Fanal Forest

Adventure paradise: 9 fun adventures in Madeira, Portugal

Madeira is definitely the island of adventures! Wild nature, jungle-like forests, waterfalls, crazy roads with countless tunnels, volcanic pools, steep cliffs, and many more reasons, why Madeira is a place you do not see very often.

It was a bit of a shock for me when I arrived in Madeira. It is such a paradise for adventure seekers and here are my favorite adventures to have in Madeira!

Read more » 9 most beautiful viewpoints in Madeira, Portugal

1. Mystical adventure: disappear into the mystical fog of the Fanal Forest

Adventure paradise: Fanal Forest in Madeira

If you go to Madeira, you should know that the island is quite small, but there can be a huge difference between the weather on the Northside of the island and the Southside.

The Northside tends to get the humidity of the ocean – rain, clouds, wind, but the Southside is protected by the mountains in the middle of the island. When a rainy day comes in the Northside, the Fanal Forest is THE place to go.

It is a park-like area with very old and cranky trees, that look very spooky and mystical on a cloudy and rainy day. Just stroll around the area and find the strangest trees for a special photo!

Location: OPEN MAP!

2. Go for a swim in the volcanic pools at the oceanside in Porto Moniz

Adventure paradise: Volcanic pools in Porto Moniz

Madeira is not the place to go if you want holidays at the beach because there are so few of them! A big part of the coastline is 200-300 meter cliffs with no access to the beach.

Although there are beaches with rocks, pebbles, or volcanic sand, there is also a unique opportunity to go for a swim in volcanic pools!

When the hot lava came out of the volcano, it met the ocean and formed pool-like formations. When big waves come crashing down, they fill the pools with water. Definitely a unique experience! The most famous volcanic pools are in Porto Moniz town.

Volcanic pools with a small entrance fee: OPEN MAP!
More wilder volcanic pools for free: OPEN MAP!
Parking (free): OPEN MAP!

3. Reach the end of the land at Ponta de São Lourenço

Adventure paradise: Ponta de São Lourenço Madeira

When you travel around Madeira it truly looks like the end of the world! There is an endless ocean everywhere you look, there are no big cities, and there are a lot of places on the island, where it is not possible to get to and it gives you the feeling of remoteness.

You can very easily forget about the rest of the world on this “forgotten” piece of land in the middle of the ocean! But to get the best view at the end of the land, you should go the Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço walking route.

It is located in the very East of the island and takes you through the remote area of the most scenic peninsula – Ponta de São Lourenço. It is a very scenic and impressive 3.5-kilometer walk one way, so take some drinks and snacks with you!

Location: OPEN MAP!
Parking: OPEN MAP!

4. Watch the sunset above the clouds at Pico do Arieiro

Adventure paradise: Sunset at Pico do Arieiro Madeira

If you do any research about Madeira, you will probably see the name of Pico do Arieiro mountain many times. It is one of the most famous places to watch both – the sunrise and the sunset – with breathtaking views over the island and mountains.

And sometimes if the weather allows you, you will see the sunset above the clouds as well. It is very chilly and windy up there, but the views are unforgettable!

You can actually drive to the very top of the Pico do Arieiro mountain by car, but make sure you check the webcam of the mountain before you go! Sometimes the clouds completely cover the mountain and it is not possible to see anything up there!

Location: OPEN MAP!
Webcam: OPEN MAP!

5. Get wet in Cascata dos Anjos waterfall

Adventure paradise: Cascata dos Anjos waterfall Madeira

The most fun and childish adventure of all! Who says that adults can not play around with water, hehe? It is not very often you get a chance to drive a car through a waterfall that falls in the middle of the road!

Leave a car at the side of the road, get out, and get wet in the water! It is especially beautiful during the sunset, but accessible and enjoyable any time of the day!

Location: OPEN MAP!

