Home Destinations WHERE TO STAY IN MADEIRA // 7 BEST Beach Towns & Best Hotels [2024 Edition]

WHERE TO STAY IN MADEIRA // 7 BEST Beach Towns & Best Hotels [2024 Edition]

From 5-star luxury hotels to family-friendly apartments, wake up to ocean views with these best hotels in Madeira

by Michele
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Where to Stay in Madeira 2023 - BEST Beach Towns and Best Hotels
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Deep into the Atlantic Ocean, far from the bustle of the mainland, Madeira and Porto Santo is a microcosm of sunshine, beauty, and tranquillity.  Along with natural wonders, including spectacular natural swimming pools and the World Heritage-listed Laurisilva Forest, a holiday in Madeira charms the senses with thrilling outdoor experiences, unique cultural landmarks, and rich gastronomy.

In this guide, you’ll find a list of the best options for where to stay in Madeira broken down into 7 best areas, each with its own unique vibe and attractions. Whether you’re planning a relaxing getaway, a fun family holiday, or the perfect hiking adventure, this guide will help you find a great base that’s just right for you.

Map of Madeira: Where to stay in Madeira

To make it easier for you to decide where to stay in Madeira, here’s a visual list of all the towns discussed in this guide.

Things to do in Madeira - Map of Madeira Islands


first-time visitors and city-vibe lovers

When planning where to stay in Madeira for the first time, Funchal is the best choice. This charming town on the southwest coast is the island’s capital city and has many cultural landmarks and attractions to explore. There are also lots of local shops, bars, and restaurants as well as a great selection of accommodation options to cater to all budgets.

Where to Stay in Madeira - FUNCHAL - Monte Palace Tropical Garden

Monte Palace Tropical Garden

While Funchal may lack the raw beauty tourists look for when visiting Madeira, it’s still a pretty place to explore. From admiring one of Portugal’s most striking ceilings at the 15th-century Sè Cathedral to riding the cable car to Monte for some spectacular views, there are plenty of things to do in Madeira. Also, staying in Funchal gives you easy access to all the facilities and tour companies you’ll need to get around the island.

Where to Stay in Madeira - FUNCHAL - Pestana CR7 Hotel Rooftop pool

Pestana CR7 Hotel Rooftop pool

Where to stay in Funchal 

  • Luxury: Belmond Reid’s Palace – Above Funchal Harbour, this gorgeous resort offers charming accommodations with stunning views of the Atlantic, Michelin-starred dining, and heated outdoor pools. There’s also a luxury spa for extra relaxation and an on-site boutique with exclusive souvenirs.
  • Mid-range: Hotel Cajù – This lovely boutique hotel in Funchal occupies a historic building only steps from the Cathedral and features 24 charming rooms with a chic mix of stone, wood, and glass. Facilities include a restaurant specialising in healthy cooking and a well-equipped gym.
  • Budget: 29 Madeira Hostel – Set in a beautiful 1930s building, this hostel in Funchal is an excellent place to stay in Madeira on a budget. It draws inspiration from the island’s wicker tradition and has some private rooms for those who want more privacy. The staff even shows you how to make Poncha, a traditional Madeiran drink.
  • Family-friendly: Golden Residence Hotel – Among the many hotels in Funchal, this one offers a series of elegant rooms and apartments with kitchenettes and balconies that are perfect for a family holiday. Guests have access to two pools, a spa, and a restaurant serving regional and international cuisine.
  • Apartment: Bebera Branca – Watching the sun rise over the island from the balcony with a steaming cup of coffee is one of the perks of staying in this stylish apartment in the centre of Funchal. It sleeps 4 people, has floor-to-ceiling windows, a fully equipped kitchen, a washing machine, and air conditioning.


water sports & family holidays

Where to Stay in Madeira - PR17 Trail - Caminho do Pinaculo e Folhadal

PR17 Caminho do Pinaculo e Folhadal

Blessed with long hours of sunshine and beautiful weather year-round, Calheta is one of the best places to stay in Madeira for water sports enthusiasts and outdoorsy types. There are many activities to choose from, including windsurfing, snorkelling, paragliding and private dolphin-watching tours. Plus, the Levada hikes, which run along Madeira’s artificial watercourses, are less than a 10-minute drive away.

