When it comes to the west coast of Madeira it’s a lot less visited than the east. It may be because both Funchal and the airport are more on the east end, or maybe just because there is easier access but the West is definitely still worth visiting!
Going on a Madeira West tour is a great way to see some of the highlights of Madeira’s beautiful west coast and get to explore the other side of the island!
You have so many cute coastal towns on the way out west like Camara de Lobos, Ribeira Brava, Ponta do Sol, and all the way out northwest you find the small coastal town of Porto Moniz.
The west coast of Madeira is also home to some famous hikes like Levada 25 Fontes and Levada do Alecrim, the Fanal Forest, and the famous Calheta beach. On a Madeira West tour, you’ll stop at some of the highlights, explore a banana plantation, and swim in the famous natural pools in Porto Moniz.
It really is a nice way to see the west side of the island and get a taste of how beautiful it is over here!
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The Best One-Day Madeira West Tour
Know before you go:
- 🚤 Book your Madeira West tour in advance with GetYourGuide
- ⏰ Length: It’s a full-day trip. So roughly from 8 am to 5 pm
- 👩🏼⚕️ Insurance: Make sure your adventures are insured with SafetyWing
- 📸 Bring your camera for some bomb photos of Madeira’s beautiful west coast
⚠️ Note: During peak season, some tours do book out in advance. If you know the dates you’re going, it’s best to make your booking now!
There are a few ways to see Madeira’s west coast in a day. There is public transport (which we don’t really recommend in this case), there’s the option of renting a car, and thirdly, you can go on a guided Madeira West Coast Tour (the best way in our opinion).
If you compare renting a car to doing a day tour with a guide, the day tour is the best option in our opinion. The price isn’t that different from renting a car, and we always enjoy going on guided tours! It’s a good way to get to know the island and the culture better than if you’re just driving around by yourself.
We went on this exact tour with Lido Tours and had an awesome day exploring the island.
You’re going to see some beautiful viewpoints, the highlights of the west coast, and visit a few small cute towns around Madeira! Hopefully, it will inspire you to maybe come back to the west side of the island and see more of it!
Where does the Madeira West tour start?
One thing we loved about this west coast tour was that the tour company picked us up really close to our accommodation in Funchal. Before the tour starts, Lido stops near everyone’s accommodation or hotel which is super convenient. If you’re the first on the tour, you’ll do a few stops before the actual tour starts but then you also get to pick the better seat 😉
Since you get picked up near your accommodation, this guided tour is very convenient! You don’t have to plan anything, worry about bus schedules, or try to book a last-minute rental car. And all the guided tours in Madeira are super affordable! (This tour is €34).
How long is the Madeira West tour?
The Madeira West Tour is a full-day trip! With all the viewpoints and stops along the way, it takes a while to see the west coast of Madeira. And this tour is only touching the surface of what there’s to see on the west coast!
You can expect to get picked up between 8 am and 9 am depending on if you’re one of the first or last to get picked up and then you can expect to be back in the city around or just after 5 pm. So it’s a good 8 to 9 hours you’re gone.
Make sure to pack some snacks and water since it’s a full day!
What to expect on the Madeira West tour
On this Madeira West tour, you’re going to see a good chunk (but not all) of the highlights on the west side of Madeira. You will walk through a banana plantation and learn about banana farming in Madeira (and why the bananas are so small) before continuing the journey over the mountains to the northwestern corner of the island.
You will also learn a lot about the history of Madeira from different types of liquors that are made on the island such as Poncha and Nikita to old fisherman stories and whatever else you may want to know. Just ask your guide and he or she will be happy to answer and teach you!
The best part about this tour is that there are actually quite a few stops along the way and you really get to see a lot. The day is packed but you don’t feel rushed at all. You’ll have time at each viewpoint and stop to really take it all in and enjoy the views, food, and culture!
Below you can find the main stops you’ll visit on this day trip! Just to let you know in advance, once you get dropped off at these locations your guide will tell you how long you have at each one. The time will vary based on whether you’re on time for the daily schedule.
Visit the highest cape in Europe – Cabo Girão Skywalk
This is a super cool stop as it is the highest sea cliff in Europe. When you stand on the glass and look down at the ground and sea below you, you can see just how steep the drop is. If you’re afraid of heights then it may be best to not go too close to the edge. But don’t worry – it’s extremely safe!
This is the first stop on this day trip and it gets you ready for all the awesome views you’re going to see throughout the day. You’ll probably be at this stop for about 30 minutes before continuing west.
The view’s awesome but I think the coolest part is the fact that Cabo Girão Skywalk is actually the highest cape in Europe. The view really gives you the perspective of how crazy this viewpoint really is.
Walk around the beautiful town of Ribeira Brava
Ribeira Brava is one of many cute coastal towns in Madeira. On this guided trip you’re lucky enough to go out and explore for half an hour. We walked along the coast and then made our way down the local streets to see if there were any good pastry or coffee shops!
We stopped at Década Café for a quick bite to eat and a nice Portuguese coffee (probably one of the best we had in Madeira, to be honest). The cafe is right next to the Church of São Bento which is a small but beautiful church in the heart of Ribeira Brava.
