Madeira Cruises – Cruise to Madeira with P&O Cruises

P&O Cruises now offer a selection of cruises that include the island of Madeira as a Port-of-Call.

When you travel around Madeira it quickly becomes clear why it is known as the Garden Island – it is simply awash with colour from a breathtaking display of sub-tropical plants and flowers. So it is hardly surprising that large and colourful flower markets are one of the most arresting features of Funchal, Madeiras capital.

The size of a market town, Funchal is easily walkable although, the further inland you explore, the steeper and narrower some of the streets become. Locally made wicker furniture, lacework and tapestries all make good buys along with the ubiquitous Madeira wine.

Funchal is also the base for tours to the islands botanical gardens; the fishing village of Camara de Lobos where Churchill went to paint; Camacha, the wicker centre; the levada walks, part of an ancient irrigation system; and to Reids Hotel for traditional afternoon tea.

A full list of the P&O cruises that feature Madeira as a Port of Call can be found here:

Madeira Cruises from P&O Cruises

P&O Madeira Cruises also feature a fantastic selection of shore excursions. We’ve listed a few of the most popular excursions below. Please check the P&O Madeira Excursions page for a complete list of current excursions.

Levada Walk
Keen walkers will enjoy this gentle stroll along Madeira’s unique Levada irrigation system.

Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of your surroundings as you walk through cool green tree-lined tunnels, discovering exotic flowers and plants along the way.

Madeira possesses a unique irrigation system that enables the rain from the north of the island to be distributed to the dry, sunny south. Rainfall is fed into the network of levadas that ring the island. A network of footpaths runs alongside these levadas, reaching into remote parts, and so this is the best way to see the interior of the island.

The walk will commence from Vale Paraiso. A gentle stroll, mostly on level ground, leads to Camacha, where a stop will be made for refreshments before completing the walk to Rochao.

Cable Car and Monte Palace Gardens
Enjoy the stunning views of Funchal from a cable car followed by a visit to the famous Monte Palace Gardens.

The cable car takes you on a picturesque trip up to Monte, where the first image you see is the twin-towered façade of the 18th century church. The ride takes approximately 15 minutes. (The cable car access is similar to a ski lift. The car does not stop for boarding; it just slows in motion).

You continue to the tropical Monte Palace Gardens, with its excellent collection of trees and exotic plants from all over the world. The Gardens also have several lagoons and waterfalls where you will be able to marvel at the Koi Carp.

After the visit to the Gardens you’ll travel to Pico do Barcelos, which offers a panoramic view of Funchal, the bay and surrounding hills.

Tea at Reids
Enjoy one of Madeira’s oldest traditions – tea at Reid’s Palace Hotel, overlooking the Bay of Funchal.

Before visiting the Hotel, you’ll be taken to the viewpoint of Pico dos Barcelos for a magnificent view over Funchal.

Built in the last century, Reid’s Palace has always had a special place in the history of Madeira. Located on the outskirts of Funchal, perched on a cliff top headland overlooking the bay, Reid’s is set in 10 acres of lush semi tropical gardens, where hanging vines jostle for room with stunning displays of geraniums, hibiscus and salvias.

Upon arrival, you will be taken on a short walk through the Hotel gardens before tea is served, giving you an opportunity to relax and enjoy the unique atmosphere. The tea menu includes a choice of teas, scones and cakes.

Leisurely Madeira
This tour has been designed to show you the delightful scenery and stunning views of this beautiful island at a leisurely pace.

Enjoy unsurpassed scenery as you leave Funchal via Sao Martinho and into the Socorrido Ravine. Travelling to the north west, you’ll soon arrive at Pico dos Barcelos. After admiring the amazing views of Funchal and the southern coast, continue along a winding road to Eira do Serrado. A short ascent will lead you to Pico do Serrado, where a brief photo stop will be made. There are superb views of Madeira’s highest peaks and the Curral das Freiras village below, a hamlet so remote the Santa Clara Convent nuns used it as an escape from the pirate raids of the 16th century.

At a leading hotel in Eira do Serrado relax and enjoy tea or coffee, sandwiches, biscuits, scones with strawberry jam and chantilly cream, before moving on to the viewpoint at Terreiro da Luta.

On the return journey, you’ll pass through the picturesque and historic small village of Monte, which is perched up in the hills overlooking Funchal.

Scenes of Madeira
Enjoy the delightful scenery of Madeira and sample its renowned wine on this great introductory tour.

Your scenic extravaganza starts off along the rugged west coast road and through the picturesque fishing village of Camara de Lobos, once painted by Sir Winston Churchill. The beauty of Funchal is best admired from the Pico da Torre viewpoint.