Where to Stay in Madeira - CALHETA - On Tales Private dolphin cruise

With all-inclusive resorts and fine sandy beaches, this lovely seaside town is also a popular destination for families travelling to Madeira with kids. There’s a great playground right by the sea, the Parque Infantil da Calheta, and lots of shops for every need. 

Where to stay in Calheta 

  • Luxury: Saccharum Resort & Spa – Themed around the world of sugar cane, one of the island’s top products, this 5-star resort sits right by the ocean and has stylish rooms with panoramic balconies. There is all you could ask for, from 4 pools and an award-winning spa to 3 restaurants and lots of activities to keep young guests entertained.
  • Mid-range: Quinta Das Vinhas – This boutique hotel is in a 17th-century farmhouse surrounded by organic vineyards. Guests can pick from a range of rooms, apartments, and cottages, and dine on a panoramic terrace with local dishes. There are even two pools to relax in.
  • Budget: Marina Rooms – Located on the beachfront, this guesthouse offers simple and spacious rooms with balconies overlooking the marina, air conditioning, minibars, and TVs. There is also a lovely terrace to relax on after a day of exploring.
  • Family-friendly: Savoy Calheta Beach – This all-inclusive resort on Calheta Beach is an ideal choice for where to stay in Madeira with kids. There are special activities for younger guests, from cooking with the chef to exciting baby nights, while grown-ups can enjoy spa treatments or simply laze by the pool.
  • Apartment: Sapphire Folds – Sleeping up to 6 guests, this stunning property is a five-minute drive from Calheta Beach and offers lots of privacy and tranquillity. Facilities are top-class and include a hot tub and an infinity pool. There are also a ping pong table and a PlayStation 4.


surfing huge waves

A short drive from Calheta, Jardim do Mar is a major surfing hot spot in Madeira. The powerful waves of the Atlantic have long drawn surfers seeking an adrenaline rush, with many shows and competitions held here throughout the years.

Beyond surfing, Jardim do Mar is a peaceful fishing village with idyllic alleyways and little houses decorated with colourful flowers. Until the 1960s, it could only be reached by boat and somehow that feeling of isolation still lingers, making it a little corner of paradise between the ocean and the mountains. Walkers will find a beautiful seafront promenade and a cliffside hiking trail that provides excellent views across the coastline.

Where to stay in Jardim do Mar 

  • Luxury: Soul Glamping – Guests at this deluxe glamping site in Madeira stay in elegant domes with huge windows framing magical sunsets and fall asleep to nature’s sounds. Each unit has a wood-burning fireplace and a hot tub on the private patio.
  • Mid-range: Tarmar Place – A small, quiet hotel with beautiful ocean views, a bar, and a restaurant serving fresh fish and regional dishes. Rooms overlook the mountains or the sea and come complete with air conditioning, flat-screen TV, and WiFi. The property also has a panoramic outdoor terrace.
  • Budget: Cecilia’s House – This lovely bed & breakfast has a homey feel and a privileged position right by the ocean. From the terrace, guests can enjoy magical sunsets. Rooms are bright and airy, with lovely sea views, and the rate includes a rich continental breakfast.
  • Family-friendly: Quinta Alegre – A charming country hotel with 29 comfortable rooms, including some specially designed for families. Its subtropical garden is especially charming, with a brilliant pool and a relaxing terrace. There’s also a restaurant with Madeira’s regional cuisine and international delicacies and a bar that’s open all day.
  • Apartment: Recanto Jardim do Mar – A stylish one-bedroom property with a garden and a terrace overlooking the sea. There’s everything you could want for a relaxing stay, from a fully equipped kitchen to a bicycle and car rental service.


some of the island’s best hikes

Where to Stay in Madeira - MACHICO - Miradouro Francisco Alvares Nóbrega

Miradouro Francisco Alvares Nóbrega

Machico, a seaside town on the east coast, holds a special place in Madeira’s history. It’s here that Portuguese explorers first landed in 1419, thus starting the island’s colonization.

Located in a fertile valley protected by the mountains, Machico is the perfect starting point for hiking in Madeira. There are trails for all levels, all with amazing views. Some of the most scenic include the Vereda da Ponta de São Lourenço, which runs along a stretch of rugged coastline, and the Vereda das Funduras, which passes through a vast laurel forest.

