Since the beautiful island of Madeira has so much to see and do, it’s important to choose the right base so that you can make the most of your time. My guide to Madeira accommodation covers some of the best places to stay on the island and carefully selected hotels and lodging suggestions.
Why Funchal makes a great base
If you’re visiting Madeira without a car but want to explore the island, it makes most sense to choose accommodation in Funchal. Not only is the old town an interesting destination in its own right – see this post for what to do in Funchal – Madeira’s capital city is also the starting point for most organised tours and bus routes.
5 star hotels in Funchal
The spacious and elegant rooms of 5 star Quintinha Sao Joao are surrounded by peaceful and landscaped gardens. Treat yourself to one of the wide variety of treatments available from the onsite spa or make use of indoor and outdoor pools according to the weather. The restaurant specialises in Goan cuisine. On the outskirts of Funchal, the hotel offers a free shuttle service to and from the marina (although it’s walkable if you’re fit) and an indoor car park on site. Check availability and current prices
Belmond Reid’s Palace is a charming 5-star resort hotel set in a superb location overlooking the Atlantic with very professional staff. It has several pools, an oceanfront spa and direct access to the ocean. All rooms are elegantly furnished with period décor, light and spacious. The complimentary minibar is a welcome bonus, as is the free parking. Belmond Reid’s onsite restaurants specialise in French and Italian cuisine. Note that dress codes apply. e.g. for afternoon tea. Read verified reviews
Quinta da Casa Branca is a boutique hotel within an elegant manor house with luxurious rooms set within botanical gardens that includes a banana plantation. A heated pool, health club and spa provide a variety of health and beauty treatments. The two restaurants provide excellent al fresco or terrace dining. See photos and check availability
4 star boutique accommodation in Funchal
The beautifully designed Castanheiro Boutique Hotel successfully retains elements of the original building. Located on a quiet road yet very close to the old town and amenities. Sea and hill views from the year round rooftop pool and hot tub are spectacular. Rooms are spacious, modern and clean, beds are extremely comfortable and breakfasts are excellent. The hotel has decent spa facilities and a hairdresser. See photos and check availability
None of these take your fancy? Search Booking.com for hotels in Funchal
If you are more in the market for independent apartments and villas in Funchal, there are plenty to choose from.
Places to stay in Madeira east of Funchal
Why stay in Machico
If you’re looking for golden sands, Machico is one of the few beaches in Madeira where you’ll find them. The U-shaped bay makes for calm waters, too. Close to the airport and motorway and served by several daily buses, the small, attractive town has all you need for a relaxed holiday with or without a car.
Note: If you are considering renting a car in Madeira, read my tips here
Accommodation in Machico
White Waters Hotel is a modern family run 3 star hotel situated in the main square and close to beach. Rooms are bright and airy with some ocean facing balconies. A relaxing rooftop sun terrace gives panoramic views of the island. There is an onsite restaurant and free parking. Check prices and availability
If you’re looking for an apartment, the 3-bedroomed VIP Baia penthouse apartment is a good option. Spacious, light and well equipped, it features panoramic mountain views, a garden and terrace. It’s centrally located with restaurants and shops very close by and about a minute’s walk from the beach. Underground parking is also available. Get full details
Using Santa Cruz as a base
Smaller than Machico but even closer to the airport is the coastal village of Santa Cruz. It has a pretty historical centre with a few cafés and restaurants, a market and a delightful promenade.
Where to stay in Santa Cruz
The small but luxurious 5-star Albatroz Beach and Yacht Club offers beautiful spacious rooms all with balconies and views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Deserted Islands. Within the 400 metres of private sea front you’ll find three pools. There is an a la carte restaurant onsite, which is handy because this is a little bit out of the town centre, and staff are very friendly and helpful. See photos and reviews
Boutique Hotel Santa Cruz is smack bang in the centre, overlooking the seafront. Most of the spacious, modern rooms have a balcony overlooking the ocean and promenade and there’s a rooftop restaurant. Staff are very friendly and helpful. There is no onsite parking but the bus stop is just 100 metres away. Grab a room with a view
Where to stay west of Funchal
Sunny Ponta do Sol
Ponta do Sol is a small, attractive town with a pebble beach and a possible base if you have a car or stay in a hotel that offers transfers.
Hotels in Madeira – Ponta do Sol
Estalagem Da Ponta Do Sol is 4 star design hotel perched on a cliff facing the Atlantic Ocean and featuring an infinity pool and hot tub with panoramic views. Room décor is totally white and each room has floor to ceiling windows leading onto balconies, some with sea views others with garden views. Customer service is excellent and there is a free shuttle service to the airport if you don’t intend to drive. Get full details and availability
Hotel Da Vila is a stylish hotel with quirky features right opposite the beach. Rooms are all-white with wooden aspects and have small balconies overlooking the ocean. There is an on-site restaurant and bar and guests can use the pool and spa facilities at the nearby sister hotel free of charge. Breakfasts are very good and there are free buses and transfers to the airport and Funchal. See photos and check prices
There are several private villa and apartment rentals in this area too.
The quirky Castelo Austria is one such property. Bright and colourful, it has a terrace with a small pool overlooking the ocean. Wood interiors with effective use of natural stone in some rooms. Equipped kitchen and BBQ with free public car parking close by.
