a small high street with a few shops and a supermarket. If you want to shop a bit more and have access to a variety of local produce, best to drive to Continente supermarket, located about 5 minutes drive from the accommodation. Compare prices and read reviews, check:

French Doors Apartments Madeira

Close to the villa, there is also plenty of free street parking which makes it easy to rent a car. Would I recommend staying in Caniço without a rental? Probably not. If you want to depend on public transport, then it's best to be in Funchal, as you have more options. It's also easier to access restaurants and morning markets, as well as the famed Botanic Garden and of course museums. There is a special charm to Funchal, but if you don't mind skipping the odd drink in favour for cheaper (and in my opinion better) accommodation, then head over to Caniço.

Madeira Pico Ruivo Hike Top


14 Dec 2019

Nice article! I just drove down to that beach today and was thinking good thing it was the end of the day so met no oncoming cars. But there is another way down, a cable car ride (teleferico) for 3€ round trip. Will use that next time.

Wayne Jenkins
27 Dec 2018

Dear Cory & G,

I love your beautiful and informative website! Thank you so much for sharing your travels.

I have a specific request which you may be able to address or perhaps not. My wife and I have a small organic farm east of Homer Alaska which we manage from March to October each year. We are interested in staying on Madeira for several months in the winter, say between November to February and wonder if you might input to the following questions.
1) Is there a winter season on the island when the lodging expenses would be lower?
2) Do you know if there are any agricultural work-trade opportunities; say helping out on a farm or vineyard?
3)What is the maximum allowed period a visitor can stay on the island.
4) We would like to correspond with someone from the US that lives there. Would you know how to contact someone like that?

Thanks you so much and happy travels! Wayne

30 Dec 2018

Hi Wayne,

Thank you for your message and kind words.

1. There is no winter season per se. The average temperatures are around 20 degrees year round. However, summers are a little warmer and busier. So winter time is def cheaper for lodging.

2. I'm afraid I have no idea. I know there aren't many employment opportunities besides tourism from what I heard from a local but that was several years ago. It may be different in agricultural work-travel but I wouldn't want to speculate.

3. This depends on your passport. I assume you are US passport holders (as you are from Alaska). You are allowed 90 days in Madeira, then you need to get a visa I shall assume. For more info you should check passports and visas for Portugal.

4. We only ever visited for 2 weeks in Madeira. We only met 2 locals who showed us around the island but never met any expats.

We hope you find Madeira beautiful and you manage to move there without an issue. It's a beautiful island. Sorry we couldn't be of more help on this occasion.