Funchal
UNESCO Sites

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Our most recommended Funchal UNESCO Sites

Northwest Madeira 4x4 Tour

1. Northwest Madeira 4x4 Tour

The tour will start at your hotel, cruise port, or guest house, taking you to Serra d'Água, where you will have the opportunity to learn about the island of Madeira. At the North side you will see Ginjas village. Then continue on, using the old roads and some forest roads where its only possible to go with a 4X4. Head to the top at 1500 meters at Paúl da Serra. Explore the natural beauty of this island, meet the people, and explore the cultures, traditions, and local food and drinks. Enjoy the expertise of a multilingual driver, who will take you on this full day journey to Encumeada, Ginjas, Estanquinhos, Paúl da Serra, Fanal, Ribeira da Janela, Porto Moniz, Seixal and São Vicente, with additional opportunities to see and swim in the volcanic lava pools.

From Funchal: Enchanted Terraces and Porto do Moniz Tour

2. From Funchal: Enchanted Terraces and Porto do Moniz Tour

Depart Funchal and travel by 4WD vehicle towards Madeira's northwest coast, passing a stunning green landscape to locations such as Serra de Água. Journey along forgotten and enchanted old roads and get a glimpse into the island's everyday life. Go to Encumeada, where one of the island's famous walking trails leads to Madeira's highest peak. Pass through the laurel forests of Chão dos Louros and marvel at the mountains and valleys from Ginjas and Paul da Serra. Continue to Fanal in the middle of the Laurissilva Forest and then proceed to Porto do Moniz, famous for its natural swimming pools. If weather permits, enjoy the warmth of the sea or continue to Seixal known for its black sand beach. Stop for lunch (optional and not included) in Seixal, before continuing to the coastal town of São Vicente. Make your way back to Funchal at the end of the tour.

Funchal: Full-Day 4x4 Eastern Tour

3. Funchal: Full-Day 4x4 Eastern Tour

On this tour, see the best views of the eastern side of Madeira, a unique experience passing by the non-touristic villages. Start with a visit to Machico, where Portuguese captains landed for the first time. Move on to Portela for an experience with the amazing countryside of Madeira, overlooking Eagle Rock (Penha D'Aguia), known as the human face. Enjoy the view over the rocks and the coast. Afterwards, continue to the sugar cane and rum factory in Porta da Cruz. Taste the local rums and learn about the local production of rum. Travel down the serpentine roads to the village of Santana to visit the traditional thatched houses, and enjoy a delicious lunch during your stay in Santana. In the afternoon, visit the 3rd highest peak of Madeira. At 1818 meters you will have a 360° view over the surroundings, passing by Ribeiro Frio Village.

Northwestern Madeira: Full–Day 4x4 Tour

4. Northwestern Madeira: Full–Day 4x4 Tour

Enjoy the best views possible on a unique, open-top 4x4 tour through northwestern Madeira. Departing Funchal on this 8-hour trip, the first stop is Serra de Água, a village located in the scenic countryside. Travel along old trails, cobblestone roads and forestry roads up to 1,500 meters above sea level at the Paul da Serra plateau. Pass the Laurissilva forest and enjoy a short walk along a levada, or water channel. Head down to Porto Moniz to enjoy the warmth of the volcanic lava pools, or the volcanic black sandy beach. In the afternoon, take in amazing views of the area’s cliffs and waterfalls.

From Funchal: East Coast of Madeira Tour

5. From Funchal: East Coast of Madeira Tour

The tour heads first to Camacha for a visit to the largest outlet on the island for wicker products where demonstrations of wicker weaving can be seen. Continue uphill by heading for Pico do Arieiro for tremendous views over a succession of knife-edge ridges and sheer cliffs. At an altitude of 1,818 meters, it is the third-highest peak in Madeira. Continue your journey downhill through small terraces lining the road before you reach the Laurissilva Forest, one of the most beautiful natural treasures of Madeira. This forest is about 20 million years old and was classified a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999.  The next stop is at the charming village of Santana, a picture of domestic and agricultural prosperity known for its traditional stone houses with steep, triangular-shaped thatched roofs. Traditionally people lived in these ingenious structures and you can discover how spacious the A-frame buildings are when you visit one. Next, drive down the north coast to the rural village of Porto da Cruz, home to the only functioning sugar mill in the north coast. This small village has a maze of alleys and, as well as a beautiful sea promenade, the former warehouses are being converted into cafes. Lastly, take in Praia de Machico, a beautiful bay with an uncommonly shaped valley that looks as if a balcony overlooks the sea and the mountains. The sugar cane crops and its mills made it very important for Madeira’s economy until the 17th century. The eastern side of the bay is dominated by Pico do Facho’s 320 meter peak, named after the beacon that used to be lit here to warn residents of approaching pirates. Heading home, enjoy views of the coast and enormous Madeira junipers trees which have become quite rare over the years.

From Funchal: Full-Day Madeira Peaks Tour by Open 4x4

6. From Funchal: Full-Day Madeira Peaks Tour by Open 4x4

Begin this full-day 4x4 tour with a pick-up at your hotel in Funchal and travel deep into the southeast of Madeira. You’ll come to Machico town and the line that divides the north and south of the island. Take in breathtaking views of the Eagles Rock from Portela. Drive down, stopping in Porto da Cruz, which is the next must-see point. Visit a sugar cane factory, continue to the Faial coastline and then up to see the typical houses of Santana. These small straw-thatched triangular houses are emblematic of Madeira and intricate in their construction. Head down into the valley and through the forest to Riveiro Frio at an elevation of 1818 meters, the third-highest peak on the Island.

