Romantic things to do in Madeira, routes to get active, and places to relax
Discovering destinations like Madeira as a couple allows you to enjoy a thousand and one adventures. There’s no place for boredom and there are dozens of romantic things to do. This garden located in the middle of the Atlantic, more than a thousand kilometres from Portugal, preserves a good part of this country’s traditions, architecture, and gastronomic culture. However, it also has a number of unique features that make the trip a continuous learning experience.
The only two inhabited islands of the archipelago, Madeira and Porto Santo, provide a complementary tourist offering, as the former is perfect for nature-related activities (hiking and active sports) and the latter invites you to relax on its beaches. These islands with mountainous terrain keep secrets at every turn of the road, small villages, immense valleys, breathtaking viewpoints, among other things, which will allow you to share many moments together. Our recommendation is that you combine active periods spent in the natural environment with walks around Funchal, candlelit dinners, sea excursions, and relaxation in the natural pools of Madeira. Among the essential items in your suitcase should be a good pair of hiking boots, a rain coat, and a fleece because at higher altitudes it’s usually cold, and, of course, a swimming costume. Anything else? Plenty of desire to have a good time.
- Casco viejo de Funchal
- Dos paseos en la capital: uno romántico y otro frenético
- Ruta senderista por una levada
- Piscinas naturales
- Cena romántica en Madeira
- Mirador de Cabo Girão y Cámara de Lobos
- Excursión a Porto Santo
- Dónde dormir en Madeira
Funchal’s Old Town
If you’re staying in Funchal, you can spend the first day of your trip touring the capital of Madeira. Although this island isn’t known for its urban tourism, this city has enough attractions for you to spend several days wandering its streets and visiting its monuments. One of the neighbourhoods we like best in Funchal is Santa Maria, in the Old Town, a maze of narrow streets that hide beautiful corners and restaurants everywhere. And, also, an endless number of doors decorated by local artists where there’s no end to the creativity. A must see in the historic centre of Funchal is the Mercado dos Lavradores (or Farmers’ Market), an ideal place to get to know the island’s flowers, tropical fruit, and fish. It’s housed in a building that combines art deco and modernist styles.
Embroidery is also very unique on the island, and as you’re sure to pass by Bordal’s workshops (Rua Dr. Fernão de Ornelas 77) at some point, it wouldn’t hurt to stop and admire this work. How about taking home a hand-embroidered tablecloth to remember your romantic trip to Madeira?
If your romantic trips always include monuments and museums, in Funchal you’ll find places as interesting as the Fort of São Tiago, a place that’s both romantic and interesting. Be sure to check out the Frederico de Freitas House-Museum, belonging to the Counts of Calçada, the Sé or Funchal Cathedral, with its beautiful ceilings, and many other palaces and temples.
Two walks in the capital: one romantic, the other frenetic
From Funchal’s Old Town, you can take a cable car that, in less than 15 minutes, will take you to the Monte district. This route is a slow one and allows you to admire the capital from up high. Once at the top, there are several activities that you could say are a must. The most romantic thing to do is to walk hand in hand through the beautiful Monte Palace Tropical Garden, with dozens of paths, plants, trees, flowers, and fountains. Some of its ideal spots to take some pictures are in the surroundings of the Japanese Garden. It’s one of those places where you could spend hours strolling around.
And after those romantic moments, we suggest that you go down this neighbourhood’s steep streets in the typical basket carts. Sitting comfortably in these carts, you’ll be thrown down the street (like on a sledge) for two kilometres. Although it may not seem like it, it’s very safe, and it gets your adrenaline pumping.
Hiking route along a levada
The levadas are one of the special features of Madeira Island, and it’s a must to hike some of its 2,500 kilometres. The name levadas refers to the old irrigation channels that were built to redirect water around the island, for crops and for people. There are dozens of hiking routes that follow the line of these canals, of varying length and difficulty, so you can choose one you’re comfortable with and enjoy the scenery. Among them, we particularly like the Levada do Caldeirão Verde (a 16 km round trip), which runs through the Queimadas Forest Park and crosses mountains, rock tunnels, and valleys. It departs from Santana and reaches the Caldeirão Verde lake.
