Cycling Holiday on Madeira

Cycling Holiday on Madeira

Spectacular steep cliffs and sea-faring culture

  • Caniço – Funchal
  • Daily routes ●○○○○
  • Altitude profile ●●●●○


km / day avg.

You've probably wondered what a cycling holiday on Madeira could be like; the island is known for its inclines and is a typical destination for hikers. The highest mountain, the Pico Ruivo, is 1862 metres high. For this tour you need to be pretty fit – but not necessarily a top athlete! In places where it's very mountainous, use our transfers so that you can enjoy this flowery island without it being too strenuous. The Portuguese settled here as early as the 15th century; traces of these early settlers can still be found. Along your route you'll see not only magnificent parks and gardens, but also stately homes, known as Quintas, and monumental forts. The most well-known son from this island is the international football player, Cristiano Ronaldo. The Austrian Empress Sissi once visited the island and convalesced from a lung illness. Enjoy the days in the Floating Gardens and the hospitality of the Madeira people!

Cycling Holiday on Madeira

Brief Information

  • Booking code
  • Start / Destination
    Caniço / Funchal
  • Duration
    8 days, 7 nights
  • Length
    approx. 195 km
    Daily routes ●○○○○
    between 25 and 50 km, Ø 40 km
    Altitude profile ●●●●○
  • Route condition
    Mostly on quiet side roads, short sections on busier streets.
  • Difficulty level
    Despite several included transfers there are some long inclines as well as steep descents. We recommend this tour for experienced cyclists with a good level of fitness.
  • Tour operated by
    Local cooperation partner

Day 1: Individual arrival in Caniço

Alongside the capital town of Funchal, Caniço is the second most important touristic centre of Madeira and is only 10 km from the airport. Your hotel is at the beach If you like, you can relax there upon your arrival. Outside of the hotel there are lots of wonderful opportunities to enjoy the sea and the sun. You can choose between idyllic rocky bathing pools, terraces in the cliffs with steps down to the sea and pebble beaches. If you prefer to explore, you'll love the diverse flower gardens and palm trees. In any of the many restaurants and bars you can refresh yourself after a walk through the town.

Day 2: Caniço – Porto da Cruz, approx. 25 km + Transfer

In the morning, your guide will welcome you and provide you with your bikes as well as make any adjustments to the bikes that are necessary. Next, a transfer takes you to Camacha, known for its basket-weaving art. This is also where your first section by bike begins. On the high road heading for the east coast you get fantastic views. Today's destination is Porto da Cruz, which when translated means the port of the cross. The town was named after the cross that was put up on the coast to mark the harbour for Portuguese explorers. Today, this idyllic coastal town is particularly popular among surfers and sun-lovers who congregate on this beach of volcanic sand. In Porto da Cruz is one of the last operating sugar cane mills. The sugar is still produced today by the same method it was made the year the mill was founded in 1927.

Day 3: Porto da Cruz – São Vicente, approx. 40 km + Transfer

The long and steep incline to Santana is mastered by bus! Santana is known particularly for its traditional farmhouses from the 16th century. These are colourful, triangular houses made of stone with a thatched roof. In Santana they have been restored with great attention to detail. Today most of them serve as tourist attractions. Cycling along the road, you pedal through small villages and along the coast to São Vicente. The biggest attraction there is Gruta de São Vicente. The lava caves are a result of an eruption that took place 400,000 years ago! You can explore them on a tour if you like.

Day 4: São Vicente – Porto Moniz, approx. 35 km + Transfer

The fourth day of your cycling holiday starts again with a transfer, this time to the high Paúl da Serra plain. On clear days you can see the sea to the north and south of Madeira from here. At the side of the high road you're cycling along, you will encounter grazing cows and sheep. But soon it's time to freewheel down a long descent towards the west coast. Feel the wind in your hair and enjoy the wonderful views. Porto Moniz is known for its natural swimming pools. They are natural, volcanic pools. In the evening wander through the town and along the promenade, where restaurants, cafes and souvenir shops line the streets. If you have time, you should go to Miradouro da Santa. It's a viewpoint, from which you have a great view of the town.

Day 5: Porto Moniz – Calheta, approx. 45 km

You cycle along the west coast through green forests and small villages. Calheta was founded in 1430 already and was one of the first places to be examined by the explorers of Madeira. There are two artificially-constructed beaches with golden sand from Figuera da Foz in Portugal and Morocco. This beach is supposed to be one of Madeira's best. The best white rum, Aguardente, is produced in Calheta. This is also included in Poncha, Madeira's national drink. Additional ingredients are limited to honey and lemon juice. What could be more appropriate than trying this typical cocktail in Calheta. But beware! It is so sweet you'll hardly notice the alcohol!

Day 6: Calheta – Funchal, approx. 50 km

In the morning you cycle along the coastline and are rewarded by wonderful views. In Ribeira the road starts to go up and away from the coast until you reach possibly the most spectacular viewpoint on your cycling holiday on Madeira. Cabo Girão, at 580 metres, is the second-highest cliff in the world. A platform has been built at the top that that juts out over the coast. From there you have breath-taking panoramic views and through the glass floor you can see the sea and coast below you. Enjoy the long descent back to the coast and the last few kilometres to Funchal. The capital of Madeira is named after the fennel plant, Funcho, which was found when the island was discovered. With the wonderful bay and the surrounding mountains, it is one of Portugal's most beautiful cities.

Day 7: Excursion by cableway to Monte

You climb aboard a cable car in Funchal which takes you to Monte. From there you have a wonderful view over the bay of Funchal. The pilgrimage church, Nossa Senhora do Monte, is worth visiting. This is where the coffin of the last Emperor of Austria is kept. He was banished to Funchal after the First World War and died only a year later from pneumonia. The Jardim Tropical Monte Palace is a tropical garden with an Oriental flair – and definitely one of the island's most beautiful gardens. The most popular attraction in Monte, however, are the Carros de Cesto. These basket cars were the first means of public transport in Madeira at the beginning of the 19th century and now a great tourist attraction. Do you dare a race down from Monte to Funchal? Don't worry, you don't have to steer the car yourself. That's all handled by the two Carreiros, white-clothed men with hats.

Day 8: Individual departure or extension of stay

Your cycling holiday on Madeira sadly comes to an end today. Did you know that Madeira is the Portuguese word for wood? If you have time before your return flight, wander one more time over the Mercado dos Lavradores. This farmers' market has lots to offer from exotic flowers, tropical fruits and fresh fish to local handiwork. And if you still haven't had enough, we're more than happy to extend your stay on this lovely island.