What’s more, there are two unique black sand beaches on Machico – Prainha do Caniçal and Sao Roque – as well as some of the best seafood restaurants on the island.

Where to stay in Machico 

  • Luxury: Dom Pedro Madeira – This elegant hideaway facing the ocean provides a range of rooms and suites designed to echo the island’s beautiful colours and landscapes. Facilities abound and include a large seawater pool, tennis and sports courts, a restaurant, a hairdresser salon, and a diving centre.
  • Mid-range: White Waters Hotel – Located on Machico’s main square, 5 minutes from the beach, this family-run hotel has bright, modern rooms with sea-facing balconies. The on-site restaurant serves local and international dishes, while the rooftop terrace offers sweeping views of the island.
  • Budget: Amparo Hotel – This small, family-run guesthouse is a great cheap hotel in Madeira offering a homey retreat only steps from Machico’s sandy beach. There are 12 cozy rooms with private bathrooms, TVs, WiFi, and a restaurant serving local specialities.
  • Family-friendly: Residencial Familia – Spacious triple rooms, free private parking and a great location near the beach are only a few of the reasons that make this guesthouse an excellent place for family holidays in Madeira. The on-site restaurant is a local favourite, serving a variety of fish and meat dishes.
  • Apartment: The Modern & Recycled House – This charming beachfront accommodation boasts floor-to-ceiling windows framing beautiful views, a fully equipped kitchen, two bathrooms and even a room with a pool table. One bedroom and two custom sofa beds can comfortably sleep up to 5 guests.


budget holidays

Where to Stay in Madeira - SANTA CRUZ

Santa Cruz is a small coastal town with a convenient location near the airport and close to Funchal. When considering where to stay in Madeira on a budget, this place is a great option that lets you enjoy the beaches and attractions without breaking the bank.

The town has a bunch of great restaurants, beautiful beaches with turquoise water, ancient churches, and a fantastic viewpoint – the Cristo Rei de Garajau. Also, Santa Cruz has a water park full of slides and pools that are popular with families. Nights are generally quiet, but Funchal is just a quick taxi ride away if you want some action.

Another big draw is the Santo da Serra Golf Club near the town centre, where golf enthusiasts can practice their swing immersed in the peaceful tranquillity of nature.

Where to stay in Santa Cruz 

  • Luxury: Albatroz Beach & Yacht Club – With just 20 rooms, this hotel is a quiet, exclusive oasis surrounded by lush tropical gardens. All rooms have a balcony with ocean views and Nespresso coffee machines. There are two seawater pools with ocean access, a freshwater pool, a restaurant, a tennis court, and a spa.
  • Mid-range: Vila Galé Santa Cruz – A 4-star hotel overlooking the ocean, with a range of elegant rooms complete with minibar, TV and air conditioning. From the outdoor pool and the wellness centre to two restaurants serving regional specialities and international cuisine, every whim is catered for.
  • Budget: Albergaria O Professor – This guesthouse offers affordable rooms only a quick stroll away from the beach. All have a balcony, air conditioning, a desk, and a flat-screen TV. Available to guests are a restaurant, a bar, and an ATM.
  • Family-friendly: Santa Cruz Village Hotel – Located in the historic centre, this contemporary 4-star hotel boasts spacious rooms that accommodate 3-4 guests. A restaurant specialising in local and Mediterranean cuisine, an outdoor pool, a massage menu, a games room, and a fitness centre are sure to keep the whole family entertained.
  • Apartment: ANA Apartment – Accommodating up to 4 guests, this apartment has a quiet ocean-view location and free private parking. There are two bedrooms, one bathroom, a fully equipped kitchen, and a lovely terrace for some sun-drenched relaxation. The owners also offer a complimentary airport shuttle service.


gorgeous natural treasures

Where to Stay in Madeira - PORTO MONIZ - Volcanic Natural Swimming Pools

Porto Moniz Natural Swimming Pools

On Madeira’s northwestern edge, Porto Moniz is a charming town famous for its natural wonders. You can swim in some natural pools made of volcanic rocks, which are naturally filled with seawater. There’s also Seixal Beach, a beautiful black-sand beach protected by lush mountains.

