Getting around on Madeira - by car, taxi and bus

Madeira by rental car.

If you plan to see a lot of places on Madeira, then the single best way for getting around is by car.
Huge investments at the beginning of the 21st century and thousands of hours of work were needed to give Madeira a well elaborated road infrastructure with a highway, lots of tunnels and impressive bridges.
They allow locals and tourists to easily get out of Funchal.
For tourists who make their first steps on Madeira, it may be hard to imagine that about 10 years ago, you needed almost a full day to get from East to West.
While the highway allows you to move fast, a disadvantage is that you will drive through lots of tunnels so you won't see a lot of the most beautiful places and nature. If you visit Madeira, you have to love nature! Therefor, i'd advice tourists to take the secondary roads as much as possible. They are safe, there is not much traffic and most people drive slow.

Because a car is the best way to explore the entire island, we have made a dedicated page about car driving on Madeira.

Personally i prefer to have a holiday on on Madeira island that includes at least 3 different accommodations. One hotel in the Funchal or Canico region, one in Porto Moniz and one in the North between Ponta Delgada and Santana. Moving from one hotel to the other means that in the evenings you don't have to get back to where you started. It allows for enough time to discover all of Madeira's rural environment and the most beautiful places.

Renting a car should not be a problem on Madeira. You can contact one of the many car rental agencies or ask your hotel reception to arrange a car for you.
If you're planning to visit Madeira by rental car, then you may be interested to read some useful tips on this page about Madeira car hire.

Guided Madeira excursions by Taxi.

Taxis in Madeira provide an economic and reliable service.
They are easily available in Funchal city and at Madeira International Airport.
Most often the taxi drivers are excellent multilingual guides.
Some taxi companies offer excursions throughout the Island. For tourists who are planning just a few tours on Madeira, they can be a good alternative for rental cars.

Some guided tours by taxi include :

  • Half day tour to Nun's Valley (Cural das Freiras), Eiro do Serrado and Camara de Lobos.
  • Day tour in the West of Madeira that includes Camara de Lobos, Ribeira Brava, Ponta do Sol, Paul da Serra, Porto Moniz, Sao Vicente and Encumeada.
  • Day tour to the East of Madeira that includes visits to Camacha, Pico do Areeiro, Ribeiro Frio, Santana and Machico.
Rates vary around 60 Euro for a half day and 100 Euro for a full day tour. Prices are valid for 4 persons and include professional explanation by your taxi driver guide.
More info can be found at Madeira Taxis.

Madeira bus information.

If you have booked your Madeira holiday with a tour operator, then you will usually have the opportunity to make day trips by bus, starting at your hotel. That's fine ! Just keep in mind that you should take some precautions if you easily get car sick or if you're not used to steep and curved roads.
Others may opt for a rental car or a taxi, but Madeira has also a well elaborated public bus network.
Busses are a cheap and recommended means of transportation in Funchal city.
But if you plan to visit distant places such as Santana, then get ready for a 2 hours long drive because busses use secondary roads and have many bus stops !
Bus tickets in the Funchal region cost 1 to 3 Euro.

Tips :

  • A one-week-ticket for an unlimited number of drives in Funchal city costs 15 Euro.
  • Orange busses drive in Funchal only.
  • Red busses drive to the West of Madeira with the bus company called "Rodoeste".
  • Green busses drive to East of Madeira.