Driving through eucalyptus forests, you’ll reach Cabo Girao. From a superb viewpoint, see the second highest sea cliff in the world. From here, you can also see mountain slopes that have been carved into terraces.

At Pico dos Barcelos the true beauty of the island is revealed. See Funchal in the distance and the surrounding villages scattered on green slopes.

An essential part of any visit to Madeira is experiencing its well-known wine. Enjoy sampling several different types of Madeira wine and take the opportunity to purchase a bottle to take home with you.

Flowers, Wicker and Wine
Arts and crafts abound in Madeira and this excursion aims to show you some of the traditional methods and produce available.

Funchal Market is a social and commercial occasion; the market is integral to Portuguese life. As you wander around the stalls, you’ll find an infinite variety of tropical fruits, vegetables, flowers and local crafts. See one of the island’s largest inland villages, Camacha, which is the centre of the osier industry producing the well-known Madeira wickerwork. You’ll have time to browse in the showrooms and perhaps purchase a few souvenirs. Tea or coffee and a local cake will be provided during your stop in Camacha.

A visit to a leading embroidery factory in Funchal will let you see exquisite examples of the handicraft, traditional to Madeira since the last century. Crafts can be purchased and a sample of the Madeira Wine will be served. A brief stop will be made at a local wine lodge for another opportunity to taste the famous wine.

Jeep Adventure
Driving on and off road in 4×4’s to some of the most unspoilt locations is the ideal way to discover the island’s paradises.

The route takes you on tracks that meander through the mountains, across small rivers and along valleys providing incredible views. You’ll be presented with an excellent opportunity to see the native flora of the island, the ‘Laurissilva’. The route the jeeps take is subject to weather conditions across the island, and your driver will give you a detailed itinerary.

A short break will be made during the tour for you to enjoy a refreshing coffee, tea or soft drink.

All you need to bring is a spirit of adventure and a desire to have the time of your life!

Cable Car and Toboggan Ride
This picturesque trip gives a new dimension to Madeira, with stunning views from a cable car and a thrilling toboggan ride.

A rack and pinion railway once took passengers up the hillside from Funchal and the return to the coast was by toboggan. The railway closed in 1939, but an Austrian company has constructed a cable car for the trip up to Monte, noted for its many fine properties and gardens. The Funchal station is situated in the old part of town, and the journey from Funchal to Monte takes 15 minutes. (The cable car access is similar to a ski lift. The car does not stop for boarding; it just slows in motion).

Experience the ancient wicker-sled transport on a thrilling 10 minute toboggan ride. The drivers run alongside the toboggans, pushing and steering and using their rubber-soled boots as brakes. Continue by coach to Pico Dos Barcelos, a flower-decked belvedere where you’ll have possibly the best view towards the east.

Your excursion ends at a wine lodge in Funchal, where you have the opportunity to sample the different types of Madeira wine, ranging from the dry Sercial to sweet Malmsey.

Famous Toboggan Ride
Combine the thrill of the toboggan ride with the fabulous scenery of Madeira.

Leaving Funchal, you’ll head through the outskirts to Monte, noted for its many fine properties and gardens. Perched on a hill above Funchal is the twin-towered 18th century Church of our Lady, (time and opening permitting, there is an optional visit to the Church). In the centre of the high altar stands the statue of Our Lady of Monte, credited with being the source of many miracles.

Drivers in straw hats are waiting just outside the Church to take you on your wicker basket ride, which covers the 2 mile descent in 10 minutes. A cushioned seat softens the ride and you’ll be in the safe hands of the drivers, who run alongside, pushing and steering using their rubber-soled boots as brakes. Heading inland to Pico dos Barcelos, enjoy stunning views of the town of Funchal and the southern coast with villages scattered on green slopes. The tour ends at the Old Blandy’s Wine Lodge with ‘tastings’ of the heart-warming nectar synonymous with this enchanting island.

Deep Sea Fishing
Try your luck at ‘hooking’ a large fish on the high seas.

Madeira is ideally situated on the migratory routes of large game fish and in addition there other species that are resident throughout the year.

The target species are mainly Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Spearfish, Albacore, Wahoo and Dorado. The Giant Blue Marlin is the one every angler dreams of, and Madeira has become world known for the size and quality of its Blue Marlin. From novice to expert you can experience the fishing trip of a lifetime. This tour is suitable for beginners as well as experienced fishermen!

Enjoy some snacks and drinks whilst waiting for the ‘Big One’ to bite.

Whale and Dolphin Watching
Hop on a boat and sail out to sea and along Madeira’s beautiful coastline. Viewing the island from the sea is a must!