Walking enthusiasts will find some exciting hiking trails in the UNESCO-protected Laurissilva Forest, the largest surviving area of laurel forest dating from millions of years ago. One of the best is the Levada do Moinho, a 10-km route perfect for those who want to experience the forest’s unique fauna and flora away from the large crowds.

Where to stay in Porto Moniz 

  • Luxury: Aqua Natura Bay – Only steps from the natural pools, this boutique 4-star hotel offers bright rooms with sea views, Nespresso coffee machines, and eco-friendly amenities. Its wellness centre complete with two swimming pools, a Turkish bath, and a menu of massages and treatments makes for a thoroughly indulgent stay.
  • Mid-range: Perola Views Inn – Another great hotel near the natural swimming pools, offering comfortable rooms with panoramic balconies, TVs, and WiFi. The on-site restaurant also serves a tasty breakfast included in the room rate.
  • Budget: Hotel Salgueiro – Modern, clean and centrally located in Porto Muniz, this hotel offers both comfort and convenience. Rooms are spacious and include breakfast, while the panoramic restaurant serves the island’s traditional cuisine.
  • Family-friendly: Hotel Euro Moniz – With an excellent location just a few minutes away from the Laurissilva Forest, this hotel has a number of spacious family rooms complete with a balcony, air conditioning and a fridge. It has all the essential facilities, including laundry services, bicycle rental, generous breakfasts, and a sparkling swimming pool.
  • Apartment: Village Centre Apartment – A centrally located property with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and a living room with a TV. Complimentary WiFi is featured throughout the apartment and there’s a balcony with views over the town and the mountains.


some authentic local vibes

Where to Stay in Madeira - RIBEIRA BRAVA - Miradouro de São Sebastião - View of Praia Da Ribeira Brava

Miradouro de São Sebastião

On the southwest coast of Madeira, Ribeira Brava is the ideal destination to immerse yourself in local life. This quaint seaside village gets its name (literally, “angry river”) from a stream of water that’s rather turbulent when it rains.

People here live a laid-back lifestyle, enjoying beach days and walks in nature. In the village, there are a few lovely restaurants and some rustic bars where you can taste the Poncha, Madeira’s traditional drink.

The main attractions in Ribeira Brava include a small fort that once defended the coast, a lighthouse that offers mesmerising views over the coastline, and the Ethnographic Museum of Madeira with a collection of objects covering various aspects of the island’s social, economic and cultural life.

Where to Stay in Madeira - RIBEIRA BRAVA - Miradouro de São Sebastião - Coastline

Miradouro de São Sebastião

Where to stay in Ribeira Brava 

  • Luxury: Dazkarizeh 73 – This boutique hotel is an exotic hideaway on the hillside of Ribeira Brava, beautifully surrounded by a tropical fruit plantation. There are a handful of rooms and suites with sea views and amazing decor, an infinity pool, a spa area with a massage menu, and a terrace with magical sunset views.
  • Mid-range: Guesthouse The View – Located in a newly-built property on a hill overlooking the ocean, this small guesthouse has 8 panoramic rooms with a balcony or a terrace, a TV with satellite channels, a walk-in shower and Aloe Vera toiletries. The infinity pool is perfect for soaking up the sun in style.
  • Budget: Dazk Golden Estate – Immersed in lush greenery and superb coast views, this well-designed guesthouse is an affordable base to explore Madeira on a budget. Rooms provide all mod cons and some have a balcony. Facilities include a pool, a bar, a fitness centre, and a shared kitchen.
  • Family-friendly: Hotel Do Campo – This 4-star hotel has plenty to do for the whole family, from pools and wellness facilities to a games room and a library. Equipped with panoramic balconies, extra-long beds and satellite TVs, rooms are spacious and can be interconnected. There’s also a restaurant on site that serves local food.
  • Apartment: Holiday Apartment Ocean View – Among the many holiday apartments in Madeira, this one stands out for its big terrace and uninterrupted ocean views beautifully framed by floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s one bedroom, one bathroom, a fully equipped kitchen, and a garden with barbecue facilities and table tennis.

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Where to Stay in Madeira - BEST Beach Towns & Best Hotels

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