Madeira — Transportation
Madeira Taxis and Car Rental
Taxis in Madeira are typically reliable and fairly priced, with rates set by the government, although you can negotiate with drivers for longer trips and daytrips. They are easy to spot (all-yellow with a blue stripe down the side) and can be hailed on the street, picked up at taxi stands, or called and booked in advance. Daniel Madeira Taxis (+351-919-791-289) and Madeira Airport Transfers (+351-925-145-769) are both well known and reputable companies. Avenue Arriaga (behind the marina) always has a line of taxis waiting. Drivers might not turn on the meter if it’s busy or it is late at night, so be sure to agree on a price first or wait for a driver that will use the meter.
There are several car rental companies in Madeira, including Avis, Hertz, and Auto Jardim, and the mountainous terrain and precipitous coastline makes for enjoyable driving. It is not for the very inexperienced, however, as routes typically have sharp turns and steep inclines, and local drivers seem to have zero patience behind the wheel. There is a coast orbital, linking all the towns and villages around Madeira. Stretches of this road, especially around the Porto Moniz area in the northwest, are extremely beautiful. You can also cut across the island at a number of places. Avoid driving too much in the capital, Funchal, if you can.
Madeira Water Taxis
Cruise ships dock at the large harbor in Funchal regularly, although there is no passenger ferry service to the island on account of its remoteness from the Portuguese mainland. There is, however, a regular passenger/car ferry to the nearby island of Porto Santo to the northeast of Madeira. This island, a two-hour trip away, has the best beaches in the region.
Madeira Trains and Buses
Buses are a decent way to get around Funchal and for getting between the main resorts on the south coast, although visitors may find them sickly and time-consuming on longer journeys due to the winding roads. They are also relatively expensive. Funchal is zoned, with the Lido area in Zone 1, and a seven-day ticket for city routes can be purchased. Kiosks along Avenue Mar das Communidades Madeirenses detail timetables, although they are typically not very clear.
The most popular routes are along the coast, between Funchal and Camara de Lobos (west), and Funchal and Santa Cruz (east). To get to Monte, take Horarios de Funchal numbers 20/21 to Camara de Lobos, or Rodoeste number 3 and S.A.M. buses to and from the airport. From Funchal, services depart near the large park at the seafront by Avenue do Mar.