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Madeira Island Information


We make no recommendation for any particular car hire company,

but you will usually find the most competitive prices on price comparison web sites.

We recommend you check that your quote does not leave you with an unacceptable excess charge for damage to the car.

It is usual for the most competitive prices to require that you accept liability for an excess of 1000 euros.

If you are happy with this, or have your own insurance for hire car excesses, that’s fine.

If you are not comfortable with this level of commitment, look for another company.

If it is suggested that you may remove the excess liability by making an unspecified

additional payment when you collect the car, you will probably be asked for a very substantial sum,

often 4 or 5 times as much as the normal charge of about 3 or 4 euros per day.

We have also noticed that administration charges of 40 or 50 euros may be made if you incur a parking or speeding fine.

It is well worth reading the full terms and conditions before selecting your car hire provider.

If you are considering booking a car with Goldcar, we recommend that you first check out the reviews

on trip advisor and other Internet forums


The city of Funchal is home to half the Island's population and most of the accommodation is in the Funchal hotel zone.

 That is the place to be if you want to stay close to the little night life which Madeira offers and if you wish to avoid driving.

You can travel in the city by bus or taxi and take a day trip around the island with a tour bus.

Our useful links page gives links to the bus timetables but outside of Funchal, services are limited.

If you prefer to escape the urban environment, hiring a car to collect at the airport will give you the freedom to fully explore the island and stay in the beautiful scenery of the Madeiran countryside.

Many self catering properties are in rural locations from where a car is necessary to find food, drink or anything else.

A location in a village where you can easily walk to the shop, bar or restaurant is a major advantage.

The villages outside Funchal are mostly located high on hillsides with views out over the distant Atlantic.  

Above 500m low cloud often closes in except in high summer. The few coastal villages are generally sunnier, especially on the south west coast.  The north coast of the island is rugged and picturesque but the prevailing winds bring most of the island's rain from the north.  Which is why in past centuries the levada irrigation channels were constructed to bring the water to cultivate sugar cane on the sunny south west  facing slopes.

Jardim do Mar situated 20m above sea level on the SW coast  is widely considered to be the most scenic unspoiled coastal village in Madeira  

The Portuguese Island of Madeira is situated 620 miles SW of Lisbon and 435 miles West of N Africa.

Flights from London take three and a half hours.

Temperatures usually vary between 25-30 C in summer and between 16-25 C in winter.

With its subtropical climate, striking scenery, exotic vegetation and friendly people,

Madeira is a warm and restful retreat at any time of year.

Madeira is not a destination for clubbers or party animals.

You will find a year-round feast of colourful plants and hundreds of miles of footpaths following the levada irrigation channels and mountain paths