As your catamaran sets sail, be on the lookout for whales and dolphins. Due to its unique location in the mid-ocean, the island of Madeira is blessed with the presence of visiting whales and dolphins. Some of the species that can be spotted are the Fin Whale, Sperm Whale, Sei Whale, Oceanic Dolphin, Atlantic Spotted Dolphin and Bottle Nose Dolphin, to name but a few. As well as having the chance to spot whales and dolphins, you may also catch a glimpse of ocean wandering sea birds, some of which are found nowhere else in the world!

A short stop will be made for swimming (weather permitting) in the crystal blue ocean, surrounded by outstanding scenery. The return journey takes you nearer to the coastline for close up views of the cliffs, Cabo Girao and Camara de Lobos.

Porto Moniz and Scenic Delight
Experience the stunning island scenery and visit some idyllic villages on this full day tour.

A short drive from Funchal is the village of Câmara de Lobos, a picturesque fishing village once painted by Sir Winston Churchill during his stay in Madeira.

Cabo Girão, the second highest sea cliff in the world, rises from the sea, offering stunning views of the bay of Funchal and out over the distant horizon.

The south coast route leads to Ribeira Brava, where you’ll take a short tour before continuing inland towards São Vicente. The north coast offers breathtaking views on your scenic drive to Porto Moniz, a small village on the north coast, famous for its rock pools.

After lunch, continue to Paul da Serra, referred to as the ‘Roof of Madeira’. Here the landscape is reminiscent of moorland, completely different to the lush vegetation of the rest of the island.

After crossing the plateau, the road brings you to the south western coast and the village of Calheta, a charming village set below a steep cliff and blessed with a wide variety of natural beauty. Bananas, wine and sugar cane are widely produced here by the locals. Visit the ‘Engenho da Calheta’ rum distillery, where you are given a short tour and get to see how white rum is made and sample some honey cake and a famous local drink called “Poncha”, made from Rum and honey before retuning back to the ship.

Evening with Folklore
Visit a typical Madeiran restaurant to experience the local cuisine and enjoy an evening of traditional folkloric dance.

This informal evening will allow you to experience the local food and traditional hospitality generously dispensed by the locals. Upon arrival, you’ll be welcomed with an aperitif of Madeira wine to get your evening off to a great start.

A tempting array of local specialities will be served, including traditional vegetable soup and the delicious ‘Espada’, or Black Scabbard as it is known in English. Alternatively, you may wish to try ‘Espetada’, succulent pieces of tender beef grilled on a long skewer. To accompany your meal, locally produced red and white wine will be served.

Whenever there is an event to be celebrated, the festivities always include traditional dancing. These are taught to children in school at an early age, using steps that have been passed down through the centuries.

The highlight of the evening will be a demonstration of local folk dancing and music. If the mood takes you why not try your hand and join in. It is all part of the fun of a night out – Madeiran style.

Helicopter Odyssey
Experience a bird’s eye view of Madeira on a thrilling helicopter ride.

Madeira with its rugged terrain and mountainous interior is best seen from the air. This helicopter flight takes you around the Funchal area, with its banana plantations, modern buildings mixing with the old-fashioned houses and their secluded gardens. In the background see the woodland areas and superb views of some of Madeira’s highest peaks including Pico Ruivo, Pico do Arieiro, and the Curral das Freiras village below.

The diverse terrain of this verdant island contrasts beautifully with the deep blue of the Atlantic Ocean.

Elegant Madeira
Enjoy spectacular views and a glass of champagne on this scenic tour of the east coast of Madeira.

Enjoy a short stop at Santa Catarina Park. With a total area of 36,000 square metres it offers lovely views over the bay of Funchal and has several paths with benches that are flanked by many species of the world’s flora.

Continue towards the south eastern coast, where your driver will take you to Ponta do Garajau, which is an 180 metre high cape. Here you’ll find a towering statue of Christ inaugurated in 1927, modelled on the Christo Rei in Rio de Janeiro. Looking out to sea with outstretched arms, this viewpoint is definitely worth a visit to capture the views of Funchal in the far distance.

The coastline is a conservation area and has one of the first underwater nature reserves in Europe. It provides sanctuary to whales, dolphins and seals.

You’ll then continue to the viewpoint, Das Neves and onto the Palheiro Golf Clubhouse. With its unique open plan design, the clubhouse is both spacious and welcoming and has one of the best views on the island. It sits high above the bay of Funchal and has panoramic views over the mountains and Atlantic Ocean; views which can be enjoyed from the veranda whilst sipping a glass of champagne, before returning to Funchal.

You will find the full and current list of P&O Madeira Shore Excursions at

Madeira Shore Excursions from P&O Cruises

Book online and qualify for P&O online booking discounts.

All P&O Cruises to Madeira are fully bookable online at P&O Cruises.

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