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10 Tips for Visiting Madeira in 2021

a sign on the side of a mountain

For such a small island, Madeira can be confusing at times! There’s so much to do, to see and if you’re coming for your first time, it can be a bit overwhelming! So I took some time to share with you my 10 Tips for anyone visiting Madeira in 2021!

1 Get your covid test done before arriving

So I don’t want to spend too much time talking about covid but yes, you do need to present a negative test to get into Madeira. They also do free testing at the airport however, if you test positive you’ll have to quarantine at your own expense which means you’ll be “locked up” at the “covid hotel” and won’t be able to leave the room for whatever the quarantine time will be at the time. Much better to have your test done before arrival, within 72 hours of landing, to avoid any inconvenience!

2 Taxis are cheaper than you think

Taxis have a bad rep in so many places in the world, especially touristic areas but in Madeira, things are a little bit different. Yes there are a few bad apples and you can usually tell who they may be but the majority of the taxi drivers in Madeira are affordable, friendly and very informative. A taxi transfer to and from the airport, when booked direct, can be as little as 30 euros and a ride from one village to another, from Camera de Lobos to Funchal for instance, can be as little as 15 euros. If you’re a family of 4 it works out almost the same as a local bus and if you’re a couple its only a little more. Save time at the bus stop, catch a local taxi and support a local!

 

a car parked next to a body of water

Our Taxi Connection:
Terry Ladeira
PHONE: 00351 967 618 757 (uses WhatsApp)
EMAIL: [email protected]

3 Support local business

Now more than ever, we need to be conscious of our buying decisions and where we spend our money. With so many people suffering and struggling to keep their businesses afloat, I urge you to support the locals. I would suggest shying away from big, unsustainable, corporate entities where the money gets diverted into some fat cat’s pocket or even to another country’s economy. Support local businesses, restaurants, coffee shops, taxis, tour operators, boutique hotels and airbnbs and help keep our economy alive!

4 Do your research

With so much to do and so much to see, you want to make sure you’re not left behind when the curtain’s raised. You don’t want to be using up your precious vacation time doing research into which activity you want to do in the afternoon. I have, many times, turned down desperate clients who want to book a tour last minute and we’re already fully booked. I have seen many occasions as well, people wondering around in the mountains looking for a shortcut back to their rental vehicle only to spend a small fortune on a taxi across half the island, back to their rental car, in Pico do Areiro after doing the Pico Ruivo hike, for instance. Failing to prepare will lead to failure, book in advance, have at the very least, a plan A.

 

a truck driving down a dirt road

 

5 Get in a few sunrises and sunsets

Have you ever seen the sunrise above the clouds? If you have, you’ll be the easiest to convince on how special it is! Usually a once in a lifetime experience, seeing the sunrise above the clouds is a relatively common experience here in Madeira and in 2019 we saw a record number of people up on the peaks to witness this beautiful phenomenon. If you’re worried about how to get there, fear not, we’re here to help! Book yourself a sunrise or sunset 4×4 trip and all you’ll need to worry about is how to pose for the photo 😉

6 Bring your hiking boots

Too many times have I seen tourists wondering around the hiking paths with white sneakers or “flip flops”. Madeira is a world renowned hiking destination and if you’re the kind of person who’s coming to Madeira, you’re most probably into nature as well! Bring proper hiking boots, waterproof trousers and jackets, a torch, a cap in the summer, a beanie in the winter, a change of clothes in case you get drenched by a waterfall, sunscreen and a powerbank! Many people come here to do “levada walks” not realising that these walks are actually more like hikes and that yes you will be outdoors, in all sorts of weather conditions, be prepared!

 

 

7 Don’t trust the weather forecast

Did you know that for every 100m you ascend in Madeira, in the winter season, you lose 1 degree Celsius? Funchal is the city of eternal spring. The capital is mild and comfortable with loads of sun and usually never dropping below 14 degrees Celsius on a “winter” evening but up in the mountains or on the north coast it’s a whole other story! In Madeira we have microclimates. It can be sunny and nice in one location and rainy and cloudy literally a 5 minute drive away. If you’re going to be adventuring, be prepared to catch the 4 seasons in one day and if you really want to try searching for weather forecasts, be specific to the town or area you’re planning on visiting or alternatively, check the webcams.

8 Do a free walking tour of Funchal

Lisa has for the last couple of years been investing in her project called Free Walking Tours Funchal. Her tours are roughly 2 hours long and include some off-the-beaten path locations in the city filled with fun and interesting facts not only about the city centre but about Madeira in general. There’s also loads of tips on where to eat, where to drink and what to do in the city and beyond. She only deals with small groups, she’s a great guide, hard working and her passion shines through her work. Spend a morning exploring Funchal with Lisa and you won’t regret it!

 

a group of people standing in front of a building

Lisa’s Free Walking Tours Funchal:
https://www.freewalkingtoursfunchal.com
EMAIL : [email protected]
PHONE : 00351 969 126 144 (uses WhatsApp)

9 Hire a tour guide

I had a sales manager who used to tell me, “you only start doing your job when the prospect says no”. That stuck with me over the years and I’ve related it to my job as a tour guide for the last 10 years here in Madeira as I believe us guides are most valuable when things are looking bleak. When it’s raining your original plan all of a sudden is a no go, what then? What should we do now?

The mountains can be dangerous and we’re all exposed, just because we’re guides doesn’t mean we’re immune to the dangers of nature or the road but we certainly know exactly where we’re going and how we’re getting there. We can usually spot if “something’s not right” and of course we know how the weather was like the day before or the week before the adventure. This insider info helps us make the right decisions as to which routes are good to go and which are in bad shape. We know who to call, where to go, when to go there and the fastest way.

We’ve guided over one thousand guests over the last 9 years in our business and learned a thing or two about your culture and what you like. We love meeting new people from all over the world and we’re generally optimistic and fun to be around, you would be too if your job was to show people a good time! (not saying that you aren’t of course!)

 

a man that is standing in the middle of the night

 

10 Don’t buy bottled poncha.

It’s a sin, poncha is made fresh,ok?

And that’s it guys! As usual, we made an entertaining Vlog documenting all this information and you can watch that below. Make sure to like and subscribe to the channel, we got loads of great videos coming all Madeira related! Also, don’t forget that we’re offering a 21 percent discount off every tour purchased off our website in 2021!

Don’t miss out, book your experience now!

until next week,

let’s Hit The Road!!

Jeff

 

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