Madeira is an incredible island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean full of lush forest, rugged mountains, and stunning coastline!

You can spend months here and still have more to explore (take it from someone who’s spent 5 months here so far).

We’re sure you’ll have a great time in Madeira but there are certain apps that we recommend you download that can help improve your experience and ensure your safety during your visit.

From helping you book guided tours to the local safety app, here are 7 apps we regularly use while we’re in Madeira – and that we highly recommend you download as well!

You can download them before your trip starts so that you’re ready to explore as soon as you touch down on the Pearl of the Atlantic.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which means if you decide to use the links and make a valid purchase, we will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you <3

7 helpful apps for your Madeira trip

ProCiv Madeira for safety (must-have!)

In general, Madeira is a very safe island and usually nothing happens. However, sadly there have been a few occurrences lately where people have gone missing.

Oftentimes this happens when people get lost in bad weather and if you ever get in a similar situation (knock on wood), the ProCiv Madeira App could save your life.

The main purpose of this app is for you to quickly ask for help if an emergency arises – and for the police and rescue teams to quickly locate and help you.

On the app, you’ll also be able to see the emergency number in Portugal (112), local warnings, and the nearest emergency stations.

Make sure to set up your profile before you embark on your first adventure so it’s all taken care of should you ever need it.

ProCiv is one of those apps you hope you never have to use but is good to have in case of emergency!

Note: You will need to activate mobile data and GPS to send your profile and location to the Emergency Services!

Airalo eSIM

One of the phone plans available in Portugal through Airalo

Speaking of mobile data…

Last year, we made the switch to using an eSIM and we can’t believe how simple and easy it is to use.

If you want, there’s also the option of going to Vodafone but getting an eSIM is, in our opinion, easier and faster – and oftentimes cheaper as well.

The only downside is that you usually don’t get a phone number with your eSIM meaning you can’t call locally through your phone. You will have to use an app like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Facetime, Skype, or any other app which uses data.

Basically, with an eSIM, everything can be done beforehand and on your phone so the moment you touchdown in Portugal or wherever you’re headed you’ll have reception. 

As soon as you get to Madeira all you have to do is switch over to the Portuguese eSIM and you will be able to use data on your phone like you do back home (granted that you’ve set up the eSIM beforehand).

For eSIMs, we recommend using Airalo, the world’s first eSIM store, which has been used by over 5 million people worldwide.

There are other providers as well but we’ve found that for Portugal, Airalo has one of the best phone plans available when looking at the price and how much data you get.

Check out Airalo’s Portuguese plans here 🇵🇹

GetYourGuide (for guided tours)

There are tons of different guided tours in Madeira from a West Coast Tour with a visit to Cabo Girao, a banana plantation, and Porto Moniz to guided walks and canyoning in the mountains.

We’ve done a fair share of tours around the island and it seems like every time we go back, there are more and more new activities that have popped up!

We normally use GetYourGuide when booking tours which is a platform where you can find, compare, and book guided tours.

GetYourGuide is pretty similar to Viator (if you’re familiar with that), we’ve just found that GetYourGuide has a bigger and better selection in Europe.

Every now and then you can find a cheaper option on Viator (like this one) so it’s actually great to check both platforms for comparison.

No matter which app/platform you decide to use, it’s a great way to explore the island and do some of the hikes that aren’t accessible by public transport or where the start and finish points aren’t the same (such as PR1 – Pico Arieiro to Pico Ruivo).

It’s also nice having a local guide who is an expert in the area and can share information about the culture, history, flora and fauna – and also give you tips for what else to do in Madeira.

On top of hiking tours, you can also find dolphin boat tours, canyoning tours, food tours, and so much more!

Powered by GetYourGuide

AllTrails (for hiking)

As you probably know, there are a ton of different hikes in Madeira – from levada walks, waterfalls, and epic peaks!

Alltrails is a great app that we use for hiking. Not only does it show you an overview of the different hikes nearby – it also has tons of information about each hike in the description from the distance and elevation to a trail map.

One of the best parts of the app is also the user comment section. You’ll be able to tell by reading the recent user reviews if the hike or levada is in good condition or not.

In other countries like Canada, we also check it for recent wildlife spotting but since there’s no dangerous wildlife in Madeira, that isn’t relevant here.

With all the information you can find on AllTrails it’s a perfect app for planning your hike. It’s also great to use while you’re on the trail as you can follow the map and make sure you’re on the right trail.

