Traveling to Madeira with Children - Kelionės su vaikais
Traveling to Madeira with Children
Kelionė su vaikais į Madeirą

Traveling to Madeira with Children

Madeira is a Portuguese island with a similar climate to Tenerife, but with a lot more greenery. Every byway or stream is bursting with greenery. The flowering flowerbeds or ferns that we try so hard to nurture in our gardens and interiors flourish effortlessly on this island. Raminta Sinkevičiūtė, who travelled with her family, shares her impressions, tips and beautiful photos.

Travelling to Madeira with children – what to do on the island for those who like to spend time in cosy towns, enjoy the food, admire the views from the car window or do more active leisure activities, from hiking on mountain trails to canyoning or surfing. For Lithuanians who are not afraid of the Baltic Sea‘s water temperature, the island is suitable for swimming even in the cooler months of December-April. It’s just that these months are rainy and cooler, so it’s best to stay away from the northern side. This island is suitable for holidays all year round.

It is recommended to rent a car for trips, as public transport does not necessarily keep to the schedule. You can easily get around the island in a couple of hours by car, as there is a network of tunnels all over the island. However, you will have to turn out of the tunnels to see anything.

What Did the Children Like Best?

It came across as a rather adult presentation of the island, but we were travelling with grown-up children aged 10 and 12, for whom swimming in any kind of water and eating on time are the most important things for a good holiday, so it was easy to find. But I thought it would be fair to ask them themselves what they liked best, so:

  • “Even though it’s not winter, we went sledging“. You will find this activity in Madeira’s capital, Funchal. The so-called Carro de Cesto (Carro de Cesto) will take you down the Montes Tabogana. This is a wicker sledge that two men will take with you down the hill. It is best to take the funicular up to the sledge, as you may not be able to find a place to park your car at the top. The sleigh is designed for 2 people, or 3 if at least 1 of them is a child. Check in advance as some days the sleighs are not working. Travelling with Children ® recommends the Monk Valley tour package, Monte with an included tabogan ride.
  • “Dozens of eyes watching you all the time”. Yes, and all those curious little eyes are lizards, who are the real masters of the island and will be watching you every step of the way.
  • „Sea cucumber”. Canico, near the capital, has a great promenade, fish restaurants, children’s playgrounds and beaches. And on one of them, a more enclosed one for safer swimming, we saw a swimming animal called the Sea Cucumber.


Ponta do Sol

The town with the most sunny days on the island, perhaps the cosiest of all. Here you can just wander the narrow streets, take photos on the bridge, have lunch and an ice cream. In the centre of town, you’ll find a beach of smooth stones. Most of it is surrounded by breakwaters, so you can swim even on a wet day. In the distance, you can see a waterfall glistening in the sun as it falls into the ocean. The beach is more suitable for those who already know how to swim. Wear swimming shoes on all Madeira beaches.

Seixal Beach

I also liked the black sandy Seixal beach in the north of the island. It even made it into the world’s top beach rankings in 2022, presumably by people who haven’t seen Smiltyne’s white sandy beach. But it is certainly worthy of attention, if only for the steepness of the cliffs nearby and the waterfall falling into the ocean. The beach seems safe even for the little ones. It’s shallow, shallow, long waves and good for learning to stand up on a surfboard. By the way, there are also natural pools nearby, of which I have seen many in Madeira. Natural pools are bodies of water on the shore of the ocean that have been naturally formed, or enclosed with a little help from man, by the waves of the ocean.

Calheta Beach

A white sandy beach in the south-west of the island, sheltered from the ocean waves by artificial jetties and therefore suitable for swimming with the little ones. Nearby, you can enjoy the harbour for small boats. The area is very touristic.

Nature Trails and Other Attractions

Lawrence Peninsula (PR8)

The Lawrence Peninsula (Ponta de Sao Lourenco) is the easternmost part of Madeira. The most spectacular trail on the island. If you’re determined to do a few walks during your holiday, it’s best to save this one for the end, as the spectacular views you see will make the others fade into obscurity. The round trip is about 7 km. There will be ups and downs on narrow paths and stone steps. In the warmer months you will easily find suitable places for swimming. Towards the end of the peninsula there is a café in an oasis of palm trees, where you can buy drinks, desserts or quick snacks and visit the toilet. There is a harbour close to the café and you can take a boat from the harbour to avoid having to walk back, but you should check in advance.


Levados are an ingenious human invention to curb mountain rainfall by forcing it to flow through special channels, thus irrigating the greenery, gardens and plantations at the bottom of the island. Choose at least one of the levadas for a walk. Be prepared with waterproof clothing as you may have to spend time in the clouds, but the experience will be unforgettable. We chose the Furadas levadas (PR10) in the mountains, in the laurel forest. The round trip was about 10 km. We saw waterfalls, streams and ponds, tunnels. If you are travelling with younger children, please estimate how many kilometres you can cover. Levada trails are usually not circular and you will have to backtrack the same distance. Be alert as the paths are quite narrow and there is often a precipice on one side.

Travelling with Children® recommends travelling with a full-day excursion.

Ponta do Pargo

If you search for Viewpoint Madeira, you will find many links, each worthy of your attention. However, one of the most spectacular destinations to reach by car as you move westwards towards the island is Ponta do Pargo. The nearby lighthouse is also a fun walk.