6. Cross 24 dark tunnels in Levada do Caldeirão Verde and Caldeirão do Inferno walk

Tunnels in Caldeirão do Inferno walk Madeira
Tunnels in Caldeirão do Inferno walk Madeira

Levada do Caldeirão Verde has to be one of the most famous and incredible walking trails on the island! It is quite demanding and will take you most of the day, but it is definitely worth it!

The most popular part of the trail is the Caldeirão Verde waterfall, which falls from about 100 meters and is located at the 6.5-kilometer mark on the trail. Most of the hikers will then turn around and head back the same way, but you can challenge yourself to a bigger adventure and hike further till the end.

This part will be with lots of tunnels, uphills, downhills, and breathtaking views of the valley. The end of the trail is not as impressive as the hike (just a small waterfall), but, hey, the journey, not the destination, is the key!

Oh, and bring a flashlight or a fully charged phone! By the way, there is paid parking at the start of the trail, but if you arrive back from the trail after their working hours (after 6 PM), then the barrier is open and you do not have to pay anything.

Location (start of the trail): OPEN MAP!

7. Take a cable car down to Fajã dos Padres refuge

Fajã dos Padres refuge in Madeira
Fajã dos Padres refuge in Madeira

This is probably one of the remotest places on the island – a tiny village with just a few inhabitants, one restaurant, and a boat dock. You can get to this place only either by cable car (10 EUR round trip per person) or by boat.

The village is located at the foot of a 250-300 meter cliff and has no road or tunnel connection to the rest of the island.

You can park your car at the side of the road right before the cable car, travel down and take a walk around the village – go to the only restaurant, sit at the seaside and enjoy a completely silent and calm moment.

There are no cars or streets in the village – just gardens of tropical fruits, some dirt paths, lots of lizards, and a few places to stay for the night if you wish.

It was an amazing experience to travel down and forget everything for a moment! Ultimate remoteness and quite an adventure for sure!

Cable car location: OPEN MAP!

8. Hiking adventure: walk above the clouds from Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo

Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo walk Madeira
Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo walk Madeira (

The ultimate walk of the island! Pico do Arieiro to Pico Ruivo and back is the most popular walking trail on the island, which goes from the third-highest mountain in Madeira to the highest mountain and back.

It is a quite demanding trail with lots of steep uphills and downhills and will take you a couple of hours to finish (it is about 6 kilometers long one way).

For the most part, you will be above the clouds, which is a magic feeling! The views are incredible all the way, there are also a couple of tunnels, so a flashlight will be useful.

You can also combine this walk with either the sunrise at the start of the trail or the sunset on Pico do Arieiro at the end of the trail. And bring some food and drinks! This is definitely THE Adventure with the capital letter!!!

Location (start of the trail): OPEN MAP!

9. Water adventure: take a boat trip to greet local dolphins and whales

Boat trip to watch dolphins and whales
Boat trip to watch dolphins and whales

If you are into water activities (even if you are not!) then this pleasant adventure is for you! Take a boat ride into the ocean and say hello to local dolphins and whales!

There are a loooot of dolphins around the island, so you will definitely see them, but whales are mostly seasonal. We went with ‘Magic Dolphin‘ tours on a powerboat.

It is a fun, 2-hour bumpy, and fast ride along the coast while watching the sea animals. Definitely a great adventure for anyone!

After all, watching the animals in their natural habitat is the best way to observe them. Be sure to book the ticket before! We paid 45 EUR per person, and we think it was worth it!

Boat location: OPEN MAP!

Happy exploring!

Madeira is an adventure – if you visit this island, you will never forget it! There is something magical about it – the wilderness, the remoteness, the mountains, crazy roads and tunnels, the way people live there, the endless ocean around it…

If you ever go there, I would recommend you to fully enjoy it with as many adventures and local experiences as possible! By the way, if you can, please, leave a comment below if there are any significant changes to anything that is written in this blog post! Many thanks!


9 unique adventures in Madeira
9 unique adventures in Madeira

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