Walk amongst bananas on Rota da Banana (RB1)
Potentially the most unique part of this west tour was the stop by Praia da Madalena where we got to visit a banana plantation. Just like for hiking in Madeira, where they have PRs (meaning official walks), there are also a few RBs which means Rota da Banana (the banana route).
We walked RB1, Verena da Ladeira, which is just a very short walk in between all the banana palm trees. You learn a bit about banana farming in Maderia and get a chance to take some cool photos! How fun is that!?
Swim in the natural swimming pools in Porto Moniz
On a hot sunny day in Madeira, this is the best part of the whole day! After walking around, sitting in a van, and being sticky from the hot weather there’s nothing more refreshing than going for a swim in a natural swimming pool.
Madeira has quite a few natural swimming pools but the one in Porto Moniz is hands down the best one. You’ll have around 2 hours in Porto Moniz and we recommend spending at least some of it by the pools while taking in the views of the ocean.
There are actually two natural swimming pools in Porto Moniz – one that is free and one that is paid. Only the free one was open when we went on this tour, so that’s (obviously) the one we checked out!
Visit the famous black sand beach in Seixal
Madeira isn’t known for its beaches but there are a few amazing beaches in Madeira. Two of them are golden sand beaches with sand imported from Sahara, and the rest are black sand beaches or pebble beaches.
Seixal Beach is probably the most beautiful black sand beach on the island with its stunning waterfall in the backdrop. It’s also a great place for beginner surfers to catch a few waves.
You’ll have a few minutes to explore the black sand beach and take some cool pictures before heading back to Funchal as this is the last stop of the Madeira West tour!
What to bring on the day trip to the west side of Madeira
You don’t really need to bring too much on this day trip. There’s no crazy hiking or anything like that on this tour. You get dropped off at every stop and you can buy coffee, food, and water at a bunch of them.
The best idea is to pack a little bag with a water bottle, your camera and/or phone, your wallet, and a snack or two.
Of course, if you plan to go swimming at the natural pools in Porto Moniz then make sure to bring a towel, swimsuit, and sunscreen as well!
Lastly, if you by chance get carsick easily it might not be a bad idea to bring some motion sickness pills. Some of the roads can get quite windy in Madeira! You can read more about what it’s like driving in Madeira here.
- A few snacks
- Wallet (Cash or credit card should be fine at most places in Madeira)
- Optional: Motion sickness pills
Other related questions about Madeira
Where is the warmest place in Madeira?
The southwest coast of Madeira has always been known to be the warmest and sunniest place on the island. Jardim do Mar on the southwest coast of Madeira has been known to consistently be the warmest place on the island!
With all the micro-climates that take place on Madeira, you can have rain in one town and in a different town only a short drive away. We drove from Ribeira Brava to Ponta do Sol which is less than 10 minutes away and there was a difference of 5 degrees Celsius between the two!
How many days are enough in Madeira?
To really get a feel for Madeira and to experience the majority of the highlights of the island, 14 days is an ideal amount of time to really see everything. Of course, you won’t get a chance to do it all but you’ll be able to visit most of the cities and towns along with all the hikes and viewpoints you can find around the island.
That being said, if you only have a short amount of time to visit Madeira, we wouldn’t let this stop you from going. You just have to do a bit of research before and pick which activities and hikes in Madeira are at the top of your bucket list!
What is Madeira famous for?
Madeira is famous for many things but the main thing would have to be the beautiful landscapes! From the levadas and the beautiful scenery you can find around the island to waterfalls and sea cliffs the nature around the island is absolutely stunning and lush!
Other than that, the island also has many other incredible things to offer. The food, the culture, and the people here are some of our favourite things about Madeira.
What is the best time of year to visit Madeira?
It’s hard to pick the best time to visit Madeira but in May you can see the spring flowers bloom along with the flower festival that takes place on the island.
Also between August and September, the weather is amazing in Madeira although the weather is mostly good all year round – especially if you compare it to the rest of Europe.
So really, any time you’re able to go is the best time to go. It’s as simple as that.
You may also like…
- 21 Pebble and Sandy Beaches to Visit in Madeira
- The Best Sunrise spot in Madeira: Pico Ruivo
- Best 26 Things to do in Funchal, Madeira
- The Highest Sea Cliff in Europe – Cabo Girao Skywalk in Madeira
- 3 Natural Pools in Madeira Worth Visiting
Recap of the Madeira West Tour
Even though the west side of the island isn’t as easily accessible by public transport as the east, there are still really easy ways to visit the west side of Madeira.
The Madeira West Tour does exactly that: It offers a day trip that highlights some of the best places on the west side of the island.
From crazy cliffs to natural swimming pools you’ll have an eventful day exploring the island and learning things from a local you probably wouldn’t otherwise.
We hope you have the best time in Madeira and if you have any questions about this tour, another tour, or anything Madeira related then feel free to reach out on Instagram or leave a comment below. We’re always eager to help with tips or planning anything Madeira!