Botanical Gardens in Funchal

The Botanical Gardens, located at an impressive height, can amaze those who are not interested in plants with spectacular views of the capital city, the ocean or the cascading network of viaducts, bridges and tunnels. The garden is also accessible by funicular railway.

If you do decide to visit the garden, it’s best to do so in the first few days of your holiday, as you’ll be treated to a myriad of beautiful plants at every turn, and the impression of the garden will fade. There are cafés and snack bars in the garden.

Porto Moniz Lava Pools

Be sure to stop and admire the town of Porto Moniz from above. The view is spectacular. This town in the north of the island is famous for its natural lava pools. It’s very touristy, so you’ll want to buy some souvenirs, but you won’t want to stay too long if you’re avoiding crowds.

CR7 Museum

Did you know Cristiano Ronaldo was born in Madeira? So it is no coincidence that you can visit his museum in the capital Funchal.

Cristo Rey

A giant sculpture of Jesus, the same as in Brazil. By the way, the one in Madeira faces the one in Rio de Janeiro.


Where else to enjoy seafood and the power of fish species, if not in Madeira. Portions are quite large. In several places, I had to order a portion of fish and seafood for 2 people, which would have been enough for 3-4. Especially since it’s hard to resist the temptation to satisfy your hunger and curiosity with snacks beforehand.

Bolo do Caco

Madeira’s traditional white bread seasoned with garlic butter. They will be offered for snacks in almost every restaurant and snack bar. It’s delicious. And the risk that children will not want their meals because they will be full.

Sheets (Leaves)

Fried clams named leaf, a common snack offering. This is a fun dish. What I would not recommend are snails, they are very small, you have to eat them by scratching them with a needle, they are usually not served warm and the taste is not expressive at all.

Pastel de Nata

The most accurate description is crème brûlée in a basket of shortcrust pastry. A traditional Portuguese dessert, if you haven’t tried it yet, it’s a sin not to try it here in Madeira. You can easily find it in any cafe, dessert shop or bakery. And the coffee in Madeira is great!


Didn’t taste the delicious wine of Madeira? You can find the local wine Barbusano, which boasts the chapel of the town of São Vicente. By the way, a short fun walk awaits you near this chapel. On a windy day, you can see that the river is not flowing into the ocean, but is being blown back into the mountains. Coming back to the wines, it is a big plus for Madeira restaurants that they can offer a number of wines in smaller bottles. In this way, you will have the opportunity to taste the excellent wines of mainland Portugal, instead of choosing only what you have available.

„Traveling with Children” Recommends

Dolphin and Whale Watching Catamaran Cruise and Eco Catamaran Tour.

Discover the natural beauty of Madeira’s coast and look for marine life. See dolphins, whales and turtles playing in their natural habitat. A variety of aquatic mammals roam Madeira’s azure waters throughout the year. Whether you come in summer or winter, chances are you’ll see one of these amazing creatures.

Magic Dolphin Eco is the only purpose-built catamaran for dolphin and whale watching in Madeira. It is the only ecological catamaran with hybrid-electric engines for dolphin and whale watching.

Funchal 3 in 1: 48-hour Bus Tour

Get off at any of the 30 stops. Enjoy breathtaking views from vantage points such as Pico dos Barcelos. Discover famous monuments such as the Town Hall Square and the Cathedral. Admire the beautiful gardens!

The 3-in-1 ticket also gives you access to the picturesque fishing village of Câmara de Lobos. Gaze out over the Atlantic Ocean from Europe’s highest cliffs at Cabo Girão by bus from Câmara de Lobos.

Funchal: A Walking Tour of The Old Town

Travel to the 19th century on the public path between the municipal theater and the cathedral, where sugarcane was first planted in Madeira in the 15th century.

Visit the ruins of the old Pilory Square and the 1584 The area damaged by the Great Funchal fire.

“Travels with children” thanks Raminta for the article about the trip to Madeira.

Guide 24/7 app – a Lithuanian-speaking “guide” for independent travel around Madeira

If you want to get to know Madeira on your own, we recommend downloading the free Lithuanian app Guide 24/7 from the Apple or Google Play stores.

In the travel app you will find an audio guide in Lithuanian and a route around Madeira. After walking and exploring the old town of Funchal with a Lithuanian-speaking “guide”, take a trip around this extraordinary island. A route map with navigation will help you not to get lost. As many as 37 “discoveries” await you in Madeira – as many as 37 interesting stories related to places of interest throughout the island.

The audio guide will tell you:

  • How did Madeira wine come about?
  • Where is the traditional cake made?
  • What was Winston Churchill doing in Madeira?
  • Did the Duke of LDK really live here?
  • Where do cars “bath”?
  • What to see, visit, eat and try in Madeira to make this trip unforgettable.

After purchasing the route, you will find not only the audio guide’s narration in Lithuanian about the place of interest, but also other useful information: opening hours, entrance fees and recommendations. You can buy the Madeira route for only 8.99 euros and the whole family will use it unlimitedly.

Try it out! Download and familiarize yourself with the app – it costs nothing! After downloading the app, you will be able to conveniently and most importantly – listen to stories in Lithuanian not only about Madeira, but also the attractions of other countries and cities and use the map!

Guide 24/7

Guide 24/7

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