If you have AllTrails+ ($2.99 USD per month), you will be able to download the maps offline as well.

Hiking Tip: Look up the trail on AllTrails before starting your hike 🗺️. You can find important trail information such as recent wildlife sights and trail closures. Check out the free version here or get a 7-day free trial of AllTrails+ here.

Weather app

Quiet photo of the black sand Praia de Seixal Beach.
Seixal Beach on a rainy day

Since you’re on an island in the middle of the Atlantic the weather can change quite frequently – and since the altitude levels vary from sea level to +1800 meters, this also plays a huge role into the weather and temperature.

One thing that Madeira is actually known for is its many different microclimates.

We’ve been coworking in Funchal where it was sunny and around 18C and we got talking to a local who lives up in the mountains and she said she got snow that morning. Pretty crazy, hey?

When people in Madeira ask what to do when it’s raining, the first answer most people will say is “drive to a different part of the island”. Sometimes it’s a matter of driving 20-30 minutes and the weather and climate is completely different.

That also goes the other way around – sometimes if it’s sunny where you are, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s sunny everywhere else.

So if you’re planning to go hiking, on a guided tour, or maybe out for a swim always just check the weather beforehand.

The weather app on your phone is quite reliable for the most part but you can also search on https://www.yr.no/en and input the specific place you’re going and it will give you a good idea what kind of weather to expect.

Yr.no also has an app on the App Store and one for Android.

Google Maps (for navigation & locations)

Google maps of Madeira and a bunch of different points of interest.

Google Maps is probably one of the most important apps we have on our phones! We use it to find public transport, navigate our way around a city, and spot different cafes, restaurants, and attractions as well.

Google Maps works really well in Madeira!

The majority of all businesses (especially in Funchal) and are up to date with their opening hours. When you’re searching for specific towns, places to visit, restaurants, etc. it’s also great.

We actually use Google Maps so much that we have over 125 saved destinations for Madeira – and as we find more gems we continue to add them to the list. You can check out our Madeira Map here!

Another thing which is great is the reviews you find on Google Maps. We always check out the reviews of cafes and restaurants before sitting down for example.

It’s also great to check for hikes, viewpoints, etc. and they are usually quite accurate which helps you decide if it’s worth going or not.

The only thing that’s a bit challenging to use Google Maps for in Madeira is public transport. It works on some stretches (within Funchal mostly) and then on others, it doesn’t work as well (with Rodoeste buses for example it doesn’t always show all options).

📍 Want to know about all the best spots in Madeira?
Then check out our Madeira Maps with +125 locations around the island that we have personally visited and love! 🗺️

Speak & Translate App

While the majority of Madeirans are excellent at English, it doesn’t hurt to have a plan B in case you end up in a situation where you need to or want to speak to a local.

We’ve had this happen a few times when we needed to find a bus stop after a hike or if we wanted to ask for a waiter’s personal recommendation from the menu.

Again, overall, Madeirans are really great at English but in case you run into someone who’s not, remember that English isn’t their mother tongue – Portuguese is – and it’s a privilege for us that so many people are great at it.

There are plenty of speak & translate apps out there, so you can decide which one works best for you. This specific app has over 250k positive reviews so it seems to be a good option!

This app basically allows you to type or speak in English and then it will type and/or speak it back out in Portuguese for you! How cool is that?

PS: If you get the premium version, it even works offline. Also, you can take photos of any text and it will translate it for you.

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Recep of the best phone apps for Madeira

We hope this guide has been useful in preparation for your upcoming trip to Madeira!

You might have some of these apps already, and there might be one or two that you don’t feel like you need, but these are the apps that we use on a daily and weekly basis whenever we visit this beautiful Paradise.

As we mentioned already, all of these apps can be downloaded before going to Madeira so you’re all set for when you actually do arrive.

If you have any questions about these apps, how to install your eSIM, or anything else related to Madeira, feel free to leave a comment below or send us a DM on Instagram.

We love Madeira and if there’s anything we can do to help you plan for or to make your trip better somehow, we’re happy to do so!

We also offer customized itineraries for Madeira so you’re welcome to reach out to us about that as well!

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2 Comments

  1. Lita on April 2, 2024 at 4:23 pm

    This is so helpful! That first one about safety seems really important. We use Alltrails and Google Maps everywhere we go and we love it!

    • redwhiteadventures on April 3, 2024 at 12:08 pm

      Hey Lita,

      Alltrails is awesome especially for finding hikes wherever you go.

      -Dom

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