Santana & Arieiro Peak: Full Day East Tour in Open Roof 4x4

7. Santana & Arieiro Peak: Full Day East Tour in Open Roof 4x4

See views from Pico do Arieiro at 1818 meters, and enjoy amazing landscapes and great views over Ponta de São Lourenço, Paúl da Serra, Curral das Freiras and even Porto Santo island. Enjoy pickup from Funchal or Caniço and hop on board the 4x4 for a day of great views. Head to the north side of the island, pass through Ribeiro Frio, surrounded by Laurissilva Forest (classified as World Heritage by UNESCO). See the exotic species and beautiful evergreen mountains of this peaceful environment. Continue your experience with an off-road journey toward one of the most emblematic towns in the island, Santana the “Biosphere Reserve”, known by its triangular houses, which served locals for centuries as dwellings and stables. After a lunch stop (not included), visit a very traditional Rum Distillery in Porto da Cruz. Finally, stop at Pico do Facho viewpoint, to enjoy amazing views over Ponta de São Lourenço and Machico Bay.

From Funchal: Santana and Pico do Areeiro East Island Tour

8. From Funchal: Santana and Pico do Areeiro East Island Tour

Explore the wonders of Madeira on this guided minibus trip from Funchal to the east side of the island. Visit Camacha, Pico do Areeiro, Ribeiro Frio, Faial, Machico, and more. Enjoy a long stop in the village of Santana to see local life and have time for lunch. Enjoy a great start to the tour by visiting Camacha, one of the most rural and rustic villages in Madeira where folklore is still hugely in practice. Camacha makes Madeira world-renowned for its industry of wicker and cane. The next stop is Pico do Areeiro, the third highest peak on the island with an altitude of 1818 m, where you can take in unbeatable 360-degree island views. Often, rocky formations can be seen to be piercing through the clouds creating one-of-a-kind visuals and photo opportunities. Next, move on to Ribeiro Frio (meaning cold river). Ribeiro Frio is a small village situated in the heart of the Laurissilva forest. It is the largest surviving area of laurel forest in the world and is believed to be 90% primary forest. In this classified UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site, you can enjoy a variety of plants and species in their natural habitat. Get the chance to also observe a trout farm made up (as naturally as possible) of stone enclosures and fresh flowing levada water, set against a backdrop of pure nature. The tour continues to Faial, where you can view the imposing rock of Penha de Águia, which separates Faial from Porto da Cruz. With a lengthy stop at the village of Santana next, you will have ample time for lunch and to see Madeira’s world-famous typical thatched roved triangular houses, painted in happy primary colors. Pass by Portela en route to Ponta São Lourenço, which is situated in the most eastern part of the island. Take in the unique landscape characterized by the fantastic combination of rocks, sea, and nature. Your final stop is the larger city of Machico, the first area of the Island that the Portuguese navigators came across. Later, return round-trip to your pickup location in Funchal. 

Northeast Madeira 4X4 Tour from Funchal

9. Northeast Madeira 4X4 Tour from Funchal

Head out from Funchal on a full-day tour of Madeira’s north-east. Leaving the town behind, stop in São Vicente, and take in amazing 360-degree views. Marvel at the contrast of colors from the vineyards. Enjoy a drive along serpentine roads and through forests. Discover the unique scenery of the area from an open-top 4X4 vehicle. Before lunch, visit a water mill and see the traditional thatched houses of Santana. Stop to enjoy lunch in idyllic surroundings, and later visit a sugar cane and rum factory, where you can taste the local rum. Finish your tour in Caniçal, where you’ll have spectacular views of Ponta São Lourenço – the eastern part of the island.

Porto Moniz & UNESCO Forest: 4X4 Tour

10. Porto Moniz & UNESCO Forest: 4X4 Tour

Start your tour in convenience with a pick-up from your hotel or cruise dock. Here, your 4x4 adventure will begin. Start the day with a scenic drive to the Serra d'Água where views of agricultural fields (poios) and stunning geographical land marks await. Whilst driving you will also learn some of the island's history.  Head towards the North coast and up to the Paúl da Serra by the "Ginjas", where you will have an off-road adventure. Once there you will have the ability to take a 15-minute walk on the famous "levadas" water channels. Here in the middle of the Laurissilva forest (UNESCO), you can witness several native and endemic species.  Continue on your tour in the direction of Porto Moniz, here you will find the old trees species of Laurel Forest like "Til"(Ocotea foetens), Puff (Clethra foetens), Bay (Laurus azorica) and Mahogany (Persea indica). At the volcanic pools if the weather permits you will be able to have a swim. On the way to São Vicente you will have your last stop to taste the "poncha", the local cocktail with "aguardente". After this full-day trip, you will be returned to your hotel. 

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What people are saying about Funchal

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 201 reviews

We thoroughly enjoyed this tour. Our tour guide, Carlos, was extremely knowledgeable, kind and patient. He answered all questions and was super easy going, making the day stress-free and enjoyable. We learned a lot, a great experience overall!

Had a great experience. We had 2 seats at the back of the car. Maybe not very comfortable, but only us 2 could stand while we were driving of road. The rest of the passengers had to seat. Breathtaking views. Day gone very quickly.

It was a privilege to do this excursion, we visited places that I call enchanted! Not least, all the knowledge and friendliness of the guide Mr. Duarte Silva. I traveled alone, but on this tour I felt at home. It was exceptional!

Lino was more than a guide, it was like visiting with a friend. He took the time to explain everything to us about the island, to give us time to enjoy the experience! This allows you to see the island from another aspect!

We are totally excited about the tour, it was a great experience and everything worked out. We took a lot of it with us and I can only recommend it.