Check out all the possible itineraries of routes through levadas because there are many options.
As it’s not all about walking and active sports, this new romantic activity in Madeira will allow you to relax and enjoy some quiet time doing nothing. Well, you’ll fall in love with the surroundings of the natural pools that we suggest you visit. As we initially mentioned, Madeira doesn’t have amazing beaches, but it does have some good ones, so it’s a good idea to take advantage of the small lakes that are formed between the rocks. Two swimming pools that are interesting to visit are Porto Moniz, which has a lifeguard and all the amenities, and Seixal, which is free to use but without amenities for users. These are the natural pools, but there are also more touristic (and artificial) pools in other areas.
Romantic dinner in Madeira
On an island where the food is as good as Madeira, you should treat yourself to a romantic candlelit dinner somewhere special. One of the restaurants that lends itself to this is the DC Atelier located in the Nini Andrade Silva Design Centre, in the heart of Funchal harbour, with spectacular views of the city at sunset. Its cuisine uses local produce but the recipes are given a creative twist. This is undoubtedly one of the best options for a romantic thing to do in Madeira. Other suggestions include the restaurant Do Forte, located in the fort of São Tiago, and the restaurant Villa Cipriani, which has beautiful views of the sea.
Cabo Girão viewpoint and Câmara de Lobos
One romantic excursion from Funchal is to visit the small and charming village of Câmara de Lobos, with its pretty boats painted in bright colours. Then continue the walk to the Cabo Girão viewpoint, where an amazing glass platform awaits you, offering breathtaking views at 850 metres above sea level. Also, right next to it is the cable car that takes you down to the beach and provides some very unique panoramic views of the terraced cultivated land.
Excursion to Porto Santo
The last romantic activity in Madeira that we suggest is a ferry trip to Porto Santo. This island, smaller than the one previously mentioned, is perfect for a day at the beach and a meal by the sea. You can even book a guided tour of the island that will take you to its most iconic spots. Its largest and most attractive beach stretches at the foot of Vila Baleira and has nine kilometres of golden sand. In this town, the island’s capital, you’ll find many restaurants where you can eat, but you can also go to O Calhetas (located in Ponta da Calheta) where they have a spectacular seafood menu.
Where to stay in Madeira
In the city of Funchal, in the Lido area, you’ll find an ideal hotel for a couple’s getaway: the Allegro Madeira Hotel. This four-star adults only hotel has all the comforts you could wish for to enjoy a perfect stay. Among its 124 rooms, completely renovated and decorated in bright colours, you’ll find double rooms and junior suites with views of the sea or the city. The facilities of the Allegro Madeira have spaces where you can relax, such as the swimming pools and the wellness centre, where you can sample the local cuisine in its Lido restaurant, and also have a drink with a view from its Rooftop 360. They even offer you all the necessary services (wifi, office material, etc.) to telework from there if you feel like staying for a while.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the essential things to do in Madeira as a couple?
Among the essential activities to do in Madeira you should include touring the capital, Funchal, to get to know the urban attractions, taking a hiking route following a levada, going to the most impressive viewpoints, visiting the inland villages, and discovering the local gastronomy.
What are the most romantic spots in Madeira?
In Madeira you'll find dozens of romantic spots. In Funchal, don't miss the Monte Palace Tropical Garden; at Cabo Girão, a glass platform that offers wide panoramic views, the point of São Lorenzo, for its views of the jagged coastline, and the beautiful beach of Porto Santo.
What are the most romantic restaurants in Madeira?
There are many romantic restaurants in Madeira. Some of the most special ones are the DC Atelier at the Nini Andrade Silva Design Centre, the Kampo restaurant with its casual atmosphere, the Do Forte restaurant, located in the fort of São Tiago, and the Villa Cipriani restaurant, overlooking the sea.