how long does it take to drive around all of madeira


Driving around Madeira, also known as the “Pearl of the Atlantic,” is a dream for many travelers. The island boasts stunning landscapes, remote beaches, and picturesque villages, making it a perfect destination for a road trip adventure. However, the question remains, how long does it actually take to drive around all of Madeira? In this article, I will explore the various factors that influence the duration of this journey and provide some insights into what you can expect on your road trip around this beautiful island.

The Route

The circular route around Madeira covers approximately 250 kilometers, with winding roads that offer breathtaking views of the coastline and the interior of the island. The journey takes you through lush forests, dramatic cliffs, and charming towns, providing ample opportunities to stop and take in the scenery. It’s important to note that the driving time can vary depending on your pace, the number of stops you make, and the road conditions.

Key Stops Along the Way

As you embark on your journey around Madeira, there are several key stops that you won’t want to miss. These include the picturesque town of Camara de Lobos, known for its fishing harbor and vibrant atmosphere, as well as the iconic viewpoint at Cabo Girao, which offers a panoramic vista of the coastline. Other notable stops include the natural pools of Porto Moniz, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Laurisilva Forest, and the charming village of Santana with its iconic triangular houses.

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Factors Affecting Driving Time

Several factors can influence the amount of time it takes to drive around Madeira. The road conditions, weather, and traffic can all play a significant role in determining the duration of your journey. Additionally, the number of stops you make to explore the various attractions and viewpoints along the way will naturally extend the overall driving time. It’s essential to plan your trip carefully and allow for flexibility to make the most of your road trip experience.

Road Conditions

The roads around Madeira are known for their winding nature and steep inclines, particularly in the mountainous regions of the island. While the views are stunning, these roads can also be challenging to navigate, especially for those who are not accustomed to driving in such terrain. As a result, it’s important to factor in additional driving time to account for the slower pace necessitated by the road conditions.


The weather in Madeira can be unpredictable, with sudden changes in climate and occasional fog in the mountainous areas. It’s important to check the weather forecast before embarking on your road trip and to be prepared for varying conditions. Adverse weather can impact driving times, particularly in more remote areas of the island where road visibility may be reduced. Safety should always be a priority when driving in unfamiliar conditions.


While traffic congestion is not typically a major concern on the roads of Madeira, there may be instances where you encounter slower-moving vehicles or roadworks that can impede your progress. It’s advisable to plan your journey during off-peak times to minimize the impact of any potential traffic delays. Additionally, being mindful of the more popular tourist spots and planning your visits strategically can help optimize your driving time.

Estimated Driving Time

Given the various factors that can influence driving time, it’s challenging to provide a definitive estimate for how long it takes to drive around all of Madeira. On average, the journey could take anywhere from 4 to 6 hours, assuming minimal stops and favorable driving conditions. However, it’s important to remember that the allure of Madeira lies in its scenic beauty, and rushing through the island would mean missing out on the essence of the journey.

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Tips for an Enjoyable Road Trip

Here are a few tips to ensure that your road trip around Madeira is enjoyable and memorable:

  • Plan your route in advance, taking into account the key attractions you wish to visit.
  • Allow for plenty of time to stop and take in the stunning vistas and hidden gems along the way.
  • Be mindful of the varying road conditions and drive cautiously, particularly in the mountainous areas.
  • Check the weather forecast and be prepared for changes in climate.
  • Embrace spontaneity and be open to discovering new places that may not be on your initial itinerary.


Embarking on a road trip around Madeira offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the island’s natural beauty and diverse landscapes. While it may be challenging to pinpoint the exact duration of the journey, the experience of driving around Madeira is about more than just reaching a destination. It’s about savoring the journey, embracing the unexpected, and creating lasting memories along the way.


1. Is it safe to drive around Madeira?

Yes, it is generally safe to drive around Madeira. However, it’s important to be mindful of the challenging road conditions, particularly in the mountainous regions, and to exercise caution when navigating the winding roads.

2. Are there any rental car services available in Madeira?

Yes, there are several rental car companies operating in Madeira, offering a variety of vehicle options to suit your needs. It’s advisable to book your rental car in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons.

3. What are some must-see attractions along the road trip route?

Some must-see attractions along the road trip route include the town of Camara de Lobos, Cabo Girao viewpoint, Porto Moniz natural pools, Laurisilva Forest, and the village of Santana with its unique triangular houses.

4. What is the best time of year to embark on a road trip around Madeira?

The best time to visit Madeira for a road trip is during the spring and early summer months when the weather is pleasant, and the landscapes are in full bloom. However, Madeira’s mild climate makes it a suitable destination for a road trip year-round.

5. Are there any specific driving regulations to be aware of when driving on the island?

It’s important to familiarize yourself with the local driving regulations, including speed limits, road signage, and parking restrictions. Additionally, be mindful of the designated viewpoints and parking areas along the road trip route.


1. “Madeira Island, Portugal – The Official Tourism Website.” Visit Madeira.

2. Fernandes, Jose. “Driving Around Madeira: The Ultimate Guide.” Madeira Inner Journey, 21 May 2021,

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