O Refugio Madeira accommodation. One of the best places to stay in Madeira

Since the beautiful island of Madeira has so much to see and do, and is very varied for such a small landmass, it’s important to pick the right base so that you can make the most of your time. I’ve made it easier for you to choose where to stay in Madeira.

Discover the best places to stay in Madeira with my accommodation guide, which includes carefully selected hotels and lodging suggestions.

If you don’t want to read the full article, here are my favourite Madeira hotels and guesthouses

Best 5 star hotel = Quintinha Sao Joao Hotel & Spa

Best 4 star hotel = Estalagem Da Ponta Do Sol

Best boutique hotel= Castanheiro Boutique Hotel

Luxury villa = Sapphire Folds

For a selection of stunning homes across Madeira check out Plum Guide, for some inspiring stays.

If you’re looking for a luxury stay in Madeira or elsewhere in Portugal, read my best luxury villas in Portugal post for some great ideas.

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.

Note: If you are considering renting a car in Madeira, read my tips here. To compare the best prices visit Discovercars.com or Rentalcars.com.

Many of the resort hotels are clustered around the Lido promenade, which is great for ocean views and swimming pools and handy for restaurants and shopping. It’s a bit of a trek into the old town from here, although there are regular buses and taxis shouldn’t cost much. This is the most ‘touristy’ part of the city, good for families and doesn’t involve many hills.

There are several more original, boutique style hotels scattered throughout the hills of Funchal old town if you want a more unique experience.

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. 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.

Belmond Reid's Palace Hotel in Funchal, Madeira
Belmond Reid’s Palace Hotel in Funchal, Madeira

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. Note that dress codes apply. e.g. for afternoon tea. Pick a room with a view.


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. Check current prices.


The luxurious, 5-star all-inclusive Enotel Lido Madeira Hotel offers an indoor and outdoor pool, spa and sauna and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean with direct access to the oceanfront promenade. Get more details.


Alternatively, the award winning The Vine Hotel is certain to leave you with a truly memorable experience. It overlooks the port and the bay and is thoughtfully designed with a different colour scheme reflecting the four seasons for rooms on each floor. Check availability.

Quinta dos Palheiros hotel, Madeira
Quinta dos Palheiros hotel, Madeira

If you enjoy golf, gardens and views, you can’t go wrong with Casa Velha do Palheiro. This 5-star manor house hotel dates back to 1804 and is set within glorious gardens, offers discounts on its golf course and a shuttle bus service to Funchal, although there is free parking on site, too. Spa treatments, indoor and outdoor pools, a tea room and restaurant add to its appeal. Check current prices.

Read more about golfing in Madeira

4 star boutique accommodation in Funchal

Castanheira Boutique hotel rooftop pool and views
Castanheiro Boutique hotel rooftop pool and views

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. Book a room.


The ARTS IN Hotel Conde Carvalhal is a restored Madeiran mansion that boasts suites which are located in the original mansion, while the studios are situated in the modern annex. Besides its panoramic views over the city, the mountains and the sea, there is a lovely botanical garden in which to relax. Choose your view.


The Hotel Baia Azul has been newly renovated and is very close to Funchal’s Lido beachfront. This 4-star hotel offers 3 swimming pools, 3 restaurants, a spa and a sun deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the gardens. Underground parking is available (at extra cost). Grab a sea view room.


Other Funchal accommodation options

For a home that sleeps up to 6 try Where The Sky Meets The Sea. Enjoy views of the Atlantic Ocean and Cabo Girão from the balcony. This modern apartment has a fully equiped kitchen and communal pool. See photos.

The small 3-star Hotel Albergaria Catedral is, as you might have guessed, not far from the cathedral and smack bang in the heart of Funchal old town. Clean, comfortable rooms, air conditioning and free parking make this a good city centre option. Read these reviews.


3-star Hotel do Carmo is also handy for exploring the old town and, as a slightly larger hotel, features a rooftop pool and pleasant outdoor spaces in addition to 1960s themed public areas and spacious rooms. Book your favorite room.


For somewhere unique and cosy in the hills above Funchal, Quinta Devónia by Travel to Madeira is perfect. There is a choice of houses or a cottage surrounded by an organic fruit and vegetable garden, which guests are welcome to use. It is a 15 minutes drive up in the hills above Funchal so a car is useful unless you intend to just stay there and relax. See photos and reviews.

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.


For a selection of truly amazing homes to stay in this part of Madeira check out Plum Guide.

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.

Beach and town, Machico, Madeira
Beach and town, Machico, Madeira

Accommodation in Machico

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 

Another lovely apartment is ParadisMare, very close to Sao Roque Beach. It’s clean and cosy with a well equiped kitchen. See availability.

Close to Sao Roque Beach, The Modern & Recycled House offers a  large open-plan beachfront apartment that comes with its very own pool table! There is a small balcony with a wonderful view of both the sea and mountains. Check out the details on Booking.com.

Casa da Graça is a clean, bright 4-bedroomed holiday home that boasts a great location and views from the terrace. You can make use of the hot tub after a long day of sightseeing and there is free car parking. See photos and prices.

Using Santa Cruz as a place to stay on Madeira Island

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.

