Get to know some lesser-known fantastic “Hidden Treasures” on Madeira island.
Madeira is known for various special reasons. There are loads of different things that can be seen or visited on the island. Obviously, there are certain very famous places like the Old town of Funchal, the Farmer’s Market, Cabo Girão, the “25 fountains” walk, and so on. Of course, these places are not famous for no reason. However, there are also lots of hidden treasures on Madeira that are lesser-known fantastic locations that everyone who visits Madeira should have seen at least once before they go back home!
These locations are true “Hidden gems” as they offer sometimes even more beautiful experiences than the well-known locations. They are often cheaper or completely free, whereas at other places you may have to pay an entry fee. We will show you some of these hidden gems on Madeira and where you can find them!
Fajã dos Padres & the ‘Panoramic Lift’
We start off our list with a very remarkable village between Ribeira Brava and Funchal with only one access point to the mainland. A Cable car!
Very close to Exit 3 of the Via Rápida, you will find a cable car station at a height of about 250 meters above sea level. With a 4-minute descent down the huge cliff via the near-vertical cable car you will then enter Fajã dos Padres, this village is only accessible by the cable car, or by boat. The village has a beach where you can swim in the ocean and a nice restaurant. There are various little cottages with a fantastic view over the sea that can be rented here if you are looking for a cosy, yet quiet place to stay.
The cable car itself has a panoramic window that allows you to appreciate every moment of the descent. Admire the south coast of Madeira Island with views reaching all the way to Ponta do Sol, the small bay of the village that is approaching, or simply the sea, as far as the eye can see.
Fajã dos Padres’ lift access is 28.5 km from the airport, about 10 km from Funchal, and less than 6 km from Ribeira Brava.
Pebble Beach near Illheus da Janela
Between Porto Moniz and São Vicente, close to the village of Seixal, tucked away behind a big rock this tiny nameless beach on the Northern coast of Madeira is truly hidden from the sight of the passers-by. If you aren’t looking for it, the chances are small that you’ll stumble on this place by coincidence. This pebble beach is known for the rocks that stick out vertically from the Sea.
Chances are you will be completely on your own here.
Garden near ‘SEM IDADE’, Calheta
’Sem Idade’ by itself it is already a sort of ‘hidden gem’. You can relax and have a drink in a quiet location, or even enjoy an afternoon snack. This is a great location to try the Madeiran lapas (limpets).
However, the gardens next to it are the cherry on top of the cake. They offer lots of space for children to run around and adults to relax in one of the surrounding benches or even on the grass.
This place offers fantastic views of the amazing sunset and its colours that will surely dazzle you.
PRAIA DA PRAINHA, Caniçal
This beach has its location in the parish of Caniçal near the tip of São Lourenço. This is a dark sand beach of volcanic origin.
On this beach, you can find the Piedade Dunes, which are limestone fossils of geomorphologic interest. This part of the island landscape is arid, painted of yellows, browns and oranges.
This bathing space has a restaurant, changing rooms, sun umbrellas and a parking lot so that you can enjoy the sun and go for a swim with no worries.
CHAPEL NOSSA SENHORA DA PIEDADE, Caniçal
This chapel is picturesquely situated on the top of a hill and leaning over the waters of the ocean. The chapel of Our Lady of Piedade was built on Mount Gordo or Piedade. It is famous within the local population for its annual pilgrimage. Once a year, religious people from all over the island walk up the mountain towards the Chapel. When they arrive, they will bid there. This chapel is not only suited for religious people though! From this hill, there is a fantastic view to the coast of the Parish of Caniçal and to Ponta de São Lourenço. Therefore, it also serves as a great viewpoint.
All in all, these are some underrated places that are worth visiting during your stay on Madeira Island. These places may not be the most popular places on Madeira, and there are way more fantastic spots and hidden treasures on Madeira. However, these should give you a good idea of what Madeira also has to offer!