Beautiful Jardim da Mar
This delightful coastal village is a maze of cobbled streets and cute cottages with flower-filled gardens and stunning views. You need a car if you want to go exploring but note that many of these lanes are too narrow to drive down so leave your vehicle in the central car park.
For a larger property with ocean views and an infinity pool and sun terrace, this modern 2 bedroom villa is clean and spacious and sleeps up to 6 people. You can drive right up to the property and there’s parking space for one car. Helpful hosts and a well-equipped kitchen make for a pleasant and relaxing stay. Check availability and amenities
Calheta for marina and beach
The addition of a marina and imported golden sand from Morocco has raised the profile and appeal of Calheta as well as the number of restaurants and cafés. It’s also home to a vintage sugar cane factory and a contemporary arts centre.
Unless your accommodation offers regular transfers to Funchal, or you’re happy to stay put, you’ll need a car to get around. With a vehicle, you have good access to many of the popular walking trails in the west of the island.
Special places to stay near Calheta
4-star Quinta das Vinhas is a gorgeous 17th century country manor house with many original features, surrounded by vineyards. There are two outdoor pools and plenty of options for sitting or lounging in the gardens. Guided tours of both vineyard and wine cellars can be arranged. Rooms are comfortable and spacious and there’s a range of accommodation options. You’ll need a car to explore further. See photos and check availability
For 5 star hotel luxury overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the Savoy Saccharum Resort & Spa is your best bet. Featuring a wellness centre, indoor and outdoor pools and rooms with balconies overlooking the sea, marina and beaches, a mini museum about the local sugar cane industry and interesting design features. Check availability and photos
If you prefer to rent a private house, Atlantis Country House is a restored rustic-styled 2 bedroom property with panoramic views of the ocean just 5 minutes by car from Calheta. Some rooms have exposed stone walls and wooden beams and the dining room has floor to ceiling windows with spectacular views. The host is very helpful. Check availability
And for something completely unique and utterly charming, Casas Maravilha offers holiday cottages made from recycled wooden pallets, glass and other recycled and sustainable materials in an agricultural setting. Fresh ingredients are available for cooking and it is a very relaxing experience. A car is essential although it’s only a short drive to restaurants and shops. See photos and verified reviews
Places to stay in the north of Madeira
My special spot, Sao Vicente
My top choice for a place to stay on the north of Madeira would be São Vicente. Surrounded by gorgeously green mountains, it also has a black sand beach, a quaint village centre and a strip of seafront restaurants. You can also explore Madeira from the inside at the nearby volcanic centre.
There are a few buses a day that connect São Vicente with Funchal and other places on the north of the island but a car would give you greater flexibility.
Madeira accommodation in São Vicente
Choose between guest bedrooms or self-contained apartments at Solar da Bica, a delightful country hideaway with a heated indoor pool, biological produce from their own vegetable garden and stunning views. You’ll want your own transport if you stay here. Check photos and availability
Casa da Piedade is another charming property, this time with an outdoor pool, surrounded by mountains and a gorgeous garden. It’s a bit closer to São Vicente so if you don’t mind a 20 minute walk, you could manage without a car. Check current prices
Solar do Carvalho is a restored historic house offering bright and vibrantly decorated rooms. There is a comfortable living room, a modern kitchen with a wood stove and laundry room. It has a nice garden and close to a forest. The host is very hospitable and breakfast is plentiful. Parking is very good. See photos and check availability
I fell in love with Quinta O Refúgio, a 2-bedroomed house above the village of São Vicente, a perfect getaway spot. The gardens are the best feature and the little terrace overlooking the ocean. Ema is an attentive host. Check availability for your stay
North Coast Guest House is another little haven just up the hill from the village so the free parking is handy. The host’s two dogs roam freely around the pretty gardens but are not allowed in the house. Each double room has a private bathroom and breakfast is included although you also have access to a shared kitchen, dining room and living room. See photos and check prices
Porto Moniz for pretty pools
This northwesterly town is most famous for its natural swimming pool complexes. Their popularity means there are several restaurants and accommodation options in this small coastal village so it could be a useful place to stay if you don’t need much more to keep you entertained.
You can get to Porto Moniz by bus but the journey is long and unless you’re happy to stay put once you’re there, it would be best to have a car to give you some freedom.
Hotels in Madeira – Porto Moniz
The 4-star Aqua Natura Madeira hotel overlooks the main swimming pool complex and the ocean and offers many extra facilities (jacuzzi, massage, gym). Its spacious rooms are nicely decorated and have a balcony with sea views. There is a 24 hour restaurant on site serving a range of dishes. See photos and check availability
Hotel Euro Moniz Sol is closer to the smaller swimming pool complex and provides decent 3 star accommodation. The public spaces feature enticing photos of Madeira’s natural beauty and there’s an indoor pool and sauna for when the weather’s not so wonderful. Free parking is a bonus. Check prices and availability
Casa das Escaleiras is a clean, spacious and light modern holiday rental that sleeps 4 in a quiet location above the village yet close to natural swimming pools. The terrace has lovely views of the ocean and the kitchen is well equipped. Access to the house could be a little difficult if someone has mobility issues but there is parking. Hosts are very helpful. See photos and full description
Check out some of my other articles about Madeira:
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