Seafront, Santa Cruz- Things to do in Madeira
Seafront, Santa Cruz, Madeira

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 on Booking.com

Salt Water Villa is a 3-bedroomed holiday home located on the beachfront and features a private pool and parking on site. The garden and outdoor facilities give you the chance to relax and recharge those batteries. See photos and full description

The 4-star Vila Galé Santa Cruz has indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a fitness and wellness centre and rooms with sea views. They also offer a free shuttle into Funchal a few times a day. Choose a room.

Another 4-star hotel is the Santa Cruz Village Hotel. Each room comes with a balcony and there’s an outdoor pool and a restaurant on site. There’s also free parking. See what’s on offer.


Sunny Ponta do Sol

Ponta do Sol is a small, attractive town on the southern coast of Madeira with a pebble beach and could be a possible base if you have a car or stay in a hotel that offers transfers.

Ponta do Sol, Madeira
Ponta do Sol, Madeira

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

Combining luxury and history is the former summer residence of a noble family at 1905 Zino’s Palace. You can stay in a room overlooking a terraced banana tree plantation or enjoy a superb ocean view. There’s an outdoor swimming pool and the hotel also provides car hire for guests who want to explore the surrounding area. See photos and reviews.

Right on the seafront, with lots of bars and eateries close by, is the Enotel Baia do Sol. Rooms are bright and give you a great view of the ocean or bay. There is an in-house restaurant that serves typical Madeiran dishes. Check the photos and prices.

There are several private villa and apartment rentals in this area too.

Stay in Calheta for the marina and sandy 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 should you be looking for some cultural activities.

Unless your accommodation offers regular transfers to Funchal, or you’re happy to stay put, you’ll need a car to get around the rest of Madeira. With a vehicle, you have good access from Calheta 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

Savoy Saccharum Resort & Spa, Calheta. 5 star hotel in Madeira
Savoy Saccharum Resort & Spa, Calheta, Madeira

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 on Booking.com

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

Beautiful Jardim da Mar village

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 you may need to leave your vehicle in the central car park and walk to your accommodation.

Cobbled lanes, Jardim do Mar. What to do in Madeira island
Cobbled lanes, Jardim do Mar, Madeira island

Stone Lovers is a charming 1 bedroom cottage set above the village with its own pool and garden and a range of interesting features. See photos and full amenities 

Vila Flora has 3 bedrooms, a garden and a private pool. It’s a very tranquil place with great ocean views. The perfect spot to relax. Take a look at these gorgeous photos.

Check out Plum Guide for inspiring places to stay.


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

You have a wide choice of accommodation at the lovely Granny’s farm, from a three-bedroomed house to a bungalow and even charming tents. It’s a relaxing environment and close to some beautiful hiking trails. Check dates.

Not far from Sao Vicente you will find Pestana Quinta do Arco Nature & Rose Garden Hotel. With stunning mountain and sea views the whole experience is enhanced with the gorgeous rose garden with more than 1700 different species of roses, blooming from April to December. Check out the photos and fall in love.

Porto Moniz for pretty pools

This small, northwesterly coastal town is most famous for its natural swimming pool complexes. Their popularity means there are several restaurants and accommodation options in Porto Moniz 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.

Porto Moniz from above. Places to stay in Madeira
Porto Moniz from above

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

Just above the sandy beach of Seixal you’ll find the lovely Madeira Black Sand House. Gaze at the sea views from the balcony of this two-bedroomed rustic house and experience a touch of paradise! This family house has been beautifully restored and you’re sure to be well looked after by the hosts. Choose your dates.

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

If you’re looking for a luxury villa in Madeira, or anywhere else in Portugal, take a look at my The Best Luxury Villas In Portugal post for some great ideas.

Check out some of my other articles about Madeira:

10 Things To See And Do In Funchal

5 Magical Easy Walks in Madeira

Food And Drink You Should Try In Madeira

Madeira guide books and maps

Guide books for Portugal rarely go into any detail about the Madeira islands so you should consider buying a dedicated book.

Take a look at these via Amazon:

DK Eyewitness have thought of almost everything in their guide to the Top 10 (gardens, beaches, museums, walks etc.)

Top 10 Madeira (Eyewitness Top 10 Travel Guide)


If, like me, your interests centre around food and walking, this guidebook may fit the bill

Madeira (Walk and Eat) (Walk & Eat)


Dedicated wine buffs should consult this guide

Madeira: The islands and their wines (The Classic Wine Library)


Another general interest guide book is the Lonely Planet

Pocket Madeira (Travel Guide)


If you’re driving in Madeira, it’s wise to have a paper map of the island as well as GPS navigation – try this Madeira map.

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Rocky coastline. Madeira Accommodation Guide_ Where To Stay In Madeira For Your Holiday
The best accommodation on Madeira.
Cliffs and sea view. The breathtaking island of Madeira offers lots to see and do: so much that choosing where to stay can be hard. My detailed accommodation guide gives descriptions of the best areas to stay as well as carefully selected hotels and lodging suggestions in each area to fit every budget - read on to find YOUR perfect holiday base in Madeira!
Madeira Island, Portugal – Best bases and accommodations for your stay



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