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

If you’re wondering where to stay in Madeira island, this guide will make it easier for you to choose a base that suits your travel style.

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 location so that you can make the most of your time.

During my various stays on the island, I’ve explored the length and breadth of Madeira, which gives me valuable insights into the pros and cons of the different towns and villages. The right one (or two) for you will depend on how you intend to get around as well as what you’d like to see and do.

Discover the best places to stay in Madeira with my expert accommodation guide, which includes an overview of different towns and carefully selected hotels and lodging suggestions for each key location.

Map of Madeira showing important places
Map of Madeira

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.

Lido or old town?

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. This is my personal preference as I prefer the architecture and character of the historical centre. Unless your hotel is right in the centre, it may involve a hill so bear that in mind. Buses and taxis are easy to use.

Wherever possible, I choose accommodations that follow sustainable practices, as indicated by the number of leaves (3 is the top score). No leaf simply means that I can’t verify their current efforts regarding sustainable travel but I love the property.

5-star hotels in Funchal Madeira

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

The spacious and elegant rooms of this 5-star hotel 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.

Funchal 4-star hotel

ARTS IN Hotel Conde Carvalhal

A restored Madeiran mansion that boasts suites which are located in the original building, 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. Again, there is a hill. Free onsite parking. Choose your view.

3-star hotels

Hotel Catedral

This small hotel 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.

A great hotel handy for exploring the old town and, as a slightly larger building, features a rooftop pool and pleasant outdoor spaces in addition to 1960s themed public areas and spacious rooms. Book your favorite room.

The best boutique hotel in Funchal

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

This beautifully designed 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.

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

Luxury apartments in Funchal

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels
Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

Located in the historical area of the city these bright and breezy studios are modern and comfortable, all come with well-equipped kitchenettes. There’s a lovely terrace and communication with the hosts is straightforward. See photos.

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

For a more in-depth look at Funchal accommodation, see my Best Hotels in Funchal post.


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

White Waters Hotel

This lovely family run 4-star hotel in the main square is just a five minute walk from Machico beach. It has great panoramic views from the rooftop terrace and boasts an excellent restaurant. Rooms are nicely furnished and bright, with large windows. Book your stay now.

Machico apartments

Feeling Like Home Machico

There are some great sea views from many of these clean and modern apartments. Kitchens are well-equipped and there’s free car parking. Select your dates.

Casa Do Pico

Set in a quiet area close to the beach, these apartments and studios are bright and spacious and come with all you need for a pleasant stay. See availability.

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

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

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

5-star hotel

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels
Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

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

4-star hotel in Santa Cruz

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels
Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean is the Vila Galé Santa Cruz, with 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.

Santa Cruz Village Hotel

Another lovely 4-star hotel where 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.

Amazing villa in Santa Cruz

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

This 3-bedroomed holiday home is located on the beachfront and features private pool and sea access as well as parking on site. The garden and outdoor facilities give you the chance to relax and recharge those batteries. See photos and full description


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. There’s some interesting urban art scattered throughout the centre.

Ponta do Sol, Madeira
Ponta do Sol, Madeira

Hotels in Madeira – Ponta do Sol


Estalagem Da Ponta Do Sol

A gorgeous 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

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.

Guesthouse in Ponta do Sol

Combining luxury and history is the former summer residence of a noble family in this wonderful 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 offers free parking. See photos and reviews.

Ponta do Sol apartments

Blue House

Choose from a range of apartments at this recently renovated accommodation. Near Lugar de Baixo Beach, there’s a terrace and a pool, while some rooms come with a patio and sea views. There’s also an elevator to save those tired legs. If you have a car, street parking is usually possible nearby. Select your dates.

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 to create a small beach has raised the profile and appeal of Calheta beyond 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 probably 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

5-star luxury

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels
Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

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

4-star accommodation

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

This Quinta 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

Villas and cottages near Calheta

Atlantis Country House

This villa 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

Casas Maravilha

For something completely unique and utterly charming, try these 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

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 

Villa Flora

This villa 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 more 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 lush 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

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

Choose between guest bedrooms or self-contained apartments at this 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

Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

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

A beautiful 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

Choose Porto Moniz for seawater 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


Green Sustainability leaf for hotels
Green Sustainability leaf for hotels

This lovely 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. Free parking. See photos and check availability


This hotel 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

Studios and apartments in Porto Moniz

Studios by Aqua Natura Hotels

Just one minute’s walk from the natural pools are these studios with access to a balcony and a private beach area. You also get to use the hot tub and sauna and there’s free car parking. See the options.

The Jolie Apartments

Here there’s a whole range of apartments and studios you can choose from, some with sea or mountain views. Close to the natural pools, the kitchen comes fully equipped and the terrace or balcony is a great place to chill out. Select your date now.

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.

Longer stays on Madeira

If you’re looking for longer-stay options on Madeira, then try Flatio. They’re a rental housing platform, mostly deposit-free, that offers lawyer-verified, legally binding lease agreements that can be used as proof of address and for visa purposes.

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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